Paul O’Grady has joined a rival radio station eight months after quitting Radio 2 following an ageism row.
The presenter, 67, hosted a Sunday show for 14 years on the BBC station before he quit the station amid a mass exodus of popular talent including Steve Wright, Tony Blackburn and Andrew Marr at the corporation.
He will now be reprising his show on Boom Radio and will host his first Sunday show on Easter Sunday alongside regular sidekick, long suffering producer Malcolm Prince.
O’Grady’s move comes just two weeks after fellow broadcasting veteran Ken Bruce hosted his final Radio 2 show before starting a new position at Greatest Hits Radio, another commercial station, next month.
He said: ‘It’s great to be working with the team at Boom again. It already feels like my new radio home. My producer Malcolm and I are looking forward to our special TeamPOG show on Easter Sunday – who knows, this could be the start of a regular gig.’
New role: Paul O’Grady has joined rival radio station Boom eight months after quitting Radio 2 following an ageism row
Liverpool-born O’Grady enjoyed more than a decade at Radio 2 hosting the Sunday afternoon show.
But the host was unhappy about being asked to share duties with Rob Beckett, 37, which saw the comedian taking over for two three-month stints each year.
Speaking last month, O’Grady confirmed the schedule’s shake-up was the reason behind his departure.
He told Metro: ‘I was disappointed because I’m a great believer in continuity.
‘If you go off for 13 weeks and somebody else comes on, the listeners don’t know when you’re back on.’
He also questioned Radio 2’s desire to appeal to younger audiences, saying: ‘Radio 2 has changed, it’s not what it was.
‘They’re trying to aim for a much younger audience, which doesn’t make sense because you’ve got Radio 1.’
He added: ‘Radio 2 was always for an older audience’.
Out with the old: Radio 2 fans accused the BBC of ageism after O’Grady became the latest in a string of older DJs to step back, including Steve Wright, Graham Norton and Simon Mayo. The ‘changing of the guard’ brings with it younger talent, including ex-Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills, RuPaul’s Michelle Visage, Waterloo Road’s Angela Griffin, and DJ Spoony
Bruce left Radio 2 earlier this month after 31 years.
He accused bosses of hastening up his departure following his move to commercial radio.
The 71-year-old Scot Tweeted ahead of his final show: ‘I will be presenting my last show on Radio 2 next Friday.
‘I had intended fulfilling my contract until the end of March but the BBC has decided it wants me to leave earlier. Let’s enjoy the week ahead.’
Bruce is being replaced by presenter Vernon Kay, 48, as part of Radio 2’s bid to rejuvenate the station’s line-up.
Other veteran stars including Vanessa Feltz, 61, Craig Charles, 58, and Simon Mayo, 64, announced their departures over the past months, having been replaced by younger stars including Rylan Clark, 34, and Michelle Visage, 54, sparking complaints form listeners, accusing the station of ageism.
Steve Wright, 68, also left his weekday afternoon show last year, replaced by former Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills, 49.
Boom Radio is an independent UK radio station aimed at baby boomers and bosses hope to lure Radio 2 listeners put off by the introduction of younger DJs.
On Christmas Day, O’Grady hosted a one-off show which pulled in a record number of listeners to the station.
Speaking about O’Grady’s new show, Boom co-founder Phil Riley says: ‘It’s testament to the success of Boom Radio that a broadcaster like Paul, at the top of his game, has agreed to join us for this Easter special.
‘We know our audience loved him at Christmas, so it’s great to have him back,’
O’Grady’s Easter Sunday show on Boom Radio starts at 2pm.
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