New shows and live overnights back at Radio 2

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Upcoming changes to BBC Radio 2’s schedule includes Sara Cox starting a new late show and Jo Whiley joining Simon Mayo on Drive.

Also, Gary Davies returns as a regular presenter to take over Sounds of the 80s from Sara and a new live overnight show will be (re)introduced from midnight till 3am with OJ Borg from MediaCityUK.

Sara, who previously presented breakfast on BBC Radio 1, has been covering the breakfast show for Chris Evans this week on Radio 2, and says: “I’m beyond excited to be hosting a brand new show for Radio 2. It’ll be the best place for listeners to meet at the end of the day for a good chinwag and to have a laugh. Like any party, my favourite people will be swinging by to join in the fun in the studio but the listeners at home are the real guests of honour and I’ll be playing them the most brilliant music and doing my best to entertain them.”

Meanwhile Jo Whiley will join Simon Mayo to create a double-headed extended drive show from 5pm till 8pm each weekday from May 14th. Simon says: “Although we’ve known each other for over 20 years, we’ve never presented a show together. And given that Jo is quite brilliant, it’s high-time we put that right.”

Jo says: “What a thrill to be working with Simon on this exciting new show. It’s going to be great fun and listeners can look forward to some incredible music and chat, as well as being introduced to some fantastic new talent along the way. Cannot wait!”

Friday’s programme will remain as All Request Friday from 5pm-7pm, and Tony Blackburn’s The Golden Hour remains from 7pm-8pm.

Sara’s new late show from 10pm till midnight means specialist music programmes will move to the 8pm to 10pm slot instead.

Gary Davies says: “I hugely enjoyed my guest appearance on Simon Mayo’s show during Sara Cox’s Danceathon last year, which led to me covering for Sara On Sounds of the 80s. It was so much fun and reminded me how much I had missed being on the radio. I am absolutely thrilled to be the new host of the show and can’t wait to share my love of 80s music with the Radio 2 listeners.”

Lewis Carnie, Head of Radio 2, says: “These changes herald another stage of the evolution of Radio 2. Simon and Jo are two of the network’s most popular presenters, and I’m delighted that they will unite in this exciting partnership to present a new show. Sara’s new evening show will provide the network, for the first time in many years, with a truly interactive show to end the day.”

From 14 May, Radio 2 will launch a new live overnight show with OJ Borg to be broadcast from Salford each Monday to Friday, 12am-3am.

OJ says: “Over-excited to be starting on Radio 2 full time, as of all the jobs I’ve done in my ridiculously varied career, this radio station is the one that makes me feel like I’m broadcasting from my armchair at home. And getting to know the people who are up at that time at night is the main thrust of that excitement. Whether they are hard at work, indulging in some insomnia or tiptoeing in after a night out, it is going to be a riot.”

The network’s specialist music offer will be refreshed with range of changes.

The weekly Blues, Jazz, Folk and Country specialist music shows will move one hour later to 8pm-9pm, every Monday to Thursday.

Cerys Matthews will join Radio 2 as the host of a new live blues show each Monday. Musician, author and broadcaster Cerys, who also hosts a monthly programme, BBC Music On The World Service With Cerys Matthews – takes over from Paul Jones, who will be leaving the network.

Paul Jones says: “I have loved playing tracks from the world of Rhythm & Blues on Radio 2 over the last 30-plus years. I’m very grateful to all my listeners (not least for their influence on the content of programmes) but it’s time for me to hand over the baton – and I hope and believe Cerys will derive as much joy from the new show as I have until now.”

Cerys wants to thank Paul and adds: “To be able to play the music that inspires me on Radio 2 is a dream come true. I look forward to playing tracks by blues legends like Memphis Minnie, John Lee Hooker, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Jo Ann Kelly and Peter Green, and bands like the Rolling Stones, the Groundhogs, White Stripes and Black Keys. Each week we’ll dive into the vast archive of the BBC unearthing long lost gems and interviews, and we’ll also play some of the best new releases and emerging artists steeped in this genre, the cradle of jazz and rock ‘n roll.”

