Jo Whiley at the Student Radio Awards (2005)
|Birth name||Johanne Whiley|
4 July 1965 |
Northampton, Northamptonshire, England, United Kingdom
|Show||The Jo Whiley Show|
|Station(s)||BBC Radio 2|
|Time slot||8:00pm–10:00pm (Mon–Thurs)|
|Parents||Martin and Christine Whiley|
|Spouse(s)||Steve Morton (1991–present); Four children|
|Website||BBC Radio 2 minisite
Whiley was born in Northampton to Martin, an electrician and Christine a postmistress. She attended Campion School1 at Bugbrooke, near Northampton and then studied applied languages at Brighton Polytechnic. She swam competitively for Northamptonshire.23
Whiley had an unusual upbringing due to her sister, Frances, suffering from cri du chat, the symptoms of which meant that her sister had no sense of danger, suffered from outbursts and temper tantrums, obsessive behaviour and a short attention span. The illness is congenital and Jo is a carrier. In 2006 she said that she had been tested at each of her pregnancies, and that she would have terminated any of the pregnancies if the tests had proved positive.2
In her final year of her degree and still unsure of what she wanted to do, a conversation with a lecturer led to a job with BBC Radio Sussex on a show called Turn It Up. It allowed anyone to get on the radio, and also required Whiley to attend gigs and interview the musicians.3
After a year she left for City University London for a one year course on radio journalism. After writing many letters, she got a job as a researcher on WPFM, a BBC Radio 4 youth culture and music show. When the presenters Terry Christian and Gary Crowley left, she took over, gaining her first presenting role. She then moved into television, firstly at British Satellite Broadcasting where she produced and presented the indie show, and then at Channel 4 where she worked as a researcher on The Word, with her friend Zoë Ball. She moved on to BBC Radio 1 from September 1993 until March 2011, during the heyday of Britpop with bands such as Blur and Oasis. She hosted a weekday evening show called The Evening Session with Steve Lamacq, which was oriented towards less-mainstream, non-dance music. Whiley presented her own show on Saturday afternoon in late 1995.3
From 1995-98 she was a regular guest presenter on Top of the Pops, initially co-presenting with fellow DJ Steve Lamacq before flying solo and alternating with Zoë Ball and Jayne Middlemiss. The three are referred to by the Top of the Pops website as the '90s girls', as between them they presented nearly every show of 1997. However, the only occasion when all three presented together was on Christmas Day 1997. Whiley returned to the show twice between 2005-06 to co-present alongside lead presenter Fearne Cotton.
From February 1997, she had a weekday lunchtime show, called The Jo Whiley Show and later The Lunchtime Social. This included elements of the evening show, such as tour dates and occasional live 'sessions' at Maida Vale Studios while working within the restrictions of Radio 1's daytime schedule. When Simon Mayo left Radio 1 for Radio Five Live in February 2001, Whiley's show was moved to a mid morning slot.
As of 2005 the BBC paid her a salary of £250,000.5
In July 2008 The Jo Whiley Show was fined £75,000 for misleading listeners. The incident involved a member of BBC staff posing as a member of the public taking part in a competition. The BBC claim Whiley herself was unaware of the deception at the time of its broadcast.6
In July 2009 it was announced that the Jo Whiley show would finish broadcasting on weekdays on Radio 1 in September as part of a major shake up of the station's weekday schedule.7 The shake up, billed as the biggest at Radio 1 for five years,7 would see Greg James move to the afternoon slot (then occupied by Edith Bowman) and Fearne Cotton move to Whiley's slot.8
Cotton took over many of Whiley's popular features including the famous Live Lounge segment. Although both Whiley and Bowman moved to weekend slots on Radio 1, the news that the duo would leave their weekday shows led to controversy, with BBC bosses facing allegations of being biased against older presenters, particularly as the announcement came shortly after the revelation that 30-year-old singer Alesha Dixon would replace the much older Arlene Phillips as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing.7 Her final weekday program took place on 18 September 2009.9
Following the Jo Whiley Show, Whiley went on to present a weekend show on Radio 1 between 1pm and 4pm.10 As with her weekday show, it still featured live performances from visiting artists, as well as three new features: Jo's Road Trip11 and Top of the Shops12 and SpellStar. Her last show on Radio 1 was on 27 March 2011.
Since August 2009 Whiley has been an occasional stand in presenter for Claudia Winkleman on Radio 2. She was first heard on the network on Friday 21 August and made subsequent appearances on 2 October, 6 November, 27 November and last and final stand in was on 18 December.
