Tonight Pete Tong celebrated 20 years on Radio 1. He returned to his old 7pm time slot where we all first got to know and love him. It's impossible to overstate the importance of Pete Tong on dance culture in the 90's and early parts of the millennium. He's even had an impact on the English language with phrases like 'it's all gone Pete Tong', 'The weekend has landed' and 'Essential...' creeping into the mainstream vocabulary.
If it wasn't for him I would never have got my job at Radio 1. He also made my life as a DJ so easy by curating a brilliant collection of tunes each and every Friday night which made record buying on a Saturday so simple. I can't imagine what it would have been like walking into Eastern Bloc records, trying to make sense of everything new on offer, without a list cribbed from my trusted guide's show as a good starting point.
He was kind enough to allow me to appear on his show several times, the highlight being a mix from one of his Ibiza shows at Cafe Mambo in 2003. I was having such a nutty year that I was quite casual about it at the time. It's only now that I look back at it and think 'Wow'. What a privilege.
As a work collegue he's always been very generous and incredibly forward thinking, though when I started working at Radio 1 in 1996 he was the first DJ I approached to read out on air the URL for the first version of the Radio 1 website. He said no. He was right. Why would he? The Essential Selection was cool and the Web was not. Besides, it was a terrible website. Having said that it wasn't long before he spotted the potential and was the first DJ on Radio 1 ever to read out the URL soon after.
A couple of years later myself and my then assistant Martyn Davies created web experience for his show that was so ahead of it's time and I'm still yet to see a live show with a better digital experience. Whilst the show was playing we provided the listener with realtime tracklistings, realtime soundclips, a video stream of our artist in residence Charles Kriel VJing whilst in the chat room you could watch video and chat with the likes of Basement Jaxx, Erick Morillo, Sasha, James Lavelle or X-Press 2. This was 2000 by the way. No one had broadband, the realtime web was a good few years off and the iPlayer not even a twinkle in the BBC's eye at that time. It was incredibly experimental and was very special. Yes, that may sound really arrogant but when you've got a DJ and show team happy to push a few boundaries then you can do great things. Of all the things I've done over the years it remains one of my favourite.
Pete, you are a gentleman, a legend and I owe you more than I could ever explain. Thanks for an amazing 20 years. For me this is the greatest record ever to be played on your show.