There is no doubt that British disc jockeys played a huge role in the expansion of the music industry during the 1960s 70s and 80s. The role of the radio disc jockey became established during the 1950s which involved talking to listeners in between the three minutes playing of the records. The role of the DJ’s on the radio is far different from those in the discos. In the discos records are often grouped together with little space in between. A feature of the radio DJ were the stories, the jokes the interviews and different features that became as much as part of the show as the music.
This produced great personalities, and these different DJs became responsible for introducing different genres to the listening public. Certain DJs became linked to certain genres of music and musical acts, and their representatives would contact certain DJs to get their records play time. This was certainly the case with John Peel who started working with the BBC in 1967 until he passed away in 2004. He was famed for promoting psychedelic and progressive rock records, and he was responsible for promoting unknown artists that would go and achieve success. His influence was felt in a huge number of different genres, such as punk, indie rock, death metal and even British hip hop. His “Peel Sessions” in which a band would play for four songs were famed for unearthing new bands would be experiencing radio play time for their first time.
Tommy Vance spent the 1960s and the 1970s championing the cause of the emerging rock bands. Starting his work on Radio Caroline he would broadcast his shows from the radio stations boat from the English Channel. Eventually he started to work for the newly formed BBC Radio1 station that was created in 1967. After a spell at Capital Radio he returned to the BBC where he spent 15 years presenting the “Friday Rock Show” where heavy metal and rock music was predominately featured, and the show was widely listened to.
When he joined the BBC in 1967 he was accompanied by a number of different DJs from a variety of pirate radio stations. Prior to the creation of BBC 1 the pirate stations were giving the most airplay time to the emerging music that was being created in the British music industry. Another presenter who joined the station at the start in 1967 was Kenny Everett. He was already working closely with the Beatles producing some of their records and playing them on air. His effervescent personality saw him become one of the radio stations best known presenters and in time he successfully became equally as popular in television.
His extremely popular radio shows became a spring board to many musical acts. His preferred music was more mainstream than many other of the shows DJs and this appealed to the majority of listeners. However, as time progressed the characters that he created on his show became so popular that it wasn’t long before television started to take more and more of his time. A great number of the DJs started to appear on Top of The Pops presenting the program that televised the musical acts that were topping the countries charts. The influence of these DJs in promoting the British music industry is clear to be seen.