Famous DJs & Radio Presenters with Disabilities

I have always had an interest in radio, and have been a DJ myself; in 1987, I was on the North Derbyshire pirate station Radio Nemesis, and in the late 1980s I was to be heard - under the DJ name Al Capone - on various Birmingham pirate stations (eg Quest FM and BWR). In 1993, I started the Radio Ability project. My radio broadcasting involvement seemed to have ended in 1997, following a DTI raid on Starforce FM in Clowne.
    Below, I list a number of DJs, all with disabilities ...

Alan Freeman

Alan Freeman
    Disability:    arthritis (source)

    Started as a DJ on Radio Luxembourg in the 1950's
    Most famous for BBC Radio 1 programme Pick Of The Pops
    Was on BBC Radio 2 towards the end of his career.

Stuart Henry

Disability:    multiple sclerosis, used a wheelchair as a result

    Started his broadcasting career on the offshore pirate radio stations of the 1960's, notably Radio Scotland.
    Was a DJ on BBC Radio 1 in the early 70's, until he started to develop Multiple Sclerosis.
    From the late 1970s until well into the 1980's, was on Radio Luxembourg 208 - during which time his broadcasts regularly made efforts to increase people's awareness of MS.
    Many of his Radio Luxembourg broadcasts were made with his wife, Ollie Henry.
    His interest in pirate radio continued throughout his life ; in the late 1980's, he produced a book called "Pirate Radio - Then And Now"
    Sadly, he died in 1996.

Becky Measures

Disability: Had both breasts removed, to eliminate high risk of breast cancer. (source: NHBC website)

DJ on Chesterfield and North Derbyshire ILR Peak FM

John Peel
John Peel

Disability: diabetes

Started his broadcasting career in the USA, back in 1961. First heard in the UK in 1967, when he was a DJ on the offshore pirate Radio London (aka "Big L"). Was on BBC Radio 1 from 1967 until his death in 2004. Well known for his genuine interest in the music, and his willingness to play alternative music on his shows.

Tiger Tim Stevens

Disability: multiple sclerosis

Was a DJ on Clyde 2 in Scotland.
Has presented a BBC Scotland children's show.
Had a fashion modelling contract with Ben Sherman.

James Whale
James Whale

Disability:    dyslexia (source)

  • Started in the late 1980's on Leeds-based ILR Radio Aire.
  • His radio show was later networked across many ILR stations, and became a TV show also.
  • In the early 1990's, James Whale was also on Atlantic 252 for a time.
  • Currently on LBC Radio in London


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