A memorial service for popular radio presenter Malcolm Taylor was held in Dubai on Wednesday morning, with a former colleague saying “the airwaves will never be the same”.
Scores of mourners joined friends, family and former colleagues to pay tribute to Taylor, who was co-host of Dubai Eye's Business Breakfast, at a service in the Holy Trinity Church in Oud Metha.
The broadcaster was a mainstay of the region’s airwaves since moving to Dubai in 1998, building a loyal and devoted following in the city. He died last week, at the age of 66, after a heart attack.
“The airwaves will not be the same,” his former Dubai Eye colleague Richard Dean said during the service.
“He would ask the tough questions without fear or favour.
“He had two golden rules which were speak to the audience as if there was just one listener and to be the audience’s best friend.”
Taylor moved to the region in 1967, leaving England after his parents accepted jobs in Bahrain.
Before he joined the team at Dubai Eye in 2004, he was a senior manager for companies including Dow Jones, Capital Intelligence and Reuters.
He worked in Bahrain, Kuwait, South Korea, Cyprus and South Africa.
“What a voice he had,” said Mr Dean. “We would often joke that if the end of the world ever came we would want him to do to the voice-over for it.
“He was just instinctive and a natural in the art of broadcasting.”
Brandy Scott, who co-hosted the Business Breakfast show with Taylor, shared fond memories of her former colleague.
“He was an exceptionally generous man,” she said.
“Malcolm was still feeding the cats outside our old office in Studio City. He had an agreement with the security guards there.”
She said her former co-host enjoyed his work.
“I have spoken to people who said they were afraid to be interviewed because they knew he would hold them to account,” she said.
Taylor’s partner, Teresa Cotton, spoke of the bond he built with Mr Dean and Ms Scott.
“The three amigos will now be the dynamic duo,” she said. “Malcolm would be awed at the outpouring of love.
“There is a big void in my life and the lives of many others.”
Colm McLoughlin, chief executive of Dubai Duty Free, said it was always a thrill to be interviewed by the experienced presenter.
“I remember once being interviewed by Malcolm and he told me we were going to a break halfway through,” he said.
“Malcolm asked me then how I remembered all the facts and figures and I told him jokingly I made half of them up.
“After a few emails, I realised we were not on a break at all.”
He said Taylor’s reputation for excellence was well-deserved and his success in the broadcasting industry was no fluke.
“I was not surprised by all the awards Malcolm won,” he said.
“Him and Brandy were the world’s best.”
Jim Berry, who grew up with Taylor in Bahrain, also spoke during the service.
“Leaving Reuters was the making of Malcolm as he became one of the most-loved radio presenters in the Middle East,” he said.
“He had a gift for combining plain speaking with humility and kindness.”
Jon Bramley, vice president of communications at Expo 2020, said Taylor played a key role in helping to support Dubai’s bid to host the event.
“We were just devastated when we heard the news about Malcolm,” he said.
“He was without doubt the most loved and respected member of the media to cover the event.
“His spirit and passion for Expo will help carry the rest of the team through until our gates open in October.”