Stephanie Hirst during an invited visit to 10 Downing St in 2016
Hirsty's Daily Dose
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Hirst moved onto Minster FM in York, then onto The Pulse of West Yorkshire in Bradford in 1995 to present the evening show. In 1997 she moved to Hallam FM in Sheffield, her local station, where she hosted the drivetime programme for three years. She then returned to The Pulse of West Yorkshire to co-host the breakfast show with Elisa Hilton, but quickly left to take over the breakfast show at Viking FM in Hull – the one area of Yorkshire which had yet to hear her – after the departure of JK and Joel. She and her breakfast team won a Sony Award in 2002.
Hirst left 96.9 Viking FM, to take on the breakfast show (entitled Hirsty's Daily Dose) at Galaxy Yorkshire, a station covering all areas of Yorkshire. The Daily Dose team, led by Hirst, including ex-Viking colleague Danny Oakes and existing Galaxy Yorkshire presenter Joanne (Jojo) Kelly (née Moorhouse) won the title of Commercial Radio Presenter(s) Of The Year at the CRCA Awards, and was nominated in the breakfast category of the 2005 Sony Awards.
After Neil Fox quit as the long-running host of the nationally networked Hit40UK in 2004, Hirst – one of his stand-ins previously from 2003 – was recruited, initially with Katy Hill, to host the programme each Sunday from the studios of Capital Radio in London and went on to host the programme alone. She was up against JK and Joel on BBC Radio 1 for the chart audience on a Sunday afternoon – the presenters whom she succeeded at Viking FM and with whom she remains close friends; in fact, during her chart reign she shared a flat in London with Joel Ross. Also a spin-off TV show Hit40UK TV hosted by Hirst was broadcast on a weekend on Channel 4's youth strand T4. She won a Sony Award for the show in 2006.
During Hit40UK on 2 April 2006, she announced that Gnarls Barkley had made pop history as the UK's first number one song based on download sales alone.
Hirst presented her last Hit40UK chart on 15 October 2006, due to objections from Galaxy's rival Yorkshire radio stations Viking FM, Radio Aire and Hallam FM who were due to start broadcasting the chart on 22 October 2006. They were unhappy that a Galaxy Yorkshire presenter would be heard on their station, since they could possibly lose a proportion of their breakfast audience to Hirst's weekday breakfast show.
In May 2013, Hirst returned to presenting nationally on Gold on Saturday afternoons between 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm, later moving to the earlier time of 12:00 pm and 4:00 pm, where she went on to create a show called 'Vinyl Heaven', with every song played live from the original vinyl copies.
On 20 June 2014, Hirst announced that she had left her presenting roles at Capital and Gold, which brought Hirsty's Daily Dose to an end after 11 years. 2014 also saw her collect a nomination for 'Breakfast Show of the Year' at the Radio Academy Awards (formerly Sony Awards). The final edition had aired on 13 June. Adam O'Neill took over as the main host of the newly named Capital Breakfast with Danny and JoJo remaining co-hosts.
In January 2015, Hirst started work on ITV's morning show 'Lorraine' as part of a strand called 'Change One Thing'. Hirst continues to be part of ITV Lorraine's extended presenter family.
She made a return to radio on 4 July 2015, with a programme called, 'Nothing but the 90s' which was aired on BBC Radio Manchester from 10 pm to 12 midnight every Saturday. In a 2015 interview she said coming back to radio at a time slot which was somewhat tucked away at night and not in the limelight felt just right, so she could find her new voice without huge pressure.
On 5 March 2016, she started a new radio programme on BBC Radio York called 'Stephanie Hirst's Vinyl Revival'. The show aired every Saturday from 12 noon to 2 pm for 8 weeks while the usual presenter of that time slot was away on leave. She has also presented a few spin-offs of this show including a 3-hour version for Bauer's 'Greatest Hits Network' and Vinyl top 40 show for the BBC.
As of 3 September 2016, her weekly Saturday night show on BBC Radio Manchester changed to a "Vinyl Revival" show, airing at the same time from 10 pm to 12 midnight. The show is the only one of its kind on UK radio, with Hirst playing each song live from the original vinyl copies, along with taking live listener requests.
At the Radio Festival which took place at The British Library in London on 26 October 2016, she was awarded a 'Fellowship', the highest honour The Radio Academy may confer upon a member of the radio industry, to recognise her outstanding contribution to British radio and the industry.
In April 2018, Hirst began hosting her own daily radio show since leaving Capital in 2014. The Stephanie Hirst Show broadcasts on BBC Radio Leeds weekdays 9:00-12:00, becoming the BBC's first presenter to daily broadcaster who has a trans history.
Transition and activism
Hirst came out publicly as a woman and talked about her gender transition on 11 October 2014 during an interview with Stephen Nolan on BBC Radio 5 Live. In 2014 and 2015 Hirst was included in The Independent On Sunday's "Rainbow List", an annual celebration of 101 LGBT people in the UK.
In June 2016, she was one of the prominent faces of Pride In London's 'No Filter' campaign. The manifesto film, which starred Hirst alongside Sir Ian McKellen and Graham Norton, explored what 'No Filter' means to the LGBT+ community. A second short film was made with Hirst describing her first 'No Filter' moment and shown daily within London's Westfield centre. In July 2016, Hirst was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Leeds Beckett University for her LGBT activism. In February 2017, Hirst was nominated for a British LGBT Award in the 'Top 10 LGBT+ Celebrity' category.
- Halliwell, Rachel (3 July 2015). "Stephanie Hirst: 'Why I'm returning to radio a year after transitioning from a man to a woman'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
- "Stephanie Hirst 'Coming Out' Interview". BBC 5Live.
- Scotney, Kelly (25 July 2016). "Stephanie Hirst Awarded Honorary Doctorate". Leeds Beckett AC. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
- "Rainbow List 2014, 1 to 101". The Independent. 9 November 2014.