Born in 1945 in Birmingham, Johnnie was educated at Solihull Public School. His first job following school was as a car salesman. He found an outlet to his passion for music with a Friday night slot as a disco DJ under the name Peter Dee. In in 1966 he applied and was heard on the South coast Pirate Radio ships.
He briefly broadcast on Radio England and was heard on Radio Caroline 9pm-midnight from October 1966 until March 1968, despite the station being outlawed from broadcasting in August 1967. His show was very popular, with features "Kiss in the Car", the "Frinton Flasher" and issuing of "licences" to listen!
He went on to work for Radio 1 from October 1969 with a 2-hour Saturday afternoon show, moving six months later to a 9AM weekday slot.
Moving to afternoons from 1971, he later convinced the head of Radio 1 to include album tracks from the likes of Lou Reed, Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles on his 1pm - 3pm weekday afternoon show. His show included the quiz feature 'Pop the Question' and of course, the singles chart countdown as released each Tuesday, as well as horoscope predictions.
However, the Radio 1 controller disagreed with the 'FM' type of music he played, which did not fit in with the 'Pop' daytime format intended. This caused a rift and finally, in 1976 he left the station and moved to California, recording shows for a European station.
BACK AT THE BEEB
A few years later he moved back to the UK, working for local independent stations, before returning to Radio 1 again in 1988 to present his weekly 'Stereo Sequence' show, until October 1995. Here Johnnie broadcast a variety of new, interesting music and interviewed artists that made listening a pleasure. He said at the end that this was to be his very last show altogether.
In 1999 Johnnie moved to BBC Radio 2 presenting the early evening show, having taken over the slot from long standing John Dunn. It is interesting to note that at the start of his show Johnnie Walker used his original 'He's On..... Johnnie Walker" jingle which was originally used 35 years ago on Radio Caroline!
In early June of 2003, Johnnie Walker announced to his listeners he had been diagnosed with cancer. Following treatment and a good recovery, he was happily well enough to return to the Radio 2 drivetime slot on Monday 1st March 2004.
In February 2006 he received the MBE from the Prince of Wales for services to broadcasting.
In March 2006 Johnnie announced that he would be leaving the Radio 2 Drivetime slot to present high profile rock interviews, and host a show on Sundays at the station. He said he will continue to cover for Terry Wogan at Breakfast. During his seven year tenure, he had added more than two million extra listeners, making it the most listened to drivetime show in the UK.
RADIO REWIND AUDIO CLIPS
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Johnnie's Radio 1 show in 1971 (64kbps) 32kbps version
More from 1971 including 'Pop the Question' (64kbps) 32kbps
Handing over to Alan Freeman's Youth Call show July 1973
Johnnie Sits in for Tom Browne Sunday Top 20, 2nd Sept 1973
Johnnie's show in 1976 (32kbps)
Tommy's Last Radio 1 Show (1976) 1 min
More from his last show (1976)
NEW Closeout of last show
Happy Birthday to Radio 1 (1977)
Johnny reflects on his decision (1977)
First Stereo Sequence Show 1988 (20kbps)
Trailer for the 'Stereo Sequence' with Bryan Adams (32kbps)
Introducing Laura Gross in LA for last time (1988) (56kbps)
Laura counts down the American Top 20 (56kbps)