CONTROVERSIAL former TV presenter John Leslie will be back on the airwaves after a decade away from broadcasting
John, the former Blue Peter and This Morning presenter, will take over the Friday night 4-7pm Drive Time slot from today.
The appointment marks John’s first return to broadcasting in 10 years and pitches him up against his brother Grant Stott – who hosts a regular daytime show for Radio Forth – in the capital’s DJ stakes.
Edinburgh-born John, 47, said: “I’m delighted to get this opportunity with 98.8 Castle FM and I am determined to make the show a must-listen to programme for people in Edinburgh and the Lothians.
“Friday night between 4-7pm is my favourite time of the week – it’s the time everyone has switched off from work and is looking forward to the weekend.
“I’m planning to seize on all that excitement and energy and add my own enthusiasm to create a show that full of great chat and great music.”
Donny Hughes, Business Development Manager at 98.8 Castle FM, was instrumental in enticing John to join the station – and his arrival has helped mark another significant milestone for the presenter.
John added: “It was Donny who gave me my first ever job, as a club DJ in Edinburgh, so it’s really fitting to see things come full circle and have him offer me a chance to become a radio DJ for the first time.
“I’ve obviously had plenty of presenting, TV and broadcasting experience in the past but never tackled being a radio DJ.
“That was as much to do with the fact that Grant was the radio DJ in the family. But Grant is delighted to see me get this opportunity. He’s also given me a few tips and some solid brotherly advice on how to succeed.
“Who knows where things will go from here but I’m just focusing on doing the best job I can for 98.8 Castle FM.”
John, whose TV career was cut short in 2002 after unfounded allegations about his private life, said he was particularly attracted to 98.8 Castle FM because it is community-based station – where none of the presenters get paid.
He added: “I’ve had a pretty traumatic last 10 years – 10 years in which I haven’t worked – but what pulled me through was being back in Edinburgh and having the support of family and friends.
“So if can do my bit for the community – and say a thank you of sorts to the life I was able to rebuild back in the capital and to the people who have helped me over the past 10 years – by working with 98.8 Castle FM, I will be very pleased.”
98.8 Castle FM is almost entirely run by volunteers, broadcasting an eclectic mix of music throughout the week and features specialist music shows in the evening and at weekends. The station, which was first established in 2007 as Leith FM, broadcasts to around 500,000 online listeners each month.
Donny Hughes said: “Securing John is a superb coup for 98.8 Castle FM.
“I’ve known John for decades and I know that he loves Edinburgh through and through. So that’s why I know he will produce a great show that will just work with our audience.
“John has had a rough 10 years for sure but despite all the lurid allegations nothing has ever been proven. I think he’s due a break and if 98.8 Castle FM can help him rebuild his broadcasting career, we’ll be delighted.”
John Leslie’s first television work was on Yorkshire TV when he hosted the all-night music show, Formula One, in 1989. Later that year he became first Scottish presenter to join Blue Peter before going onto host Wheel of Fortune, Survivor and This Morning.