Bob Shennan will be disappointed. Just weeks ago, the Radio 2 Controller told an industry audience in Newcastle that he hoped Jonathan Ross would stay with the network when his current contract expires in the summer.
Now, we know this is not to be.
Not everyone likes Jonathan Ross of course but [link=http://twitter.com/192harrington/status/7489857539]@192harrington[/link] summed it up on behalf of fans of the radio show by tweeting ‘Can't believe Wossy is leaving…What will I listen to on a Saturday morning???’
What indeed? As Radio 2’s senior team ensure Chris Evans enjoys a successful start on breakfast, they now need to think about weekends after Wossy.
Personally I think Jonathan is one of our greatest radio presenters. It is the perfect media to allow him to showcase his talent as a compelling story teller. Although he is a high earning celebrity, listeners like me relate to his tales of family life. Having said all that, Radio 2 is not short of some potential successors.
For example, how about Graham Norton? He is already the bookies favourite to take over Jonathan’s Friday night TV chat show but don’t forget he did a spell on daytimes on Radio 2 last summer, covering for Steve Wright. Then, there is Alan Carr who currently presents on Saturday evenings and fronted a lunchtime special on Christmas Eve. I have recently discovered Paul O’ Grady on Sunday afternoons who is an entertaining and warm listen. I would not be surprised if any of these hosts ended up in Ross’s slot.
A trickier question is where will Wossy be on the radio a year from now? I am sure it is the same discussion you have been having in your office. Well, I have been thinking about it too and these are my three most likely scenarios:
Wossy joins Absolute Radio. He used to work there when it was [link=http://www.flickr.com/photos/adambowie/sets/72157623162708288/show/]Virgin Radio[/link] (remember The Big Red Coffee Mug Show) but now it is re-born and creating some of the most creative content on UK radio. It has attracted big name talent in Frank Skinner and Dave Gorman to weekends and Baddiel and Skinner for the World Cup.
Bauer, Global or GMG bid separately or unite for a network show. There are three potential benefits for commercial radio in these two scenarios – firstly to create a stand out show of course, there’s a lucrative sponsorship opportunity and it would also be a rather large PR coup.
Jonathan doesn’t return to radio immediately. We don’t know what his plans are yet. He could take a break from broadcasting to work on a new comic he has created, there is speculation of work in the US or perhaps he just won’t fancy it.
I hope that last scenario doesn’t come true. Jonathan Ross is too big a talent to be missing from our radio for long.
Written for Radio Today by Justin Kings who runs [link=http://www.newsleadermedia.com]newsleader media consultancy[/link]. Previously, he oversaw news and programmes at BBC London 94.9 and spent almost 12 years at Capital Radio.
Read some of the twitter reaction to Wossy’s departure on Justin’s [link=http://newsleadermediaconsultancy.blogspot.com/2010/01/what-will-i-listen-to-on-saturday.html]blog[/link].