Maurice Jay

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Maurice Jay
Face of Irish person.jpg
Occupation Radio Presenter, Music Producer, Musician, Actor
Known for Radio, TV

Maurice Jay is a radio and television personality in Northern Ireland. He is currently the Programme Controller[1] for U105, a Belfast-based radio station that is part of the Wireless Group. Jay played lead roles in over 100 UK-wide performances of West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein. He was included in the Sound of 2008 and 2011 panels at the BBC.[2]


Jay was born in Holywood, Northern Ireland and attended Sullivan Upper School there. He was awarded a diploma in Sound Technology & Music Business from New York University[citation needed].


In the mid 80s Jay began club DJ'ing and held down various residencies and regular guest appearances in venues around the country which included Radio Top Shop and a weekly residency at The Bronx (nite club), one of the country's leading dance music venues, where he was a local pioneer of Chicago House. In 1989 he was a Northern Ireland finalist in the DMC World DJ Championships and was one of the first DJ's to employ samplers and sequencers, making live real-time remixes of tracks during DJ'ing sets.

In 1990, Jay started as a professional sound engineer at Sonopista Studios in Almería, Spain, one of the country's first all digital recording studios. He also worked as a live touring front of house (FOH) engineer for the company's PA hire division, working with Chick Corea on his 1990 Inside Out Tour. From there, he moved to New York, working at Jonathan Elias Associates Recording Studios. Jay returned to Northern Ireland in the mid 90s to take up the post of resident FOH engineer at The Empire Music Hall. His live engineering work has included mixing radio sessions for artists such as the Grammy Award-winning Amy Winehouse, former Marillion frontman Fish (singer), Brit Award nominee Nerina Pallot, and the multi-million album selling bands T'Pau and Hue & Cry to name but a few.

Jay worked as a music columnist[3] for The Irish News, citing meeting Prince at his Paisley Park Studios in Minneapolis as a highlight.[4] During his time running record label and artist management company Cherry Moon,[5] Jay composed and produced albums for several artists including girl band Honey; he directed music videos for Trina Be and remixed and directed the video for UK Top 10 dance chart hit Fairytale[6] for Curb Records. In 2000, he was also instrumental in the foundation of a government backed sectoral lead body for the Northern Irish music industry.[7]

In the early 1990s Jay formed a funk rock band called The Behaviour; the band achieved national media exposure, as they appeared on BBC2's Dance NRG[8] hosted by Normski, and performed several times on the BBC/RTE all Ireland TV show Go For It.[8] In September 2009, Maurice Jay formed an 80s Tribute band called The Pleasuredome with former members of The Behaviour; they debuted in a popular local club in Belfast in February 2010.[9]

Broadcasting work[edit]

As a young teenager, Jay hosted school discos and presented his first radio shows on Ulster Hospital Radio. In the early nineties, he began work with Belfast Community Radio, before moving to Downtown Radio where he hosted various mainline shows before joining Belfast CityBeat in 2000 as Breakfast Show host. In 2005 he joined UTV as Head Of Music for their new radio station U105 and in May 2008 he took up the position of Programme Controller.[1] He currently also hosts Breakfast at U105 and produces / presents The NI Golf Podcast.

Acting and television[edit]

Jay played the lead role of Danny Zuko in a UK touring production of Grease and appeared alongside James Nesbitt and Conleth Hill in West Side Story. He also starred as Riff, the leader of The Jets, in a later production of same musical with Opera Northern Ireland and the Ulster Orchestra. He has appeared in over 100 performances of this Leonard Bernstein classic and in 2008 completed another sellout run at the Grand Opera House, Belfast, playing Lieutenant Schrank.[10]

His TV appearances have included ITV network show Flux, network BBC2's Dance NRG,[8] RTÉ/BBC Go For It (GFI) and UTV's L8 & Live. He has also made numerous appearances as a talking head and music pundit in news programmes and documentaries.[11]

Charity work[edit]

Jay has undertaken charity work to raise awareness for the Northern Ireland Hospice; this entailed endurance challenges where he lived in a shop window in Belfast City Centre for more than nine days, and in September 2011 visited 105 towns and villages on a bed. To date U105 has raised over £1,000,000 for the charity.[12][13][14]


  1. ^ a b UTV News (24 September 2010). "Johnny Hero Joins U105". U.TV. Archived from the original on 26 October 2010. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
  2. ^ "Sound of 2008: The pundits". BBC News. 31 December 2007.
  3. ^ Maurice Jay (8 September 1994). "1994 MTV VMA's Radio City Music Hall". The Irish News. Retrieved 8 September 1994. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  4. ^ Ivan Martin (4 June 2000). "Someday My Prince Will Come". The Sunday World. Retrieved 7 June 2000. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  5. ^ "Cherry Moon boss Maurice Jay on trade mission to Midem in Cannes". The Belfast Telegraph. 27 January 1999. Retrieved 27 January 1999. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  6. ^ Polly Graham (6 October 2002). "Sharon's Double Helping". The Sunday Mirror. Retrieved 6 October 2002.
  7. ^ PRS For Music (1 June 2001). "Northern Ireland Music Industry Commission". PRS For Music. Archived from the original on 3 January 2010. Retrieved 1 June 2001.
  8. ^ a b c "The Behaviour Go For It". The Spectator. 8 March 1994. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
  9. ^ "Top Tribute Bands Descend On Belfast". 7 May 2010. Archived from the original on 11 May 2010. Retrieved 25 October 2010.
  10. ^ Alison Fleming (12 September 2005). "UTV Live report". UTV. Retrieved 12 September 2005.
  11. ^ Maureen Coleman (28 September 2010). "Northern Ireland's Greatest Music Moments". The Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  12. ^ Northern Ireland Hospice (8 March 2010). "Be a Hero". The Northern Ireland Hospice. Archived from the original on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 8 March 2010.
  13. ^ Passed Away (24 May 2010). "In The News". Passed Away. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
  14. ^ Newtownabbey Times (26 September 2011). "Mayor's 'eggcellent' fundraising idea for NI Hospice". Newtownabbey Times. Retrieved 4 October 2011.

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