Veteran broadcaster Ken Bruce hopes MBE highlights ‘many difficulties’ of autism

The radio DJ’s son was diagnosed with autism as a toddler.
The radio DJ’s son was diagnosed with autism as a toddler.

Radio broadcaster Ken Bruce said he hopes being made an MBE will highlight the challenges facing autistic people following his son’s diagnosis.

The 72-year-old Scottish broadcaster is among the people recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours as he is appointed to the rank for his services to radio, autism awareness and to charity.

He said in a statement to the PA news agency: “This is a great surprise and privilege.

“I hope it might help highlight the many difficulties autistic people face.”

Ken Bruce
Ken Bruce is being made an MBE for his services to radio, autism awareness and to charity

In 2009, Bruce released his autobiography Tracks Of My Years, speaking about his experience raising his autistic son Murray, who is non-verbal, with his third wife Kerith.

The radio DJ said it took three years before his son was diagnosed, writing in the Daily Mail: “It didn’t come as a surprise. But I can’t pretend it wasn’t a blow.

“It was not easy to accept I had an autistic son. Some say that after such a diagnosis you have to grieve for your lost child. I don’t like the terminology.

“Yes, you regret the lost opportunities and the changes it will mean to family life. I remember one of my early reactions was sadness that I wouldn’t be able to tell him bad jokes and hear him laugh.

“But my child is not lost. He is simply different.”

Chris Packham
Springwatch star Chris Packham (Jonathan Brady/PA)

This year, Bruce and Murray appeared in Springwatch star Chris Packham’s BBC Two documentary Inside Our Autistic Minds, exploring what it is like to have the condition and increasing understanding of it.

The Palace has said the radio DJ is being made an MBE for his services to raising awareness of autism as well as his work in radio and within charity.

Bruce first joined the BBC in 1977 as a Radio Scotland presenter and his first regular slot on Radio 2 was the Saturday Late Show in 1984.

The following year he fronted the Radio 2 Breakfast Show, taking over from Sir Terry Wogan.

He later moved to mid-mornings in 1986 and after a brief stint on late nights and early mornings, he returned to mid-mornings in January 1992.

His Radio 2 show was famous for a number of segments including PopMaster, a quiz to test music knowledge which has run for 25 years; Tracks Of My Years, where a famous guest chooses their favourite records and The Piano Room, featuring live music much-loved artists.

During his career, he also presented Radio 2’s coverage of Eurovision since 1988, and has been a regular presenter of Sunday Night Is Music Night.

After 31 years at the helm of the Radio 2 mid-morning weekday slot, Bruce announced his move to Bauer radio station to present a new mid-morning show on Greatest Hits Radio this year.