Ken Bruce is leaving 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, 72, will host his final 9.30am to 12pm Radio 2 show on Friday after 31 years before joining Greatest Hits Radio.
Bruce revealed in a tweet last week 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.
It comes as a BBC source told The Sun: ‘The BBC believe that every second he is on air is just free advertising for his new show on Greatest Hits Radio.
‘They became frustrated by the rival station launching a marketing campaign for his show. It leaves a sour taste.’
The Scottish broadcaster, 72, will host his final 9.30am to 12pm Radio 2 show on Friday
Vernon Kaye on the Zoe Ball Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2 on Monday after it was announced he will replace Bruce
The decision to replace Bruce has sparked a backlash from loyal listeners, who hit out at the BBC over its treatment of the veteran presenter.
Last week, Bruce tweeted: ‘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!’
Speaking to the Mail, Bruce said he was ‘surprised and disappointed’ by the decision.
He said: ‘I was called in at 12.30 and told that my final show would be a week today and wasn’t given any real reason that I understood.
‘I’m a little surprised and disappointed.’
Friends say he had given a commitment not to say anything that could embarrass the BBC in the remaining weeks of his contract, making him all the more surprised by the decision to end his show earlier than expected.
An industry insider said that move by the BBC made the broadcaster look ‘very ungracious’ about Bruce’s ‘decades of service’.
Ken Bruce (pictured with his good friend Rod Stewart) is leaving the BBC after 45 years, quitting Radio 2 for Greatest Hits Radio
They said: ‘It shows zero respect for Ken and what he has done for Radio 2.’
Vernon Kay was this week announced as his replacement and broke down in tears while talking about his new role.
Fans greeted the news of his replacement with mixed reviews and branded BBC bosses’ decision ‘classless’, but appearing on The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show this morning, Kay paid tribute to his predecessor.
He said: ‘My dad is a lorry driver and I said this when I joined Radio 2 and started standing in for Steve Wright, so we’ve always had Radio 2 on in the background.
‘It is part of us, it is in our DNA – Ken Bruce is mid-mornings. You don’t think of any other DJ when you think of that slot.
Whatever channel you choose to listen to, whoever is on mid-mornings, it’s the Ken Bruce slot. He has made it his own and he is an absolute legend of broadcasting.
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
‘To be asked to step into those big shoes… it was a big deep breath, I’ll be honest with you.
‘Obviously I am over the moon and so are my parents and Tess and the kids, but it’s the Ken Bruce show and the man has raised the bar so high that I’m just so excited to be able to take the reins. I am absolutely over the moon, I really am.’
Bruce is the latest veteran to leave the station, but he insists it is his decision. Last summer Paul O’Grady exited Radio 2 after Steve Wright, 68, Graham Norton, 59, and Simon Mayo, 64, all left and were replaced with a younger line up. Vanessa Feltz, 60, and Craig Charles, 58, have also moved on.
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