“Never be late, don’t be in a bad mood and never moan”: Annie Nightingale’s top tips for a stellar radio career

The BBC Radio 1 broadcaster – who'll appear the Radio Times Festival – has some solid advice for new talents who are hoping to make radio waves


It’s been a busy summer for Annie Nightingale. As well as the usual festival appearances (her midnight Glastonbury set was as well-received as ever by crowds of muddy revelers) Nightingale, 75, has recently celebrated her fiftieth year in broadcasting with the release of a new compilation album Masterpiece, and a Radio 1 documentary series chronicling her exceptional career.


The media interest in her anniversary has been a bizarre role reversal for the DJ doyenne. After half a century asking the questions, Nightingale has recently had to adapt to life as an interviewee with newspapers and magazines keen to pay homage to the septuagenarian who is still Radio 1’s go-to woman for grime and bass music.

“I’ve met a lot of wonderful young journalists over the past few months,” she says. “There seems to be a new breed of interviewers who are fresh and engaging. You really really respect people who ask you something you’ve never been asked before.”

Which sets the bar high for Edith Bowman who has task of grilling Nightingale at the Radio Times Festival on everything from befriending the Beatles to offending Paul Simon (after Simon & Garfunkel split she asked him whether he missed his former partner’s writing contribution, not knowing that Simon had written all of their songs on his own).

“I love Edith. People think that we spend a lot of time together because we both worked at Radio 1 but we don’t because everyone’s off doing something else outside the building. Whenever I see Edith it’s usually at some photoshoot and I always admire what she wears.”

“It may sound a bit trivial but she always looks great. I’m also very interested in her beginnings in radio. Like me, I think it was a case of hanging in there for her big break. I’d like to find out more.”

On the subject of breaking into radio, Nightingale insists that temperament is as important as talent.

“Get to know your craft really well and get to know your area of expertise. If it’s music, know your music. You’re not just going to float onto radio without that knowledge. Learn to be very professional. Never be late, don’t be in a bad mood and never moan.”

Want to get some more radio career advice? Or be regaled with tales of 60 years in the business? Then be sure to book your tickets for On Air With Annie Nightingale at the Radio Times Festival.


And if you’re an Edith Bowman fan there’s something for you too, as she discusses her first book, Great British Music Festivals on Saturday September 26th. Get your tickets here.