Whiley still a festival queen

She may have just survived her 19th Glastonbury festival but Jo Whiley has no intention of taking any time off. Catherin Scot reports

Radio DY Jo Whiley is appearing at Doncaster Race Course

“It is a bit of a comedown when it is all over. This year was a particularly good year. The weather was good this year which makes a big difference and there were some great bands. Only problem is we only get to see them on a monitor,” says Whiley of Glastonbury which she first attended at the age of 18. Now, having just turned 50, next year will be her 20th year presenting the music festival for the BBC.

“I am very lucky that I get to do something I love. I have always loved music and finding new bands. I feel very lucky and I have benefitted from being in the right place at the right time, but also I have worked hard to make the most of opportunities that have come my way.”

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This year was even more frustrating for the live music lover as her husband and three of her children were at the festival.

“I got home on Monday and saw all these amazing photos on Facebook. They had such a great time.”

Whiley has been married to music producer Steve Morton for 24 years. Their eldest child, India, is 23, there are boys Jude, 16, and Cassius, 14 and then six-year-old Coco, who is too young to go to Glastonbury just yet, says her mum.

Jo Whiley must be the queen of multitasking as she has successfully juggled motherhood and a successful radio and television presenting career for more than two decades.

Jo grew up in Northampton and says she didn’t really know what she wanted to do when she left school.

“I thought I might be a teacher and I studied languages at university, but it wasn’t for me. I’d always been passionate about music and attending gigs and then someone suggested doing a one-year radio journalism course. I was lucky enough to land a job on my local radio station after that.”

She joined Radio 1 in 1993 presenting numerous shows and conducting interviews with some of the biggest names in the music world before moving to Radio 2 to present her own evening show in 2011.

“The BBC have been great to me. They made the transition from Radio One to Radio Two really easy for me.”

Jo, who was crowned DJ of the Year at the Sony Radio Awards in 1998, is also a familiar face on TV having fronted many live music events including the annual Sound City festival, Glastonbury and Phoenix as well as BBC TV coverage of the Mercury Awards.

She says there are far more women DJs now than when she set out.

“Back then there were very few women such as Annie Nightingale, Janice Long and Liz Kershaw and very few women on the production side. Now there are far more women both on air and behind the scenes, which is as it should be.”

Although Whiley has turned 50 she says she has never faced some of the prejudice women of a similar age have on TV.

“I have always wanted to be judged on my own merits and not as a woman,” she says.

“The late John Peel carried on to a ripe old age and I always wanted to be exactly the same.

“Television is cruel, not just the people making the programmes but the people watching them. In this day of social media people can get very personal.”

She quite likes Twitter, but says she really doesn’t have the time. “I would rather live life than Tweet about it.”