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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 May, 2005, 13:46 GMT 14:46 UK
Virgin poaches top breakfast DJ
Christian O'Connell at the Sony Awards
Christian O'Connell has "a touch of genius", Sony Award judges said
Award-winning radio host Christian O'Connell is to join Virgin Radio's breakfast show from London station Xfm.

O'Connell recently won three prizes at the prestigious Sony Radio Awards, including breakfast show of the year and the entertainment award.

He was also named DJ of the year in 2004 and has hosted the breakfast show on indie station Xfm for four years.

His move to Virgin early in 2006 will see current breakfast hosts Pete and Geoff take up a new time slot.

He described the move to Virgin, a UK-wide rock and pop station, as "a dream come true".

'Improvisation'

"I can't wait to reach out to the country and beckon them to join me each morning with the combination of my show and the music we all love," he said.

O'Connell's Xfm show, mixing cheeky humour, banter and new music, has made him one of the UK's radio stars. He also presents BBC Radio Five Live's irreverent sports quiz show Fighting Talk.

At last week's ceremony, the Sony Awards judges said: "There is a touch of genius to Christian's approach to improvisation and presentation that really sets him apart."

Despite the acclaim, he prides himself on having the "the eleventh most popular breakfast show in London" and jokes that he has more awards than listeners.

His previous foray onto the national stage came when he replaced Chris Moyles on TV channel Five's Live With... show.

New talent

Virgin Radio acting chief executive Paul Jackson said his competitors would have "sleepless nights" over their new presenter.

"Christian O'Connell is the leading radio talent of his generation and this signing positions the station at the top of the radio game in London and across the country," he said.

Xfm managing director Graham Bryce praised O'Connell for "an amazing four years of breakfast radio".

"Together we have developed an award-winning show for Xfm," he said. "One of our strengths at Xfm has always been to recognise and encourage new talent."


SEE ALSO:
DJ duo quit Virgin breakfast show
17 May 05 |  Entertainment
BBC Radio 2 named best UK station
10 May 05 |  Entertainment
'New music' DJs head up Sony list
06 Apr 05 |  Entertainment
Xfm's O'Connell wins Sony honour
13 May 04 |  Entertainment
Virgin Radio starts daily podcast
09 Mar 05 |  Entertainment


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