Friends and colleagues from the world of television and radio packed Carlisle Cathedral in June for the funeral of media executive John Myers, who has died suddenly, aged 60.
John was one of the most influential and successful figures in British media having launched and developed commercial radio brands including Century, Smooth, Real and Rock.
He was chief executive of both GMG Radio and the Radio Academy, and produced the Myers Report on the future of local radio for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (as it was) in 2009. Two years later, he advised the BBC on streamlining its radio services.
His early career saw him working for BBC local radio in his home city of Carlisle and he spent nearly four years at Border Television where he was an in-vision continuity announcer. One of his signature achievements was introducing the unpredictable puppet Eric the Monkey into the regular birthday slots.
John went on to be a guest presenter on neighbouring Tyne Tees Television while running Century Radio, where he also hosted the station’s breakfast show.
His presenting style was warm but anarchic. His 2012 autobiography Team, It’s Only Radio, is packed with laugh-out-loud examples of on-air incidents with guests and listeners. These included the woman who insisted during a phone-in that Hitler’s first name was Heil.
John’s management style was similarly legendary and he became the star of the 1999 BBC Two documentary series Trouble at the Top, which observed the launch of a new radio station in the north west. His hiring of former politician Derek Hatton and his firing of the religious affairs producer made headlines.
In recent years, he focused on his company Myers Media, and enjoyed spending time with students at the University of Sunderland and Cumbria University.
He would use his extensive contacts generously to secure work experience and his masterclasses were direct and entertaining; “If you’re coming to me for a job, look me in the eye, have a firm handshake and be nice to whoever welcomes you into the building. Because, after your interview, I’ll be asking them what they thought of you.”
John was an active committee member of the Society’s North East and the Border centre, chairing awards panels and organising events. One of his last events saw him in conversation with newsreader and presenter Fiona Armstrong.
He had a passion for golf and was at the 18th hole of the Gleneagles PGA course in Scotland when he collapsed and died. He had recently been given the all clear following treatment for throat cancer.
John is survived by his wife, Linda, children Scott and Kerry and grandchildren, Mia and Marcus.