top of page
  • Writer's pictureMark Howitt

Steve Wright: 1954 - 2024

I am a creature of habit, habits that have changed over many years and habits which have themselves changed the creature, but a creature of habit nevertheless.

Working for myself, from home, in the first decade of the century, my day was soundtracked by a regular pattern of radio listening - all BBC, of course. I’d start the morning off with the Today programme, stick with Radio 4 until early afternoon when I’d turn over to Radio 1, listen to Mark Radcliffe and Marc Riley, before switching to Radio 2 for Steve Wright in the Afternoon (adjustments made when necessary for Test match cricket). Without anyone else in the office to speak to, it was all welcome background noise.

I loved radio - still do - and at one point had half a dozen Roberts radio sets scattered about the house. But like so many things, the internet changed that. Up until about 2005, radio was my main source for news. I now only listen to radio news in passing. (I haven’t watched TV news for over a decade.)

And as for music, Spotify killed the regular radio pattern (“Rewritten by machine on new technology”). Well, not quite.

Without being aware why, I found myself listening to Steve Wright’s Radio 2 show again in the summer of 2020, some ten years since I’d last heard him, and continued to listen to it until the final show two years later when I wrote this:

After 24 years DJ Steve Wright's tenure as host of Radio 2's afternoon show is coming to an end later this month. It's a banal mix of predictable tunes (rarely does a week pass without Todd Rundgren’s I Saw The Light and/or Don’t Stop by Fleetwood Mac) and interviews with 'dear friends' who almost always have a TV show / book / record / recipe to plug. Neither good nor bad, comfort radio and - I won't lie - I'll miss it.

The decision by Radio 2 controller Helen Thomas to axe the show was an unpopular one but Wright took it in his stride: “Thank you from me and the team to successive Radio 2 managements, and of course the BBC, in letting us develop and experiment. In the meantime, I fully understand that it’s not possible to continue this programme, but on the other hand I’m grateful that this show has endured for so long.” Those are the words of a true broadcasting professional.

The news yesterday of his death, aged 69, seems unreal. I’d only just cottoned on to the fact that he was now presenting Pick of the Pops on Saturday afternoons (1978 and 1986 last weekend). But, more than that, I just assumed he’d be on the airwaves forever, it caught me by surprise and I’m genuinely saddened.

To those who have said that he was “only” a DJ, all he did was play records, first some respect. Second, it’s like saying Franz Beckenbauer was “only” a footballer, all he did was kick a football; we can all only be what we are. In the words of Paddy McAloon:

Two things you should be slow to criticize

A man's choice of woman and his choice of work

Steve Wright brought a smile to 8 millions listeners every weekday afternoon for 24 years. Whatever it was, he must have been doing something right. I’ll miss him.

16 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page