Sara Cox to host Drivetime show on BBC Radio 2

BBC Radio 2’s Sara Cox is moving to the Drivetime show in the new year, replacing Simon Mayo and Jo Whiley.

Trevor Nelson will also move around the schedule from weekends to weeknights, bagging Sara’s current 10pm till midnight slot Monday to Thursday.

Sara said: “I’ve been proud to be part of the Radio 2 family for a few years now and the opportunity to present such a big show as Drivetime – playing fantastic music and hopefully making people smile as they cook tea or head home after a day’s graft – is the icing on what is already a very brilliant cake. I’m beyond chuffed to be given this role and to directly quote my mum on hearing the good news, it is indeed ‘fandabbyruddydozy’.”

Trevor will now move his Rhythm Nation show from Saturday nights to each Monday – Thursday night from 10pm – midnight. The show will continue to play Soul, R ‘n’ B, Dance, Disco and Reggae to celebrate the end of the day and liven up weekday nights.

“To present eight hours a week of the music I love on BBC Radio 2 is a dream come true for me,” says Trevor. “I’ll be introducing tracks from some soul stars of the future, as well as playing some of my favourite songs from the past 50 years of dance music, from Motown to the present day. Bring it on!”

Lewis Carnie, Head of Radio 2 said: “Sara is hugely popular with the Radio 2 audience and I have every confidence that she’ll make the new Drivetime show her very own. Trevor is one of the leading lights in soul music in the UK, and he’ll bring his curated blend of music to Monday to Thursday nights, which I know our listeners will love. With Zoe Ball at Breakfast and Jo Whiley from 7-9pm each weekday, 2019 looks to be an extremely exciting year for Radio 2.”

Sara joined BBC Radio 1 in 1999 to present a Saturday lunchtime show, moving on the following year to present the Radio 1 Breakfast Show until December 2003. Over the next 11 years, Sara presented various shows on the network, including the weekday afternoon show, a Saturday and Sunday weekend afternoon show and weekday mornings.

Sara covered various shows on Radio 2 from June 2011, and landed her own show on the network in 2013 by launching Sounds of the 80s, which she presented until earlier this year. Sara also fronted the show’s BBC Red Button specials featuring interviews with 80s musicians. Sara began presenting her 10pm-midnight show on the station in May 2018 and has also covered for Chris Evans on the Breakfast Show in recent years. In 2017, Sara raised a £1,242,624 for Comic Relief by taking part in a non-stop 24-hour Dance Challenge to 80s music, live from Wogan House.

Trevor kicked off his radio career at pirate station Kiss in 1985, transferring to Saturday nights on BBC Radio 1 in 1996 to present the first ever national R’n’B show, The Rhythm Nation, for 17 years. Trevor also joined BBC Radio 1Xtra in 2007 to present the Breakfast Show, then the 10am-1pm weekday show until November 2016, when he moved to weekends 4-7pm.

Trevor made his Radio 2 debut in 2008 by presenting a weekly Wednesday night soul show and in July 2016, he launched Rhythm Nation on Saturday evenings. Trevor has also covered for Ken Bruce. Trevor has won a variety of plaudits including four MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Awards and an MBE for services to the community following his work as an ambassador for the Millennium Volunteers. In 2010 he received a Gold Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sony Radio Academy Awards for his services to broadcasting.

Trevor will continue to present on BBC Radio 1 Xtra, Saturday and Sunday 4 – 7pm.

Sara takes over from Jo Whiley and Simon Mayo who currently present each weekday, and follows the announcement that Simon Mayo will be leaving Radio 2, and Jo Whiley will be launching a new Monday – Thursday show from 7-9pm.

BBC Radio 2 tells RadioToday they will announce who will host the Saturday night 8-10pm slot in due course.

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  1. Adrian says

    For me it’s not Sara Cox getting that slot that’s the main problem although it’s taking the station younger yet again.It’s more the change in Radio 2’s music which is alienating people like me.It’s obvious what type of music Mr.Carnie likes.Country,Folk,Blues etc can have one hour a week while soul,reggae,dance,disco can have two hours a night plus more on Saturdays.What with the changes to Commercial radio and Radio 2 2019 looks to be pretty grim for a qute a few listeners.The BBC seems to me to be deserting it’s older listeners turning Radio 2 into an older Radio 1 with very little for lovers of relaxing music-I would never have believed Radio 2 would be playing dance music nearly every night and much commercial radio style uptempo pop stuff from the charts and recent decades during the day as well just at a time when they should be proving an alternative for discerning listeners.All I can say is thank goodness for internet radio!.

