THERE’S been a lot of grief on the radio over the past week. Voices cracked and tears flowed on BBC Radio 2 as presenters paid tribute to Steve Wright, a much-loved colleague and a broadcaster regarded by many as an inspiration.

Memories flooded in from listeners too, and what came up time and again was that although they didn’t know him, he’d felt like a friend. Fans recalled the shout-out on their son’s wedding day, dancing in the kitchen to the song he played for their anniversary, the time he said something cheeky to Nan on her big birthday - treasured memories held for years.

The outpouring of grief following Steve Wright’s death speaks volumes about the power of radio. There was a similar sense of loss when Terry Wogan died. We are collective listeners, tuned in to the same show at the same time, so it’s like being in a gang - yet there’s a personal touch connecting us to the voice over the airwaves.

It’s company, the radio. You get used to the way broadcasters talk, their quirks, their sense of humour, music tastes. Some we like, some we don’t. I enjoy the Jeremy Vine show but I can’t be doing with Scott Mills. Each to their own.

When I first started working from home I never had the radio on. I found it a distraction. But now I quite like it on in the background. I have the radio on at weekends too if I’m pottering about at home.

The radio was a constant in our house when I was growing up. We had breakfast every morning to the Today programme - I can still hear Brian Redhead’s voice - and tea-times were synonymous with the Minute Waltz, the opening music to long-running Radio 4 quiz Just a Minute. The Shipping Forecast was a comforting mainstay, even though I had no idea what any of it meant. I still like to listen to it.

My mum loved Radio 4, she wouldn’t listen to anything else. She did the ironing listening to The Archers and Women’s Hour. She made the tea to the panel game shows. My brother was decorating recently, while listening to I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. “It reminded me of Mum,” he said.

As a teenager I listened to Radio 1 in my bedroom. I had a little transistor radio, then a radio/cassette, which was my first grown-up Christmas present. My revision breaks were timed for Simon Bates’ Our Tune and, like everyone else my age, I taped the Top 40 on Sunday evenings.

The Radio 1 DJs of the Eighties seem old-school now, but having been at the helm of early pirate stations, they were the pioneers of broadcasting. Steve Wright was influenced by American DJs and brought the ‘zoo radio’ format to the UK. The zany characters populating his afternoon show were fresh and funny at the time.

Over the years I’ve driven to work with the breakfast show and home again to Drive Time. Presenters have been and gone, and some have stuck around. Some made me laugh, others were so infuriating I had to switch them off. But I remember them all, and can generally pinpoint what I was doing at various stages of life according to what was on the radio at the time.

I’ve often thought it sounds quite easy, just chatting into a mic and playing a few records. But having been a guest on a radio show, when I was so nervous I could barely speak, I know that there is much more to it than that. Radio presenting is a multi-skilled job and the biggest skill of all is making it sound like you’re just chatting to whoever is listening.

There was a time when everyone listened to the radio. Whole families would gather around it, pre-television.

Now you can’t listen to the radio without them plugging all the ways you can access it. The days of radio transmission as we know it are numbered. More than 60per cent of listeners are said to access live radio online, through smart speakers, smart TVs and apps. To compete with podcasts and music streaming platforms, radio has had to adapt to the digital age.

It is evolving, as it always has. But whatever way we listen in, we remain a nation of radio-lovers.