Radio 2 revamps evenings

BBC Radio 2 has unveiled its new weekday evening line-ups, following the news that Jo Whiley will take over the 8-9.30pm slot from April.

Specialist music shows move to 9.30pm, with a regular documentary slot at 10pm Monday to Thursday.

From Monday 4 April, three longstanding specialist music shows will move to an earlier timeslot of 9.30-10pm.

On Mondays, Big Band Special with Clare Teal will become a year-round feature of the schedule – it moves from 11pm to 9.30pm. Tuesdays will be The Organist Entertains with Nigel Ogden (previously Thursday at 10pm). And Frank Renton's brass show Listen to the Band moves to Wednesday at 9.30pm from its current Thursday 10.30pm slot – it also gets a new magazine-style format and will include interviews, news and in-depth features.

Jo Whiley will be on 8-9.30pm Monday to Wednesday, with her In Concert show running an extra half hour to 10pm on Thursdays.

We're told Radio 2 will also be introducing a new weekly strand of specialist music short series from the summer, featuring musical genres not already covered on the network, and ensuring there will be more specialist music content on the network than ever before.

Bob Shennan, Controller, Radio 2 and 6 Music says: "Specialist music is at the heart of Radio 2’s music output. And the change to the scheduling of three of our longstanding shows, along with the network’s fantastic range of blues, country, folk, jazz, soul, not to mention concerts, exemplifies our commitment to bringing these specialist genres to our audience."

The number of documentary slots on Radio 2 will increase from three a week to four – with a regular home Monday to Thursday at 10pm. Programmes planned for this year include The Mozart of Madras about Slumdog Millionaire composer, A R Rahman; Stuart Maconie telling the story of legendary entertainer George Formby; a programming marking the 40th anniversary of The Old Grey Whistle Test; a two-parter commemorating Malcolm McLaren; and special seasons marking the 30 years since the death of reggae legend Bob Marley and the 70th birthday of folk hero Bob Dylan.

Bob Shennan added: "I’m hugely proud of the diverse range and scope of Radio 2’s documentaries. There’s an inspiring mix of programmes coming up this year and the regular 10pm slot means listeners will know where to come for their music knowledge fix."

The 7-8pm specialist music slots will stay – with Paul Jones' Blues Show on Mondays, Best of Jazz with Jamie Cullum on Tuesdays, Folk and Acoustic with Mike Harding on Wednesdays, Bob Harris' Country Show on Thursdays and Music Goes Round with Desmond Carrington on Fridays.

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