    1. Sue says

      Totally agree. Sick to death of dance music

  2. Robert Dooby says

    BBC Radio 2 seeks to alienate it’s exisitng mature audience, ie those who know who Terry Wogan is, in favour of chasing after a younger age group who have become too sophisticated for Radio 1. This younger lot are not limited to the FM or even DAB offerings and so a transition to Radio 2 is not guaranteed unlike it seems the lucrative contracts given to ex Radio 1 DJs who are internally promoted without reference to alternative talent working in the commercial sector or even from local radio. This policy is not in the best interests of the listener and ulimately will result in Radio 2 becoming irrelevant. Another worrying trend is the recruitment of “ladette” female presenters on the basis of some mis-guided politically correct gender equality drive. There is a good reason radio presenters historically have favoured the male gender and that is they capture and maintain an audience. Frankly I don’t see that happening with the air-headed types now leading the weekday schedules.

  3. Mike says

    Carnie seems to be an obsessive box ticker anxious not to rock the PC boat. Was this appointment made based on talent or the best presenter style for that time of day? Was it hell. But Carnie wants to climb the ladder and if R2 gets wrecked on the way what the hell. His legacy more like.

    1. Stuart says

      Shock horror, it’s a woman!!! Choosing a female presenter isn’t PC, ‘PC’ is just a term people use when they actually mean ‘I don’t like something’

      I can’t think of anyone else from the Radio 2 ‘family’ who is better suited

    2. Chris Moore says

      So let me get this right, if a programmer gives a prime show to someone off the telly there is the predicted hue & cry from the anoraks and if a woman gets a prime show it must be because the manager is ticking a PC box (on some equality form presumably) in order to gain promotion.

      Let’s not let the facts get in the way of a good rant. Radio 2 has given 2 of its prime shows to women, but not any old women, two of the most experienced broadcasters in the country. They may not be your cup of tea but that is a problem which you’ll have to try and deal with by listening or not.

      Lewis Carnie is paid his BBC salary to put the right people in the right slots and time and audience figures will tell whether he’s made the right decision. Inevitably, in the 2nd week of January there will be a cry for his sacking from those who don’t care for the changes, to quote Talking Heads “same as it ever was”.

      As far the new appointment taking Radio 2 younger which was further up the comments, Cox is 43 and Ball is 47. According to the BBC Trust :-

      “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.”

      The two female presenters who have been given new shows may not be to your liking but to suggest the only reason they’ve been given the high-profile shows they have is as insulting as it is ridiculous.

      1. Pat says

        Yes a distinctive mixed music and speech station- appealing to all over 35-You may think that’s what it’s doing but i’m afraid this is not the way it is going-it is gradually removing the shows many older listeners loved,I’d say 25-50 is what they are targeting now and the older listeners can get lost.

      2. Joe Smith says

        “Lewis Carnie is paid his BBC salary to put the right people in the right slots and time and audience figures will tell whether he’s made the right decision”

        The BBC is a public service broadcaster. It is not all about listening figures.

        1. Chris Moore says

          Someone has to have the ultimate responsibility of making the final decision. You can’t do it by committee. All I’m saying is there is still a huge amount of variety and a huge audience. The fact that some of the older specialist shows were axed is merely a fact of life as time passes by and station’s grow with its audience, otherwise they’d still have “Waggoner’s Walk” on every day.

          I should also say that as per a previous comment I wasn’t trying to be condescending, merely stating that I seem to have an opposite opinion to a few others on here and I have been in the position of being responsible for the sorts of programming decisions albeit in regional rather than national radio. As far for the comment about “no one’s heard of him”, if you aren’t from Wales you probably wouldn’t have heard of me as that’s where I’ve spent my career. I would count the fact that I was the most listened to commercial radio presenter in Wales for a decade with a quarter of a million listening every day reasonable grounds for a valid opinion. Did I get everything right? Absolutely not.

          I’m 56 so I suppose I’m bang on target and I think it’s a terrific station. I love Mayo, Bruce and Harris. I cherry pick the shows I like but I don’t really get too upset when stuff changes.

          1. Adrian says

            Pity Bob Harris only has one an hour a week now after his other show was shunted to the middle of the night and he probably decided it wasn’t worth doing-to replace it with a dance show was an example of why I hate the current actions of the people in charge.How long before the country show moves to midnight or 3 am or stops altogether?,



    1. joe says

      You really haven’t a clue have you?


