A radio station would be tedious and soulless without people behind the microphone addressing the audience and infusing their programmes with life. Throughout its history Radio Luxembourg’s English service has had many famous announcers, presenters and disc jockeys. Often, at the Station of the Stars, the stars were the DJs themselves, either as resident DJs who actually lived in the Grand Duchy and presented their programmes from the Luxembourg studios at Villa Louvigny, or as presenters of taped shows that were recorded in London and shipped by plane to Luxembourg for broadcast.
The following pages offer you on overview with a non-exhaustive list of the presenters and DJs who dominated the airwaves at Radio Luxembourg during its history.
(31 March 1908 – 23 November 1994)
Stephen Williams worked as an announcer on a ‘broadcasting yacht’ sponsored by the Daily Mail during his summer holidays in 1928. A forerunner of the infamous pirate radio ships of the 1960s, the ‘yacht’ (it was actually a steam vessel) broadcast music with advertisements for the Daily Mail off the British coast just outside territorial waters. This was because commercial radio was banned in Britain, with the airwaves dominated by the rather prim, state-controlled BBC, which was granted a monopoly.
In early 1932, Williams joined Radio Normandy, the first regular English-language commercial radio station. In December 1932 he left to join Radio Paris. In the autumn of 1933 he was also announcing small evening concerts from another station in the French capital, Poste Parisien. This situation lead Williams to deploy almost ubiquitous skills, saying his final announcement at Radio Paris, wearing his hat and coat, before dashing down the stairs into a waiting taxi, and arriving at the Poste Parisien studio just in time to announce the concert there. Williams became Directeur général of Radio Publicity, a British company, chaired by a Frenchman (M. Jacques Gonat) and operating in Paris.
In 1933 British concerts were discontinued on Radio Paris, which became a French national station. Radio Publicity’s British programmes had to look for another mouthpiece which was found at the recently launched Radio Luxembourg. On 3 December 1933 Stephen Williams was heard simultaneously on Radio Paris and Radio Luxembourg. The programmes were transferred permanently to Luxembourg the following Sunday. Williams became the Chief English announcer at Europe’s biggest radio station.
In 1936 a legal battle between the CLR (Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Radiodiffusion) and Radio Publicity (London), the English language concession company, led to Williams being replaced as Chief English announcer by S. P. Ogden Smith.
During the Second World War, Williams worked as Entertainments Liaison Officer for the BBC.
The Luxembourg station resumed commercial broadcasting in November 1945. Williams returned to Radio Luxembourg on 7 January 1946 as Director of English programmes. Broadcasts of English sponsored programmes began on 1 July 1946. Williams stayed until the end of 1948.
(19 September 1882 – 22 May 1965)
Christopher Stone is considered to be Britain’s first disc jockey (DJ). He joined the BBC in July 1927 and launched the innovation of playing records on air. He and his programmes became very popular during his seven years at the BBC. He left the BBC on 29 September 1934 to join the commercial station Radio Luxembourg. This move caused a sensation and was regarded as an act of lèse-majesté by the respectable BBC, which blacklisted him for a while, along with other British artists working for Radio Luxembourg. He wrote a weekly column called ‘Christopher Stone Calling!’ for the magazine Radio Pictorial.
After three years Stone joined Radio Lyons, a French radio station that broadcast sponsored programmes in English from the continent to Britain. In 1941 he returned to the BBC.
Post-war years and the 1950s
While on a government mission to help reform the Luxembourg Army, Geoffrey Everitt met Stephen Williams, who suggested Everitt for doing an interview with Stanley Rous from the British Army football team. After this, Everitt got hired and joined the station as a DJ in June 1946.
Everitt returned to England in 1953 where he worked as a producer of pre-recorded and sponsored material at the company’s London studios in Hertford Street. In 1955, Everitt became Chief Producer of the London studios. In 1959 he was promoted to Station Manager, later to General Manager. He resigned in 1970, after 25 years at Radio Luxembourg.
