'A titan of radio': industry pays tribute to John Myers

Myers: worked at GMG Radio for 10 years
Myers: worked at GMG Radio for 10 years

Industry leaders pay homage to former GMG Radio chief executive John Myers, who has died at the age of 60.

Siobhan Kenny

Chief executive, Radiocentre

John was a titan of the radio industry, a rare breed with the charisma to present and the entrepreneurial nous to succeed during a time of expansion in commercial radio in the 80s and 90s. 

Most striking of all is the number of now-eminent voices – Christian O’Connell, Jeremy Vine, Kay Burley – who have paid tribute to John’s generosity and support as they were building their career. John’s great gift was for treating everyone the same, so it is no surprise to see tributes flowing in from all sides of the industry: leaders, on-air talent, support staff – everyone whose life he touched. It was, of course, all one Team Radio to John. He understood more than most that all businesses, and especially radio, are about more than just one or two people. The radio industry has lost a powerful and passionate advocate. 

Ashley Tabor

President, Global

John’s sudden passing was a total shock. I saw John just last week for a catch-up and he was full of energy and ideas, as ever. John launched and ran many of the stations that make up the Heart and Smooth networks today – he was a true radio man; one of the best. Everyone I’ve ever met that worked for, or with, John were always full of admiration of his team spirit and "sense of team". 

Many of my colleagues at Global worked with John over the years and there’s a palpable sense of shock and sadness here. On a personal note, I always appreciated the time John gave me and the benefit of his experience and insight into the industry. He was a giant who was very kind and generous with his time and advice. My thoughts are with his wife Linda, Scott, Kerry and the whole family, as well as with his friends and colleagues. Rest in peace, John, you will be missed.

Dame Carolyn McCall

Chief executive, ITV

John Myers was one of the most extraordinary people I have ever worked with. He was charismatic, dynamic, extremely funny and had a total passion for what he did. He lived and breathed radio. He brought the idea of radio to the Guardian Media Group and grew it to a scale which enabled us to become real players. The radio group he created was eventually sold to Global. But not before he had created a brilliant team and had many, many good times and laughs building it.

He loved people and kept in touch with so many people from his radio and GMG days. He became a friend and someone who was always in your life whom you looked forward to seeing. He was loved by us for his creativity but, most of all, because he had a huge heart and a brilliant sense of humour. He will never be forgotten by anyone who knew him.

Phil Riley

Former chief executive, Chrysalis Radio

Everyone who knew John was blessed. He was such a wonderful, life-affirming presence. His impact on the radio industry, though, rested on more than just a great personality. John had both a programmer's sense for what worked on the air and the successful businessman’s knack for spotting an opportunity and taking it.

He rode the expansion in commercial radio in the 90s with great skill. He recognised that whilst music mattered hugely to listeners, offering speech programming appealed to the regulators. Thus was born both the early Century format and its later reincarnation as Real Radio, when John was poached to create and run GMG’s radio division. He built a team of talented presenters, producers and programmers to execute that vision.

After coming through a truly terrible time with cancer last year, John was back at what he did best – mixing with those at the top of the industry and putting his people skills to the fore, re-establishing himself as someone whose opinion mattered and who could make things happen.

For me, it is devastating news. He was the brother I never had, my best mate and my world, like that of everyone else who knew him, has become that much dimmer.

Bauer Media

We are all very sad to hear the news about John Myers here at Bauer. A huge advocate for radio, John’s enthusiasm and passion for the industry was boundless. He wasn’t afraid to challenge things and was known to be a true industry team player; a kind man who mentored, dispensed advice and cared endlessly about the industry and those in it throughout his career. He would meet news of launches with excitement, keen to understand how the commercial radio industry was evolving and moving forward. "Team, it's only radio!" was his mantra but, to anyone who works in the radio industry, it’s not just radio – it’s so much more. He understood that better than anyone. Rest in peace, John.

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