I'm currently watching a copy of "John Peel's Record Box", which recounts the life of the DJ through his favourite singles. I'm reminded of the way in which I heard of his death: through an appropriately respectful posting on the "best of the b3ta message board" RSS feed. Being separated from the mass media of Englandland, you start to pick up your information from unusual sources. I'm sure I've witnessed a few other events through sardonic internet cartoons (possibly the passing of Ronnie Barker was communicated to me through similar means). These days, when I see a cartoon on that feed that I don't fully understand, I have to do a quick check to see if something important has happened.
Incidentally, I did see John Peel once. He was supposed to show up and play a DJ set at All Tomorrow's Parties at Camber Sands in 2002, but he never showed up. Instead, I saw him one December afternoon the next year standing on the steps of Broadcasting House in London, wearing an anorak, and deep in conversation with someone else. I can't be sure, but I'm convinced that the person was pressing on him a tape or freshly burned CD.