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RIP Phil Easton (1949-2009)

Larry Neild on the “gentle giant” of local radio who died suddenly yesterday

Published on February 10th 2009.


RIP Phil Easton (1949-2009)

PHIL Easton, knight of the airwaves and a people’s hero, is dead. Shortly after returning to his Crosby home, after finishing his breakfast show on City Talk yesterday (Monday), he suffered what is thought to have been a massive brain haemorrhage.

There were no warning signs or illness, and, indeed, he had sailed through his Monday show with all of his friendly wit and humour.

In fact I was one of the guests, yesterday, on the highly popular show he co-anchored with Kim Hughes. We talked about the council plan to make people pay to park in the city centre in the early evening. We both agreed it was a crackpot idea. As ever Phil was always ready with a considered opinion, a point of view.

During the past year, as a fellow presenter on City Talk, I got to know Phil Easton very well. In an industry not unaccustomed to larger-than-life egos he was a breath of fresh air. He was adored by everybody at the top of St John’s Beacon.

Phil had a career in radio spanning over 30 years, first joining Liverpool's Radio City in 1975, hosting the breakfast show on Magic 1548 and then just over a year ago he was the first broadcaster to be heard on City Talk as he launched the station on January 28, 2008.

He was one of the first arrivals when Radio City was launched in 1975 and you just imagined he would go on forever. Forthright as an interviewer, yet polite to his guests, drawing out the main points under discussion without fear or favour.For a dozen years he presented the Great Easton Express, one of the most popular programmes on a commercial radio station.

At Anfield Phil worked as stadium announcer, a dream job for any fan of Liverpool FC.

A year ago he agreed to take the plunge from spinning records to spinning words on City Talk, the all-talk radio station launched as part of the Radio City family.He took to it like a duck to water, but more than that, he took all newcomers at City Talk, including me, under his wing, always there with a friendly word of advice and encouragement.

He was planning to retire this year and move to Spain.On the air, he and his programme “oppo” , Kim, would squabble in the most friendly and delightful way.

She said today: “I’m naturally devastated. Phil was more than my co-host, he was my friend. I will miss him endlessly and send all of my love to his family”

Richard Maddock , Station Director for Radio City, Magic and City Talk added: "We are deeply saddened to hear this tragic news. Phil was an astounding broadcaster and friend to everyone here at Radio City, Magic and City Talk. Our thoughts are with his family at this terrible time."

On my part, my heart too goes out to his wife, Fran, and his three kids, Dan, Ben and Zoe. The loss of such a brilliant guy to radio pales into insignificance compared to the loss they have suffered.

Tributes will pour in and, for once, I am really lost for words. He was a gentle giant and I’ll miss him.

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21 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Rusty SpikeFebruary 3rd 2009.

Such a sad, unexpected loss to Liverpool. Phil Easton was a genuinely nice guy and a terrific broadcaster. Over the years he became a real Liverpool 'institution'. He would have liked Larry's warm tribute. Condolences to his family, friends, all at Radio City and City Talk and to Liverpool in general.

Richie PemFebruary 3rd 2009.

Long time since we spoke/met, memories of rallying in the 80's etc, thoughts with family, and his many friends out there.

maryleesFebruary 3rd 2009.

Poor Phil. A great man who deserved better and never got it. Like so many great Liverpudlians our Phil was loved for his easy charm and sympathy and many is the long night when my life was given meaning by his relaxed and warm presentation.Nohting will be the same without him, I can feel the depressing nights in the future weighing down upon me already.RIP my dearest.

murphz1February 3rd 2009.

I am gutted. The voice of Radio City and of Liverpool FC. Sincere condolences to Phil's family. You'll never walk alone

AnonymousFebruary 3rd 2009.

I met Phil on a walk for the childrens charity and we had a lovely chat, he brought his beautiul dog with him. Phil was a true gentleman and a nice person he will be sadly missed.YNWA

stuntmanFebruary 3rd 2009.

Shocked and sad to hear this news. Fondly remember listening to Phil in the early days of City on the Great Easton Express. Great music played and many a happy memory of the Quiet Hour.

sarah (liverpool)February 3rd 2009.

