Steve Wright: BBC Radio 2 Presenter, Died at Age 69

Renowned DJ Steve Wright, known for his iconic presence on BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 for over 40 years, has passed away at the age of 69.

The family expressed their deep sorrow and profound regret in a statement on Tuesday, confirming his passing.

Wright became a part of the BBC team during the 1970s and later took on the role of hosting the afternoon shows on both Radio 1 and Radio 2.

He additionally hosted television programmes for the BBC, such as Top of the Pops.

Wright’s most recent appearance was on Sunday, where he hosted a pre-recorded special Valentine’s Day edition of his Love Songs programme. He departed on Monday.

Reflecting on Wright’s passing on Radio 2, Sara Cox expressed her deep emotions, struggling to find the right words. The news of Steve Wright’s death has left us all in a state of shock, devastation, and complete surprise.

“Steve was an exceptional broadcaster, known for his kindness, wit, and warmth. He played a significant role in the Radio 2 family, and his loss will deeply impact his fellow DJs as well.”

riginally from Greenwich, south London, Wright’s journey at the BBC commenced when he took on a role as a clerk. His broadcasting career began in 1976, when Wright departed from the BBC to join Radio 210 in Reading.

After four years, he became a part of BBC Radio 1, hosting weekend programmes. In 1981, he went on to launch Steve Wright in the Afternoon, a show that would go on to shape his career.

Following a short period of hosting the Radio 1 breakfast show in 1994, Wright made the decision to join Talk Radio. However, in 1996, he returned to the BBC.

He started hosting a Saturday programme and Sunday Love Songs on Radio 2 in 1996, and later revamped his afternoon show in 1999, which he continued until 2022.

The show had a unique zoo format, with contributions from Wright’s on-air “posse”, along with celebrity interviews and entertaining trivia in his Factoids segment.

In 2022, Scott Mills became the new host of the afternoon programme amidst a series of schedule changes at the station. Meanwhile, Wright remained at Radio 2, continuing to present Sunday Love Songs along with a variety of specials and podcasts.

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Last October, he assumed the role of presenter for the station’s popular Saturday afternoon show, Pick Of The Pops, succeeding Paul Gambaccini.

Wright received recognition for his contributions to radio in the December 2023 New Year Honours list. He expressed his desire to dedicate this honour to the individuals in broadcasting who provided comfort and public service during the pandemic.

Radio 2 has announced its intention to honour Wright’s life through a variety of programming throughout the station.

Presenter Jeremy Vine expressed his surprise at the unexpected turn of events. The Radio 2 family is grieving. Steve’s age didn’t define him – even at 69, his voice remained as youthful as it was in his prime. He was highly regarded for his professionalism and was known for being a kind-hearted individual.

“He was incredibly supportive of the up-and-coming presenters, including myself.” He was incredibly giving with his time. He was widely recognised and respected in the world of British radio. It’s unfortunate that the cheerful voice we once knew is no longer with us, leaving many people feeling the impact of his absence.

The station’s boss Helen Thomas expressed her admiration for Steve’s understanding of the connection and companionship that radio fosters. She emphasised how much everyone loved him for it. He was an exceptional professional with an unparalleled commitment to precision.”

Fellow Radio 2 DJ Tony Blackburn expressed his deep sadness over the loss of his dear friend Steve Wright on social media. He was an exceptional broadcaster and we truly enjoyed each other’s company. I was taken aback by the recent development and will deeply feel his absence.

In an Instagram video, Gambaccini praised Wright as an exceptional talent, while Jonathan Ross spoke highly of his kind and enjoyable personality.

Former Radio 2 drivetime host Simon Mayo expressed his dismay, describing the news as “awful” and praising Wright as “one of the greats”.

Jo Whiley, who also hosted shows on Radio 1 and Radio 2 during Wright’s time there, expressed her profound sadness upon learning of his passing.

