to: Alan Turner
... who passed away on 15th June 2004
I would add my tribute to Alan Turner. He was an integral
part of a group of - for the
most part - young people who created what remains in my mind
one of the greatest
examples of local radio ever, The Mercia. What you have all
achieved since highlights
what a bloody talented crew gathered together in the old
working men's club and
Alan was one of the best.
I have sadly known of his illness
for some time from the
Heart management but that in no way diminishes the cruel
irony that someone who gave
so much to broadcasting should be taken by throat cancer.
You will hopefully hear soon
that this - as one of a succession of tragedies to hit Chrysalis
Radio staff - has prompted
their management to try and launch a Radio Industries Benevolent
Fund to cover the
freelancers across our entire industry. If this does become
a reality I hope we will all
respond with enthusiasm when asked to run marathons or jump
bungees or bathe in
baked beans in the interests of raising funds.
Although I'd seen very little of him in recent years,
he was someone who, once met,
In the early days at Mercia he proved himself
to be a dedicated and
hardworking journo who, as well as commitment and skill,
brought a great sense of humour,
kindness and, of course, utterly outrageous behaviour! He'll
be sadly missed.
I'm sure we all have our individual memories of Alan, who
was nothing less than
a great character and was a lot of fun. I expect he'll be
missed by those who were
still working with him or were close to him. I hadn't spoken
to him for three years, but
it's still a bit hard to take. And of course he was another
of the originals at the Mercia.
How sad to hear that news. My mind immediately went back
to those early days at Mercia
and Alan's face lighting up when I played "Funkytown" !!!
Please pass on my thoughts to Alan's
family and friends.
I regret I shall not be able to be at Alan's funeral as I
am 7000 miles away.
At the appropriate time I shall download "Funktown", take
a sherry and have happy thoughts
about great times and a great bloke.
What a sad piece of news. Only 2 or 3 days back I was recalling
the days of "Tone & Turner" on the Breakfast
Show at The Mercia. I had no idea that Alan was ill. What
we had there will
always be remembered as something special.
On those dark
winter mornings, getting up at
3.30am and struggling into Hertford Place, Alan would always
be there first. Always with a smile,
usually with a cuppa. We knew we had to go for it, for the
sake of everyone listening.
We always did. Not sure if he'll be back after the break
this time, but he'll never be forgotten.
I think that one of Alan's most endearing features was his
ability to call a spade a spade
to your face in a mannner that would make you laugh, rather
than take offence.
He was one of the key people at the start of Mercia Sound
and I will never forget the
numerous jokes and conversations that we had during and around
breakfast news bulletins.
He'd come into the studio (stumble some mornings), often
bleary eyed from his exploits the night
before but always with a quip and usually with a smile.
a terrible shame he is gone.
First John Warwick and now Alan - rotten this getting older
Over the last few days, my mailbox has been filled with tributes
to Alan Turner, with whom I worked
as part of the original Mercia team and again briefly, at
the start of Heart.
I can add nothing to
what has already been said, except to comment on how evident
it is that the spirit of the
early '80s still exists. Alan, like the rest of us, was very
proud of what we achieved in the early days
and of being a part of it. For those of us who were there,
it was a very special time, and Alan
was one of the very special people who made it so.
he's surprised at all the fondness
which has been shown towards him during this week, but pleased
that former colleagues from
around the world have been drawn together again.
Ted Elliot (typically!) has coined the best possible epitaph
: "Isn't Heaven a club that plays dance music?" Thanks Ted.
I was very sad about leaving London when I joined Mercia
Sound back in the 80's. Alan went out
of his way to be kind to me and was always making me laugh.
He told some really funny stories
and did very good impressions of people( I wont name names)
He was a really sweet chap
and I am so sorry to hear about his death.
I will always
remember Alan whenever he went
in to read the news. He took it very seriously and his hands
would shake on scripts.
The worst thing that ever happened to him was when the cart
machine misfired on a
five o'clock news read and he went back to what he called
"the council thinggy" a story by
Peter Lowe of course. Im sure he would want us to remember
the happier times. Rest Well Alan.
Alan's passing is a reminder to us all how swiftly time moves
and we should make the most of
what we have. Alan was a great colleague - always a professional
and possessing a
After the Mercia days our paths would
often cross at news conferences
or events and he never seemed to change at all. Whenever
I think about Alan I always
recall a blooper tape we made for one of the great Mercia
interviewing a resident of Coventry's notorious Wood End
district. It went something like this:
Alan: Do you feel let down by the council?
Resident: Let down? We feel like we've been hung out to dry
and f***ing s**t on!
Alan: Do you think you could say that again in a broadcastable
Like I said, ever the pro!
