Sunday, February 17, 2019


For this past obit we are going to spotlight a very different kind of entertainer in disc jockey Frank Wappat. In the 1990s, I had about a dozen friends from England that I traded music with. Unfortunately those years are gone, but my friends from across the pond introduced me to Frank Wappat's radio show. He died five years today. This was published in the Chronicle Live on February 17, 2014...

Veteran broadcaster Frank Wappat has died.

The radio presenter worked for the BBC for 40 years and died yesterday morning from heart failure at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.

Today was his 84th birthday.

The former BBC Newcastle presenter retired in October 2010 due to ill health after suffering from a stroke which left him with condition Aphasia.

He began his broadcasting career via the pirate station Radio 390 on the Thames Estuary and then moved to the Tyneside station in 1970.

He went on to become its longest-serving presenter drawing in thousands of followers along the way.

Radio listeners will know him best for his work producing and presenting two BBC Newcastle shows - Sunday morning’s Inspirational Show from 6am to 7.30am and the award-winning Frank Wappat Music show from 7pm to 10pm.

Before he turned to radio he was a Methodist lay preacher, but quickly fell foul of the church authorities whom, he claims, did not like his “religion can be enjoyable!” approach.

In the 1960s he formed his own alternative congregation and worshippers flocked first to his Mission in Byker, Newcastle, and then to the redundant C of E church he occupied in North Shields.

Meanwhile, his Thirties Club and Gospel Hour programmes attracted large audiences and he would often lead the annual Christmas sing-a-longs in Newcastle’s Eldon Square with crowds of shoppers.

Crooner Chick Henderson
He won two Sony Radio Academy Awards during his career, one for his Master Joe Peterson programme and in 2000 he won his second for investigative journalism for his work unearthing the truth about the death of 1940s singer Chick Henderson.

His Nostalgia show continued on BBC Radio Newcastle and BBC Radio York until August 2010...

He lived in Blyth with his wife Susan.In an interview with the Chronicle on his retirement he said he was never tempted to work outside the North East.

He said: “I see myself as a Geordie lad from Hebburn, I don’t think I’d fit in with big establishments.”

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