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.
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.
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.
- Lost Sessions And Sticky Tapes, The Listener, 1987-01-08, p. 24
- In Session Tonight: The Complete Radio 1 Recordings (BBC, 1993, ISBN 0563364521) - extracts from chapter 1 relating to Peel show of 14 March 1992 are available in the Files section of the Peel Mailing List homepage
- The Peel Sessions: A Story Of Teenage Dreams and One Man’s Love Of Good Music (BBC, 2007, ISBN 1846072824)
- Wedding Present: The Complete Peel Sessions (6xCD box set) - sleeve notes
- Reading Peel The Radio Journal: International Studies on Broadcast And Audio Media, Vol 4.1, 2 & 3, October 2007, pg. 83-7
- Kats Karavan: The History of John Peel On The Radio (4xCD box set), October 2008 - booklet introduction
- Ripping the pith from the Peel: Institutional and Internet cultures of archiving pop music radio Radio Journal:International Studies in Broadcast & Audio Media Vol 10 (2), pp. 89-112. (2012)
- BBC - Radio Reinvented - John Peel - History Of The BBC Published to mark 50th anniversary of BBC Radio One in 2017
- User:275285kg - Ken's user page on John Peel Wiki
- Glasgow Caledonian University - profile, including selected publications
-  running this is Ken's day job
-  (dead link) Interviewed by Nemone, BBC Radio 6 Music, 2007-10-24, for launch of The Peel Sessions