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Annie Nightingale Has Died, Aged 83
Christian Eede , January 12th, 2024 16:06

BBC Radio 1's first woman DJ passed away at her home following a short illness

Annie Nightingale MBE, the pioneering broadcaster who was BBC Radio 1's first woman DJ, has died at the age of 83.

Nightingale's family confirmed news of her passing in a statement, which said she died at her home in London yesterday (January 11) following a short illness.

"Annie was a pioneer, trailblazer and an inspiration to many," the statement said. "Her impulse to share that enthusiasm with audiences remained undimmed after six decades of broadcasting on BBC TV and radio globally. Never underestimate the role model she became. Breaking down doors by refusing to bow down to sexual prejudice and male fear gave encouragement to generations of young women who, like Annie, only wanted to tell you about an amazing tune they had just heard."

Born in Middlesex in April 1941, Nightingale first worked in TV and newspapers before getting a broadcasting job at BBC Radio 1 while it was in its relative infancy. She became the station's first woman DJ after a ban on female broadcasters on the station was lifted.

Starting out with an afternoon slot on the station, she later moved to evenings and remained BBC Radio 1's only woman DJ for her first 12 years with the station. Her shift to the evening slot saw her given greater control over the musical programming of her shows as she was allowed more freedom to play music from outside of the station's usual playlist.

This increase in control gradually saw her begin to showcase her love of electronic music through the 1980s and 90s, as she introduced listeners to various musical movements in that world, covering acid house and techno early on, as well as dubstep and grime moving into the 21st century.

Nightingale had continued to present her weekly Annie Nightingale Presents... show for BBC Radio 1 up until her passing, with its final edition having been broadcast last Sunday (January 7). She was BBC Radio 1's longest-serving DJ.

A number of figures have paid tribute to Nightingale following the news of her death, including fellow BBC Radio DJs Mary Anne Hobbs and Trevor Nelson, as well as The Blessed Madonna, who wrote on social media: "What Annie Nightingale did for women in music wouldn't fit in a book, much less a tweet. She didn't hold the door open, she was the door."