Jazz FM’s early beginnings…

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July 26, 2012 by dontbringlulubook

Jazz FM is a still fairly young in radio terms.  Ron Onions OBE was a broadcasting pioneer and Jazz FM’s very first programme controller bringing stability and a perfect sense of judgement for a launch.  For Ron, taking the job of programme controller was well suited because his lifelong love of Jazz combined with the revolutionary techniques of radio journalism brought in over the states made this a well suited route to follow career wise.

After the passing of Ron Onions ributes poured in from afar.  From Jazz FM some of the veteran presenters have written about how much of an impact Ron had on their lives and careers…

Peter Young writes:
Ron Onions had the winning combination of kindness and thoughtfulness, mixed with a professionalism born out of years of experience in radio and television. He was a tough old warhorse in many respects. Anyone who could produce a report on the aftermath of the Aberfan disaster for BBC Television’s ‘Tonight’ with Cliff Michelmore had to be hardened by the experience.

When I joined Jazz FM at his request, there was a bit of minor turbulence with my previous radio station. They wanted me to sit out the remaining three months of my contract on so-called ‘gardening leave’. Ron wanted me on air from day one and told the management of my old station in no uncertain terms where they could put their ‘gardening leave’. I realised there and then that Ron stood no nonsense from anyone.

Ron Onions loved jazz and put together an amazing line-up of programmes and presenters at the start of Jazz FM. They were pioneering days on uncharted waters. I believe he wanted a break from the high-octane world of current affairs for something a bit more pleasurable. I feel lucky and privileged to have known him. He was always encouraging and fair and, in my view, cared for the people who worked for him.

Bob Sinfield writes:
As one who took his first, faltering steps on Jazz FM under Ron’s benign leadership, I can vouch for his generosity, even when tried to the limit. I made some monumental blunders back then (hard to believe, I know), like the time I interviewed saxophonist Bobby Wellins and set his microphone so badly that the poor man seemed to be addressing us from the planet Neptune. After this sonic ordeal was over, I feared I’d be in for what can only be described as a right rollocking. But no: patiently, almost paternally, Ron simply asked me, ‘What are the lessons to be learned here?’

Jazz FM

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