    Evolution is good and change not always bad – I’m concerned that specialist shows and content that used to be seen as material and core to Radio 2 are seen as an inconvenience to be squeezed and shunted.

    1. Mike Rose says

      I’m sure they won’t be shunted, they’ll all just be on at 9.00.

      1. mb23 says

        They have been reduced by 50%, unless they are moved to the weekend or shunted after midnight.

        They currently run 8-10pm, so will be reduced to 1 hour per night (9-10pm). What is the point of Radio 2 being licence fee funded if it’s just going to play the hits all night?

        1. Adrian says

          In a space of a few months from The Organist Entertains to Trevor Nelson in the same slot-that’s some change!.If Radio 2 wants to drop most of their specialist shows then they should be found a place on another BBC network in a decent slot-if you say there isn’t one then they should have a Radio 2 extra with lighter music and the specialist shows-don’t say there is no money-It can always be found when they want to pay huge salaries to celebrities,If they don’t do this they are,in my opinion,failing in their remit to cater for all tastes and age groups which should mean action by Ofcom-but we all know they are likely to do nothing as with commercial radio.

      2. MICHAEL BOLTON says

        and the 9 oclock shows go where?

  6. Andy says

    My 80 yr old mom hates female voices on the radio. But she says she’s ok with Sarah cox, so she’s happy. She’s asked me how to get virgin radio for breakfast LOL. Guess I’ll but get an Alexa to plug into her hifi at home.

  7. Pat says

    I’m another female who hates female voices on the radio,there are quite a few of us so I think the golden days of Radio 2 are numbered and will plummet next year,the listeners left will be the ones appreciate of the controllers wish to turn the station into a ‘Heart without adverts’ for the most part with nothing much more than hit music from the last 20 years,soul and dance specialist shows every day and a few token other shows in graveyard shifts (until in a year or two they are scrapped altogether due to loss of listeners),The BBC should be ashamed of itself!.

    1. Chris Moore says

      One of the first things I was told by more experienced presenters when I started working in radio over 30 years ago was that women didn’t like women presenters. This is why we were never allowed to play more than 2 female voices in a row in order to ensure that the audience didn’t run screaming for the hills. Like a few other urban myths radio has created for itself over the years there is and never has been any data to back up this assertion.

      Radio 2 will never be “Heart without ads” because their music variety is nowhere near as limited and predictable.

      I think it’ll be just fine. Ball is not my cuppa but a station with a spine of Bruce, Vine and Wright is still going to be formidable. Cox is an excellent choice in my opinion, she and Liza Tarbuck are two of the most natural, entertaining presenters UK radio has to offer.

      1. Pat says

        Bruce,Vine and Wright formidable-don’t make me laugh! -you can see I am not keen on the male daytime line-up either!.I’m female and I remember a couple of decades ago a number of lady presenters were tried on Radio 2 and dropped when the audiences declined-hence why it has been male dominated for a long time.I’ll be most surprised if the figures don’t drop again this time.

      2. Joe Smith says

        I think it’ll be just fine. Ball is not my cuppa but a station with a spine of Bruce, Vine and Wright is still going to be formidable”

        One out of three isn’t bad!

        Mr Tabloid and Mr Needs Sycophants are a real turn off.

        1. Chris Moore says

          An audience of over 14 million is still incredible. Whether the presenters are to your taste is an individual choice, the audience figures suggest all three are still pulling their weight.

          To suggest Radio 2’a music policy is now the same as any commercial station or Radio 1 (how can it be both) proves that views on music especially is mainly based on perception than reality. How many of us have been told that we “play the same songs at the same time every day”?

          It may be inevitable that audience will drop after the changes happen, this usually happens when a schedule change takes place and almost always when a breakfast show changes (Evans taking over from Wogan being an exception, how many on here were blathering on about how disastrous he would be.)

          Mayo is one of the most accomplished broadcasters the UK has produced so he will be missed but Sara Cox has turned into an excellent, entertaining host (my opinion, it’s the only one I’ve got). Ball isn’t to my liking so I probably won’t listen.

          1. Joe Smith says

            The audience figures reflect a distinct lack of talent worth listening to elsewhere as much as anything else.

