David 'Kid' Jensen
Legendary broadcaster and five times Sony Award winning radio presenter, David 'Kid' Jensen, celebrates a milestone in British Broadcasting this year with an amazing 41 years service in the industry.
With one of the most distinctive and authoritative voices on radio today, Jensen has entertained and enthused generations with his passion for music and entertainment since starting on air on the 26th November 1968.
Since leaving his native Canada in 1968 to join Radio Luxembourg (208) he has gone on to carve out an important part in radio and pop music history, interviewing, touring with and helping break out some of the biggest music acts in the world; from the Rolling Stones and Wings to Britney and Take That.
Jensen became the youngest DJ in Europe at just eighteen years old and was nicknamed 'the Kid' by his Radio Luxembourg peers, a name by which he's still fondly referred to by his listeners and the artists he's met along the way.
Young and ambitious, David Jensen's career was unstoppable. After proving his talents as a DJ on Radio Luxembourg he made the leap, in 1975, to Radio Trent in Nottingham briefly before moving to BBC Radio 1 the following year where he presented the Saturday Morning Show and then the weekday Drivetime Show. It was here he became close to the late John Peel with whom he formed part of a regular double act presenting the UK's biggest music show, Top of The Pops as well as "Nighttime Radio 1".
During the 80s David was the first to champion certain emerging artists and help them to achieve huge commercial success, most notably The Police, Pretenders, Depeche Mode, Simple Minds, Police, Kate Bush and Gary Numan. His BBC Radio 1 show was also the first show in the UK to get behind Frankie Goes to Hollywood long before their commercial success.
Hot property, David was then poached by London's biggest radio station, Capital Radio, in 1984 where he also pioneered and hosted the Nescafe Network Chart Show for 10 years to the entire UK Independent Radio Network. In 1998 he accepted an offer to go to London-based Heart 106.2, before moving back to Capital Radio in 2002, this time for the Gold network, where he currently presents weekday and Saturday mornings.
Throughout his career David has worked with a raft of legendary broadcasters such as the late and great Kenny Everett, John Peel, Roger Scott and Alan 'Fluff' Freeman as well as many of his contemporaries still working in radio today such as Chris Tarrant , Neil Fox, Tony Blackburn, Steve Wright, Emperor Rosko, Paul Gambaccini and Johnnie Walker.
"Radio has changed enormously over the 40 plus years that I've been broadcasting both for the practitioner and listener alike." Says David "From a studio perspective modern technology, with various computerized play out systems, has in some ways taken out the organic elements of working in the studio. With so much of the presentation process now done automatically for the presenter you sometimes have to work hard to mentally keep your focus on what you are doing. In the past, I always loved the physical and mental efforts required to keep the show on the road, which often energized my own performance, I think a lot of us who have been in the industry for a while probably agree on this. There is no question though that when they are working, the studio based computers are capable of providing you with an error free environment." He added "For a listener there are various ways of accessing your favourite radio station through your television, computer or mobile and with digital options there are a seemingly infinite number of channels to choose from, from classical music stations to a station that plays birdsongs. Modern broadcasting offers the listener greater choices and with more competition around, production values continue to rise."
When asked about his experiences over the years, David is full of anecdotes, "One fantastic experience comes to mind. He says "I was personally invited by The Rolling Stones to join them on their 1972 tour of America. They played Pittsburg, New York and Philadelphia for the Radio Luxembourg program which I then wrote up for the NME. It was mind blowing as I got to spend a lot of time stage side with the band. I always remember that one night after the show in Pittsburgh, the flight on their private plane, which I had been traveling on, had been delayed for a couple of hours and so one of the touring party produced a football and I had been invited to join the band on the tarmac at midnight for a kick about. It was pretty surreal. There are many more stories from that tour which might best be kept under lock and key."
