Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Andrew Palmer
Group Editor
8:57 AM 14th February 2024

The Phenomenal Steve Wright

Steve Wright
Photo: BBC©
Steve Wright Photo: BBC©
So, farewell Steve Wright.

Yesterday, the news broke that the legendary Radio 2 broadcaster had died at age 69. A man who, like Terry Wogan, had oodles of empathy and could connect with the man on the Clapham omnibus or a Lord. Like Terry Wogan, Steve Wright epitomised the concept of speaking to just one person but, in essence, millions. Everyone thought they were his friends; such was his style, which illustrated the strength of powerful communication.

He was able to cross generations and genres, having been in the business for so long. I remember commenting to one of our writers about Steve Wright, who was taken aback because he thought I was a Radio 3 and then Radio 4 man. Well, yes, that is right, but I would always turn over at 2pm most afternoons. Steve Wright’s personality drew listeners into the heart of Radio 2.

His afternoon, 'Big Show', was, for me, marvellous. Its content perfect for all ages, whether it be the regular interviews, factoids, or the 3pm slot where listeners could choose their own tracks for 30 minutes. Of course, there was Serious Jockin (no G) or, in previous decades, The Big Quiz; remember that?

Unlike some broadcasters, he knew the power of language and the meaning of words; he understood how to place a double entendre without offence; and his style was engaging. He could ad lib and make anything sound spontaneous.

He didn’t need guests; he could carry the show himself, such was his easy-going, relaxed style. And it was his personality and wicked sense of humour that made his interviews sublime, funny, insightful, and entertaining. He did his homework, and often I wanted the interviews to go on and on, they were so captivating.

However, he adopted the zoo format, surrounding himself with others. His rapport and banter with Tim Smith, Janey Lee Grace, and travel presenters Bobbie Pryor and Sally Boazman were natural, not overdone, and there was, of course, Barry from Watford and the Old Woman. Nothing was meant to be offensive.

He radiated warmth, was entertaining, and genuine.

He was the antidote to the stresses and strains of today’s life, and, like millions, I was devastated when he finished his afternoon slot in 2022.

Like the BBC, he was an institution. His last words, as his jingle played out at 5pm every day, were “Good evening,” it demonstrated how simple broadcasting was for him, and I salute his brilliance.

Good evening, Steve.