Profile: Neil Fox: Neil Andrew Howe Fox grew up wanting to be an astronaut. His first real job however was selling plastic bags. Neil's interest for radio came whilst in the United States finishing off a Business and Marketing Degree. Although Foxy himself is quoted as saying "To be perfectly honest, I hadn't a clue what I wanted to do for a career. As I had always been very physically active I had seriously considered an army commission but then I heard 102.7 Kiss FM Los Angeles and I just knew that my mission in life, should I choose to accept it, was to be a Kranker !" Having graduated, it is believed he got a 'doctorate' hence the title 'Dr. Fox'.
Having got his degree, he blagged himself a job back home at Worcester's Radio Wyvern as a station 'dogsbody'. However, this is where the Fox learned his craft with some unique on-air and live stage show appearances. The travel bug then seeped into his veins once more, and he moved over to the 'The Great 208 - Radio Luxembourg.' Here he presented a prime-time slot called 'Rockin' Britain' for nine months up until October 1987.
In this time, he gained his helicopter pilot's licence, learned to ride his Harley-Davidson motorcycle to great extents, and discovered his love for surfing and windsurfing. Infact, Neil is quite a sportsman and is currently developing his tennis and squash skills.
is host of the Pepsi Chart, the UK?s No. 1 rated chart show, and the voice of the Pepsi Chart TV show on Channel 5. He has also won five awards at the prestigous Sony Awards.
His biggest radio break to date was on September 28th 1987 when he joined London's 95.8 Capital FM - a station he calls 'the greatest radio station in the world.' In his time in radio so far, he's won four New York World Radio Awards, eight Sony Awards including the 'Gold Award for Broadcaster of the Year', six 'Smash Hits National DJ of the Year' awards and in 1999, he won the 'Commercial Radio Broadcaster of the Year' award. Outside of radio, he won the 'Knot' badge at Cubs!
Also outside of the radio biz, Neil
is into TV production, is the part owner of www.popworld.com
and he also runs an aviation company. He counts a distinguishing mark as 'an
over-active mouth', is married to wife Victoria, and has two children,
Scarlet Emily and the recently born Jack Presley Roy - the birth of which was
announced right here on AIRCHECK RADIO NEWS!
Neil says his most annoying habit is continuously talking with his hands, (although his wife Victoria says it's actually picking his nose!), he ranks his DJ-ing style as 'Loud and proud, fast 'n' funny, tight 'n' bright - on a good day!). He has made far too many on-air mistakes to quote the biggest - on a size of one to ten, (one being self-effacing and ten, the size of a house, Neil ranks his ego as '8'. Three words he says best describe him are 'honest, real, live life to the MAX'.
He's most likely to say '...what a fantastic day, isn't life great' and least likely to say 'I hate everything, including London', and would like to be remembered for '...being a decent human being....'. If Neil wasn't Neil, he'd be (no big surprises here....' an astronaut, either Neil Armstrong or Buzz Aldrin, both being the first men to walk on the moon.
Although having an involvement in TV production, Neil has appeared in front of camera more and more over recent years. Perhaps most noticeably, he's host of the Pepsi Chart, formerly the Network Chart show, which airs on independent local radio, and the voice of the Pepsi Chart TV show on Channel 5. Upon the start of ITV1's 'Popstars' and 'Pop Idol', Neil became widely known for being on the panel along with Simon Cowell and Pete Waterman - helping to discover Will Young, Gareth Gates, Darius Danesh and the Cheeky Girls! In 2002, Neil very ably presented an award at the very first British Music Awards which was presented by Martine McCutcheon.
Whereabouts: So having started work for Capital Radio London, he's currently presenting 'Foxy’s Big Drive Home', 4pm 'til 8pm.Monday – Friday, and the 'Juke Box' on Sundays from 7-8pm directly on 95.8 Capital FM. He took over the reins of the Network/Pepsi Chart on Sunday at 4pm from David Jensen, a show he has now made his own.
2002 saw the beginning of what turned out to be an ongoing debate about the future of Capital FM's Breakfast Show jock Chris Tarrant. By the Autumn, a deal had been thrashed out for Chris to launch the new 2003 Breakfast Show, with allowances to take a considerable amount of time off if he so wished. In 2003, it emerged that Capital had made several moves to take Jonathan Ross away from the Sony Award winning BBC Radio 2 Saturday Morning Show, a slot Ross took control of when Steve Wright moved to weekday afternoons in place of Ed Stewart in 1998/1999. Ross was contracted to work for Auntie until July 2004. Ross' agent didn't rule out a move for his star. Addison Cresswell, said that Capital '...have approached me on three or four occasions. There is no hiding the fact Chris Tarrant is going at Christmas (2003). They are bound to be sniffing around the top talent and Jonathan has got one of the highest rating shows. Plus Chris is a big fan of Jonathan.'
RAJAR figures from the time stem from a 13-week listening period. Chris was off for nine of those thirteen weeks. The RAJAR/Ipsos-RSL figures for the first three months of 2003 showed Capital FM's audience share fell from 8.8% to 8.1%. Whilst internet discussion boards quickly included debate on who would replace Jonathan Ross at Radio 2, the flame was snuffed out quickly when on September 30th 2003, it was confirmed to listeners, staff and the financial world, that, after 17 years, Tarrant was to hand over the 95.8 Capital FM Breakfast Show to Johnny Vaughan who signed a three year £5m-£6m deal, from Spring 2004 to present the show which hits around 1,750,000 people each morning. The deal is thought to be worth around £5m - £6m.