A new 26-part rock series hosted by Johnnie Walker will be broadcast on Monday nights from 9pm-10pm. Johnnie says: “As a huge lover of rock music, I’m very much looking forward to playing some of my favourite tracks from across the decades. Monday nights will never be the same again!”

Johnnie will share the 9pm Monday night slot with Jools Holland, whose show moves up from 11pm.

Huey Morgan’s Saturday morning show will now be extended from 4am-6am.

Ana Matronic’s Disco Devotion, broadcast each Sunday morning from 12am to 2am will now spread its wings to become Ana Matronic’s Dance Devotion, and will encompass all forms of dance music. Early Sunday mornings will have a new sound with Angela Scanlon on Sunday from 4am-6am.

Angela says: “Joining the Radio 2 team is a dream come true, lazy Sunday morning radio is my favourite. Now all I have to do is stay awake!”

The Organist Entertains (Tuesday 11pm-11.30pm), presented by Nigel Ogden; Listen To The Band (Tuesday 11.30-midnight) the weekly 30 minute programme featuring brass and military band music presented by Frank Renton; and the Radio 2 Arts Show (Thursday 10pm-midnight) will all be rested.

The yearly Young Brass Award will remain as a Friday Night Is Music Night special in April; whilst brass and organ music will be included in Friday Night is Music Night weekly programmes throughout the year. Brass will continue to be heavily featured on a weekly basis in Clare Teal’s Sunday night show, which celebrates big band music.

Arts programming, including interviews with authors, composers, actors, artists and playwrights, will continue to be featured across the Radio 2 daytime and weekend schedule in regular programming including Chris Evans, Ken Bruce, Steve Wright and Graham Norton. Sara Cox’s new evening show will also feature a variety of guests from the arts world. Radio 2 will continue to feature one-off arts projects and series such as the recent Mark Kermode’s Celluloid Jukebox six part series, the 500 Words children’s story writing initiative within the Radio 2 Breakfast Show, Paint It Black with Anneka Rice and Ronnie Wood and Ed Balls on Musical Theatre.

Nigel says: “I’d like to thank my ever loyal audience for their support and messages during the 38 years I’ve hosted The Organist Entertains. I’ve loved hearing from them and send them my very best wishes for the future. I’d also like to thank Radio 2 for giving me the opportunity to play the music I love each week – it has been a huge privilege.”

Frank says: “My 23 years presenting Listen To The Band have been hugely enjoyable, especially playing so much of the music that I love. It has also been an absolute pleasure being part of the Radio 2 family, and I want to thank all those who have listened or contributed to the programme over the years. Of course the next thing on the agenda is the continued celebration of the talent of young British brass players when Ken Bruce and I present the final of the BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Award in April.”

Lewis Carnie adds: “I’d like to thank Frank, Nigel and Paul for entertaining their listeners for many years, and on behalf of the listeners, and everyone at Radio 2, wish them the best of luck for the future.”

There will be another chance to hear Trevor Nelson’s Rhythm Nation, Claudia Winkleman’s weekend show, Sounds Of The 60s, Sounds Of The 70s, Sounds Of The 80s, Pick Of The Pops with Paul Gambaccini, and Craig Charles’ House Party, Monday to Friday, between 3am – 5am, and Saturday & Sunday between 2am-4am.

The station will be inviting both in-house BBC production teams and independent radio production companies to help shape some of the new shows, and will ask for proposals for Sara Cox and OJ Borg’s new shows, Sounds Of The 80s, Ana Matronic’s Dance Devotion and Johnnie Walker’s new Rock Show, in a special commissioning round which will open at 5pm this Friday (12 January).

The following Radio 2 specialist music shows will now be broadcast from 8pm-9pm:

Mondays – Blues with Cerys Matthews
Tuesdays – Jazz with Jamie Cullum
Weds – Folk with Mark Radcliffe
Thursday – Country with Bob Harris



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34 Comments
  1. Ciaran Flavin says

    Surprised that folk like Mike Read, Simon Bates and Kid Jensen are not give slots. David Hamilton, Graham Dene and Rob Jones are really sparkling on the Age Uk station which can be heard on DAB and online.

