Stephanie Hirst during an invited visit to 10 Downing St in 2016
|Born||Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England|
Hirsty's Daily Dose
Stephanie Hirst is an English radio and TV presenter best known for hosting Hit40UK, the former national commercial chart show, and the weekday breakfast show on Capital Yorkshire called Hirsty's Daily Dose.
Hirst moved onto Minster FM in York, then onto The Pulse of West Yorkshire in Bradford in 1995 to present the evening show. In 1997 she moved to Hallam FM in Sheffield, her local station, where she hosted the drivetime programme for three years. She then returned to The Pulse of West Yorkshire to co-host the breakfast show with Elisa Hilton, but quickly left to take over the breakfast show at Viking FM in Hull – the one area of Yorkshire which had yet to hear her – after the departure of JK and Joel. She and her breakfast team (Darren Lethem, Danny Oakes (known on-air as "Pimp Daddy Dogg") and Jamie York) won a Sony Award in 2002.
Hirst left 96.9 Viking FM, to take on the breakfast show (entitled Hirsty's Daily Dose) at Galaxy Yorkshire, a station covering all areas of Yorkshire. Galaxy had therefore shrewdly hired for their biggest show a presenter who did not necessarily have to "introduce" herself to the audience, as much of them would have heard her previously on the many local stations against whom Galaxy, a regional station, were pitching for audiences. The Daily Dose team, led by Hirst, including ex-Viking colleague Danny Oakes and existing Galaxy Yorkshire presenter Joanne (Jojo) Kelly (née Moorhouse) won the title of Commercial Radio Presenter(s) Of The Year at the CRCA Awards, and was nominated in the breakfast category of the 2005 Sony Awards. Her style of broadcasting is self-deprecating, real and relatable - talking for the majority about real life situations and making the listener the star, not herself.
After Neil Fox quit as the long-running host of the nationally networked Hit40UK in 2004, Hirst – one of his stand-ins previously from 2003 – was recruited, initially with Katy Hill, to host the programme each Sunday from the studios of Capital Radio in London and went on to host the programme alone. She was up against JK and Joel on BBC Radio 1 for the chart audience on a Sunday afternoon – the presenters whom she succeeded at Viking FM and with whom she remains close friends; in fact, during her chart reign she shared a flat in London with Joel Ross. Also a spin-off TV show Hit40UK TV hosted by Hirst was broadcast on a weekend on Channel 4's youth strand T4. She won a Sony Award for the show in 2006.
During Hit40uk on 2 April 2006, she beat Radio 1 to announce that Gnarls Barkley had made pop history as the UK's first number one song based on download sales alone.
Hirst presented her last Hit40UK chart on 15 October 2006, due to objections from Galaxy's rival Yorkshire radio stations Viking FM, Radio Aire and Hallam FM who were due to start broadcasting the chart on 22 October 2006. They were unhappy that a Galaxy Yorkshire presenter would be heard on their station, since they could possibly lose a proportion their breakfast audience to Hirsty's weekday breakfast show. The last number one she announced was "Welcome to the Black Parade" by My Chemical Romance.
In May 2013, Hirst returned to presenting nationally on Gold on Saturday afternoons between 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm. later moving to the earlier time of 12:00 pm and 4:00 pm, where she went on to create a show called 'Vinyl Heaven', with every song played live from the original vinyl copies. She had first done this as a small feature on her breakfast show on The Pulse in 2000, where she would play a classic song from vinyl under the name 'Vinyl Heaven' with the occasional tag line 'At a quarter to seven'
On 20 June 2014, Hirst announced that she had left her presenting roles at Capital and Gold, which brought Hirsty's Daily Dose to an end after 11 years. 2014 also saw her collect a nomination for 'Breakfast Show of the Year' at the Radio Academy Awards (Formerly Sony Awards). The final edition had aired on 13 June. Adam O'Neill took over as the main host of the newly named Capital Breakfast with Danny and JoJo remaining co-hosts.
