John Simons works as a Consultant for some of the biggest radio companies around the world. He began his career in radio as a presenter over 35 years ago and is now one of the leading experts in regional programming. His huge contribution to the industry was recognised in 2004 when he won the Gold Sony Programmer of the Year award. John has been instrumental in the success of the Guardian Media Group (now owned by Global Radio) brands and as Group Programme Director for 14 years, he led the on-air development of the group’s Real Radio, Real XS (Classic Rock) and Smooth Radio stations. Previously, John launched the hugely successful Century brand of stations onto the airwaves. In 1997 he became Programme Director of national station Talk Radio, delivering a record 2.8 million listeners. He then moved onto London’s LBC and BBC Radio 2 before joining GMG Radio in 2000. On presenting John with his Sony Radio Academy Award, the then Radio Academy Chairman John Bradford summed up his professional style in a nutshell: “The judges were particularly impressed by John Simon’s creation of a truly distinctive style of commercial radio, his ability to attract personality led broadcasters, to inspire them and to direct their work in an innovative and imaginative way. In other words, to build demonstrable success within an unconventional format." He has concluded two terms as a trustee of the Radio Academy, and has also chaired the Radio Festival Committee and served on the Sony Radio Academy Awards Committee as well as beinga judge. He was honoured with a Fellowship of the Radio Academy in 2006.
This year is the 50th anniversary of the birth of commercial radio in the UK which was officially launched by LBC, the news talk station, followed a week later by Capital. Both stations are owned by Global, the Media & Entertainment Group and the UK’s leading commercial radio company which reaches over 26 million listeners every week and has the top three commercial radio brands in Britain – Heart, Capital and Smooth. Not only does Global own the first ever commercial radio station, it recently launched the two newest radio brands in the UK - Capital Chill and Radio X Classic Rock. James Rea is responsible for broadcasting and content at Global across all live radio as well as Global Player which includes chart-topping podcasts like The News Agents. He’ll be joining John Simons in conversation to tell us about his career and life at Global.