UK radio disc-jocky. Lasted 40 years and was introducing and championing new, alternative and underground styles. Wonderfully eclectic.
My comment on the BBC site : http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/tvandradio/3955289.stm
I remember, sometime in the mid-80s, after he'd played yet another miserable-sounding, droning indie record, Peel saying, in his flat northern accent, "Oh well, you can't be mad with glee all the time"
I am so NOT mad with glee today. A brilliant, (self-depreciatingly) funny, warm DJ. The best there was on UK radio. And a great symbol of the virtues of the BBC (the national institution as champion of the individualist).
If the pope doesn't beatify him, I'm never voting catholic again.
This comment on the bbc website from Ron of Cambridge:
In a world full of superlatives when every halfway decent footballer is called a "genius" and the word "hero" is used to describe someone who achieves the mediocre John Peel was an ordinary bloke whose enthusiasm and integrity were truly something to be admired.
Today I'm just one of possibly millions of people feeling touched by the death of an ordinary bloke.
Thinking more about this BBC connection. Over on ILM, Guy Becket calls him "A true Reithian and a teacher of the old school...' (http://ilx.p3r.net/thread.php?msgid=5177241))
In a sense, Peel really was an icon of state-funded PublicServiceBroadcasting. If you wanted to point to a visibly working and useful institution funded by mandatory taxation, then the BBC is a good bet. And if you want proof that such institutions can deliver, say entertainment, that's both significantly more diverse than the market can produce and popular, Peel would be exhibit A.