Born in London in 1943, Roger Scott developed an early love of the rock and roll music being created at the end of the 1950s and early 1960s. As a teenager, he began playing records out the window of his suburban London home and watching the reaction of passers-by to the music.
After a brief time as a merchant seaman, Scott found his way to the United States and joined the radio station WPTR in Albany, New York in 1966. Scott's job, based on his British accent, was to be 'friend of the Beatles', and Scott learned the craft of disc jockey, working with Boom Boom Brannigan and other legendary names at the station. Eight months later he left WPTR to become the evening presenter at the Montreal station 1470 CFOX. From 1967 to 1971 he was known by listeners for his on-air antics and for his passionate love of music. Notable during this time was his participation in "Give Peace a Chance", recorded by John Lennon with Yoko Ono during their 'Bed-in' for peace at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal.
Anticipating the launch of legal land-based commercial radio, Scott returned to the UK in 1971, only to find the introduction was not as advanced as he had anticipated. Meanwhile he secured a position at UBN, a closed-circuit station broadcasting music to all the United Biscuits factories nationwide. It was about this time he also had a brief stint on BBC Radio 1 but, anticipating a future in commercial radio, he did so under the pseudonym 'Bob Baker'.
Commercial radio was finally authorized at the end of 1972, and in 1973 he joined the original on-air line-up of London's Capital Radio. Scott's afternoon drive-time shows became immensely popular with Londoners, generating such landmark features as the 'Three O'Clock Thrill' and the daily 'Hitline', together with the jingle 'Grab a little piece of heaven' by David Dundas. In 1976 his regular Friday rush-hour oldies show "Cruising" acquired a cult following, largely owing to his introduction of obscure rock-a-billy records to his London audience for the first time.
It was also during this time that Roger Scott helped Champion the Knebworth Rock Festival in 1980. The Festival's Headliner were the Beach Boys who had just released their latest album titled "Keeping the Summer Alive". Scott was always a big supporter of the West Coast Beach Boys influence on modern popular music and in anticipation of the Rock Festival and also a series of two concerts at the Empire Pool (now the Wembley Arena), Scott had listeners vote on their all time 15 top Beach Boy Hits of all time. Two subsequent Fridays were used to play back the top songs coupled with some excellent interviews with all the then band members including some insightful interviews with band member, and producer at the time, Bruce Johnston. Additionally Scott included one of the Wembley concerts in his Friday night live concert series.
Scott disdained the standardised playlists, market and audience research and other techniques introduced by the commercial stations in the 1980s.
In June 1988, after fifteen years with Capital, he moved to commercial-free BBC Radio 1. There, he reached a national audience for the first time, presenting a Saturday afternoon show and a late night Sunday show. The Saturday show featured interviews with many artists, and during this time Scott interviewed Dion, Jackson Browne, Don Henley and many others. The Sunday shows were more eclectic, featuring 1950's rock'n'roll, soul, classic rock and more contemporary music.
Roger Scott died in 1989, at the age of 46, after a brief battle with cancer. His last words, broadcast on Radio 1, were: "Thank you for your company, thank you for your support and thank you for your kindness. I hope I'll see you next weekend but there are no guarantees". He died a few weeks later.
In 2010 The internationally syndicated radio show It's Only Rock 'n' Roll broadcast a 2 part tribute to Roger Scott. Hosted by Alex East and featuring interviews with his friends and former colleagues: Jan Ravens, Dave Cash, Marc Denis, John Sachs, Mick Brown, Nicky Horne and Paul Burnett. It aired on radio stations around the world in the spring of 2010.
- AirCheck profile of Roger Scott
- Roger Scott talks about his early career on YouTube
- Roger Scott on CFOX in 1969
- Roger Scott talks about the John Lennon "bed in" in Montreal on YouTube
- Elton John on Roger Scott's Capital show, including Elton singing Roger's 'Grab a little piece of heaven' jingle on YouTube
- Roger Scott talks about playlists and market research on YouTube