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Earlier start for Chris Evans

Chris Evans' Radio 2 breakfast show is being extended by half an hour from a week on Monday.

It'll start at 6.30am instead of 7am – in a move thought to be linked to the launch this week of the new Smooth Radio national service.

Evans said: "Less sleep but no matter – more music, more fun and more coffee very much required. Oh and of course extra yoga and meditation."

Bob Shennan, controller of BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music, added: "Chris has proved so popular with the Radio 2 listeners that it makes sense to give him a little extra time, even though he'll have to move his alarm clock."

GMG Radio's Smooth brand becomes a national station from this Monday with a line-up including Lynn Parsons who finished her stint of cover on Radio 2's early breakfast show yesterday (Friday). Parsons will look after the Smooth breakfast show until Simon Bates joins from Classic FM in the new year. The commerical broadcaster has publicly said its relaunch as a national service, featuring region-specific adverts and information, is to compete with Radio 2.

Last week it was announced the BBC had blocked new signing Tony Blackburn from continuing his weekend shows on Smooth Radio.

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