How sad that another original has left us - and Alan
was an original in every sense,
not just as one of the original crew that had the privilege
of being part of Mercia Sound.
We all must have fond memories of Granny Turner - and those
memories will live on with us
for the rest of our lives.
I was stunned to hear of Alan's passing, obviously I'm a
little further away than most of you.
The last time I saw Alan was 1990 on a trip back to the UK
when he said with a lot of sadness
(and a little smile at having outlasted everybody else) that
he was the only original member
of the Mercia team left.
The others were right he was always
happy to see you, always ready
to uplift someone if they were feeling low - he was never
difficult to be around (bit like a golden
retriever if truth be known) and always professional.
He, and John Warwick who passed a couple of years back were
2 great professionals
who will be greatly missed.
I've not been in the office for two weeks and was shocked
to return to this news.
The fact that I have dozens of e-mails about the same subject
is evidence alone of Alan's
popularity and the effect he had on all of us. Of the hundreds
of people I've worked with in
the last quarter of a century (!), Alan is right up there
on the all-time list of amazing characters.
He was very hard-working and professional, he was funny,
he lived life to the full and he really
did care very much about other people. Ooh mate, I'll tell
you what......you won't be forgotten.
After reading so many tributes for Alan over the last
few days it is clear that we all agree that
he was a special individual working for a special station,
the likes of both will sadly never be repeated.
Alan was a great fun-loving character with a wicked sense
of humour and something of an
anarchist at heart ! Many people thought I was mad when I
promoted him to Deputy News Editor
at Mercia but I recognized that he was also a bloody good
journalist and a real professional
with a genuine love for radio . Despite his sometimes outrageous
behaviour Alan also had a
very sensitive and caring side to his nature and was truly
one of the good guys.
I’ll miss his sparkling humour… I jokingly called him “loveable
“ once.. and he retorted dryly : “You may be small Palmer and beautifully formed …but you’re
not my type.” (Thank God, I sighed.) Our paths have crossed a few times
over recent years and Alan
always brought a smile to my face I’m glad I knew him and
he’s certainly one of those people
I will never forget.
Alan was truly unique. As a fresh-faced and somewhat naive
16 year old, I must admit
I was more than a little taken aback when I first met him!
But that was Alan...outrageous,
but a really warm human being and someone whose help and
advice (however directly
it was given!) I will always be grateful for.
Hi Everyone I think we have all been stunned by Alans passing
because he truly was a very
honest and nice human being. He said what he thought and
lived how he wanted to live
without causing offence to others. His lust for life was
Monday mornings he used
to come into my little production cubby hole and tell graphic
stories of his weekend exploits.
How he got up for work after partying all weekend I don't
know, but he always looked more awake
than most of us. In many conversations whilst at Mercia and
in our days at Heart together,
his passion for radio was always evident, especially the
Mercia days. Isn't Heaven a club that plays dance music?
It seems incredible to me that he should have left us so
soon. When I started as an
eager student helper-outer at Mercia several weeks before
the thrill of the very first
morning of transmission, I had no idea just how fantastic
my next few years would be.
Even now some 20 odd years later I still think back to those
times as my happiest in
broadcasting - not least because of the wonderfully warm,
welcoming, fun and spirited
team of people who were a joy to be around and who taught
me so much.
Alan was one of those very special people. The nickname "granny",
though wholly deserved,
did not do justice to his entirely generous and nurturing
character - even to a
newbie greeble like me. I am grateful that our paths crossed
even if only for a couple of years.
I had always thought my treasured "Mercia Memories" could
never be tarnished, but
Alan's death has rather proved me wrong. My hope is that
Nigel and Alan's family will know
how much fun and laughter he brought to so many people.
I am very sad to hear about Alan .I would like to add my
great memories to the tributes.
When I was a new advertising rep at Mercia I often used to
bump into Alan at the
coffee machine and he would always crack a joke usually about
the colourful clothes I was wearing!
The last time I went for a meal with Alan in Pizza Hut he
was dressed in his leathers
and he ordered a 7" hot and spicy which he said was his favourite
and of course
he took great delight in embarrassing the waitress . He really
was a great character full of fun
and will be sadly missed
I had just started at Mercia Sound and was presenting the
religious programme early on
Sunday morning. Alan arrived to read the news. He had been
clubbing half the night and
was still in his leathers. He buzzed down on the talkback:
"hell to heaven". I thought, I am
going to like it here.... Alan may have had his ups and downs
but I can think of few others
who had more fun than he did. I seem to remember him getting
into trouble once with the IBA
for announcing a track on "Some Like It Hot" by saying "come
on girls, scream your tits off
to this one". For the IBA he was a guy before his time. For
me, he was hugely
entertaining and never disappointing. What a huge, individual,
personality we have lost.
