Radio Broadcasting

Zimbabwe’s Radio Legend Peter Johns Dies

The Zimbabwean radio legend Peter Johns has died at age 60.

The former Radio 3 presenter passed away on Monday at a hospital in London after battling a heart operation and three strokes, friends said.

A childhood friend DJ King Jay said that Johns, also known by the nickname ‘The Radio Driver’, “had been unwell for sometime after a triple bypass heart surgery several years ago.

King Jay tweeted that Peter Johns was arguably Zimbabwe’s finest DJ.

In December 2019, Johns’ eldest son Mark spoke publicly about his father’s health troubles, revealing that he had endured three strokes and a heart attack.

Mark revealed this after Johns was admitted to a hospital in South London.

At the time, Mark said that his father was in a stable condition; however, he could no longer speak or write.

Friends say that he never fully recovered, ultimately drawing the curtain on the life of one of Zimbabwe’s most celebrated radio presenters ever, according to Steve Vickers, one of the many broadcasters who joined the outpouring of tributes on Twitter.

Johns was “suave, gifted and brilliant,” added journalist Brezhnev Malaba.

In 1981, after the official launch of Radio 3, now Power FM, John Matinde who was the Recruitment Manager at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation gave Johns his first break – a temporary slot on Sunday evenings.

Johns would go on to have a successful career – over 20 years on the club scene and also as a radio DJ until he left the ZBC in 2002. Over the years, PJ had built an unmatched cult following with his shows, Monday Mellow Madness and Weekend Love.

The introduction of satellite TV brought another big break for PJ — TV broadcasting. Sponsored shows, such as the music video show Coca-Cola on the Beat, made his star shine even brighter.

PJ left Zimbabwe in 2002, apparently unhappy about restructuring at the ZBC. He moved to England where he studied Digital Broadcasting and Packaging. 

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