The Nightingale continues to sing on the airwaves into a fifth decade.

August 7, 2010

Radio 1 has announced that it will be celebrating presenter Annie Nightingale’s four decades at the station, with a night of programmes honouring her broadcasting career. “A Night with Annie Nightingale” begins at 7pm on September 9th with The Story of Annie Nightingale – a two hour documentary presented by Zane Lowe. The night continues at 9pm with a three hour tribute concert featuring artists all chosen by Annie, and at midnight till 2am “The Decade Mixes” will be a soundtrack of the best music Annie Nightingale has played over the last 40 years. The special night of broadcasting concludes with the best of the guest mixes from 2am-4am.

BBC Four is also marking Annie Nightingale’s career with an hour-long documentary. These tributes on radio and television are no more than Annie Nightingale deserves for a career of longevity that only a select band of broadcasters can match: the others that immediately spring to mind, who have trodden a similar path over four or five decades are Radio Two’s “Whispering” Bob Harris and Brian Matthews, host of the long running “Sounds of the Sixties”.

The key to the survival and longevity of broadcasting service for the “Three Broadcast-eers” is that they are all modest, low key personalities, whose raison d’etre and motivation has always been to showcase the music; not to seek self-aggrandisement and fame. They may be on the air, but they fly below the radar!! Since Annie Nightingale’s arrival as the first female “disc jockey” at Radio One in 1970, the personality jocks at the station that have come and gone through the revolving door at Broadcasting House, are almost too numerous to mention: Tony Blackburn, David Hamilton, Noel Edmonds, Dave Lee Travis, Simon Bates, Mike Read and Gary Davies to name a few.

Annie Nightingale, like the beloved and much missed John Peel, survived because they were there to champion the music, and were never in fashion, in order to go out of fashion. This is reinforced by Andy Parfitt, Radio One Controller, who said this week: “I have been a long-term fan of Annie’s since I worked with her as a Radio 4 producer for many years ago. She has prodigious energy and enthusiasm for music making that grows stronger over the decades – truly open minded and never puts herself as DJ above the music or the artists – she is an inspiration to many of our DJs and a much loved member of our BBC family”.

Annie Nightingale reflects on her career, by adding: “The last four decades have flown by and it’s been the best job in the world. I’m always looking forward, planning the next show, the next guest mix, the next festival broadcast. So this night will be a chance to celebrate some awesome milestones and the truly amazing musical soundtrack of my life at BBC Radio 1”.

Let’s hope the Nightingale continues to sing her distinctive song on our radio for many years to come!!

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