I did not come into contact with Alan that much during
my years at Mercia but do remember
playing in as part of Continuity shifts his Some Like It
Hot (I think thats what is was called) -
and that was an experience 'cos you never quite knew what
was coming next, but it was always
professionally timed and set ready for ads / news etc.
Whilst we are on the subject of clubbing I recall a story
about Alan but I'm not sure whether
it was true. Apparently he was at The old Nightingale Club
in Brum one night when the building
started to collapse and sections of the roof fell in onto
assorted punters, being the
consummate journalist he phoned the Mercia newsroom and left
this hot story as a message
on the answer machine. However knowing Alan's predilection
for heavy partying, the morning
journalist assumed he had just been off his face at the time
and had made the whole thing up -
the story never got broadcast!
What is true is that Alan was a friend and confident, direct
and to the point but we all
loved him anyway. He will be sorely missed.
I will always remember Alan being so full of life and so
keen to tell you about the exciting
weekend of partying he'd been doing as he burst through the
little swing door in reception
always running up stairs two steps at a time.
When I joined
Mercia as a total novice to the
industry he was someone you could look up to, a consummate
professional and once I'd
recovered from the rather direct comments he used to dish
out in the usual Alan style,
he was a very kind and caring individual. The world of radio
won't be the same without him.
I was the tea boy on the breakfast show with the late and
fondly remembered John Warwick,
with Clive Skelhon doing early, me doing PRS getting the
carts out, getting the traffic,
I was 15 / 16. I later went on to be a presenter after sticking
my demo tape underneath
the wiper blade of Stuart Linnell's new Jag, just before
GWR took over and took away the
magic the 'local' station had.
I remember Alan as a larger
than life character and extremely
amused when he realised he was the first gay person I had
met, I asked him one morning
if he was married. He looked at me as if I was taking the
p**s and then realised I was a naďve
15 year old. It made him laugh. I laughed to at my realisation
of my naivety. This was a good
moment, a life moment. Although I knew him for a very short
time I remember him as gentle
individual, passionate about living his life and a consummate
I raise a glass and toast to Alan, thanks for making me laugh.
Dear All, It was with much sadness that i heard of Alan's
demise. However, it did evoke fond
memories of a forthright and very likeable guy, whose tales
and antics always kept us smiling
at Mercia. He will be sorely missed by everyone who came
into contact with him.
Hopefully, at some stage some form of tribute could be played
on Mercia, in memory of Alan.
Hi Everybody I was just flicking through my E-Mails and was
devastated to see the news about Alan.
I worked with him a lot when I was doing sports bulletins
for Mercia before GWR
( Gangsters Wrecking Radio) took over and destroyed what
was a good local station.
Alan and Andy were the first two gay people I had worked
with, and I was bit apprehensive at first,
but was put at my ease when I realised that they didn't try
to force their beliefs onto people
who were not of that persuasion.
I knew he was ill, but didn't
know how serious it was
and it came as quite a shock. More so because it was only
yesterday (Thursday) that a
chap came through Birmingham Airport, where I now work and
I said to some of my colleagues
that he looked like a lad I used to work with at Mercia.
He really did look like Alan. Isn't it a strange
world we live in? Alan was also a good friend to my wife
(Marion) when she was having a lot of medical
problems and they quite often used to sit and chat while
I cobbled together a sports Bulletin.
The world has lost a great and dedicated journalist who,
if there is a heaven will be at this
very moment giving them hell (forgive the pun), and telling
them he "wants thirty seconds for the
five o'clock bulletin" and "he wants it now". I'll hopefully
be able to get to the funeral to pay my
last respects to someone who I considered to be a friend,
and who helped me tremendously
when I first joined Mercia.
When I went to Mercia I had worked with gay men before, but
nothing had prepared me for Alan -
as if anything ever could. The expression 'in your face'
had to be coined specifically for him.
I was one of that shameful breed who enjoyed their radio
but saw it primarily as a stepping
stone into TV. Not so Mr Turner. He took no pleasure in his
Coventry Cable exploits
(save perhaps the time the kitten weed on his hand) and made
it abundantly clear to anyone
and everyone who'd listen that he was a radio man through
and through. And so he was.
Mercia was very different from BRMB and Viking where I had
worked before - a real education.
I learned a great deal from Alan about writing, interviewing
and turning stories round bloody quickly.
He always pretended to be dead gruff and uncaring but it
took the tiniest little scratch at the
surface to see precisely the reverse was true. People and
stories mattered to him and he was
genuinely fond of his workmates.
