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Steve Penk is a British radio and TV presenter. He was born in Rusholme, Manchester and is renowned for his wind-up calls. Penk has worked for various national and local radio stations. He started his radio career at Piccadilly Radio in 1978 (subsequently rebranded Key 103). He then went on to work at Capital Radio presenting the mid-morning show, and moved to Virgin Radio and presented the breakfast slot after the departure of Chris Evans. Penk increased the audience by 300,000 listeners in the first 3 months.
Penk moved to Capital Radio, London in 1997. On his morning programme he regularly did his famous radio wind ups. It was during one of these "wind-up" calls that Penk had the idea to call the then British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. He was able to get through the No.10 switchboard and managed to get Blair on the air for a few minutes. Blair later said he knew he was being hoaxed.
In 2000, Penk moved to Virgin Radio where he replaced Chris Evans on the breakfast show and increased the audience by 300,000 listeners in the first 3 months. Penk then returned to Capital FM in 2002 to present a networked late show.
After a year presenting the late shift on Capital Radio networked to a number of other stations, Penk returned to Manchester's Key 103, however, he left at the end of 2006. Penk returned to the airwaves on Fox FM in Oxfordshire in March 2007 as its new breakfast show presenter. It was effectively a return to the station as his late show for Capital was simulcast on Fox. However, he announced on 15 January 2008 he would be leaving the station by March 2008 due to 'internal politics'.
On Thursday 4 September 2008, it was announced that Penk had bought the entire share capital in the radio station 96.2 The Revolution. Almost immediately after the purchase, Penk made major changes both to the schedule and to the playlist. The changes led to outrage from some listeners to the station and departure of some of the station's DJs. However, since changing the station's format Penk has increased the audience.
In January 2010, Penk was condemned by mental health charities for playing Van Halen's "Jump" on 96.2 The Revolution Breakfast Show at the request of a motorist stuck on the M60 due to a suicidal woman on a bridge. Shortly after, the woman jumped 30 ft from the bridge, but only received minor injuries.
In December 2012, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge spent three nights in the King Edward VII Hospital in central London being treated for severe pregnancy sickness. Two DJs, Mel Greig and Michael Christian from 2Day FM, an Australian radio station, made a windup phone call to the hospital, claiming to be the Queen and Prince Charles. Jacintha Saldanha a nurse at the hospital was duped by windup phone call. The prank call was reported world wide. A few days later the nurse committed suicide. Speaking about the death of the nurse, Steve Penk said: "I think there will be huge fallout. I think it will be, for want of a better phrase, the death of the wind-up phone call".
In January 2014, Steve Penk sold 96.2fm The Revolution.
- Steve Penk's TV Nightmares
- Would I Lie To You? (Pilot)
- Russian Roulette
- Blankety Blank
- The Way They Were: Coronation Street Special
- TV's Naughtiest Blunders
- This Morning
- Penk replaces Evans at Virgin Radio - BBC News 02/07/01
- Surprise call for PM 21 January 1998
- Steve Penk Joins Fox FM - Radio News 01/03/07
- Steve Penk to leave Fox FM: Radio Today 16/01/08
- Steve Penk buys The Revolution - Digital Spy 04/09/08
- Luft, Oliver (2008-09-09). "Owner Steve Penk defiant over Oldham radio station overhaul". The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 2010-01-30.
- Plunkett, John (2008-09-15). "The Revolution's listeners wake up to Steve Penk". The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 2010-01-30.
- "Imagine FM loses more than half its audience". Crain's Manchester Business. Crain Communications. 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2010-01-30.
- Ashford, Ben (18 January 2010). "DJ plays Jump for woman on bridge". The Sun (London).
- Kate prank could end radio wind ups from Sky News retrieved 8 January 2014
- Steve Penk sells Revolution from Manchester Evening News, retrieved 29 June 2014