Christian O'Connell is an English radio DJ who presents the Virgin Radio weekday breakfast show. He has formerly hosted BBC Radio Five Live's weekend sports game show Fighting Talk alongside the weekday breakfast show on indie music station Xfm London.
Christian has presented shows on stations in Liverpool, Bournemouth and London, and whilst still at XFM replaced Johnny Vaughan as presenter of Radio Five Live's weekend sports show Fighting Talk after Vaughan left to present the Capital FM breakfast show. Christian presented his last regular show for Radio Five Live on the 18th of December 2005.
When starting on Xfm, O'Connell ironically promoted his show as the "18th most listened to breakfast show in London" though by the time he left was proudly touting it as the 11th most popular, with 349,000 Londoners tuning in every week (399,000 nationally) - the station's best ever figures up to that point. In 2004 O'Connell won the DJ of the year award, and in 2005 best breakfast show and best entertainer at the Sony Awards. He and his team (Chris Smith, sidekick and news reader; Roque Segade-Vieito, producer and; a bloke called Brian) were subsequently poached by Virgin Radio to present their weekday national breakfast show.
O'Connell presented his final Xfm breakfast show on the 21st of October 2005, after which Shaun Keaveny deputised until the 31st of October when former drivetime presenter Lauren Laverne took up the position on a full time basis.
After his departure from XFM, O'Connell took a three-month break from daytime radio (or to use his own words, "was put on gardening leave") before succeeding Pete & Geoff on the Virgin Radio breakfast show. This was his first high-profile national radio show, beginning on the 23rd of January 2006. At the start of his first show O'Connell made light of the fact he had previously made fun of Virgin Radio while working for London rival XFM - before deciding to switch stations - but made no derogatory comments about his former station or replacement host, Lauren Laverne. In fact, Laverne is said to have made a brief but polite reference to O'Connell's return to radio during her show.
Virgin Radio also makes podcasts available of his programme.
Christian has appeared as a guest on a BBC2 sports show with Dickie Davies as one of the fellow guests. In 2003, Christian replaced Chris Moyles on Channel 5's "Live With..." show and went on to present trivia show "Pub Ammo" in 2004 on the same channel. In 2005 he also appeared on BBC2's Eggheads quiz show with Chris Smith, Roque Segade-Vieito and an XFM listener as the other panelists on his (losing) team. He has also narrated Channel 4's Rock School.
Personal & Family
Christian originally came from Winchester and has an Irish father. He attended a UK University and is married to Sarah, a British solicitor. They live in London and had their first daughter, Ruby, in 2004. He supports Championship football side Southampton FC, but claims he doesn't follow them so much since they were relegated from the top flight.
Facts & Oddities
Before becoming a radio presenter, Christian O'Connell was briefly a stand-up comedian, performing at various comedy clubs around the UK. Although he no longer does stand-up, there's still a strong comedy element to his music radio shows. Karl's famous Educating Ricky story of a Hippo who ate a midget was originally told on Christian's show, which he admitted. In a later show it was revealed that Karl had copied the idea for Monkey News from Christian, and at one point he refused to do the feature to avoid offending Christian
- Virgin Radio Breakfast show minisite
- Christian O'Connell presenter page at Virgin Radio
- Christian O'Connell interviewed From London's Evening Standard (May 2003)
- Press Gazette interview (Jan 2006)