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Stephen Richard Wright
26 August 1954
|Cyndi Robinson (1972-1999)|
|Show||Steve Wright in the Afternoon|
|Station(s)||BBC Radio 2|
|Time slot||14:00-17:00 weekdays|
|Show||Steve Wright's Sunday Love Songs|
|Station(s)||BBC Radio 2|
|Time slot||09:00-11:00 Sundays|
|Website||Steve Wright in the Afternoon|
Stephen Richard Wright (born 26 August 1954) is an English radio personality and DJ, credited for introducing the zoo format on British radio, with its zany, multi-personality approach. He currently presents Steve Wright in the Afternoon and Steve Wright's Sunday Love Songs on BBC Radio 2, one of the BBC's national radio stations and the most popular station in the United Kingdom. On BBC Television Wright has hosted Home Truths, The Steve Wright People Show, Auntie's TV Favourites, Top Of The Pops and TOTP2. Wright has won awards, including Best DJ of the Year as voted by readers of The Sun, the Daily Mirror Readers Poll and by Smash Hits in 1994. In 1998, he was awarded TRIC Personality of the Year for his radio programmes.
Born in Greenwich, South London, the elder of two boys in a working-class family, Wright was raised in New Cross. His childhood ambition was to work in the entertainment business. His father, Richard Wright, was a tailor and the manager of the Burton's store in Trafalgar Square. Wright was a quiet child, and never very scholarly.[better source needed] He was educated at Eastwood High School for Boys, near Southend-on-Sea, Essex. Steve occasionally broadcast a nascent radio show over the school speaker system from the school stock cupboard. He started broadcasting in 1976 at Thames Valley Radio Radio 210 in Reading, Berkshire alongside Mike Read. In 1979 Wright got his big break at Radio Luxembourg, where he presented his own nightly show, presenting a Saturday evening show, then Saturday morning.
In 1980,Wright joined BBC Radio 1 taking over a Saturday evening slot before moving to Saturday mornings later that year.
Wright moved to daytime radio with Steve Wright in the Afternoon in 1981; the show later revolutionised British radio by introducing the "zoo" format.
In 1984, Wright took over a Sunday morning show entitled Steve Wright on Sunday, which meant he presented weekday afternoons Mondays to Thursdays only, with Mark Page and Paul Jordan presenting Friday afternoon's show. In 1986 his Sunday morning show ended, and he returned to five afternoons a week.
The original incarnation of Steve Wright in the Afternoon ran from 1981 to 1993 on BBC Radio 1. The show became known in its Radio 1 incarnation for its cast of telephone characters created and performed by Gavin McCoy, Peter Dickson, Richard Easter and Phil Cornwell. Like his mentor, Kenny Everett, Wright went out of its way to be irreverent, including stories taken from the Weekly World News. The success led to a hit single, I'll Be Back, released under the name Arnee and the Terminaters. In later years the style changed, dumping most of the characters and instead having a "zoo" format, with spoof guests and comedy sketches. A "posse" of producers and radio staff joined in. This format was new to British radio and marked the beginning of the marginalisation (and eventual departure) of several established Radio 1 DJs over the years that followed.
The Smiths song "Panic", released in 1986, contained supposed lyrical inspiration in reference to Wright's bizarre handling of a news report after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster on BBC Radio One. Following the report, Wright, with the world still reeling in shock, played the song "I'm Your Man" by Wham! Both Johnny Marr and Morrissey, who had been listening to the broadcast, viewed this as an insensitive and disrespectful act. This is partially the cause of the repeated lyric, "Hang the DJ" in the song.
Wright and his Posse moved to The Radio 1 Breakfast Show in 1994. He resigned from the Breakfast Show in 1995 due to differences with the BBC Radio 1 management; he was unhappy with the plummeting listening figures of the station due to its restructuring under new controller Matthew Bannister, which led to many of the more established DJs leaving, or being sacked, around this time.
Wright was picked up by the new station Talk Radio in 1995, where he presented a Saturday morning show. He presented various syndicated shows on Sunday mornings on a number of other British commercial stations.
In the early 1970s Wright worked behind the scenes at BBC Radio 2, as a Gramophone Librarian. He returned to Radio 2 in March 1996, where he began presenting Steve Wright's Saturday Show (1996-99) and Steve Wright's Sunday Love Songs (1996-), and his afternoon show beginning in July 1999. Wright is said to earn £440,000 a year at Radio 2.
Wright presents his Radio 2 version of Steve Wright in the Afternoon on weekday afternoons from 2pm to 5pm, alongside Tim Smith and Janey Lee Grace (who have both also occasionally appear as relief presenters on the station), as well as traffic reporter Bobbie Pryor. Another frequent contributor, "The Old Woman", was played by Joyce Frost who died in November 2016.
Sunday Morning Love Songs, which Wright presents on his own, between 9 and 11, with a blend of classic love songs, dedications and real-life romance stories, features items including Contact, I Just Met, Getting Hitched and Chocolate and Flowers. The music played has a romantic feel.
In 2013 it was revealed that the show was recorded on a Friday afternoon. The BBC Trust's editorial standards committee said the failure to inform listeners properly breached guidelines on accuracy and interacting with the audience.
Wright presented a BBC TV series, The Steve Wright People Show, from 1994-95. His next stint in television was as the narrator and writer of the retro pop show Top of the Pops 2 between 1997 and 2009. The last episode of TOTP2 he presented was the Michael Jackson special broadcast on 27 June 2009; Mark Radcliffe presented the next episode, which was the 2009 Christmas special broadcast on 23 December 2009.
Little is known about Wright's personal life. He is allergic to feathers and penicillin. Once, while on a road trip in New England, he was listening to a song on the radio by Santana when he pulled up to a gas station. At the gas station was Carlos Santana himself.