Phil Gayle begins Radio 2 Playlists overnight

Former BRMB, Signal and BBC Radio Oxford presenter Phil Gayle is the first host of the new Radio 2 Playlists, that have replaced live overnight shows on the station.

The new ‘voicetracked’ programmes began this morning (Monday 30 January) with an hour of pop ballads and an hour of upbeat music. The links for the Playlists were all short (10 to 20 seconds) with no mention of the day or the time, suggesting the hours could be repeated in the future. There were also dry voice overs promoting the BBC Music app.

Phil Gayle is presenting the Radio 2 Playlists for Monday to Friday 3-5am this week, with the host changing on a weekly basis. Next week will be Penny Smith.

Phil is perhaps best-known as the newsreader from Channel 4’s Big Breakfast in the 1990s. Before that he’d worked on ILR in the late 80s and early 90s, and since leaving ITN has presented for Radio 5 live, Radio 2 and more recently the BBC Radio Oxford breakfast show, which he left in 2015. He now presents international news for German broadcaster DW and can be heard on in-flight announcements on easyJet and some BMI planes.

The major changes to overnights on the country’s biggest radio station see the repeating of specialist music shows midnight till 2am Monday to Friday, followed by an hour-long ‘curated’ Playlist which on Monday to Thursdays reflects the specialist music genre airing that night at 7pm (Mon: Blues with Paul Jones, Tues: Jazz with Jamie Cullum, Weds: Folk with Mark Radcliffe, Thurs: Country with Bob Harris). Fridays at 2am there is The Tracks of My Years Playlist, featuring that week’s guest from the Ken Bruce show. Today’s Blues playlist at 2am featured an opening link from Paul Jones previewing what was coming up through the hour, then a closing link at 2.55am to promote his show tonight, before Pause For Thought and a heavily-faded track into the 3am news. Between the Blues music there were just idents and a voice over promoting the BBC Music app.

It appears from the schedule on the Radio 2 website that the music genre playlists 3-5am weeknights and 4-6am at weekends remain the same each night. So Monday mornings are Pop Ballads and Upbeat, Tuesday it’s Great British Songbook and Hidden Treasures, Wednesday is Morning Acoustic and Wednesday Workout, Thursday is Relax then Radio 2 Rocks, and Friday is Have A Good Weekend and Feelgood Friday. Saturdays 4-6am this weekend (presented by 6 Music’s Chris Hawkins) feature Today’s Top Hits and 21st Century Songs, while Sunday is listed as Love Songs and Easy. The ‘curated’ Playlist on Saturday is Funky Soul with Craig Charles and on Sunday it’s Showtunes with Elaine Paige.

In the midnight till 2am slot across the week, the shows being repeated are Sounds of the 60s, Sounds of the 70s, Sounds of the 80s, Pick of the Pops and the Craig Charles House Party. Huey Morgan and Bob Harris move to their new midnight till 3am slots on Saturday and Sunday mornings respectively.

When the changes to overnight programmes were announced earlier this month, Radio 2’s Head of Music Jeff Smith told RadioToday: “Radio 2’s audience is increasingly aware of the benefits of streaming music but to date the offering for them has been limited or designed for younger audiences. It’s important that we offer Radio 2 listeners a way into curated, genre and mood orientated playlists but with a distinctive Radio 2 spin. So we are introducing Radio 2 Playlists. These are playlists which are uniquely curated by our leading music presenters and music team and that our audience can enjoy on the radio or on demand as Radio 2 Playlists in the BBC Music app on their mobile devices.”

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