My spine tingled in a way that told me I was listening to something really special. As Florence + The Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over” drew to a close, Jo Whiley instrcuted me, and her millions of other listeners to expect big things from Florence Welch. As always, Jo was completely right.
Born Johanne Whiley, 4th July 1965 in Northampton, Jo Whiley found her “heaven” behind her first radio microphone at BBC Radio Sussex on, Turn It Up. Jo later worked as a researcher, alongside Zoe Ball, and famously booked grunge outfit, Nirvana for their first UK Television appearance.
Jo joined BBC Radio One in September 1993 when she co-presented The Evening Sessions alongside Steve Lamacq. Later, in February 1997, Jo moved to a lunchtime slot, intially called The Jo Whiley Show, before changing to, The Lunchtime Social. In 2001 Jo moved, yet again, to a mid-morning slot, the stint for which she is known and loved best, giving her listeners new and exciting talent daily, first class interviews and, of course, The Live Lounge. In July 2009, it was announced that Jo Whiley would be losing her mid-morning slot to Fearne Cotton and would be moving, along with fellow Radio One DJ, Edith Bowman, to a weekend slot. A decision that was met with much criticism. In February 2011, Jo Whiley left BBC Radio One, after 17 years, to Radio Two, where she now presents an evening slot.
Jo is known for presenting Top Of The Pops during most of the 90s and is much loved for her festival coverage of Glastonbury. Originally alongside, colleague and friend, the late but great John Peel, then more recently, alongside Zane Lowe.
Jo is an ambassador for Mencap, a charity that support people with learning difficulties, it is a cause close to her heart as her sister, Frances, suffers from cri du chat. Jo founded Little Noise Sessions in 2006 in support of Mencap and it has seen the likes of Lily Allen, Bono and The Edge, Biffy Clyro, The Killers, Florence + The Machine and Kasabian, all play live, acoustic sets in The Union Chapel, London.
Jo Whiley is married to Steve Morton and they have four children.
I admire Jo Whiley intensely, her genuine passion for music and her effortless inability to pinpoint “The Ones To Watch” and I’m very grateful to her for the many, many exciting new talents that she helped me discover. Jo Whiley is a “groundbreaker” not only as one of the first female DJs at BBC Radio One, but as a working mother – having four children and still managing to maintain a high-flying media career. She is undoubtedly an inspiration to me and millions like me. I have learned more from watching Jo Whiley conduct interviews than any “Interview Skills For Dummies” manual ever could! And, I’m now in a position to put these carefully observed techniques into practice, and hopefully, to follow in Jo Whiley’s footsteps.
Jo Whiley has managed to remain one of the most important DJs of our generation and has evolved into a mother of four and a woman of 40-something, without ever losing her edge.
*Check out Jo Whiley’s, “My World In Motion”.