Ken Bruce’s departure from Radio 2 was mishandled, says Simon Mayo | radio industry

Simon Mayo said it was surprising the BBC let Ken Bruce continue to air his show on Radio 2 after announcing he was leaving for a rival station.

Bruce will host his last BBC show on Friday after being axed a month earlier amid concerns that it was essentially free publicity for his new show.

Bruce, 71 years old, announced in January that he was leaving Radio 2 after 31 years to join Greatest Hits Radio (GHR).

Mayo, who left Radio 2 in December 2018 and later joined GHR, Roger Bolton told the Beeb Watch podcast that it was surprising Bruce’s show stayed on the air for so long.

“The situation was mishandled,” he said. “I think what’s surprising is that he lingered for so long. If you’re on social media, the Twitter icon for Greatest Hit Radio is Ken Bruce.

He added, “Ken is an ad for Greatest Hits Radio now, so I can understand why they might have thought we needed to speed these things up. It’s a shame because it gives the impression of being messy. I can imagine that on commercial radio it could have come out earlier.

Bruce’s decision to leave Radio 2 four weeks earlier than planned was an attempt to prevent him from taking listeners to his new show, The Times reported.

Dan Cocker, a radio producer who works for the BBC and commercial stations, tweeted: “Greatest Hits is promoting their new asset as much as possible. Ken’s name, image and voice are everywhere. Radio 2 recognizes that Ken is now a Greatest Hits brand and every extra moment he spends in a BBC studio is free publicity for his new gig.

Bruce announced that he would host a new weekday show from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on GHR.

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

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