Is BBC Radio 2's exodus of older stars backfiring?
Is BBC Radio 2’s exodus of older stars backfiring? Vernon Kay loses 1.3million listeners after taking over Ken Bruce’s show – while audience at veteran DJ’s new station Greatest Hits Radio grows by 800,000 since June
Vernon Kay’s BBC Radio 2 show has lost 1.3million listeners since he took over from Ken Bruce – while the veteran DJ’s audience at his new station Greatest Hits Radio is booming.
The figures follow a backlash among listeners after older stars including Bruce, Steve Wright and Paul O’Grady were shipped out for younger DJs like Scott Mills, Rylan Clark and Michelle Visage.
Kay’s mid-morning show pulled in 6.9m listeners, according to data released today by Rajar. This is significantly less than the 8.2m achieved by his predecessor, although it remains the most popular radio show in the UK.
Bruce admitted feeling like he had been ‘taken for granted’ when he left his Radio 2 show earlier this year. And his former BBC bosses will no doubt be kicking themselves after his new station – Greatest Hits – gained 800,000 weekly listeners since June.
The commercial network, which also counts ex-Radio 2 veteran Simon Mayo as a presenter, has seen impressive growth of 76.9 per cent year on year, the biggest across all stations.
Ken Bruce (pictured) admitted feeling like he had been ‘taken for granted’ when he left his longrunning Radio 2 show earlier this year
Vernon Kay’s mid-morning show pulled in 6.9m listeners, according to data released today by Rajar. He’s seen at the Art of Wishes Gala in London earlier this month
It now now has 6.5m weekly listeners across all its shows, compared to 3.7m last year. Radio 2 is registering 13.5m weekly listeners, which is one million down on the same period last year.
Bruce said: ‘I’m delighted to hear that Greatest Hits Radio has welcomed more and more listeners.
‘Much like myself, it’s great to know more people are enjoying the very best music from the 70s, 80s and 90s as well as my fellow broadcasters such as Simon Mayo and Jackie Brambles.’
READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Ken Bruce reveals he could barely speak between songs after his second divorce and used radio as his ‘therapy’
Meanwhile, Radio 2 has struggled to entice back the million listeners lost following Bruce’s departure.
The most noticeable drop is Zoe Ball’s Breakfast show.
In the last three months, the BBC station had 13.5m weekly listeners, the same as last quarter, according to Rajar – an audience measurement system for the radio industry.
But that is a million fewer than the same period last year.
Ball’s Breakfast Show has shed 200,000, down to 6.5m compared to 6.7m three months previously.
In the same period last year, it was listened to by 7.3m, meaning she has lost 850,000 year on year. It is still the UK’s most listened-to breakfast show.
Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer, says: ‘Radio 2 continues to be the country’s most popular station and I’m delighted with the flying start Vernon Kay has made to mid-mornings as the UK’s biggest radio show, bringing his warmth, energy and charisma to listeners up and down the country.’
A BBC spokesperson said: ‘We’re delighted Radio 2 remains the UK’s most listened to radio station with 13.5 million listeners – almost one in four people – tuning in each week and that Vernon Kay has the most listened to radio programme in the UK with 6.9 million listeners.’
It comes as Sara Cox waded into the BBC Radio 2 ageism row by insisting there are still ‘legends’ on the station.
The 50-year-old is at the top of her career with her Radio 2 daily evening show as well as hosting Radio 2 in the park, the station’s flagship live event.
But her station has has come under fire recently after presenter Ken Bruce, 72, left his morning slot earlier this year.
Speaking about the controversy over the departure of big stars like Bruce, 72, she told Woman & Home: ‘The last few years, my career has got even better, it’s ripened.
Greatest Hits Radio, which also counts ex-Radio 2 veteran Simon Mayo (pictured) as a presenter, has seen growth of 76.9 per cent year on year, the biggest across all stations
Radio 2 fans have accused the BBC of ageism as a string of older DJs step back, including Paul O’Grady, Steve Wright, Ken Bruce and Simon Mayo, replaced by ex-Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills, RuPaul’s Michelle Visage, Rylan and DJ Spoony
‘I’m very fortunate in the way it’s panned out. .. [In radio] people move on and get replaced.
‘When change happens, it feels really big in the moment and within days, you’re like, ‘It’s fine. It’s still Radio 2′.’
Bruce’s departure caused a stir after he was asked to leave his BBC Radio 2 role a month early because the corporation reportedly became ‘frustrated’ that his shows were ‘free advertising’ for his next station.
The Scottish broadcaster revealed in a tweet that he had intended to fulfil the remainder of his contract to the end of March, but said the BBC wanted him to leave earlier after 31 years hosting his show.
Meanwhile, Radio 2 has struggled to entice back the million listeners lost following Bruce’s departure. The most noticeable drop is Zoe Ball’s (pictured) Breakfast show
It comes as Sara Cox waded into the BBC Radio 2 ageism row by insisting there are still ‘legends’ on the station
Cox admitted it was ‘a bit of a shocker’ when Bruce left.
Speaking of Kay’s appointment, she admitted: ‘Ken going was a bit of a shocker, then Vernon started and within three links he sounded at home.
‘Also, don’t forget, Vernon’s a good-looking lad, but he’s not 21, arriving with his cap on backwards, on a skateboard, he’s knocking 50 and he’s greying beautifully.’
Defending the row she added: ‘He’s older than Ken was when he started, it may feel like [Radio 2] is getting in all these young ‘uns, but we’ve still got all the legends on there.’
Source: Read Full Article