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Remembering radio royalty: RIP Kirk Anthony 1959-2013

THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC: Kirk Anthony died last week

HE SOOTHED a generation of radio listeners with his smooth baritone voice and his selection of soul music classics.

But sadly, this past weekend, friends and fans of Kirk Anthony were in mourning upon learning that the former Choice FM radio host had died.

Famed for his late night Choice show The Quiet Storm, the DJ, born Kirk Anthony Derrick, found favour not only for his sweet selection of music, but for his charismatic hosting style.

He went on to present the station’s Mid-Morning Jam and in 2006, he was appointed as Choice’s new head of music, becoming responsible for the station's overall music programming.

In 2009, the London-born talent left the UK and relocated to Lagos, Nigeria, to continue his radio career.

He became the director of programmes for Nigerian station Smooth 98.1FM Lagos and remained in the post until his untimely death on May 31. It has been reported that he died of a heart attack.

Following his death, the station posted the following message on their Twitter page:

Tributes have since poured in from Kirk’s friends, fans and former colleagues, who have all expressed shock and sadness at his passing.

His former Choice FM colleague Angie Le Mar told The Voice: “When I heard [Kirk had died], I went to bed. It rocked me. He was somebody who had a natural gift for radio. He was a music programmer; he would programme the music we would listen to, and that’s the backdrop to Choice FM building itself to be what it is today.”

She added: “I will remember his voice and [his show] The Quiet Storm – I couldn’t go to bed until The Quiet Storm finished because I knew he was going to play tunes back to back to back.

“I remember covering The Quiet Storm one day and I was scared. But he phoned me afterwards and said, ‘You did good girl.’ He was just a kind guy. Everybody will say great things about him.”

Mirroring Le Mar’s sentiments is Choice FM DJ Daddy Ernie.

“Kirk was one of the godfather’s of Choice FM,” Ernie told The Voice. When you talk about the original Choice FM, you have to talk about him. He was part of the foundation.

“He was a music man – he loved his lover’s rock. So he was well placed as a programme director at Choice. Then, the opportunity came for him to go to Nigeria so he went.”

Recalling the last time he saw his former colleague, Ernie said: “Me and [fellow Choice DJ] Jiggs went to Nigeria to do a show in 2010 and we met up with him out there. We had a wicked time. He was really happy in Nigeria – he loved it out there.”

Ernie adds: “He was a good man a and music man at heart. I used to call him Captain Kirk! He’ll be sadly missed.”

A Choice FM spokesman told The Voice that the charismatic host would be remembered for his "outstanding contribution" to the popular station.

"Kirk was one of Choice FM's founding members, and still has many friends in the team," they said.

"He made such an outstanding contribution during his time here at Choice, and his show The Quiet Storm is still talked about to this day. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time."

With a career spanning over three decades, Kirk Anthony is one of the greats of black British radio. His contribution to black music both here in the UK and in Nigeria was immense, and his death is a huge loss to the radio world.

His passion for music, his charm and that unforgettable voice is sure to live on in the hearts and minds of his friends and fans for many years to come. Kirk Anthony, we salute you.

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