John Peel Wiki

Ken Garner

Ken Garner (born 26 March 1960) is a journalist, academic and recognized authority on John Peel, particularly the sessions that were a notable feature of the DJ’s BBC Radio One shows.

He is perhaps best known as the author of In Session Tonight: The Complete Radio 1 Recordings (BBC, 1993) – frequently referenced on air by Peel, who described it as “a work of almost lunatic scholarship” (available second hand) – and The Peel Sessions: A Story Of Teenage Dreams and One Man’s Love Of Good Music (BBC, 2007). The latter volume, commissioned some time after Peel’s death, updates IST and narrows the focus to the late DJ and sessions for his shows, and is available in print and Kindle format. With listings of sessions by both artist and broadcast date, it is the standard reference work for this site.

Garner first met Peel at an Indian restaurant in Glasgow on St. Valentine's Day 1986 to interview the DJ for a student newspaper and subsequently came to know him well, spending half of every month from 1992-93 based at Radio 1 in John Walters' old office working on In Session Tonight, although the pair met less often from the mid nineties onwards. The last time they hooked up was when Peel went to Glasgow for an aborted DJ set as part of the Triptych Festival at the end of April 2004.[1]

Photograph of Peel in 1993 holding Ken Garner's In Session Tonight book

In The Peel Sessions, Garner writes about attending Peel's funeral at Bury St Edmunds Cathedral in November 2004:

I knew my life would not have taken the direction it did without his intervention.... As the brief montage of his show and music played out, I choked for the loss of my radio friend, the broadcast voice I knew far better than the man in the flesh, who had brought companionship and surprise into my room for almost the entirety of my adult life.[2]

Professional Life & Current Activities

For four years from 1993, Garner was radio critic for Scotland On Sunday. He subsequently did the same job at the Sunday Express until 2002, and was the founding editor of the scholarly periodical The Radio Journal: International Studies on Broadcast And Audio Media, for four years to 2006. At present, he is Senior Lecturer in Journalism at Glasgow Caledonian University, and runs the university's MA Multimedia Journalism, the only journalism masters on the UK mainland offering a unified print/radio/TV/online curriculum accredited by both main journalism training bodies, the NCTJ and BJTC

Ken is a member of the Peel Mailing List.

Selected Bibliography

See Also


  • [1] (dead link) Interviewed by Nemone, BBC Radio 6 Music, 2007-10-24, for launch of The Peel Sessions


  1. Peel Sessions p. 19-20. See also Gigography 2000-2004
  2. p. 20