(born 4 September 1920)
A professional singer and drummer, Teddy Johnson joined Radio Luxembourg on 28 May 1948 where he presented the ‘Top Twenty’ show on Sundays. Having to fill in most of the airtime alone, Johnson adopted various personalities for different broadcasts, such as E. Victor Johnson or Edward V Johnson. Johnson and Geoffrey Everitt ran the English service by themselves until 1950. Johnson left Radio Luxembourg in May 1950 to resume his singing career.
(born 19 September 1925)
The actor Pete Murray joined Radio Luxembourg’s English service in September 1950 as a stand-in for Teddy Johnson for three months. He ended up staying at Radio Luxembourg for five years. While presenting programmes all afternoon, Murray adopted different guises for different programmes.
Murray left Radio Luxembourg in 1955 to resume his acting career, although he continued to be heard on 208 for several years as a presenter of pre-recorded sponsored shows.
(15 October 1928 – 15 March 2011)
Keith Fordyce began his broadcasting career as a football commentator for BBC TV in 1952.
He joined Radio Luxembourg in 1955 where he became a staff announcer. In 1957 Fordyce introduced the ‘Power Play’ featuring a newly released single played over a whole week, together with Barry Alldis and Don Moss.
In the 1960s Fordyce joined the BBC Light Programme where he presented radio shows like ‘Pop In’ and ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’. He became famous for presenting the TV pop programme ‘Ready, Steady, Go!’ from 1963 to 1966. Follow-ing the death of Barry Alldis in 1982, Fordyce returned to Radio Luxembourg for six months.
(5 December 1930-21 November 1982)
Born in Australia, Barry Alldis made his debut in radio as an announcer at the 2TM Tamworth station, and later joined 4BH Brisbane. In 1955 he left for Europe and first went on air on Radio Luxembourg on New Year’s Day 1957. On 1 October 1958, after the departure of Keith Fordyce, he became head of the English service. Until his departure in 1966, Alldis was a very popular DJ, presenting shows like ‘Smash Hits’ and the ‘Top Twenty’. Alldis was the first Radio Luxembourg DJ to go on the road, presenting live shows in public. He travelled as far afield as Scandinavia where he was extremely popular, especially in Norway, where he was awarded the Silver Billion Disc in honour of his more than ten years of work for the world’s recording artists.
After leaving Radio Luxembourg, Alldis began a freelance career in the UK, presenting radio shows on the BBC. In 1975 he returned to Radio Luxembourg, initially in an administrative capacity, but later switching back to broadcasting. Alldis also composed over a hundred songs.
Other regular presenters: Patrick ALLEN; Eamonn ANDREWS; Richard ATTENBOROUGH; Ursula BRENNAN; Paul CARPENTER; Desmond CARRINGTON; Sam COSTA; John de DENGHY; Beatrice FELTES; Alan FREED; David GELL; Patricia GILES; Denis GOODWIN; Donald GRAY; Hughie GREEN; Tony HALL; Arthur HELLIWELL; Jack JACKSON; David JACOBS; Phillip JONES; Ted KING, Peter MADREN; Michael MILES; Bob MONKHOUSE; Donald MORLEY; Don MOSS; Ray ORCHARD; Mel OXLEY; Jo STAFFORD; Tommy TRINDER; Kent WALTON; Howard WILLIAMS; Jimmy YOUNG.
The 1960s and 1970s
(19 June 1923 – 24 March 2001)
One of the very few female disc jockeys on Radio Luxembourg, Muriel Young started out as an actress. She was the first female announcer on British commercial TV (ITV) in 1955. In 1961 she joined Radio Luxembourg where she presented the show ‘Friday Spectacular’ together with Shaw Taylor. In the late 1960s and 1970s, Young worked for Granada Television as a staff producer of pop programmes.