Ian Woods mentions the late shift. I loved Alan for doing
it so often. I found it the most
depressing of the lot and would far rather do earlies. Alan
found it suited his lifestyle perfectly:Nip out for the late
bulletin, do the calls, grab what you couldn't get to on
the phone and leave a
stack of carts for the morning before tearing out clubbing
to God Knows what hour of the morning.
Back the next day with the gory details, of course, and taking
gleeful pleasure in watching the rest
of us callow straights turn green with horror! Which reminds
me.. by their very nature fashions come
and go but Alan boasted (loudly and often) his nipple rings
before the current trend for piercings
was ever conceived.
The best thing I can say is that I don't think I ever worked
a shift with him in three years
without him making me laugh. He will be missed.
Thank you so much for informing us of the sad news so elegently.
There is nothing worse than l learning of the passing away
of someone who made
a significant impact on so many people, as not hearing the
I remember Alan from my four years on the Good Morning Mercia
breakfast show when between
bulletins Alan would give me headlines of the night before-always
frequently an education and yet on air he was always the
Alan was always fun to invite into the studio at 6am in the
morning, which was not the case
with everyone on earlies. He was a great broadcaster and
loved his job and life.
I will never forget his impact on me as (then) a youngish
DJ He will be missed.
Alan's programme 'Some like it hot' came under my own
overnight continuity shift
so like the rest of you a whole string of memories has been
sparked off in the last few days.
(Fond memories of happy days)! Alan would really have been
'chuffed' to think he had the
power to bring back the good old days on Mercia when it was
truely local 24 hours a day.
No doubt among my many tapes here, his distinct voice will
bring back further memories
of a radio station that I am still proud to have been associated
with between 1984 and 1989.
Earlier tonight I rang Karl Stein who was unaware of Alan's
passing and expressed considerable
shock. I want to express my sympathy to Nigel and Alan's
I too was deeply shocked to hear of Alan’s untimely passing.
I am proud to say that I played at least a small part in
his life when he was “Made Redundant”
from The Mercia (then in Capital Radio ownership) and was
finding it difficult to get a job in radio
despite his wealth of experience and knowledge.
I was very
pleased to give Alan a
job at Isle of Wight Radio where I was then P.C. He stayed
with my wife Shelley and me on
the island sharing our home for a couple of months before
finding a flat.
We laughed away many a night into the small hours. Alan hit
the Island like a Tornado!
They had never met anyone like him, It was FANTASTIC. During
his time on the Island Alan
had an impact on the careers of many of the folks working
in that small newsroom some of
whom have gone on to much greater things.
God Bless you Alan – You were a breath of fresh air and will
be sadly missed.
Having worked with Alan for two years in the Mercia
newsroom during the mid-80s, I was terribly
saddened to read about his death on your website. Lots of
my old colleagues have already
paid tribute to both his personality and his professionalism,
and although I haven't seen him for
nearly 20 years, he still stands out in my memory as a warm,
funny and outrageous character.
One particularly memorable evening was when I agreed to accompany
him to one of his favourite
haunts, a very 'out' nightclub in Birmingham called the Nightingale,
to witness the scene at first hand.
It turned out to be a great evening, though I'm not sure
which part Alan enjoyed more - snogging
someone in a rubber vest (who he claimed was a policeman),
or watching my reaction. I was
naturally terrified about being chatted up (or worse) and
Alan gave some advice which has stayed
with me ever since: "Don't cruise them, John, and they won't
Sorry I'll never have the chance to swap reminiscences with
you, Alan, but wherever you are -
keep on cruising.
Alan Turner 1951-2004 17 June 2004 Alan Turner has died at
the age of 52.
Alan started his career working for the Tamworth Herald and
Castle Bromwich News.
In 1980 he joined Coventry's Mercia Sound and become one
of the first voices on air,
as an original member of their News Team. Aside from working
the news desk,
Alan was also a late night DJ presenting a high-energy dance
show called Some Like It Hot
with features including Al's throbbing 12 inch. In 1991 he
left Mercia to join Isle of Wight Radio
and freelanced for the BBC. In 1994 he joined the new West
Midlands regional station 100.7 Heart FM
as Senior Journalist and later became Deputy News Editor.
Paul Fairburn, Managing Director of Chrysalis Radio Midlands
commented: "Alan was a very dear friend to many of us. He
was here from the start, before 100.7 Heart FM
started broadcasting and before I became Managing Director.
It is so sad that he won't be
with us to celebrate our 10th anniversary in September.
We miss him deeply and are thinking of his family." Chris
Kowalik, News Editor of Chrysalis Radio
Midlands added: "Anyone who's ever met Alan would never forget
him. He was opinionated;
outspoken; wildly funny and your best friend who could always
keep a secret. As a journalist he was
by far the most experienced and knowledgeable. This newsroom
will never be the same again."