By Gavin Gibbon
Malcolm Taylor passed away on Wednesday morning after suffering a heart attack
If Malcolm Taylor could have bottled the sound of his voice and sold it, then he would have featured near the very top of the annual Forbes Rich List for a considerable amount of time.
That was the view of long-term colleague and friend Richard Dean, who paid tribute to the 66-year-old following his untimely passing on Wednesday morning.
That view has been echoed throughout Dubai and the wider UAE by avid listeners to ARN’s Business Breakfast show since the sad news broke of Taylor’s sudden death.
Dean, who co-hosted the Business Breakfast show with Taylor since 2004, told Arabian Business: “He was that thing, as a broadcaster, they always teach you that you have to be someone’s friend on the radio. People have got to like you and it’s not like you’re talking to 100,000 people, you’ve got to be talking to just one person and he just had that natural ability and was naturally warm and likeable.
“It was the great voice, the resonance, the timbre, the intonation, the ability to almost stand-up comedy-like land a punch-line. It was talent,” he added.
A long-term Gulf resident, Taylor first arrived in the region in 1967 when his parents were posted to Bahrain. His first trip to Dubai came five years later, when he and a few friends swam across the creek, with a rowing abra containing their clothes close behind.
Before joining Dubai Eye in 2004, he enjoyed a senior management career that saw him work for numerous blue chip companies including Dow Jones, Capital Intelligence and Reuters, holding country and regional management roles in Bahrain, Kuwait, Korea, Cyprus and South Africa.
It is with great sadness that we learn of Dubai Eye broadcaster Malcolm Taylor’s passing. He has been an ardent believer of what we are creating at Expo 2020 from the bid days in 2013 and will be much missed. We will carry his spirit and love for Dubai to October 2020 and beyond. pic.twitter.com/WCjbsnUVWn— Expo 2020 Dubai (@expo2020dubai) December 4, 2019
But it was behind the microphone, alongside Dean and Brandy Scott on Dubai Eye 103.8, that he really found his niche, even if it did come as something of a surprise.
“Malcolm stumbled into it just because he is supremely, naturally talented at broadcasting,” explained Dean. “He’s just got that thing, that voice, that story-telling ability. That’s how he got the job, he had no qualifications for it at all, but he just sounded so good on the radio that he got the job.”
With a supreme knowledge of the local, national and international business world, combined with a tremendous sense of humour, Taylor quickly became the voice of breakfast, to be enjoyed at home, on the morning commute or at the office.
Trevor McFarlane, CEO, EMIR, who appeared on the show - both as guest and presenter - summed up the thoughts of many.
He told Arabian Business: “Dubai is a poorer place with the passing of the great broadcaster Malcolm Taylor, a legend of Dubai radio and the perceptive and respected voice on business. He was a friend and I'll miss him, not least his razor-sharp intellect, broad knowledge and his unique sense of humour. Everybody who knew him - in person or via radio - will miss him."
#Dubai has lost a legend in Malcolm Taylor. I’m thinking about him and all the fun we had on and off air. Condolences to his colleagues, friends and family. We’ll all miss him, not least his intellect, humour and honeycomb voice @DubaiEye1038FM pic.twitter.com/MfMgmHZmk6— Trevor McFarlane (@Trevor_EMIR) December 4, 2019
During his time with the Business Breakfast, the show was awarded ‘Middle East Breakfast Show of the Year’ at the international RadioCast awards, and won the ‘Award for Excellence in Financial Journalism’ at The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales’ Middle East excellence awards.
But while he was constantly on top of the latest developments in the business world, he wasn’t as readily accepting of developments in technology.
Dean joked: “He wasn’t on social media. He didn’t even have the old person’s social media, Facebook. Not on Facebook, not on Twitter, not on Instagram, not on LinkedIn; didn’t care, just not interested in it. He thought it was an absolute load of nonsense and couldn’t be doing with it.
“And people liked that. Whereas the rest of us talk about posting a podcast, or posting a picture of me with Richard Branson and see how many likes I get. He just didn’t care about that. And of course people loved that warmth and generosity.”
Gone too soon to the great radio studio in the sky. Malcolm Taylor taught me what no university could: how to analyze the economy with balloons, party hats and streamers! #rip #businessbreakfast #dubaieye #malcolmtaylor pic.twitter.com/UjMjuPuNWT— Richard Dean (@richardradiodxb) December 4, 2019
Then there was a time around a year ago where he insisted on celebrating a quarter-of-one-percent cut in interest rates by the Federal Reserve by bringing balloons, party hats and streamers into the studio at 5am and having a party.
“That’s how you bring quite a dull, but important story to life, and that’s what he done so well,” said Dean.
Taylor once summed up his life in the region, and said: “I have spent most of my years in the Gulf and now live in Dubai which is the best home anyone could hope for, with a high personal security, plenty to do, great weather, and a wonderfully welcoming local population. It is a pleasure to be here.”
The pleasure has been all Dubai’s.
Malcolm Taylor is survived by his partner Theresa.
A spokesperson for ARN said: “The entire ARN family is holding Malcolm’s family and friends in their thoughts at this time.”