Changing of The Guard on BBC Radio

It’s interesting to see the changes being made at BBC Radio 2 in recent times. Farewell to Steve Wright’s “big show” on weekday afternoons. Hello to the younger Scott Mills as he moves across from Radio 1. Farewell to Vanessa Feltz as she takes a new gig at TalkTV. And now farewell to Ken Bruce as he departs the network’s mid-morning slot to head for Greatest Hits Radio. Now in his early 70s, Ken’s eyed up a new gig probably at a time where Radio 2 wants to continue its drive to win over a younger audience.

The BBC is always concerned about this sort of thing. In the Beeb they call them replenishers—the younger generation of listeners who’ll tune in when your existing audience fades away.

Back in 2009 at Radio 2, Terry Wogan departed the breakfast slot and handed the reins to Chris Evans who was around thirty years younger.

Radio 1 cleared out a lot of its long-serving presenters back in the 1990s.

5live too recently appointed 43 year old Rick Edwards to co-present its breakfast prog when 61 year old Nicky Campbell switched to a mid-morning phone-in.

There’s food for thought here for contributors to radio programmes. If you want to get a spokesperson on the air, take a listen to your programme of choice. What sort of guests are appearing? What are they talking about? Is there an appetite for younger voices? Maybe they tend to veer towards older voices? Would a female spokesperson help you secure an interview? What sort of case study would appeal to the people making the programme? And who would appeal to its target audience? These are the sorts of areas where the Broadcast Revolution team can help advise you. We talk to producers and watch or listen to their output every day.

I do also hope that broadcasters remember that age really can be seen as just a number. Long may Ken Bruce remain on the airwaves.


Mike Young, Head of News