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Bob Harris

Broadcaster Bob Harris, OBE, is best known for hosting BBC Radio 2 programme The Old Grey Whistle Test and as co-founder of listings magazine Time Out.

“My first memory of the wireless is when, as a four-year-old, I sat with my mum each day, hearing ‘Listen with Mother’.

“We had a wonderful, old fashioned radiogram, a big piece of furniture that radiated a glorious warmth from the corner of the room. The dials and station window glowing orange, the valves getting hot. I would tune up and down the dial, my mum would play records.

“My earliest memories connect the link between radio and music. As I got older I got to hear ‘Dick Barton’ sometimes ‘Journey into Space’ and ‘The Goons’, all the time realising this new medium encouraged me to let my mind put images to the sounds.

“I didn’t need to see photographs of the people whose voices I was hearing, or the places they were in. I could build a picture of it all in my mind, and make it as glamorous, frightening or comic as I wanted. Sports commentaries took me onto the pitch. When Bluebottle fell into the water, I was laughing from the shoreline.

“I found my rock ‘n’ roll when I was 10, through Elvis Presley. My search for more took me to ‘Pick of the Pops’, Radio Luxembourg and the pirate radio stations, each new experience confirming how much I wanted to be in a studio, behind a microphone, playing records, soaking up the atmosphere and being part of the magic of it all.

“I’ve now been broadcasting for 40 years, yet I still get a fantastic thrill every time I walk into Broadcasting House to do a programme. I feel very lucky to have the opportunity and the freedom to broadcast the music I love on Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music.

“Radio has been a defining element of my life and throughout my lifetime and for longer, British Wireless for the Blind Fund has been doing its marvellous work. I’ve been a silent supporter of BWBF, but now I have this opportunity to offer a million thanks for the work you do.

“You treat the medium I love with great respect and bring pleasure to people in a wonderful way. Turn the dial and you’ve turned them on. You’ve helped keep the spirit of radio alive, to the point where radio is as vigorous and successful today as it has ever been.

“Thank you for caring about radio and thank you for caring about people.”