Radio 2’s ‘purge of old-timers’ has ‘backfired’, blasts Karren Brady

Ken Bruce bids farewell to BBC colleague

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Karren Brady said the news that BBC Radio 2 has lost listeners recently as “satisfying”. The Apprentice regular blamed this on the likes of stars Ken Bruce, Steve Wright and Paul O’Grady being “swept aside” for younger names.

The 53-year-old focused her latest column on what is happening at the station, titling it: We should value our golden oldies unlike R2 bosses.

Her comments come days after official figures showed listeners are switching off from the top BBC radio stations and tuning into rivals instead.

Last month it was confirmed Radio 2 favourite Ken, 71, was leaving to join Greatest Hits Radio after 31 years.

This move follows a number of high-profile departures and reshuffling at BBC Radio.

Karren claimed in The Sun On Sunday: “It looks like Radio 2’s purge of the old-timers has backfired.

“It feels like the most short-sighted of decisions. After all, younger people don’t even listen to the radio.”

“They [Radio 2] have tried to fix what wasn’t broken,” the BBC star said.

“They have changed presenters to appeal to an audience that does not exist.”

She went on to talk more generally about older people and the experience they have to offer.

Karren added: “Firms should start thinking about what it is they can do to make themselves more boomerfriendly. And perhaps that could start by tuning into Ken Bruce.”

Ken confirmed his departure on January 17, saying “nothing stays the same forever”.

He shared: “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.

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“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.”

It was later reported in the Mail: “Ken felt unloved. Part of the issue was being told our target audience is ‘mood mums’ but never hearing who they are or what they want!

“We have started to play a lot of tuneless dance music and Ken had begged them to stop making him play it but apparently his emails never got responses.”

A BBC Radio 2 spokesperson later said: “It was Ken’s decision to leave Radio 2 – we respect his decision and wish him the very best of luck in the future as he’s been a much loved part of the Radio 2 family.”

It has since been revealed that Radio 2’s breakfast show, presented by Zoe Ball, has lost the most weekly listeners among the BBC’s breakfast shows.

The total was down 359,000 in the last quarter of last year, compared with the same period in 2021.

The figures, published by research group Rajar, show all the major BBC stations saw a decline in listeners over the past 12 months. Radio 2 lost just over half a million listeners.

It came as Steve Wright, 68, was replaced in the afternoon slot after 23 years by Radio 1’s Scott Mills, 49.

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