    1. Allan says

      I couldn’t agree more. but, in the recent past, Lewis Carnie has been clueless as to how to run a music station. Fortunately, there are lots of other better stations to listen to from Global.

  2. Adrian says

    I thought the BBC was supposed to be providing an alternative to commercial radio.The continued scrapping of specialist shows seems to show they are trying to compete with them for the maximum time each day.You used to be able to escape pop music on Radio 2-now it’ll just be a couple of hours in the evening (or in the middle of the night) and don’t start me about all that dance music on Saturday Night/Sunday Morning!.As to overnights who really believed that they didn’t have the money for live shows-didn’t take that long to find it again did it?-some might think they were just trying to get rid of some established presenters.

    1. Nicholas Sypkniewska says

      Adrian, they have only shelved 2-3 specialist shows which, by now, should’ve ended up on Radio 3 or 4 anyway!

      1. Joe Smith says

        According to the BBC themselves “The remit of Radio 2 is to be a distinctive mixed music and speech service, targeted at a broad audience, appealing to all age groups over 35” so that knocks your Radio 3 or 4 theory on the head.

        Adrian is completely correct.

  3. No. Watson says

    Live overnight radio back at last. Unfortunately O. J. Borg’s as a dj proves machine is not better than humans. Bring back Alex and Janice.

    1. Kevin says

      You can bet your life O J will be using his own company to produce his shows…….a nice little earner on top of his salary 🙂

  4. Gillian Davey says

    Glad to have live overnight show again. Simon and Jo are great individually but two presenter programmes are usually cringe y corny! Sorry to lose little (very little ) gems Nigel and Frank. Where will mini series Bill Kenwright, Russell Davies etc be? Are you leaving Saturday and Sunday alone and ,if so, why did Clare Balding have to leave?

    1. Kenny Philips says

      Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 9pm to 10pm available for documentaries / feature series. New look Good Morning Sunday 6am to 9am with Jason Mohammed and Rev. Kate Bottley starts 4th February.

    2. Joe Smith says

      “why did Clare Balding have to leave?”

      Good taste?

  5. Radio Producer says

    Lining up more nails for the Radio Two coffin.
    How can anyone with any sense whatsoever replace the talent of Paul Jones with Cerys Mathews.
    It goes without saying that Jo Whiney ,….sorry Whiley has needed help, because of having so little talent of her own….
    And WHO if OJ Borg for goodness sake…….Simply give Alex Lester his old job back….Save face, and get your overnight listeners back instead of drip feeding them repeats……
    Whatever the BBC are paying Mr Carnie – It’s way too much, and were these decisions his or is he simple carrying out Mr Sheehans orders…..Hmmmnnn!

    1. Barry says

      Because the BBC have to use more females . Tick box broadcasting .. BBC lost its way many years ago .bring back the style as Jim Moir he did guide the station very well .. it was a station that had quality built in .. now Sara Cox is the new God of the station …… and not

  6. Ann Gladman says

    Hy, you need to GET rid of Chris Evans!!!!! There is not enough room for my comment about him, its been fab while he has been off. Also, Dermott O’Leary, I like him , but not on the Radio, he is a complete mumbler, as soon as Tony Blackburn has finished my cd goes on in the car, cannot bare it. There used to be a forum at Radio2, to leave your feelings, but it has disappeared, these thoughts are what I’ve had for a Long time, I love Radio, but some of the changes some years ago are dire, re the 2 I have mentioned. Also, why, is Dermott’s show the Breakfast show and not Tony Blackburn’s!!? Evans show is the Breakfast show so why not Tony’s? I could go on a bit more but they are my thoughts at the moment. Thankyou.

  7. Joe Smith says

    So Jeremy ‘tabloid’ Vine and Steve Wright and his sycophants continue then?

    Still absolutely no reason to listen to Radio 2 after Ken Bruce then.

    Is the imbecile who decided to cancel the overnight shows still in a job?

  8. Steve Davies says

    Save money and axe Alex Lester and Janice Long in favour of Radio 2 Playlists. That clearly hasn’t worked out. Now they’re bringing back a ‘live’ presenter.

    1. Joe Smith says

      Almost live.

