Outpouring of tributes to ‘genuine good guy’ and music man following death aged 70
Heartfelt tributes to a Southport man who, aged just 22, became the first weekly editor.
Popular journalist and music lover Martin Hoven recently died at his home in Southport at the age of 70. The popular pressman was the first editor of the Wirral Globe when it came out in 1973 and was well known across Merseyside and Lancashire.
He edited the publication for many years and thereafter edited The Merseymart and the now-defunct free weekly The Champion, which he left in 2009.
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Mr. Hovden’s prolific journalism career has spanned both print and broadcast media. An avid music lover, he has presented his Live Sounds program for Dune FM and Southport’s Mighty FM radio stations, once authored a Live Sounds column for The Southport Visiter and the Liverpool Echo and has written for a number of other local ones Online Points of Sale.
Passionate, sometimes outspoken and popular, Mr Hovden has been described as “an inspiration”, a “fantastic journalist” and “Paxman-esque”. One person remarked, “What he didn’t know about the Southport political landscape wasn’t worth knowing.”
Established journalists hailed the “unique” mentor who mentored them as young reporters, while musicians hailed the “local legend” who attended live performances, judged competitions like the “Battle of the Bands” and “let the bands do the talking”. for themselves.’
Paul Kennedy, former chief reporter at the Liverpool Echo, now multimedia editor at Việt Nam News, said in a touching tribute on December 3: “32 years ago, Merseymart newspaper editor Martin Hovden took a great risk and hired a 17- year-old cockier, arrogant, thought he knew everything, boy with no journalistic experience, poor dress sense and zero qualifications.
“Thankfully he managed to take (some) of the arrogance out of my head and taught me the fundamentals I need to thrive in this fabulous industry. Just a few months ago I called him for employment advice and as always it was invaluable. Thank you Martin for taking this chance in 1990. I owe you my entire career. You were a really good egg.”
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Tony McDonough, former senior business reporter at the Liverpool Echo, now publisher of Liverpool Business News, said he was “shocked” and described him as a “really good guy” who is “sorryly missed”. He said on December 2: “I first worked with Martin at Merseymart in 1992. In 1994 he left to become editor of the Liverpool Champion and I became his deputy.
“He started his career with the Wirral News. In later years he edited the Southport Champion. Martin also worked at Southport Radio and was a huge supporter of the local music scene. A really good guy and he will be sorely missed.”
Liz Savage, former West Lancashire Councilor, praised the “excellent journalist” who has a “passion” for local politics and music. She said: “I am shocked and saddened to learn that Martin Hovden has passed away. He was a distinguished journalist with an inimitable and robust interviewing style. His passion for Southport’s politics and music scene shone through and his passing is a great loss to our town.”
Meanwhile, Andrew Brown, former editor of the Southport Visiter and founder of the community website Stand Up for Southport, said he was “sad and shocked” at the loss of the election journalist who “didn’t fear nor favored” and “took one keen interest in local and national politics.’
He said: “While Martin was the editor of the Champion and I was assistant editor and then editor of the Southport Visiter titles, we had a great working relationship and friendship.
“We worked together on the Children’s A&E Recovery Campaign in Southport – a campaign that saw 26,000 local people sign a petition demanding the services be remembered. He was well respected among his peers in the journalism industry.”
From Southport’s music scene, Robert Kirkby hailed the “local legend of the music scene” as a “true friend” and “true journalist at heart”, commenting: “Martin has been at the Band Royale competition nights week after week over the years, countless other gigs and supporting the youth by presenting their music on the radio.”
He continued, “He’s spent so many hours with us, mic in hand, letting the bands speak for themselves over the nine years it’s been on. He allowed them to put their own stamp on the music they played, which they say is rare these days.”
Matthew Cook simply said, “Such sad news, Southport’s music scene has lost a diamond.”