© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2019

Kenny Everett: The Radio Legend

Jake Danson
Kenny Everett

When most people think of radio DJs/ Hosts they think of the classic, snapback wearing, catchphrase-spouting, cringe joke making, sound effect playing obnoxious white boy.

 And whilst this may be the case in modern radio it makes it hard to believe that just fifty years ago the norm was far different.

People back in the 50s and 60s were accustomed to hearing a serious, no-nonsense soothing baritone voice speaking only in the finest of queens English. Which quite frankly seems rather boring. That’s until, in this writer’s humble opinion, a man named Kenny Everett came along.

Who’s Kenny Everett you might ask, well hold your horse's dear reader for you are about to be enlightened? Put the kettle on, grab a biscuit and prepare to indulge in some recycled knowledge.

Kenny Everett was an English radio DJ who redefined what it meant to be a radio personality. Starting his career in pirate radio with radio London Kenny Everett captured the imagination of the English public by ditching the dulcet tones adapted by other presenters in favour of a manic silliness and originality that immediately connected with younger listeners.

After being fired from pirate radio for making an inappropriate comment about a certain religious group, I’m not going to name them but it ends with ism, Kenny moved to the BBC and I mean British Broadcasting Corporation you dirty bastard. He worked there for a while before moving to Capitol Radio.

Here he further developed his silly and erratic style and his cult following. Kenny had complete control over what music played during his show and he featured both what he thought the best in music and what he thought was the worst, which led to the popular “Kenny Everett's World's Worst Record Show programme”.

In 1975 Everett played a pivotal role in getting Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" released as a single when he played it ten times in one show. Kenny became so popular on the radio he got his own television show titled “The Kenny Everett Show” which ran throughout the 80s.

So why is Kenny important? He is important because he effectively changed the way in which the public views both national and commercial radio. He took a step away from the polished, conventional, might I add the boring style of the past and brought humour and experimentation into the radio atmosphere.

Sure he had his predecessors like the goon show, but they didn’t achieve the sheer magnitude, popularity and creative freedom that was awarded to Kenny. Kenny paved the way for risk-taking radio from the likes of Howard Stern, Radio Hauraki and even our very own BASEMENT 96.1.

And for that Kenny we thank you. Rest easy you magnificent beast.

The Best Bits of The Kenny Everett Show

Take a look back on the best bits. Viewer discretion is advised.