  9. Len Groat says

    One of the most relevant comments here is: “Is the imbecile who decided to cancel the overnight shows still in a job?”

    Answer : ‘Yes’ – How many people have the BBC actually ever… ‘sacked’ !?

    Time and time again, the BBC prove it is ‘jobs for life’ + that meaty BBC pension to look forward to – even if they do have to ‘step aside’ a few times.

    And all paid for by a public (so called) licence fee, which you HAVE to pay whether you use the BBC or not!

    And don’t forget the Carrie Gracie stunt/ propaganda – the answer to that is to CHOP the higher wages and pay the men the same as the women. If they don’t like it replace them with 100s trained/ queuing up at the (so called) BBC Academy…

  10. Neal says

    Do us all a favour lets have 6 Music on 88-91FM and stick Radio 2 on DAB only. I have had it with Radio 2 how the bloody hell can anybody in their right mind think of getting rid of Paul Jones!!!!!!!!! Wish I had the money to set up a radio station I could have the biggest audience in the UK simply by employing all the brilliant talent the BBC is tossing on the scrap heap with ever increasing frequency. I look forward to the next brain dead set of ideas from those in charge of Radio 2 within the next six months!!! The only plus point Huey Morgan gets an extra two hours a week but still at 4am in the morning. As the new procedure to get rid of the likes of Paul Jones seems to be to chuck out presenters who has been at the station for 20 years plus at least do us the favour of applying it to Steve Wright ! The BBC management really are getting as bad as the commercial radio big brothers but as usual seem to lose sight of the big difference which is we poor soft touch public are paying you extortionate salaries. For that privilege(!!!!!!) I expect you to listen to what we want to hear not what you think we want to hear.

    1. Kenny Philips says

      Neal I think that you have misread about Huey Morgan. Instead of Saturday 5am to 6am and Sunday 5am to 6am he will now be on Saturday 4am to 6am i.e. still 2 hours. Angela Scanlon (???) will be on Sunday 4am to 6am. Also Ooh Gary Davies is a much better fit for Sounds of the 80s than Sara Cox as we lived through the 80s listening to him.

      1. Neal says

        Thank you Kenny. My mistake about Huey. That will be my one plus point shot down then in this whole sorry mess. As I commented on another thread here about Global’s plans for The Bay and Lakeland Radio stations for me now thank God for internet radio and stations such as Paradise Radio and 92.5 The River an Independent station out of Boston. Also at various times between the hours of 7pm to 1am I would again recommend here any combination of the following Iain Anderson BBC Radio Scotland Sundays and Mondays 11pm to 1am. Eve Blair BBC Radio Ulster Mon – Fri 11pm to Midnight. Janice Long so missed from Radio 2 overnights 7pm to 10pm on BBC Radio Wales Monday to Thursday followed by Chris Needs who does Monday to Friday 10pm to 1am. Chris does play more mainstream music but the variety of it would still put that commercial station that keeps claiming more music variety in every jingle to shame! Appreciate some of the shows I mention overlap but the iplayer app means you can stream at other times to suit you. Personally for me that’s more or less it now as far as Radio 2 goes so I’ll have plenty of time to stream other shows!

  11. Lee says

    At least it sill offers something different to commercial radio. Compare Radio 2 to the bland sound of the Global and Bauer owned radio stations. Whiich clown got rid of the live overnight shows to save money then within months they realised they had made a mistake. I suppose at least they have reintroduced live overnight programming but OJ Borg – really! Bring back Alex and Janice.

  12. Mr B says

    Sounds like a right old mess,used to listen to Radio 2 pretty much every day until January last year when you got rid of Janice and Alex.I tuned have tuned in only twice since then,RUBBISH

  13. Paul S says

    Who needs a Drivetime show until 8pm? If anything, it should have been extended back from 4pm, when most Drivetime shows start, as a lot of people leave work well before 5pm nowadays. Then we could at least have got rid of one hour of Steve Wright.

    1. Joe Smith says

      I’ve got a much better idea. Lets keep the Radio 2 Playlists but move them to the noon to 5pm daily slots to replace the appalling Vine and Wright.

