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Worker Bee: meet Mike Sweeney, the legendary radio presenter


BBC star Mike Sweeney continues to entertain the city every week day with his dulcet tones as the host of the BBC Radio Manchester mid-morning show.

Salford-born Mike, 71, has been a broadcaster for an impressive 38 years, and is also well known as a rocker with his bands The Salford Jets, Manchester Beat and the Swinging Blue Jeans.

He lives in Saddleworth with his wife Viv and daughter Niamh, who is currently away studying at university.

And this week he’ll be hosting his annual BBC Christmas extravaganza at The Lowry theatre, with special guests including Tony Hadley.

But before all that, he had time to answer our 12 questions…

What first got you started in your field of work?

It depends which career you mean! For my music career, I got into rock n’roll first thanks to The Beatles’ Please Please Me. I got into the radio because I have an “unusual” voice and personality, and Piccadilly Radio bosses at the time felt they could make a broadcaster out of me!

Who have been your biggest influences?

The Beatles; a broadcaster called Benny Green, who used to do an eclectic music programme on the BBC for years; and [BBC DJ] John Peel.

What is your proudest achievement?

I think broadcasting from St Peter’s Square the day after the Manchester Arena bombing. I had to balance my emotions with my broadcasting brain and try and do a decent job for the people of Greater Manchester who were grieving.

What does a typical day involve?

Arrive at the BBC in MediaCity for 7am. Run around like a lunatic until 9am; do the programme until 12pm, then run around like a lunatic again, sometimes until 4 o’clock. The running around involves all the preparation for my weekly BBC Radio Manchester programme and my weekend 60s programme. Preparing and doing interviews and coming up with ideas for the phone in.

How do you relax on your days off?

It’s really difficult for me to relax at all, although I do like chilling out with my wife and family and occasionally visiting the pub!

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Less is more.

If things hadn’t worked out, what else could you have seen yourself doing?

I would be a 71-year-old van driver, singing at night in pubs.

Tell us one thing about yourself that people might be surprised to hear.

I once went to college to do a course as a computer programmer, and got the class prize. It was a book about Charles Babbage, who invented the difference engine.

Red or blue?


Name your three favourite places in Manchester.

Oooo! The Midland Hotel, which I love because it’s got that old school grandeur about it; Old Trafford Football Ground; and MediaCity, where I work in exactly the same spot as I did when I was a dock worker in the 70s.

If you could change one thing about Manchester, what would it be?

I would never have knocked down the part of Manchester that the Arndale now occupies.

What do you love most about Manchester?

The people, and Manc rock ‘n’ roll.

Mike Sweeney’s Extravaganza takes place at The Lowry on Thursday 6th December. Tickets are available at a cost of £10 each from Lowry Box Office on 0843 208 6000; BBC Children In Need will receive £5 from each ticket sale and the rest will go to The Lowry’s Christmas Appeal after costs.

The show will be broadcast on BBC Radio Manchester on Friday 7th December from 9am.

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