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Radio London Programme Director, Ben Toney, has died

DATELINE    Dallas, Texas 11th  May  2018

Ben Toney Programme Director of  Britain's first Top 40 radio station, Radio London,  has died at the age of 87.

Ben Toney was born in 1930 in Texas, but his family moved to California when he was young. After finishing his schooling Ben joined the US Navy where he served for four years.

When he left the Navy Ben attended the University of North Texas where he  worked part-time on the local station KZEE in Weatherford, Texas. Following graduation Ben joined KZEE full-time

In August 1964 Ben was approached by Don Pierson who was in the process of setting up Radio London and was looking for a Programme Director.

Ben was responsible for devising the station's highly successful format and for recruiting and training the original team of DJs.

Ben married his secretary at Radio London,  Ronagh Clarke, in October 1965 .

When his contract with Radio London expired in March 1966 Ben was again approached by Don Pierson, who was now setting up Radio England and Britain Radio, but did not take up the offer of employment this time. Ben also did some consultancy work for Radio 270, and even presented a few programmes on the station.

Ben eventually took a job with KNAL in Victoria, Texas, then worked for Interstate Broadcasting Company (IBC), a regional news network, as a salesman. When IBC closed Ben took a job surveying for maritime oil deposits. He  retired in February 1993 at the age of 62 to look after his mother.

Ben had a fall in  early April 2018  and after a short illness died on 10th May 2018 at the VA Medical Centre in Dallas.

(Additional material courtesy the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame)


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