Profile: Simon Bates:
It's a little known fact that Simon's radio career actually began not in the
UK but on a US radio station back in the 1960s. He then loved to other
stations in New Zealand and Australia. However, Simon is a Brit and
returned to his homeland in the early 1970s to join BBC Radio 4.
In 1974 he presented the early show on BBC Radio 2 and moved onto BBC Radio 1 in 1976. He then went on to present the mid-morning show on the nation's pop station for 17 years with audiences topping 11 million. In the show, Simon carved out a reputation for high profile and landmark programme features. From 1980, 'Our Tune' saw listeners letters (with the names changed) read out - these stories revolving around heart-wrenching tales of relationship break-ups and other associated turmoil culminating in the play of the listeners' memorable song or songs. All stories were renowned for being backed by 'Romeo & Juliet' from the 1968 film score by Franco Zeffirelli.
'The Golden Hour' was another landmark feature now copied by other radio stations since, (albeit under different names), with a featured year for listeners to guess - thie feature ended in February 2001 having been called 'The Mystery Years' towards the end of it's run.
Simon's show was truly one of the
most listened to radio programmes in the country - perhaps this is because in a
poll taken a few years ago, Simon's voice was among the ten most easily
recognisable voices in the UK.. Even pop stars were drafted
in to present the slot during Simon's holiday some time ago. Established stars such as
Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, Jason Donovan, and The Pet Shop Boys filled in
for him in 1990.
In the last 20 years, Simon Bates has been behind programming being broadcast from over fifty countries. This has led him to win many accolades in this time. In 1993 he was voted the Radio Personality Of The Year and he also has many Sony Awards to his credit for his 'Round The World' series and for his special programmes involving Eric Clapton.
In 1993, Simon quit BBC Radio 1 when he, along with many other star names, was not considered to have a future with the station by Matthew Bannister - then, the new station controller. He then spent a short time on the now defunct station Atlantic 252. Over more recent years, from September 2000, the 'Our Tune' feature found a home on satellite TV channel, SKY ONE, with Simon seen almost hourly, behind a microphone in a dark studio - the story was then followed by a video chosen by the person sending the chosen letter in.
In November 2002, Simon was axed from the LBC breakfast show, after the takeover of the station by Chrysalis Radio. He presented his last shown on the station Friday November 8th - and, according to sources at the station, a letter was sent by motorcycle courier to him that very same morning ending four years at the station.
Simon's agent Phil Dale said at the time that the split was an amicable one - with the presenter having previously decided to leave after LBC asked him to commit fully - 'Simon knew there were changes with Chrysalis coming in. He does drivetime on Classic FM but LBC want people who will give full service to the them. He wants to concentrate on his Classic FM drive-time show, which is networked in the afternoon rather than being just London. And he does The Movies on Saturday evening on Classic FM too. Simon is glad he won't be getting up at 4am to do the breakfast show any more. He didn't want to be doing it all. He knew the breakfast show was going to end and was happy to take the drivetime show when Classic FM offered it to him' he said.
Simon is also regularly involved in voice-over work for TV and radio and has in 2002 recorded the narration for a series on London for American TV channel, CBS. If you were you listening to and watching television carefully on Sunday 21st December 2003, you'd have noticed a prominent albeit slightly disguised appearance on ITV1's 'The Royal' by none other than Simon Bates! The special Christmas 2003 episode featured the arrival at the hospital by a Tyne Tees Television Camera Crew to broadcast live the story of the resuscitation of a young child from a nearby frozen pond and a staff carol service. Simon played fictional television star and show host Lennie Lemarr - Simon's now familiar grey locks were dyed black and slicked back with Brylcreem, and his trademark specs were replaced with thick lens versions - we think there's actually more to our Simon than meets the eye, however this isn't his first outing on telly, although it might be his first acting role, unless you know any different! He's regular appeared as a newspaper pundit on SKY NEWS, and presented his familiar Radio 1 tearjerker features in five minute bursts for SKY ONE a couple of years ago.
Whereabouts: Simon is still a very busy person, and can often be seen on satellite channel SKY NEWS reviewing the day's papers. As of 2002, his radio involvement could be tracked to Classic FM presenting 'Drivetime' , weekdays 4:00pm-6:30pm and 'Classic FM at the Movies' Saturday nights from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. On 11th June 2003, the broadcasting media announced that one of the station's first voices, Henry Kelly had been replaced on what was his popular breakfast slot by Simon Bates. Henry had been with the station for 11 years up that point, and disappeared suddenly during the preceding week. It's understood Henry's contract, which ran until the Summer of 2003, was simply not renewed. There was industry speculation that Kelly's management may have asked too much to retain his services - and that Bates offered the station management a less expensive option. Meanwhile, whilst Simon settled into his seat, Classic FM's website message board was flooded with comments from disgruntled Kelly fans, some even refusing to listen to the station again. Simon continued on Classic FM Breakfast, whilst 2004 saw Henry appear on LBC.
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