Artists: Dan Wooding

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GONZO WEEKLY #50: Dan Wooding

Rick Wakeman writes:

"There have always been certain ‘careers’ that have fascinated the public, newspapers, and the media in general. Such include musicians, actors, sportsmen, police, and not surprisingly, the people who give the police their employment: The criminal.

For the man in the street, all these careers have one thing in common: they are seemingly beyond both his reach and, in many cases, understanding and as such, his only association can be through the media of newspapers or television.

The police, however, will always require the services of the grass, the squealer, the snitch, (call him what you will), in order to assist in their investigations and arrests; and amazingly, this is the area that seldom gets written about.

A very close and long standing friend of mine, a jolly Birmingham chap, by the name of Dan Wooding, who has since 1982 has lived in Southern California, ‘Collared’ the King of the Squealers and somehow got him to ‘spill the beans’......all of them !

I also met and knew ‘the King Squealer’ well, but his story remained a secret until Dan Wooding managed to persuade him to ‘talk’.

His story covers almost every emotion. Sad, serious and sometimes hysterically funny -- you cannot help but be fascinated by the extraordinary life of Maurice O’Mahoney - the King Squealer."

In November 2013, Jon talks to Dan about this extraordinary book.


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Dan Wooding Biography

Dan Wooding's career must rate as one of the most unusual in journalism for he has gone from being a correspondent for the National Enquirer and a staffer on two of Britain's raciest tabloids, to an undercover reporter and campaigner for persecuted Christians in the restricted countries of the world.

Educated at Queensbridge School in Moseley, Birmingham, England, Wooding (71) began his journalistic career in 1968 in London, England, with The Christian, Britain's oldest evangelical newspaper, rising to become its chief reporter. His first-ever interview for the paper, then owned by Billy Graham, was with Coretta Scott King at St Paul’s Cathedral where she was due to speak at a memorial service for her late husband, Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

When The Christian closed, he then moved to the Middlesex County Times in Ealing, London, where he wrote some of the earliest stories on the Monty Python team who made most of their programmes in Ealing. After five years with this local paper (when he also became a correspondent for all of Britain's national newspapers, including The Times) he was given a staff job as a senior reporter with the Sunday People in London, which at that time had the second highest circulation of any newspaper in Europe. Specializing in crime, religion and show business, he interviewed people like Britain's most infamous gangster Ronnie Kray, Johnny Mathis, Burt Lancaster and David Soul, as well as Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr from The Beatles. He also interviewed Mother Teresa in Calcutta. Wooding was also a London-based correspondent for the National Enquirer, America's largest circulation tabloid and later worked as a senior reporter with London's Sunday Mirror.

After a spiritual renewal in his life, Wooding left this form of journalism and has specialized in eyewitness reporting of persecuted Christians around the world. He has filed stories from Albania, Burma, China, Cuba, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Grenada, Lebanon, North Korea, Romania, Uganda and Vietnam, to name some of the hot spots. (He was one of the first-ever Christian journalists to be invited to report from North Korea and he spent a week there filing stories for the UPI Radio Network in Washington, DC.

His articles on Christians being persecuted for their faith are published worldwide and his weekly commentary was carried for ten years on the UPI Radio Network. 

Besides his reporting activities, he has also assisted in taking Bibles behind the then Iron Curtain to Russia and Romania, and also to Cuba. 

Wooding has worked as a writer and broadcaster with Billy Graham in Moscow, Russia; Essen, Germany and in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He wrote the cover story on Billy Graham, Graham's wife Ruth and son Franklin, for the March/April 1996 issue of the Saturday Evening Post.

Wooding is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) based in Lake Forest, California, and is the president of ASSIST News Service a daily news service that sends stories to 2,600 media outlets around the world.

While still in London, Dan was a reporter for BBC Radio 1. In the United States he has been the co-host of the TV show, The Hollywood Connection, as well as a regular guest on the 700 Club. He is now a host of His Channel Live a one-hour live Internet talk show that that goes out to 192 countries. 

Dan also hosts a weekly radio show called Front Page Radio, which is carried each Sunday on the KWVE Radio Network in Southern California and Nevada, and on many Calvary Chapel stations in in the US and also on Calvary Chapel Radio in the UK, UCB UK, and Lighthouse Radio in Belize.

Wooding is also a regular guest on In the Market with Janet Parshall on the Moody Radio Network, to talk about the latest stories featured on his news service.

Dan Wooding is a member of the National Union of Journalists and the International Press Association, and since moving with his family to the United States in 1982, Wooding has received numerous awards for his writing.

In 1984 he was awarded the Bronze Halo award from the Southern California Motion Picture Council for his stories on the "Suffering Church." The Evangelical Press Association in the USA awarded him first prize in their 1984 Higher Goals contest for his eyewitness reporting from war-torn Lebanon. In February 1987 he received a Silver Angel from the Hollywood-based Religion in Media organization for eyewitness reporting from Albania. 

The Friends of the Library of the University of California, Irvine, has honored him with awards for 8 of the 45 books he has written. One was Blind Faith, which he co-authored with his 93-year-old mother, and which tells the moving story of her work as a pioneer Braille Missionary amongst the blind people of Nigeria. Queen Elizabeth has subsequently honoured the book. The Christian Film & TV Commission based in Hollywood, California, gave Dan Wooding a special award for his journalism at their annual media breakfast in Beverly Hills, California, in March 2002.

In February 2012 Wooding was given the Passion for the Persecuted award by Open Doors USA at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention at the Gaylord Opryland Resort on Monday, Feb. 20th, in Nashville for his work in publicizing the plight of persecuted Christians around the world.

Then in November the British Pakistani Christian Association in London presented Dan with a special award for his services as a journalist and broadcaster in reporting on the terrible situation for Christians in Pakistan for many years now.

Wooding’s autobiography, From Tabloid to Truth (www.FromTabloidToTruth.com) was released on February 13th 2004 and carries a foreword by Brother Andrew – “God’s Smuggler” – with whom Dan worked as a writer for seven years.

One of his latest books, Red Dagger, has been released, and a fast-moving story based mainly in Gaza and Israel, but also in Ireland and the United Kingdom. Veteran American entertainer, Pat Boone said of the book, “Red Dagger is a gripping novel about terror, betrayal and redemption. Much of it is set in Gaza but also features a Northern Ireland terrorist and an American journalist who, after moving to London, finds himself spending too much time in a bar called The Stab in the Back with other drunken hacks. The conclusion of the book has a most dramatic twist that held my attention right to the very end. I enthusiastically endorse Red Dagger, which is written by one of the world’s most traveled journalists.”

In 2012 two of Dan’s books were re-released in the UK: Caped Crusader – Rick Wakeman in the 1970s,  with a foreword by Sir Elton John, and Terry Dene: Britain’s First Rock and Roll Rebel, with a foreword by one of Britain’s most well-known rock and roll singers, Marty Wilde, the father of Kim Wilde. A third, King Squealer, with a foreword by Rick Wakeman, was due for re-release early in 2013.

Wooding was born in Nigeria of missionary parents. He has toured southeast Asia and other parts of the world as a speaker. He has been married to Norma for 49 years and they have two sons, Andrew and Peter, both living in the UK. Andrew is the author of eight books; Peter is the UK correspondent for CBN and owns his own media production company.

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