De Luxe in BBC switch
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De Luxe in BBC switch

Long-standing 104.2 Blonde FM breakfast presenter Zak de Luxe is rumoured to be joining Radio 2 to replace disgraced drivetime DJ Chris Evans.

Readers of Zak's [link=]blog[/link] will be well aware that Zak's current contract with the Blonde Network is up for renewal shortly and several big names are already being tipped to take his place on The Rise And Shine Wake Up Crew alongside co-host Daphne. It looks like the BBC have moved swiftly to replace Evans following allegations that he misled listeners by 'not being a real redhead'.

RadioToday has learnt that an undercover investigation by a national tabloid newspaper, due to be made public later this week, found that Evans has been regularly dying his hair ginger for more than three decades. He was photographed buying red hair dye by journalists hidden behind the counter of a central London pharmacy, and is said to be devastated that the real story about his hair colour has been revealed to the nation. It is understood that the tabloid sensation will also include details of the lengths Evans has gone to to keep his secret out of the public domain – including hiring a hitman to silence former Big Breakfast co-stars Zig and Zag.

Zak de Luxe has played a key role in 104.2 Blonde FM's success and subsequent demise and industry critics have been amazed that he has remained with the station until now, following the high-profile departures of both programme director Clyde Twatt and late night host Felix Fondles. De Luxe was himself also the subject of a tabloid sting earlier this year – when a female journalist went undercover to expose his adulterous ways. It is thought Radio 2 controller Lesley Douglas was impressed by the amount of column inches written about the local radio presenter and it is mainly his high profile that appears to have got him the 5-7pm slot on the nation's favourite.

A Radio 2 insider told "In this day and age it's not about the talent, it's fairly and squarely about who you are and how well-known you are. Zak's gone downhill over the last couple of years and wasn't someone the corporation would have even given a second glance to. We're hoping his new-found popularity in the red-top newspapers will be just the ratings boost we're looking for – I'm sure his laddish ways will make him the perfect replacement for Chris, who – to be honest – has now grown up a bit too much for our audience."

Blonde Network spokeswoman Avril Fule told us: "If what you're saying's correct then this is going to be another nail in the coffin for 104.2 Blonde FM where we play a better variety of music mix. It's gone from bad to worse in recent weeks and I'm told group programming bosses had Zak in mind to be the saviour of our brand. Contract renewal negotiations were due to start this week and Bruce Mccunt our group PD was going to move him from The Rise And Shine Wake Up Crew onto a new high-profile show networked across the UK on Sunday mornings 2am-6am. Fair play to the beeb though, we wish Zak well – if he's on half the money Jonathan Ross then he's a lucky lucky boy, mate."

Simon Mayo is covering the 5-7pm slot on Radio 2 this week and Chris Evans' current whereabouts remains a mystery. Someone posting as therealmatthewbannister on Digital Spy said: "I think Chris was sounding tired on drive anyway. It's been no secret in the industry that he really had dark brown hair and dyed it ginger every week just to stand out and get more publicity. That's one of the reasons we had to let him go from Radio 1 – his annual hair dye expenses claim was just getting silly. Anyway, who would be in your all time Radio 2 fantasy line-up?"

Former Capital FM presenters Steve Penk and Pat Sharp have both recently been seen going for meetings at 104.2 Blonde FM and would be among the front-runners to take over as main host of The Rise And Shine Wake Up Crew. Other names in the frame include mid-morning presenter and current Blonde PD Dick Stinger and evening presenter "Zoe T". A rumour on a number of radio forums suggests that if Stinger were to put himself on the show then radio legend The Silver Feather, Derek Featherstone, could make a permanent FM return from AM sister station Silver following his recent cover work on Blonde's drivetime show.

No-one from Blonde FM's rival station across town, Vixen, was available for comment. A spokesman said: "Sorry, we're too busy giving away ten million pounds this week."

Happy April Fools Day from!

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0 0 390 01 April, 2008 Industry News 5:47 am 20084 Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

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