Meanwhile, hot on the heels of the announcement, the Drivetime, Chart Show and Tarrant show-filling presenter Neil Fox announced he was considering his future after Vaughan was announced as the new Breakfast Show host. The 'Pop Idol' judge said that Capital had been run 'appallingly' over the past few years and that 'dreadful management decisions' had been taken over music policy. He said he was 'led to believe' that the Breakfast Show would fall to him whenever Tarrant finished in the chair. "I think I was probably led to believe it may be my job. I do have a window of opportunity now if I need to leave Capital. If the breakfast show did not happen and I wanted to go somewhere else, I could," he said. "I don't think they want me to leave, the share price might fall even further if I did. But Pop Idol has opened up an amazing shop window for me to go on and do more TV shows" he said.
It's been suggested Neil has a get-out clause in his contract allowing him to leave it he did not get the flagship show, but it's also been suggested that he was likely to stay due to a lucrative clause in his £700,000+ contract giving him a lump sum if he stayed put. Neil was, at the time, working on the second series of ITV1's Pop Idol with a third series also set to involve him for 2004. Additionally, he was also set to host a Saturday night quiz show for ITV1 to go to air in 2004. He said he would not allow Capital's management to rush a decision out of him whilst he contemplated his future and the 16 years at Capital that exist to date. "I've said I'm not going to give them an instant decision, because I don't know yet... For the next month or so I will see where it takes me. I'm in no rush to make a decision and won't be rushed in to one," he said. He added that he loved Capital and owed the station a lot, but added that he believed the company had been mismanaged in recent years. "For the last couple of years Capital has been run appallingly. There have been some dreadful management decisions and Keith [Pringle] has inherited a lot of s**t. But he is doing a good job, he's one of the good guys and a real radio man,"
2003 saw Capital FM dealt a major blow when Breakfast Show ratings dropped and there were alleged accusations that the station played too much pop. Keith Pringle and other station reps made changes to the music policy as a result, introducing more rock orientated tracks in the schedules. Audience figures for the Breakfast Show have picked up but insiders reckon Fox's tirade is targeted at the past programming policy decision makers, and not those of today. David Mansfield, Capital's Chief Exec said in response that the Doctor was an important team player; "I think Foxy does a fantastic job in drivetime and is an extremely accomplished broadcaster. He stood in for Chris and did a great job and added listeners. He's been with us for some time and until something happens that suggests otherwise, we continue on that basis." Mansfield also added that he hoped the announcement of Vaughan's future appearance would settle the company's uncertain financial performance. The Capital Radio share price fell by over 6% to 462.5p in a short period of time prior to lunch on the 30th September.
Foxy later declared his high level of happiness at the station and his desire to continue, opted to stay put and sign further deals.
December 2003: Ten years after he took over from David Jensen on what was then previously the Network Chart, the Nescafe Network Chart, and latterly, the Pepsi Chart, Neil Fox has announced he is to quit what is now the Woolworth's Hit40UK Sunday chart show in Spring 2004. In 1994, with Foxy at the controls, the commercial radio chart, compiled on airplay and sales, overtook the Radio 1 chart for the first time to be the UK's most listened to chart. He moved on to win eight Sony Radio Awards, and Smash Hits DJ Of The Year for six consecutive years. More recently, following the appointment of Johnny Vaughan to the Breakfast Show slot at Capital FM in London, Foxy announced he would be reconsidering his situation with the station, before latterly signing a new contract and declaring his general happiness at his time with the London station. Over recent years, Neil's public profile has quadrupled in awareness, thanks to his involvement in ITV1's Pop Idol. This has led to further work and new pending TV shows for ITV in 2004, a busier schedule and a need for a further reconsideration of time available to fit in a busy work schedule - and 'something had to give'.
Foxy said: "Over the last six months I have been juggling my five daily shows at 95.8 Capital FM with Pop Idol on ITV every Saturday, the Hit 40 UK show on Sundays, and everything else in between - it has become almost an eight day a week job! Pop Idol has opened some incredible doors for me and has allowed me to set up my own production company Powderblue Entertainment, which is really beginning to take off. I am working closely with Fremantle Media on a couple of our TV formats, and Carlton Television on another huge format for primetime, network television (the pilot was recently completed). Something just had to give, and I decided that sadly it had to be Hit 40 UK. I really want the success of Hit 40 UK to continue. After ten years it feels like my baby and I know there are some exciting developments in other media to come in 2004! Naturally, I am delighted to play an extremely involved role in finding my successor."
Responding, the MD of Hit40UK, Rob
Corlett said: "Neil has made a fantastic contribution to making Hit 40
UK Britain's market-leading chart show and the whole commercial radio industry
owes him a huge vote of thanks. It will be a sad day when he leaves but we
have big plans for 2004 which will lay the foundations for
another ten years of success for Hit 40 UK."
TRACKER HOME PAGE
AIRCHECK HOME PAGE