Manxjocky and ugger, if you can't be respectful, then don't say anything. Mr Magic, you were magic. I can't believe will never hear your smooth voice again. Deepest sympathies to his family and ALL his friends. RIP.

John B SheffieldFebruary 3rd 2009.

Phil was a true professional and gentleman, it was an honour to work with him from 1975 onwards at 194 Radio City. I'm still in shock. Radio and Football will miss Phil, Condolences to his Family, "You'll Never Walk Alone" - R.I.P.

billybutlerFebruary 3rd 2009.

What a shock.A broadcaster at home with all kinds of music...and topics.An all round broadcaster and more importantly----A Gent. Sleep peacefully Phil.

JunieFebruary 3rd 2009.

I felt that Phil was one of the family. We never met but that voice was so comforting and reassuring, I knew I was on home turf when I heard his friendly tone over the radio. Great man and he has left a big hole in every liverpudlians life. R.I.P(notice both Everton and Liverpool players wore arm bands on WEdnesday)

Mark McDonaldFebruary 3rd 2009.

In the early eighties I was a rookie newsreader and reporter at Radio City. Many evenings I read the news during the Great Easton Express. Phil was a friendly and inspiring role model for a young broadcaster. He was admired and respected by everyone who worked with him. Taken far too soon. RIP Phil.

Radio CityzenFebruary 3rd 2009.

In an ever changing cynical and often cruel world we needed people like Phil Easton just to remind us there is a lot of good things in life. His sudden and unexpected loss has left a void that will be so very hard to fill.

DigFebruary 3rd 2009.

I've been going to watch Liverpool on and off since I was big enough to tell my dad I'm never going to be a blue or go to Goodison with him again. In my years going to Anfield I've watched the stadium change. I've seen owners, managers and players all come and go. The only constant has been Phils friendly voice booming aroung the stadium. It will be sad and strange to experience Anfield without Phil. RIP Phil the voice and legend.

manxjockyFebruary 3rd 2009.

EDITORIAL says..rant removed

Media watcherFebruary 3rd 2009.

Phil Easton was one of those completely professional media people who could have probably worked anywhere, on any station, and that he chose to stick around here was one of the local industry's big gains. When you were in the studio with him, as I have been as a guest occasionally in the past, you knew that even when chaos was reigning all around, he would pull it all together and no one would ever even suspect any difference. He was also fair minded. A good bloke who has gone way too early.

d.owen wirralFebruary 3rd 2009.

what a loss.i can remember listening to phil around the early eighties when i was supposed to be doing my homework! he had a rock show then,and phil introduced me and probably alot of other people to rock music.i was lucky enough to meet phil years later in "aldos'" bar in town,and we chatted about that rock show.a true gent, even if he was a red!best wishes to his family.david

Ian Hamilton FazeyFebruary 3rd 2009.

We have lost a brick from the Mersey Wall. I got to know Phil in the early 1980s when I presented City's Home from the House political show on Friday nights. He always had a kind word. There was no side to him, just friendly openness. I used to see him occasionally in Sainsbugs Crosby and he was always much the same as he was 25 years ago. What a tragedy. What a loss.

murphz1February 3rd 2009.

I am gutted. The voice of Radio City and of Liverpool FC. Sincere condolences to Phil's family. You'll never walk alone

MichaelFebruary 3rd 2009.

I tell you there's a curse on that Tower, first Kev Seed goes, then Pete Price loses the Rubber Soul gig, then Phil Easton passes away. It's an unbelievablr run of bad luck.

Thomas LangFebruary 3rd 2009.

Such a loss to everyone most of all his family. my sincere condolences to Phil’s family. I remember being a kid and decorating me mums hall way listening to the Great Eastern Express with my sister and brother never thinking for one minute we would end up being good friends. Phil gave me fantastic advise through my career and was never mean giving Musicians opportunities and chances. He was a great supporter of live and local musicians.Sleep well Phil’s you where a whirl wind in a world of warm breezes. X

Nicky BrownFebruary 3rd 2009.

I've just read the news today of Phil's untimely death. As City's youngest DJ/presenter back in 1983, aged 17, Phil took me under his wing and helped me settle in Liverpool. I'll never forget the first time he heard Jump by Van Halen - he nearly blew the office walls down with it at top volume. Rest in peace Phil. Nick

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