Johnny Beerling

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John William Beerling (born 12 April 1937) is a British radio producer and station controller.

Early life[edit]

He attended the Sir Roger Manwood's School in Sandwich, Kent.


National Service[edit]

He began his radio career during national service from 1955-7 when he ran a radio station for the Royal Air Force station British Forces Aden in the Aden Protectorate, acting as its station manager, studio engineer and morning DJ.


In 1957 he joined the BBC and was one of the few employees of the BBC Light Programme in the mid-1960s to regard the model of offshore pirate radio as one for the BBC to follow.

Radio 1[edit]

As a result, when the offshore stations were outlawed in 1967, Beerling was appointed to the newly formed station BBC Radio 1 which was created as a legal alternative. This began a long association which culminated in his eight years as controller of the station from 1985 to 1993. He produced the first ever show on Radio 1 - Tony Blackburn's breakfast show on 30 September 1967 - worked his way up through the ranks, creating jingles, recruiting most of the station's DJs (one of whom was Tom Browne who presented the BBC chart from 1972 to 1978) and along the way launched the long-running and successful annual Radio 1 Roadshow events in 1973.

Beerling left the station in October 1993, and many of the station's veteran DJs either resigned or were sacked when Matthew Bannister succeeded him as controller. The network's ethos, music policy and target audience changed dramatically.[citation needed] Beerling publicly criticised the new regime at the BBC, specifically in the person of director-general John (now Lord) Birt.

The BBC re-hired Beerling in May 1995, and he organised the "Music Live '95" event in Birmingham which was broadcast across all the (then) three BBC music stations, including Radio 1. He has recently written the autobiographical book Radio 1 - The Inside Scene.

Preceded by
Derek Chinnery
Controller, BBC Radio 1
Succeeded by
Matthew Bannister

Unique Productions[edit]

After his departure from Radio 1, Beerling went to work alongside Noel Edmonds, with his production company Unique Productions.


In 1992, Beerling was the first non-broadcaster to receive the Ferguson Award for an Outstanding Contribution to Music Radio from the Radio Academy, and in 1992 he was elected President of the Television and Radio Industries Club of Great Britain. He is a Fellow of The Radio Academy.[1]


Personal life[edit]

In 1959 he married Carol Ann Reynolds. They divorced in 1991 and have a son and daughter. In 1993 he married Celia Margeret Potter. They divorced in 1998. In 1999 he married Susan Patricia Armstrong. He lives in Skipton.


  1. ^ The Radio Academy "Fellows"

External links[edit]

News items[edit]