Steve Penk

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Steve Penk is a British radio and television presenter. He was born in Rusholme, Manchester and is renowned for his "wind-up" calls. Penk has worked for various national and local UK radio stations. Aged just 16 he started his radio career at Piccadilly Radio in 1978 (subsequently rebranded Key 103), where his breakfast show delivered record ratings, the highest in the station's history to this day.

In 1997 Penk moved on to work at Capital Radio London presenting the mid-morning show. On his 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 mentioned during Prime Minister's Questions that Penk had prank-called him that morning, and at that point it became a global media story.

In 2000, Penk moved to Virgin Radio where he replaced Chris Evans on the breakfast show[1] and increased the audience by 300,000 listeners in the first three months. Penk then returned to Capital FM in 2002 to present a networked late show. In the interim, he appeared on Lily Savage's Blankety Blank.[2][3]

After a year presenting the late show 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. However, he announced on 15 January 2008 he would be leaving the station by March 2008 due to 'internal politics'.

He also presented TV Nightmares, The Way They Were, When Athletes Attack and made guest appearances on Blankety Blank and a few series of TV's Naughtiest Blunders on ITV1.

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, after changing the station's format Penk managed to quadruple the audience.[4][5][6]

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 woman on a bridge. Shortly after, the woman jumped 30 ft from the bridge, but only received minor injuries.[7]

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 wind-up phone call to the hospital, claiming to be the Queen and Prince Charles. Jacintha Saldanha, a nurse at the hospital, was duped by the wind-up phone call. The prank call was reported worldwide. A few days later the nurse committed suicide. Speaking about the death of the nurse, 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 on British radio." Penk was proved right.[8][irrelevant citation]

In January 2014, he sold 96.2 the Revolution.

In 2015 Penk launched the Steve Penk Wind-Up Channel on DAB+ in Manchester (England), featuring wind-up/prank calls 24/7.

In 2016 Penk created and launched "Radio Dead", a Globally unique radio station that only plays artistes who are deceased. If they’re dead, they’re on the playlist. Radio Dead can be heard by downloading the Radio Dead App, also on DAB+ in Manchester (England) and across Australia and New Zealand via iHeartRadio.[9][10]

Television appearances[edit]


  1. ^ "Penk replaces Evans at Virgin Radio". BBC News. 2 July 2001. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  2. ^ "Series 1, Episode 2". Lily Savage's Blankety Blank. 14 January 2001. ITV1. Repeated 22 August 2016 on Challenge.
  3. ^ Lily Savage's Blankety Blank. 25 February 2001. ITV.
  4. ^ Steve Penk buys The Revolution - Digital Spy - 04/09/08.
  5. ^ Luft, Oliver (9 September 2008). "Owner Steve Penk defiant over Oldham radio station overhaul". The Guardian. London: Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
  6. ^ Plunkett, John (15 September 2008). "The Revolution's listeners wake up to Steve Penk". The Guardian. London: Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
  7. ^ Ashford, Ben (18 January 2010). "DJ plays Jump for woman on bridge". The Sun. London.
  8. ^ Kate prank could end radio wind ups from Sky News retrieved 8 January 2014
  9. ^ Download the Radio Dead app to listen everywhere else.
  10. ^ Steve Penk sells Revolution from Manchester Evening News, retrieved 29 June 2014

External links[edit]