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RIP Charlie Gillett // A radio broadcasting legend

March 18, 2010

Gillett, who was 68 and was credited with discovering Dire Straits, had a lengthy radio career with a devoted following recruited during his stints on BBC London – and its predecessors – plus Radio 3, the World Service and Capital. The broadcaster died in a London hospital yesterday. He suffered a heart attack last week after contracting a disease of the autoimmune system. He had stepped down from his regular slot on Radio 3′s World on 3 for health reasons two months ago.

He is credited with discovering Dire Straits in 1976 after playing Sultans of Swing from the band’s demo tape on his influential BBC Radio London show Honky Tonk. Gillett also championed world music stars like Youssou N’Dour, Salif Keita and the young singer of Portuguese fado music, Mariza. During the past decade he entertained millions of listeners through his World Service programme, Charlie Gillett’s World of Music.

World Service director Peter Horrocks said: ”His broadcasts brought together music and radio fans from far-flung corners of the globe. He was a very special broadcaster and he will be sorely missed.”

Those sentiments are echoed by Gilles and everyone at Brownswood.