In March 2010 it was announced that Whiley and fellow Radio 1 presenter Steve Lamacq would present a one off Evening Session (the first in 13 years) on Good Friday (2 April) for BBC 6 Music. Presented another Evening Session on 28 January 2011.13 After an occasional stand in presenter on BBC Radio 2 Whiley began presenting In Concert on Thursday evenings (8pm to 10pm) from April 2010.
On 1 February 2011 it was announced that Whiley would be leaving BBC Radio 1 after 17 years to move to Radio 2, where she would present an evening show from Mondays to Thursdays14 starting on 4 April 2011, replacing The Radcliffe and Maconie Show. Radcliffe and Maconie would, in turn, move to 6 Music while Whiley's Radio 1 show would be taken over by Huw Stephens.15
Whiley presents televised coverage of major music festivals, such as the Glastonbury Festival. She also narrated the BBC Three series, Little Angels. In October 2007 she became a judge on the T4 (Channel 4) show MobileAct Unsigned which searches for a band trying to get a record deal. Jo has recently begun hosting a music TV show on music channel TMF. In 1999 she briefly hosted her own music discussion show on Channel 4, called The Jo Whiley Show, but it was cancelled after one series.
On 15 March 2010 she presented an edition of the Panorama documentary strand titled Are the Net Police Coming for You? in which she looked at a proposed new law targeting people who download music illegally from the Internet.16
Whiley is a celebrity ambassador to Mencap,18 a UK charity that works to support people with learning difficulties. She hosts the Little Noise Sessions concerts, in aid of the Mencap charity. She is also a supporter of Tommy's - The Baby Charity. Whiley is the Patron of the Cri du Chat Syndrome Support Group.
On Whiley's presenting style, Times columnist Caitlin Moran has stated "her on-screen style that seems to inspire the main rage — a decades-long, squirming awkwardness that makes her look as if she’s about to corkscrew right off her chair and start drilling into the ground. This awkwardness extends into her conversational rhythm, which is angular — possibly free - jazz — in origin."19
- Northampton Chronicle & Echo 4 November 2011, p. 13, "Sweet toothed Jo's Children in Need 'land of cake believe' stunt"
- Gannon, Louise (6 February 2006). "Jo's mixed emotions". Daily Mail.
- Hughes, Scott (12 May 1997). "CV: Jo Whiley, DJ, Radio 1". The Independent.
- "Random House". Random House. 2009-06-25. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
- Gibson, Owen (19 April 2006). "Fear, loathing and envy at the BBC as mole spills salary secrets of radio stars". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 6 May 2010.
- "BBC fine: The affected shows". BBC News. 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2008-08-03.
- "Radio 1 bosses replace Jo Whiley, 44, with Fearne Cotton, 27, in prized weekday slot". London: Mail Online. 16 July 2009. Retrieved 16 July 2009.
- Plunkett, John (16 July 2009). "Jo Whiley and Edith Bowman lose weekday BBC Radio 1 slots". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 16 July 2009.
- "Whiley bows out with full house". Pres Association. 18 September 2009. Retrieved 25 September 2009.
- "Jo Whiley profile at Radio 1 Programmes". BBC. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
- "Radio 1 - Jo Whiley - Road trip". BBC. 2007-02-24. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
- "Radio 1: Top of the shops". BBC. 2007-02-24. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
- Harmsworth, Andrei (15 March 2010). "Whiley and Lamacq go head to head on Good Friday". Metro. Retrieved 15 March 2010.
- BBC Radio 2 Website http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01jv615
- "Jo Whiley to switch to Radio 2". BBC News (BBC). 1 February 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
- O'Neill, Phelim; Catterall, Ali; Skegg, Martin (15 March 2010). "Watch this". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 15 March 2010.
- Robertson, Cameron (2 February 2005). "My 3 Nipples; Stunned Radio 1 DJ Jo tells of bizarre discovery". The Mirror (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- "Celebrity ambassadors". Mencap. Retrieved 22 October 2009.
- Moran, Caitlin (4 July 2009). "Glastonbury on TV". The Times (London). Retrieved 6 May 2010.
- Jo Whiley at BBC Programmes
- Whiley's autobiography My World in Motion, released June 2009
- McNulty, Bernadette (19 October 2006). "Perfect Playlist: Jo Whiley's favourite live tracks". London: The Daily Telegraph.
- Stonehouse, Cheryl (25 June 2009). "DJ, Mum and Queen of Cool". Daily Express. Retrieved 25 June 2009.