Radio presenter Ed Doolan dies aged 76

BRMB and BBC WM broadcaster Ed Doolan passed away after suffering with vascular dementia since 2012.

“We have lost a great champion and a truly skilled and popular broadcaster and newspaper columnist.” – Agent Paul Vaughan

The veteran BBC broadcaster Ed Doolan has died aged 76 the beeb earlier today announced. His station, for the West Midlands, BBC WM, have been paying tribute to their biggest name across the day, with a special programme airing this evening from 5pm.

Ed was born in Sydney, Australia in 1942, however he didn’t start his broadcasting career until the 1970s when he joined the German World Service in Cologne. Prior to radio presenting he had worked first as a teacher, notably at the Highgate School in London in the sixties.

After his radio debut in 1970 he moved to the UK and joined Midlands commercial broadcaster BRMB (now Free Radio Midlands) at its launch in 1974. It’s during these years that he became well known for playing quirky songs, including the Naughty Top 40, and luring in big names for interviews. Across his years with BRMB he also featured in Birmingham based ITV soap opera Crossroads on several occasions – however was never seen, simply appearing as himself on the radio providing Kings Oak with news updates.

He also lured Crossroads’ leading lady Noele Gordon onto ‘the wireless’ where they hosted a number of specials later suggesting she should present her own programming, which she went on to do. That was something that endeared him to listeners, he often saw the talent in others and helped where he felt he could, a professional who also was proud of the West Midlands and championed the region and its people.

In 1982 Ed himself was lured over to the beeb where he would spend the rest of his broadcasting career with BBC WM. His tried and tested production mix of great music, novelty hits and star interviews carried on at the corporation, while he also added a social mix to his shows with phone-ins and taking up causes for his loyal listeners. This later lead to a consumer affairs programme launching in its own right with Ed at the helm. He gave Turkey Awards to people or companies who had done wrong, playing the sound of turkeys gobbling. Conversely there was the Dove Award for those worthy of love and praise.

He was a daily fixture across the West Midlands until 2011 when he retired from his weekday slot, however continued to host a weekend series for BBC WM. In 2012 he informed listeners he had been diagnosed with vascular dementia, later featuring in an edition of BBC One’s Inside Out highlighting dementia.

The BBC earlier today announced they had been informed by his agent Paul Vaughan that Doolan had ‘died in his sleep at home in the early hours of Tuesday. His wife Christine was with him.’

“So sad to hear about Ed Doolan. I first met him when he was at BRMB Radio. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was the start of my own career in broadcasting. Frankly, I owe it all to him. Even as a youngster, I knew Ed loved radio – but radio loved him. So did I.” – BBC Radio 2 producer Malcolm Prince

BBC WM is based in The Mailbox in Birmingham
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One Reply to “Radio presenter Ed Doolan dies aged 76”

  1. Ed was a teacher at Ingleholme,Highgate School in the late 1960s and made a terrific impact on all the lives of his pupils. Apart from the usual stuff, Ed taught us Australian songs and directed the school pantomine – his own version of Cinderella which was very popular (I still have a copy of the recording he made in 1967). I was having a tough time at home and Ed was very supportive – he was a great teacher before he became a great radio broadcaster! I am sorry to hear of his passing.

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