David Kid Jensen

David Jensen (b. Canada, 04 July 1950), also known as 'Kid' Jensen is a radio DJ, TV presenter and broadcaster.

He began his radio career at Radio Luxembourg at the age of just 18 (thus earning his nickname). He later moved to the UK to work for Radio Trent and in 1976 moved to BBC Radio 1, initially presenting the Saturday morning show from 10 am from 25 September 1976. On British television he began hosting the pop music show 45 or Rock on 45 for Granada TV as early as May 1974[1] and after his move to the BBC he made his debut as Top of the Pops presenter on 18 November 1976, the first act on that night being Mud with Lean on Me. Chicago were at no.1 with If You Leave Me Now. Meanwhile he was also hosting the second series of Pop Quest on Yorkshire TV together with Sally James, beginning something of a tradition as quiz show host.

Jensen continued with the weekly morning radio show throughout 1977, while also standing in for colleagues in various time slots when they were on holiday. On Christmas Day 1977 he hosted Quiz Kid, "an appetiser for the 1978 series of Radio 1's pop quiz", which then became the Sunday afternoon Quiz Kid 78. On 17 April 1978 he moved to a new regular Monday to Friday 'tea-time' slot of 4.30 - 7.30 pm, which also incorporated Newsbeat at 5.30[2]. Each day of the week had a different feature: the Thursday show featured the new album chart, while the Friday show also featured Round Table from 6.00 pm. The Quiz Kid 78 final was held on 04 June 1978.

In line with the new 'health-conscious' Britain, from 13 November 1978 he also hosted Stayin' Alive "a programme on all aspects of living a full, rewarding and healthy life" with Dr Alan Maryon Davis and Alison Rice which went out on Monday nights at 7.00 pm.

The 4.30 pm show continued into 1979, with the Wednesday night 'mailbag' slot initially advertised as being co-hosted by Annie Nightingale although from 31 January 1979 became a programme in its own right hosted by Nightingale alone at 7 pm after Jensen's show.[3] Quiz Kid 79 ran on Sunday afternoons from February to June. The tea-time slot continued throughout the year, as did Stayin' Alive and Round Table. Stints for jensen during the by now customary Radio 1 Roadshow, 'Fun Days' and weeks out also ensued. 1980 saw him firmly installed in the usual slots although Quiz Kid was replaced by Musicology "a contest of rock and pop knowledge between colleges and universities throughout Britain" which went out during the course of the Tuesday programme at 6.30, starting on 29 January 1980[4]. His final 'tea-time' show before leaving the BBC for the US seems to have been on Thursday 29 May 1980. The next day's show and Round Table were hosted by Paul Gambaccini who continued with the slot. Stayin' Alive was taken over by Andy Peebles. His final Top of the Pops before the break also went out on that day.[5]

In the meantime former Newsbeat presenter Richard Skinner had begun his career as a DJ. "I was lucky to be on-the-spot when Kid Jensen went to America, and I did his show for a few weeks, and really things went from there" declared Skinner in the Radio Times. Jensen had left the BBC to work with the US cable channel WTBS (part of the Turner Broadcasting System) on their evening news show. [6]

Jensen was back at Radio 1 a year later, this time on the early evening show at 8.00 pm, starting on 05 October 1981. He stated in an October edition of Radio Times: "I want to play a mix of everything and I'll definitely be keeping sessions from new bands. My only reservation about coming back is that things happen so quickly ..I've had a lot of catching up to do". Hoever he later commented in a November issue: "I find it rather reassuring that the music industry is unchanging - I have had less catching up to do than I expected. Musically though, the charts are even more varied than before, but unfortunately tastes are more polarised".

The placing immediately before John Peel's show at 10.00 led to the 'Radio 1 night time' package and a long-lasting collaboration and friendship between the two. Like Peel's show, Jensen's would also feature the occasional 'session' tracks recorded by contemporary groups such as Simple Minds, The Smiths, Soft Cell, China Crisis, U2 and Big Country.

Jensen also began presenting Top of the Pops again on 15 October 1981 and remained until his final show on 07 June 1984, presented with 'Rhythm Pal' John Peel, with whom he had appeared for a total of eighteen shows as co-host.

He left the BBC again in 1984 moving to Capital FM where he presented a weekday mid-morning show, moving to weekday drivetime in 1987 until 1998. He also presented the weekly The Network Chart Show, the UK's first syndicated commercial radio show which originally went out every Sunday between 5pm and 7pm, competing directly with Radio 1's Top 40 show. In 1998 went on to present the drivetime slot on London's Heart 106.2 FM.

On 15 January 2018 it was announced that Jensen had been suffering from Parkinson's Disease for the past five years.

Notable shows


  • 1971: Radio Luxembourg (?) Grand Funk Railroad specials, mentioned here (p.2)

Radio 1

  • Quiz Kid 78
  • Stayin Alive: "A Kid Jensen holiday special featuring the music of the Bee Gees" (24 March 1978)
  • Stayin' Alive: a programme on all aspects of living a full. rewarding and healthy life (from 13 November 1978)
  • Quiz Kid Christmas Special - three past winners pit their wits against three pop experts, DJs Mike Read, Paul Gambaccini and Andy Peebles (25 December 1978)
  • Quiz Kid 79 (from 25 February 1979 [7] to 10 June 1979)
  • In Concert - the Tom Robinson Band, introduced by Jensen. (05 May 1979)
  • In Concert - Roxy Music introduced by Jensen (02 June 1979)
  • Kid Jensen Special - In two special programmes, Kid Jensen finds out all about North Sea oil from those who work with it (10 and 11 September 1979). 



  • 45/Rock on 45 (1974-1975)
  • Pop Quest (1976-1977)
  • Top of the Pops (1976-1980, 1981-1984)
  • The British Rock and Pop Awards (1978, 1983, 1984
  • Battle of the Pop Bands (17 May 1983)
  • International Battle of the Pop Bands (30 September 1983)

Radio 1 Vintage

  • Kid Jensen was among the many DJs featured in hour-long specials produced for the on-line Radio 1 Vintage station, established to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the station. Jensen's show included:
    • interview with HRH Prince Philip, the duke of Edinburgh
    • interview with Morrisey
    • excerpt from Round Table with guests George Harrison and Michael Jackson.
    • Music played:
    • Ghosts - Japan
    • Oblivious - Aztec Camera
    • Song to the Siren - This Mortal Coil

External links

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