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How Greatest Hits Radio is becoming a retirement home for BBC legends

Greatest Hits Radio is becoming the retirement home for BBC legends as Ken Bruce becomes the latest DJ to leave Radio 2.

The Scottish broadcaster, 71, said ‘the time is right’ for him to move on from the weekday mid-morning show he’s presented since 1986.

Mr Bruce is the latest veteran to leave the station – insisting it is his decision – and has urged his fans to follow him to his new home. He will be joining BBC alums Simon Mayo, Jackie Brambles, Mark Goodier and Paul Gambaccini at the station. 

Experts say Greatest Hits Radio boss Ben Cooper is adding Mr Bruce to his roster for an estimated £500,000 as they try to steal listeners from the increasingly younger-focused Radio 2. 

Greatest Hits Radio is becoming the retirement home for BBC legends as Ken Bruce (pictured) becomes the latest DJ to leave Radio 2

Experts say Greatest Hits Radio bosses added Mr Bruce to the roster of Simon Mayo, 64, (pictured) and Jackie Brambles, 55, as they try to steal listeners from the increasingly younger-focused Radio 2

Pictured: Jackie Brambles, 55

Experts say Greatest Hits Radio bosses added Mr Bruce to the roster of Simon Mayo, 64, (left) and Jackie Brambles, 55, (right) as they try to steal listeners from the increasingly younger-focused Radio 2

The broadcaster, 71, will present a show from 10am to 1pm on the Bauer radio station, alongside presenters including Mr Mayo, 64, at Drivetime and Ms Brambles, 55, in the early evening. 

Mr Bruce, informing his 9million listeners this morning that he would be quitting, said: ‘Nothing stays the same forever and I have decided the time is right for me to move on from Radio 2 when I reach the end of my current contract in March. 

‘It’s been a tremendously happy time for me: I’ve made many friends and worked with many wonderful colleagues. However I feel that after 45 years of full-time broadcasting on BBC Radio it’s time for a change. 

‘I would stress that this is entirely my decision but some new opportunities have come up and I would like to continue my career in a slightly different way in the next few years, the details of which will be revealed shortly. 

‘I will always be very proud of my association with the BBC and Radio 2 in particular and I’d like to thank everyone who has helped to make the mid-morning show a success’.

A radio insider estimates that Bauer Media offered Mr Bruce around £500,000 annually to host the show on Greatest Hits Radio.

A radio insider estimates that Bauer Media offered Mr Bruce around £500,000 annually to host the show on Greatest Hits Radio. Pictured: Ken running through his Radio 2 show with a producer

A radio insider estimates that Bauer Media offered Mr Bruce around £500,000 annually to host the show on Greatest Hits Radio. Pictured: Ken running through his Radio 2 show with a producer

Mr Bruce will present a show from 10am to 1pm on the Bauer radio station

Mr Bruce will present a show from 10am to 1pm on the Bauer radio station

‘Bauer, are trying to build Greatest Hits Radio into much more of a rival to Radio 2,’ the insider told MailOnline. ‘They will undoubtedly get an excellent return on their investment in Ken through sponsorship of the daily PopMaster competition which advertisers will love to be associated with because of its popularity.

‘Radio 2 is definitely pitching itself towards a younger audience now, having just brought in Scott Mills and phasing out classic songs from the sixties and seventies during daytime programming.

‘It’ll be interesting to see who replaces Ken. My guess is Rylan, who’s become a favourite on Saturdays and is has wide appeal thanks to his TV profile.’

Radio 2 is provide more details about the new mid-morning show at a later date.

The insider added: ‘It seems the BBC is abandoning older music listeners. Commercial stations like Boom Radio and Serenade Radio are taking care of the tastes of the 50+ audience leaving Radio 2 to appeal to 35 to 50 year olds.

What kind of music does Greatest Hits Radio play?

Greatest Hits Radio plays the biggest songs of the 70s, 80s and 90s in ‘celebration of the most iconic music of all time and the good times they represent.’

The station plays the greatest hits from the biggest names of the ‘golden era of music’ including Blondie, Queen, George Michael, Madonna, Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie, Elton John, Whitney Houston and more.

The station is broadcast on various FM frequencies across the UK, as well as on the Greatest Hit Radio website and its free mobile app. 

