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Tributes pour in for radio veteran John Berks

John Berks. Picture: Twitter

John Berks. Picture: Twitter

Published Jun 6, 2022


Radio 702 pioneer John Berks was regarded as one of South Africa’s best radio presenters. He died on Saturday, at the age of 80 after a long illness.

Former colleagues and fans took to social media to pay tribute to the legendary jock who was well known for his prank calls and quick wit.

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Jonathan Procter, the CEO of Primedia, said Berks was a key pillar in the growth and development of 702, Primedia, and the broadcasting industry as a whole.

“An iconic radio broadcaster and talk-show host, he helped to shape the evolution and character of radio in South Africa and has left an indelible mark, not only on 702 but on the broadcasting industry as a whole.”

Berks’ radio career spanned four decades beginning at LM Radio in Mozambique in the 1960s. He also worked for Swazi Music Radio, Springbok Radio, Capital Radio 604 Transkei and Radio 5.

Berks joined 702 in 1981 to become one of South Africa’s most popular presenters, lighting up the airways with his provocative truth to power interviews with political and business leaders.

Broadcast journalist Aki Anastasiou took to Twitter where he posted: “A radio giant has fallen! A pioneer of talk radio in SA. He created the most authentic theatre of the mind experiences for his listeners.

“A sense of humour like no other. He had such a massive influence on my radio career. John Berks you were one of a kind! #RIPBerksie.”

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“RIP Mr Berks. Thank you for the memories and oh so many laughs. What a joyful drive to work each morning in the late ’70s early ’80s. Love you Lots. Bye Bye,” tweeted @DeniseCMyburgh.

At @6thCentsSA said: “That Kerzner prank call must go down as the best piece of Radio in SA history.”

“What a DJ from way back, the best in the business grew up with the man on radio. RIP Long John Berks️,” said @mikemcmullin10.

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The funeral and memorial details are yet to be confirmed.