In January 2015, Stephanie started work on ITV's morning show 'Lorraine' as part of a strand called 'Change One Thing'. Hirst, along with other celebrities who have made changes to their lives, will help viewers of the show, who so desperately want to change one thing about their lives. She continues to be part of ITV Lorraine's extended presenter family.
On 4 July 2015, Stephanie presented her first radio programme after her gender change. The programme is called, 'Nothing but the 90s' and airs on BBC Radio Manchester from 10 pm to 12 midnight every Saturday. In a 2015 interview she said coming back to radio at a time slot which was somewhat tucked away at night and not in the limelight felt just right, so she could find her new voice without huge pressure.
On 5 March 2016, she started a new radio programme on BBC Radio York called 'Stephanie Hirst's Vinyl Revival'. The show aired every Saturday from 12 noon to 2 pm for 8 weeks while the usual presenter of that time slot was away on an acting job. She has also presented a few spin-offs of this show including a 3-hour version for Bauer's 'Greatest Hits Network' and Vinyl top 40 show for the BBC.
She has also presented for BBC Breakfast, BBC Inside Out and written for The Independent and The Telegraph.
As of 3 September 2016, her weekly Saturday night show on BBC Radio Manchester changed to a "Vinyl Revival" show, airing at the same time from 10 pm 12 midnight. The show is the only one of its kind on UK radio, with Stephanie playing each song live from the original vinyl copies, along with taking live listener requests.
At the Radio Festival which took place at The British Library in London on 26 October 2016, she was awarded a 'Fellowship' which is the highest honour The Radio Academy may confer upon a member of the radio industry. Stephanie was awarded this to recognise her outstanding contribution to British radio & the industry.
3 April 2018, saw Stephanie began hosting her own daily radio show since leaving Capital in 2014. The Stephanie Hirst Show broadcasts on BBC Radio Leeds weekdays 9-Midday, with her becoming the BBC's first openly Transgender presenter to broadcast daily.
Transition and activism
On 11 October 2014, Hirst announced during an interview with Stephen Nolan on BBC Radio 5Live that she was in the process of gender transitioning - which after broadcast was released as a 5Live podcast, and has since gone on to be one of the stations most downloaded interviews.
In November 2014 & November 2015 Stephanie was included in The Independent On Sunday 'Rainbow List' - an annual celebration of the 101 lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender people in the UK who make a real difference.
In June 2016, she was one of the prominent faces of Pride In London's 'No Filter' campaign. The manifesto film, which starred Stephanie alongside Sir Ian McKellen & Graham Norton explored what ‘No Filter’ means to the LGBT+ community. A 2nd short film was made with Stephanie describing her first 'No Filter' moment and shown daily within London's Westfield centre.
In February 2017, Stephanie was nominated for a British LGBT Award in the 'Top 10 LGBT+ Celebrity' category.
Stephanie is proactively involved in the promotion of LGBT rights and spends a large portion of her time giving inspirational talks and hosting Q&As about issues facing the community. In light of this, in July 2016 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Leeds Beckett University for her contribution to public life. Leeds Beckett University Chancellor, Sir Bob Murray CBE, added: "Stephanie is an inspiration and demonstrates values we can all aspire to, such as integrity and authenticity. She has not only had a successful broadcasting career, but has very much become an icon for the transgender community after being so open and honest about her experiences.
"I am delighted that Leeds Beckett University has recognised Stephanie’s contribution to public life with this Honorary Doctorate. I believe her courage, experience and all that she has achieved will be of great inspiration to our graduating students."
- Halliwell, Rachel (3 July 2015). "Stephanie Hirst: 'Why I'm returning to radio a year after transitioning from a man to a woman'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
- "Simon Hirst joins Gold for weekend show". Radio Today. 3 May 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
- "Simon Hirst leaves Capital FM Yorkshire". RadioToday. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
- "Stephanie Hirst 'Coming Out' Interview". BBC 5Live.
- "Rainbow List 2014, 1 to 101". The Independent. 9 November 2014.
- Scotney, Kelly (25 July 2016). "Stephanie Hirst Awarded Honorary Doctorate". Leeds Beckett AC. Retrieved 8 July 2017.