      Then repeated the following day between 4.30 and 9.30am to replace the equally appalling Feltz & Evans.

    2. Nicholas Sypkniewska says

      Because peoples’ changing work patterns mean that some people are still driving home from work between 7 & 8. Radio 2 have obviously reflected this . Sad about Paul Jones etc but many said the same when Mike Harding left the folk show nearly six years ago and the gamble paid off with Mark Radcliffe. They’ve got it right!

      1. Joe Smith says

        Seriously? Mark Radcliffe?

  14. Pauline Strainge says

    I have been a fan of radio 2 for many years but now will be listening to an alternative station. So disappointed that the dreadful Jo Whiley and the even more dreadful Sara Cox will be twittering on, why especially with Simon Mayo he does a wonderful job with the people he has already. I turn my radio off every time I hear those two women, Cox doesn’t even speak properly. Sadly I have to say “farewell radio 2” and even though Simon is paid more than Whiley and Cox he is, of course, worth much more

    1. Barry says

      Because the BBC have to use more females . Tick box broadcasting .. BBC lost its way many years ago .bring back the style as Jim Moir he did guide the station very well .. it was a station that had quality built in .. now Sara Cox is the new God of the station …… and not

  15. Annie says

    So pleased BBC radio 2 have finally realised that its there to properly entertain the public, and have also people do listen, and need “real” people to present, not tapes. Sad Paul Jones and Nigel Ogden are being meved aside, I will miss them. I
    feel the BBC need to poll their listeners, before they make any changes in future. Baby steps…………

  16. Adrian says

    Whatever your views on the gender gap.research over the years has shown that women listeners are the most likely to turn-off when a female presenter is on-hence with a few notable exceptions daytime on Radio 2 has not had many lady presenters.So one presumes that this double-header drivetime is an attempt to have a female presenter in prime-time without fully giving her the gig solo,don’t know whether this will work but must admit whatever the talents of the presenters such combinations over the years have been a complete turn-off for me-lots of inane chatter about trivial matters-I much prefer one presenter to double headers or zoo formats.

    1. Joe Smith says

      Agree entirely about the zoo formats and inane chatter being total turn offs.

      Evans and Wright and their sycophants telling them how wonderful they are are prime examples of the latter.

      It’s time Radio 2 amended it’s target from “all age groups over 35” to “all age groups over 35 with at least average IQs”.

  17. Alan C says

    Radio 2 lost its way a long time back. As many have said already possibly half dozen people worth listening to who have honed their craft. Ken Bruce, Johnnie Walker, and anyone apart from Sarah Cox who replaces Chris Evans on breakfast. Taking drivetime to 8pm is only going up against Richard Allison on Magic ( far superior show). Gary Davies is a good choice, bring back Alex Lester, stop having show business personalities with no talent for radio presenting and appeal to a specific age group and stop pandering to all tastes. If necessary split programming on FM and DAB. It is no difficult. As it is licence payers who cover the costs should they not have representatives sitting on the committees that make d3cision to programming. One final thought. Set up a subscription station with £10 per annum fee. Hire transmitters from an overseas base and employ all the talent that the BBC has wasted. Possibly look at the Isle of Man or Ireland. 100 kw plus should cover the U.K.

  18. Phil Barnett says

    Why all the fuss over Radio 2 not having had a female weekday presenter?Wave105 on the Southcoast has an all male dj line-up,all through the week!

  19. Kevin says

    What does the BBC think Jo Whiney is going to bring to drive time, because I can`t think of anything, Simon does a good job although he is a little self righteous but there again he always`s has been, when I worked at Radio 1 years ago he was known as the vicar, get rid of Wrighty and Evans although I don`t think any one there has the bottle to do it, producers and tech staff are told not to upset Chris and let him do what he wants, get rid of that idiot Lewis Carnie, and while I`m on the moan Anneka Rice made a complete Balls up of Junior choice on Christmas day, it was like listening to a car crash in slow motion, and when Paul O`Grady is on leave please please please do not get Len Gobbie Goodman sit in he is absolutely appalling, Mike Read should be on R2 by now, getting rid of Paul Jones is a huge mistake, I could go on but I just get myself more angry

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