Over the past four decades David has interviewed some of the biggest names in entertainment such as The Beatles, the first ever interview David conducted in the UK was with Ringo Starr in 1969 to talk about Abbey Road album. From Stevie Wonder, Paul Weller, Joni Mitchell, Ray Davies, James Taylor, and Michael Jackson, to Madonna, Tina Turner, Marc Bolan, Elton John, Neil Young, Jeff Beck, Van Morison, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Sex Pistols, The Clash, U2, Eric Clapton, Guns and Roses, The Eagles, Bob Marley, Neil Diamond and David Bowie, he's interviewed them all.
"There were little things that happened which made it all worthwhile" says David "such as when the day Jimi Hendrix's former girlfriend, Cathy Ethchingham told me that Jimi used to be a regular listener to my late night show on Radio Luxembourg."
Bill Wyman, writing about the history of the Rolling Stones, mentions the time that the whole band were in transit, listening to the Kid and pulled off the motorway for the best reception to hear the Kid playing their latest album, Let It Bleed in its entirety.
At the other end of the music spectrum, he remembers introducing one of Take That's very first gigs at the Telford ice rink with the Nescafe Network Chart Road Show, in front of about 35 people.
Although Radio has been David's forte, his career also flourished elsewhere with TV appearances, presenting slots on series such as "Top Of The Pops" – BBC 1, "Heroes" – BBC2, "Central Weekend"- Central, "Nightline" – Tyne Tees, "Pop Quest" - ITV, "45"- ITV, "Razzmatazz"- ITV, "Champions of the Future" – ITV/Ch. 4, "World Wise" – ITV; he also presented the first 3 annual Brit Awards (known as the "British Rock and Pop Awards"- BBC 1, "Champions of the Future"- ITV and Ch. 4, "Lumberjacks OK"- Ch. 4, "Afternoon Club" – TVS, "Love Call" – Anglia, "The Roxy" – ITV, Opel Super Sports News – Eurosport, and hundreds of contributions to various other shows including the world's most syndicated TV show, the weekly, globally watched, Gillette Sports Special" and the world's second biggest syndicated show, "Miss World".
In 1980, he was spotted by the newly appointed Executive VP of CNN/The Superstation in Atlanta, Georgia. David accepted an irresistible offer to front the TBS Evening News and to also front features for CNN. Before returning to Britain in 1982, he was nominated for America's top TV award, an Emmy, for hosting "Nice People".
Charity work has also been important to David over the years. He launched The Prince's Trust in 1977 on Radio One and was appointed the charity's first official Ambassador and is still one 32 years on. He was Chairman for the The Rocking Horse Ball between 1985 and 1995 raising money for Macmillan Nurses and Marie Curie. He has also been Chairman of the Croydon Colorectal Cancer Campaign for past 4 years. He has been actively involved in helping raise money over the years on behalf of various charities such as the Heritage Foundation, RAF Bomber Command Memorial Trust, NSPCC, Great Ormond Street hospital, Cancer Research, The Variety Club and Help A London Child..
Cut him in half and David will have Crystal Palace written though him like a stick of rock. He's been a fan for 25 years and Chairman of the Crystal Palace Vice Presidents Club for past 10 years which raises money for youth football in the community through Crystal Palace Football Club Academy.
Closely associated with motor racing having run his own race winning team, "Kid Jensen Racing" (Formula 3000 and Formula Opel), David became a regular contributor to dozens of motor racing programs on ITV, Sky Sports and Ch. 4, where he met a young Lewis Hamilton starting out in the Karting world. His 21 year-old son Viktor has followed his Father's passion for motor racing and is now a highly rated F3 driver who is tipped for success.
David has won 5 Sony Radio Awards as well as New Spotlight DJ of the year (1972 and 1973), Melody Maker DJ of the year (1983), Variety Magazine for Radio Personality 1980, British Radio and Television Industry award for Best Radio Programme1986, Maple Leaf Award for Canadian Contribution to Broadcasting 2002.
David presents the weekday and Saturday morning show from 10am on the Gold network. Gold is available locally on the AM frequency and across the UK on DAB digital radio, Freeview and online at mygoldmusic.co.uk