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Relatively speaking: we talk to John and Linda Cullen

By Karen Ireland

Published 20/01/2016

Musical inspiration: Linda and John Cullen
Musical inspiration: Linda and John Cullen

DJ Johnny Hero hosts U105's drive time show, while his sister Linda is also a presenter at the station and helps their mum run the Sewing Box shop.

I present the night time show on U105 four evenings a week. The rest of the time I can be found helping my mum run her Sewing Box shop in Belfast which she opened 34 years ago.

It's a garment altering shop and she is a real whizz at it. I see my mum everyday - she is one of my favourite people.

We are a very close family, growing up my three brothers always looked out for me.

John and I have always shared a love of music and I definitely looked up to him, following him everywhere, and everything he did I wanted to do.

That's how I got into being a DJ as my first gig was taking over for him when he left the local youth club.

It was when I realised I could get paid to DJ at weddings and events that I really became hooked - I love doing it.

Although I'm a very private person, being on the radio is a chance to chat to people just like me and share our different stories. In a way it doesn't feel public, it has an intimate feel which is not intrusive at all.

John is an amazing brother and I love working with him. He has always encouraged me, so that means a lot.

I try to get the family together as often as possible as I love spending time with my brothers and my mum.

John is an inspiration and has a fantastic sense of humour so I'm lucky to be part of the family I am."

Name: Linda Cullen

Age: 49

Occupation: Radio presenter and shop owner

Relationship to John: Sister

For the last 26 years, I have worked in radio. It's a fantastic job and I feel very privileged to do what I do.

Actually it was my wee sister Linda who got me onto the airwaves. I had been working as a DJ in bars and hotels and sending demos to places but nothing was happening. She saw an ad on Ceefax for presenters for a pirate radio station in Monaghan and we both sent in demos and got work there.

It was a brilliant experience and from that experience I had some good demos which I was able to send to Downtown Radio before I got a job there.

Linda also introduced me to my wife, Lisa, who is Linda's best friend. It did take some gentle persuasion, though, to get Lisa to go out with me. When I asked her out the first time she told me to go away. She finally agreed to go out with me and we now have two wonderful children, Rebecca (14) and John (13).

We live in Carryduff and have been married for 17 years now.

I get to meet some characters and have great banter everyday on the U105 afternoon show I present. My favourite part of the week, though, is when Linda comes into the show on a Thursday afternoon to do the weekly film review - and we have a bit of craic. It's just like sitting in the living room having a cup of tea.

The two of us have always been close. We also have two brothers, Patrick and Paul, and we are all a close-knit bunch. Linda is the glue that holds us all together, making sure we all get together at Christmas and birthdays.

Growing up, the other two weren't really into music the way Linda and I were. We would go to clubs together and share a real passion for playing music at all kinds of events.

We used to talk about music and bands all the time growing up. I got my nickname Johnny Hero as I used to sing the David Bowie song Heroes all the time, then people started calling me Johnny Hero and it just stuck.

Linda is a fantastic sister, although I did feel sorry for her, as growing up when she brought a boyfriend home he had her three brothers to get past. I've always been very protective of her.

Mostly, though, she is great fun to be around."

Name: John Cullen (Johnny Hero)

Age: 55

Occupation: Radio presenter on U105 Relationship to Linda: Brother

The man behind the microphone

■ John Cullen began his broadcasting career at a pirate station in Monaghan

■ He then went to Downtown Radio where he spent 20 years before moving to U105 drive time

■ He has won three Hot Press Awards and was the Northern Ireland Radio Presenter of the year

■ The popular radio presenter played in bands since he was 17

■ Away from work he coaches junior football

Belfast Telegraph

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