Don Wardell joined 208 in May 1963 at the age of 24 where he presented the ‘Late Night Luxembourg’ programme. By 1964, he had already returned to the UK to present the pop show ‘Countdown’ on Southern Television together with Muriel Young, but kept in touch with Radio Luxembourg by presenting recorded shows for the Pye record company twice a week. ‘This Boy’ Wardell returned to 208 in 1966 after the departure of Barry Alldis and became head of the English service. He took over the ‘Top Twenty Show’ and presented no fewer than 23 other programmes per week. In 1968 Wardell went to work at Radio Luxembourg’s London offices in Hertford Street to build up a news gathering department. A year later, he left Radio Luxembourg and joined the record industry.
(born 26 November 1943)
In 1966 Paul Burnett joined Radio 270, an offshore pirate radio station. After a stint at Manx Radio, Burnett joined Radio Luxembourg in 1967 as a resident live DJ. On 208 he presented the Saturday Top 20 show until 1974 when he joined BBC Radio 1.
(born 9 May 1944)
Tony Prince joined Radio Caroline in 1965 where he used to address himself to the audience as ‘your royal ruler’. After the 1967 Marine Offences Act, Prince moved to Radio Luxembourg in April 1968. After an attempt to break into acting, Prince returned to 208, where he became Programme Director in 1977 until 1984. He played Elvis Presley songs continuously for several hours after the news of the singer’s death was received on 16 August 1977.
(31 August 1949 – 9 July 2010)
Dave Christian joined Radio Luxembourg in September 1968 as a newsreader, first from London, and then from January 1969 from the Grand Duchy. Very popular throughout the 1970s, he also worked for Radio Luxembourg’s German and Dutch services. He was part of the DRM re-launch of Radio Luxembourg in 2005.
David “Kid” JENSEN
(born 4 July 1950)
Danish Canadian born David Jensen joined 208 in November 1968 at the age of 18. He was immediately popular and when he went home to Canada in 1969, the magazine ‘Fab 208’ organised a petition that got 2,000 signatures in an attempt to woo him back. Jensen finally returned and stayed until 1975. His late-night progressive music show ‘Jensen’s Dimensions’ was a huge success. In 1975 he joined the BBC.
(born 3 July 1939)
Encouraged to become a DJ by ex-Beatle drummer Pete Best, Bob Stewart started his career at Radio Caroline before joining 208 in June 1969. With his characteristic ‘dark brown’ voice, Stewart presented the ‘Country and Western Show’ and the ‘British Top 30 Show’ among others. After moving to Dallas for a short while in 1987, he returned to Europe and stayed at LUXY until 1991.
(born 24 January 1948)
Mark Wesley joined Radio Luxembourg in May 1971 after working for several pirate stations. He started his career as a DJ at the pirate station Radio Essex at the age of 17. He stayed at 208 for 10 years. Wesley was the first announcer in Europe to report the sad news of the death of Elvis Presley.
(born 24 March 1951)
Peter Powell joined Radio Luxembourg in 1972 after a short spell at BBC Radio 1. After five years on Radio Luxembourg, Powell returned to Radio 1 in 1977.
(24 February 1942 – 24 November 1995)
Scotsman Stuart Henry started as a DJ on the pirate station Radio Scotland before joining BBC Radio 1 in 1967. He left Radio 1 in 1974 to join Radio Luxembourg where he enjoyed growing popularity. Afflicted by multiple sclerosis, Henry found it increasingly difficult to talk. When his speech worsened, his wife Ollie began broadcasting alongside him. This led to ‘The Stuart and Ollie Henry Show’. Despite his illness, Henry continued broadcasting until the station closed in 1992.
(born 30 April 1955)
Rob Jones came to 208 from Radio City in Liverpool in 1977 and stayed until 1984. He became Director of programmes for RTL English language radio and TV.
