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Stuart Linnell MBE, BA(Hons), HonMA is a UK radio and television broadcaster who is known in the Coventry and Warwickshire area and in Northamptonshire. He presents the daily (Monday-Friday) Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Northampton, having previously presented the station's lunchtime consumer show. Stuart also hosts the Sky Blues Live football show on BBC Coventry & Warwickshire.
He was involved with Coventry based Mercia Sound for 15 years and also previously presented the breakfast shows at both BBC Coventry & Warwickshire and BBC WM (which serves Birmingham and the wider West Midlands).
Stuart started his professional broadcasting career with BBC Radio Birmingham in 1970, moving to the then developing commercial radio network with the launch of Radio Hallam in Sheffield in 1974.
In 1980 Stuart was part of the launch team at Coventry's Mercia Sound. He stayed at Mercia for 15 years, initially as Sports Editor and afternoon show presenter, going on to be Managing Director and Programme Controller. In that time he also worked for BRMB in Birmingham, RAM FM in Derby and Leicester Sound.
After some years freelancing for radio and TV stations broadcasting to the UK and to Ireland, and a short time with the ill-fated commercial radio group Laser Broadcasting, he returned to front-line presenting on BBC local radio in 2009. Since then he has presented programmes for BBC Radio Derby, BBC Oxford and BBC Hereford & Worcester.
On television Stuart has presented the Saturday evening edition of Midlands Today on BBC One and the Sunday lunchtime TV programme 'The Midlands At Westminster' on BBC Two (the forerunner to The Politics Show).
He has worked for the UK national radio stations BBC Radio Five Live and TalkSport and for the Irish national commercial station Today FM. He has also been a reporter for the TV stations Sky Sports News and Setanta Sports.
Stuart was made an MBE for services to broadcasting in 1995. He has won three Sony Radio Academy Awards - the most coveted awards in UK radio – one of them the Gold Award for the UK’s best speech-based Breakfast Show in 1997. His BBC WM Breakfast Show won Silver and Gold Sony's in successive years (1996 and 1997).
He received gold and bronze awards at the International Radio Festival of New York for the programme formats of Mercia Sound and Leicester Sound and, in 1999, he received an Honorary MA from Coventry University in recognition of his work as a broadcaster and for his services to the community in Coventry and Warwickshire. At the end of 2007 he graduated with a BA Honours in Humanities with Literature after six years study with the Open University.
In 2010, his Sunday Breakfast Show on BBC Coventry & Warwickshire received a Merit Award in the Sandford St. Martin Religious Radio Awards for a series called "Dear God" in which listeners were invited to send in their messages to God, some of which were broadcast on air. They ranged from the upbeat to the loneliness of bereavement and were pinned to a board displayed first at the radio station and later in Coventry Cathedral. Stuart's Sunday Breakfast Show was also a finalist in the 2012 Jerusalem Awards for its "Rev's Records" feature in which faith leaders, including the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Coventry, chose some of their favourite music.
Alongside his broadcasting career, Stuart is a conference moderator and facilitator and he also hosts awards events and black-tie functions.
In 2008, Stuart stepped down after two years as Chairman of the Coventry Branch of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce. He is a former member of the Chamber's main board.
1987 FA Cup Final
While Managing Director and Programme Controller of Mercia Sound in the late 1980's, Stuart continued to broadcast and was a member of the Mercia Sound reporting and commentary team during Coventry City's FA Cup run in 1987. The run culminated in Coventry City beating Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 in the Final at Wembley Stadium.
Mercia Sound produced two cassette recordings of their coverage of the semi-final, v. Leeds United at Hillsborough, and of the Final. Both sold out and many have been kept as momentos by Coventry City supporters.
The "Dan, Dan, Dan" Call
During an edition of the "Sky Blue Live" programme on BBC Coventry & Warwickshire in February 2013, Stuart took a call from a Coventry City supporter who had left that night's match (at Crewe) two minutes before the end and had missed seeing Coventry score two late goals to win 2-nil. The fan's disbelief when Stuart corrected his understanding that his team had failed to score, with Stuart trying to interrupt him by repeating his name ("Dan, Dan, Dan, Dan, Dan...", etc...), saw an audio clip of the call go viral, reaching a world-wide audience via Audioboo, YouTube, the BBC's main website and the online editions of several newspapers. The story was included on page 3 of The Sun newspaper and the clip was re-broadcast on many radio & TV stations round the word, including the BBC national stations, BBC Radio 1, Radio 2 and BBC Radio 5 Live. It was also included on Football Focus (BBC1) and Soccer AM (Sky Sports) TV shows.
Stuart attended Kings Heath High School and Kings Norton Grammar School for Boys (now Kings Norton Boys' School), both in Birmingham. He later studied at Matthew Boulton Technical College (now part of Birmingham Metropolitan College) and the Open University.
Rather than reporting the news, Stuart found himself making it on Thursday, 16 January 2014. On his way to work at BBC Radio Northampton at around 5.30 am, Stuart was knocked over while crossing the road. Taken to Northampton General Hospital A&E Department, Stuart tweeted "Didn't expect to start the day in A&E! But then I didn't expect to be knocked over by a police car!"
His accident received widespread media attention and he was off the air until the following Tuesday, 21 January 2014. That day, in response to others on twitter and friends on Facebook, Stuart said that while he was back at work, his injuries would take some time to heal.