It also airs on Freeview channel 716 and Sky channel 0151.

Ken Bruce is pictured in the Radio 2 Piano Room last month

Ken Bruce is pictured in the Radio 2 Piano Room last month

Ken Bruce (pictured with his good friend Rod Stewart)  is leaving the BBC after 45 years, quitting Radio 2 for Greatest Hits Radio

Ken Bruce (pictured with his good friend Rod Stewart)  is leaving the BBC after 45 years, quitting Radio 2 for Greatest Hits Radio

Ken with star Sir Cliff Richard

Ken with Beyonce

Ken with stars Sir Cliff Richard (left) and Beyonce (right)

Who are the DJs on Greatest Hits Radio? 

Mr Bruce will be joining the likes of presenters Simon Mayo, Jackie Brambles, Mark Goodier, Jenny Powell, Paul Gambaccini, Pat Sharp, Martin Kemp, Alex Lester, Andy Crane, Des Paul, Rossie, Kate Thornton and Richard Allinson in April.

Radio 2 alum Mr Mayo hosts Drivetime every weekday at 4pm and The Album Show on Sundays from 1pm. 

Ms Brambles, also formerly of Radio 2, hosts The Evening Show every Monday to Thursday from 7pm – 10pm. 

Similarly, Mr Goodier now hosts the Top 10 at 10, My Greatest Hit and Their Greatest Hit – weekdays 10am-1pm.

And Mr Gambaccini hosts the America’s Greatest Hits programme every Saturday between 5pm-7pm during which he plays the Greatest Hits that made it big in the US.

When will Ken Bruce host his first show?

Mr Bruce is leaving Radio 2 in March and is set to begin hosting his new Greatest Hits Radio show on April 3.

He will present a show from 10am to 1pm on the Bauer radio station, alongside former BBC stars Mr Mayo and Ms Brambles.

‘What better way to celebrate my forty-five years in radio than with a new adventure and a brand-new show on Greatest Hits Radio,’ Mr Bruce said today of his new show.

‘I say brand-new but there will still be PopMaster, me and my musings and all the great records you know and love from the 70s, 80s and 90s. I’m looking forward to getting started and to you joining me for my very first show. See you in April.’ 

His Radio 2 show is famous for a number of segments including his PopMaster quiz to test music knowledge, which has run for 25 years.

It also housed the Tracks of My Years segment, where a famous person chooses their favourite records and more recently, The Piano Room, featuring live music from a range of great artists. 

It is unclear if either of those segments will appear in his new show.

Radio 2 fans have accused the BBC of ageism as a string of older DJs step back, including Pauk O'Grady, Steve Wright, Graham Norton and Simon Mayo, replaced by ex-Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills, RuPaul's Michelle Visage, Waterloo Road's Angela Griffin, and DJ Spoony

Radio 2 fans have accused the BBC of ageism as a string of older DJs step back, including Pauk O’Grady, Steve Wright, Graham Norton and Simon Mayo, replaced by ex-Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills, RuPaul’s Michelle Visage, Waterloo Road’s Angela Griffin, and DJ Spoony

How many veterans have left Radio 2? 

Mr Bruce is the latest veteran to leave Radio 2. The move follows a number of high-profile departures and reshuffling at BBC Radio of recent, including Scott Mills leaving BBC Radio 1 after 24 years at the network to join Radio 2 for a new weekday show.

The radio DJ took over the 2-4pm slot from presenter Steve Wright, who stepped down from his afternoon show at the end of September after 23 years.

Mr Wright, 68, continues to present his Radio 2 Sunday Love Songs programme as well as specials on the station.

Mr O’Grady also quit his Radio 2 Sunday afternoon show, which he presented for around 14 years, because he was not happy with a schedule shake-up which saw him share the slot with comic Rob Beckett.

Graham Norton, 59, Mr Wirght and Mr O’Grady, 67, were replaced with a younger line up. Vanessa Feltz, 60, and Craig Charles, 58, have also moved on. 

Lorna Clarke, director of BBC Music, said today of Mr Bruc’s departure: ‘Ken is an extraordinary broadcaster with an exceptional career over many decades.

‘He has been part of every significant occasion marked by BBC Radio 2 and we, his faithful audience and the Radio 2 all-star line-up, will miss his warm humour and wit. Congratulations on a brilliant career.’

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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