‘They handled it badly’: BBC made ‘mess’ of Ken Bruce’s Radio 2 exit says Simon Mayo



At the start of the year, BBC Radio 2 listeners were shocked when Ken Bruce announced he was leaving the broadcaster to join rival station Greatest Hits Radio. Although the 71-year-old confessed it was the right time to leave, former BBC star Simon Mayo slammed the way the situation was handled.

For many years, Ken Bruce’s mid-morning radio show was a staple in many people’s daily routines.

Reaching millions of listeners a week, fans of the long-running host were left devastated when the 71-year-old revealed he’d be leaving the BBC at the end of March.

However, in February Ken told his Twitter followers it had been decided the corporation wanted him to leave earlier, with reports claiming the early exit was to stop him from promoting his upcoming show on Greatest Hits.

Speaking about the whole situation, former BBC star Simon Mayo was shocked Ken was able to stay for as long as he was after his exit announcement.

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Appearing on Roger Bolton’s Beeb Watch, the Greatest Hits Radio presenter said: “The situation has been handled badly.

“I think what’s surprising is that it (the situation with Ken Bruce still on Radio 2) lingered as long as it did.

“If you’re on social media, the Greatest Hits Radio Twitter icon is Ken Bruce. Ken is an advert for Greatest Hits Radio now so I can understand why they might have thought we need to hasten these things.

“It’s unfortunate because it does feel messy and that is unfortunate. I can imagine in commercial radio he might have been out the door sooner.”

Simon told the podcaster it feels as though many people will be moving over to Greatest Hits radio after growing up listening to Ken.

When asked who next should join them at their radio station, Simon stated there were many fine broadcasters at the BBC who would be welcome at Greatest Hits.

Ken Bruce first joined the BBC in 1977 as a Radio Scotland staff presenter before being given his first regular slot on Radio 2 in 1984 and replacing Terry Wogan’s breakfast show the following year.

Paying tribute to his time at the broadcaster, he told his fans amid his exit: “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.”

However, the 71-year-old’s exit follows a series of changes at the broadcaster including popular Radio 1 presenter Scott Mills moving to Radio 2.

Scott replaced Steve Wright’s early afternoon slot as the presenter left the BBC after two-decades after bosses wanted to do something different with his usual slot, to which he agreed.

The BBC said of Ken’s departure: “Ken decided to leave Radio 2 and it’s always been known he’s leaving in March. Returning to Wogan House for a week after a month of broadcasting the Piano Room sessions at Maida Vale provided a natural break. We wish Ken all the best for the future.”

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