Other regular presenters: Tony BLEWITT; Pete BRADY; Tony BRANDON; Chris CAREY; Peter CARVER; Rodney COLLINS; Roger ‘Twiggy’ DAY; Simon DEE; Noel EDMONDS, Kenny EVERETT; Pearly GATES; Stuart GRUNDY; Paul HOLLINGDALE; Paul KAYE; Brian MATTHEW; Johnny MORAN; Tony MURPHY; Colin NICOL; Barry O’DONOGHUE; Mike RAVEN; Mike READ; Emperor ROSKO; Norman ST. JOHN; Shaw TAYLOR; Tommy VANCE; Johnny WALKER; Steve WRIGHT.
The 1980s and 1990s
Benny Brown, born in San Francisco and a combat veteran of the Vietnam War, joined Radio Luxembourg in late 1979 as its first American staffer. He credits his mother (“the world’s best English teacher”) for giving him an appreciation for languages. His broadcast career began early, at age 14, when he’d take his family’s lawn mower to cut the grass at the nearby rock station in return for a few free records. Several years later he was practicing his chosen craft “hands on” under the on-air discipline of legendary US Top 40 radio programmers Bill Drake and Chuck White in the dynamic, freewheeling arena of American radio. Before his move to Luxembourg, Brown presented the daily breakfast show in Frankfurt on the American Forces Network, AFN. He was hired away from AFN for Radio Luxembourg by Alan Keen and Tony Prince to replace Steve Wright, who was soon to depart for the BBC.
Benny was twice selected as Billboard Magazine’s International Radio Personality of the Year while with Radio Luxembourg, and he claims (with a wink) that a major thoroughfare in the capital city honours “his” birthday, the Avenue du X Septembre, the Avenue of the Tenth of September… But in mid-1985 Benny grew disillusioned and disappointed with the station’s new management and consequently resigned his position. He enjoyed being operations manager for a chain of 46 music outlets (rack jobbing) for four years across six European nations. “The international travel was great,” he says, but his phone kept ringing; radio stations were calling. He provided syndicated programmes from London for Budweiser, Pepsi-Cola and Lufthansa. BFBS, too. In fluent German Brown hosted American Top 40 (the most-listened-to radio show in the world!) in a weekly co-production with ABC Watermark in Hollywood.
Invited to re-join the RTL Group in 2005, he was back in the Grand Duchy and on-air nightly with Radio Luxembourg/Radio Lëtzebuerg. Besides his radio shows, he also wrote an opinionated blog on the station’s website at www.rtl.lu. In a world flush with broadcast impostors, it is important to acknowledge all the genuine talent that has come and gone through Radio Luxembourg over the decades, from Davies and Hertford Streets in London to the Villa Louvigny and the Kirchberg Plateau in the Grand Duchy. Benny Brown remained until 15 July 2015 the “last man standing” from 2-0-8, the fabled English Service of Radio Luxembourg, with his Benny Brown Show that captivated RTL Radio Lëtzebuerg listeners. Now he presents Time Out on Radio 100,7.
(born 29 October 1955)
Peter Antony joined Radio Luxembourg 208 in March 1985 as a holiday replacement, and got a permanent contract shortly afterwards. He stayed at Radio Luxembourg until 1991 when he moved to Los Angeles as a DJ.
Howard Pearce started his broadcasting career at Radio Victory (Portsmouth) before moving to Radio 210. He joined Radio Luxembourg in 1980. Pearce presented night-time programmes on 208 as well as daytime programmes on RTL Community 92.5 FM. After 4 years at Radio Luxembourg, Pearce rejoined Radio 210.
Other regular presenters: Nick ABBOT; Tony ADAMS; Alton ANDREWS; Sandy BEECH; Dave EASTWOOD; Neil FOX; Jeff GRAHAM; Mike HOLLIS; Chris HOLMES (MOYLES); David LEE STONE; Wendy LLOYD; Timmy MALLET; Jonathan MILES; Mark PAGE; Jodie SCOTT; Shaun TILLEY.