“He was truly remarkable,” she wrote. “A true master of his craft when it came to radio. Wrighty had an unmatched dedication to ensuring the highest quality sound from your speakers. However, he displayed remarkable kindness and generosity.

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Wright was also a BBC TV personality; in 1982, he was shown hosting Top of the Pops

“We had frequent encounters while doing our shows throughout the pandemic, and I thoroughly enjoyed the lively conversations we shared.” He had a strong passion for the latest music and had a fondness for juicy rumours. When I joined Radio 2, he made the effort to visit the studio and was always incredibly positive and supportive throughout the years.

Former Radio 2 DJ Ken Bruce expressed his complete surprise upon learning about the recent development concerning the esteemed Steve Wright.

“We were planning lunch to celebrate the recognition of his well-earned MBE,” Bruce said. “A remarkable and groundbreaking broadcaster who was adored by his audience. Such a devastating blow to the radio industry.

The station’s current breakfast show host Zoe Ball expressed her admiration for Wright, describing him as a beloved figure in the world of radio. She emphasised his role as an inspiration and a master of broadcasting, always providing support, advice, and love to everyone. Above all, she highlighted his ability to bring laughter to their lives.

“Rest well, you amazing magician,” she added. “Things will be different in your absence.”

Scott Mills, who replaced Wright in the afternoon slot, shared his admiration for his predecessor: “He had a natural talent for making everything seem effortless and put in a tremendous amount of effort to ensure every show was top-notch.” He was a consistent source of inspiration for me when it came to creating impactful radio broadcasts.”

Wright was one of the BBC’s longest-serving DJs

Dame Esther Rantzen, who frequently appeared on Steve Wright’s show, praised him as an exceptional broadcaster.

“He established a unique club that had people eagerly anticipating their daily participation, whether they were being interviewed or simply enjoying it as a listener,” she shared with the PA news agency.

“It is an exceptionally uncommon trait, and he made it seem effortless. It was often quite humorous, and his departure from his daily afternoon show left a void in the day for those of us who enjoyed his company.

And Radio 2 presenter Rylan Clark expressed his deep sadness and shock over the loss of this remarkable individual. Steve was incredibly welcoming and supportive when I joined Radio 2. He made sure I felt right at home from the start.

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“He will be greatly missed, especially by [my mum] Linda, who always made it clear that he was, is, and will always be her favourite.”

With heavy hearts and immense sadness, we share the news of the loss of our dear Steve Wright. His absence leaves us with a profound sense of grief and sorrow.

“Steve is survived by his son, Tom, daughter, Lucy, brother, Laurence, and father, Richard.” Additionally, Steve was cherished by his close friends, colleagues, and countless loyal radio listeners who were fortunate enough to have him as a beloved and enduring presence in their daily lives. He was truly one of the UK’s most beloved and enduring radio personalities.

BBC director general Tim Davie expressed deep sadness upon hearing this tragic development. Steve was an exceptional broadcaster who has left an indelible mark on countless lives throughout the years.

“He exemplified professionalism, with a true passion for the art of radio and a strong connection to his audience. He was rightfully acknowledged in the New Year Honours list, receiving an MBE for his contributions to radio.

“No-one had more energy to deliver shows that put a smile on audiences’ faces. They had a profound affection for him. Our thoughts are with Steve and his family during this difficult time. He will be deeply missed.

As Wright bade farewell after 23 years on his popular show in 2022, he played listeners out to Queen’s Radio Ga Ga.

As he bid farewell, he assured his audience: “Throughout this programme, we have strived to provide a touch of levity, a truly positive ambiance, uplifting melodies, engaging discussions, and a sprinkle of wit.”

“We aimed to create a one-of-a-kind show and provide enjoyable company.” I can only hope we’ve accomplished that occasionally.

He expressed his gratitude to the listeners for their unwavering support and appreciation. We greatly appreciate all the support and kind words we have received over the past 23 years. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to listen to us. Your continued support means a lot to us. Thank you once again.

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