  8. Colin says

    I guess we won’t really know what’s gone on behind the scenes until Mayo writes his biography. His “confidence” in drivetime changes have been misplaced and listener backlash on such a scale was unforeseen. Every decision around drivetime has been reversed in 5 months, but at such a cost to the station. Carnie shouldn’t be on his way up, he should be on his way out

  9. Jeff C says

    Finally Mr Carnie has made a good decision. 10 hours of Sara each week is brilliant news.

  10. AlanH says

    Does this mean that the documentary/specialist hour (Suzi Quatro/Bill Kenwright etc) will now disappear? Another sad loss, if so.

  11. Owen says

    I enjoy Trevor Nelson’s Rhythm Nation. Whilst Saturday seems a logical slot for it, I’ll try and find time to listen weekdays. Unless I’m wrong, Trevor’s switch to weekdays means there will actually only be one less male voice on Radio 2 each day after Chris Evans/Simon Mayo leave and Zoe Ball/Sara Cox start their new shows. So calm down everyone!

  12. Neal says

    Totally appreciate Trevor Nelson’s talent but I doubt he will be given enough freedom from the safe playlist type of soul that fills Heart’s club classics shows. Now if good old Lewis came up a with a Robbie Vincent or David Simmons from 70’s and 80’s Radio 1 days and gave them musical playlist freedom that would be something! Have to agree with others here it is really sad that Radio 2 no longer feels the need to cater for or give as much air time to other specialist music as it now does soul and disco! Thought that it what KIss FM was for although that is now corporate run and a shadow of what it was in it’s pirate days or even at it’s launch!

    If you want a relaxing end to your day can I totally recommend Eve Blair on BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Radio Foyle Mon – Fri 11pm to just before midnight and Iain Anderson BBC Radio Scotland Sundays and Mondays from 11pm to 1am. The overlap of these two shows on a Monday easily dealt with by BBC I Player. Other internet radio to check out The River 92.5 from Boston, Paradise Radio and if a Rock and Roll fan Radio Sutch. A community station from Spain Pure Gold would give any Gold oldies station in this country a run for their money too.

    Sad Times!

    Real shame about Radio 2. I actually hear a miles better variety of music on my daily banking visit to HSBC on their branch radio service for the five to ten minutes I am there each day than I now do on the BBC that we are paying for to be different but they no longer are. The lunatics now totally have the keys to the asylum. I though Lesley Douglas was destructive enough but the current in charge crew make her look like a pussycat!!!!

    1. Chris Moore says

      I’m not sure which other stations you could compare to Radio 2 because I don’t know of any.

      Heard a bit of Ken Bruce today.

      Steely Dan – FM
      Dave Edmunds – Queen of Hearts
      George Benson – Love Ballad
      Andrea Bocelli – Fall On Me

      There is no other station where you’d hear those four songs in the same show. Listeners sometimes confuse the fact that because they don’t like the music that somehow the station is failing. 14.5 million people disagree with you.

      1. Pat says

        He also played Snoop Dogg,Take That,New Order,Girls Aloud and Adele.

      2. Allan Wallace says

        Chris Moore continues to defend the indefensible.

        1. Chris Moore says

          Apologies for having an opinion different to yours and over 30 years in the industry to back it up.

          1. Allan Wallace says

            Chris Moore’s remarks are condescending and patronising. It is significant that, in his 30 years in broadcasting, he has achieved nothing and no-one has ever heard of him.

          2. Joe Smith says

            I’ll top that with 50 years of being a radio consumer.

            It’s good of you to apologise for your career though.

          3. Mike says

            For all your 30 years experience please remember one thing. The listener is the most important person in your life.
            He/she controls the on/off button.

          4. Chris Moore says

            100% correct, but you always programme for the average listener. This is why the average hours figures in a rajar survey can be extremely valuable and revealing when making decisions.

  13. Lee says

    Sad day for Radio 2. Sara Cox is not the presenter for drive time as her presentation style, and that of Jo Whiley, is better suited to Radio 1 in my view. I thought the politicly correct Mr Carnie would give the drivetime spot job to Sara. What is Radio 2’s obsession with ex-Radio 1 presenters? Where is the new talent? Bring on Alexa, or other streaming services as British radio is going down the pan fast!!

    1. Pat says

      The music is increasingly suitable for Radio 1 rather than 2 as well-just right for the ex 1 presenters.They need to adjust the networks somehow to stop older listeners being disenfranchised-whether it be a Radio 2 extra,a new look Radio 3 sharing classical music and arts (evenings) with the music that used to be on Radio 2 during the day and Radio 2 specialist shows at weekends or whatever,what is going on now just isn’t right.

  14. Terry says

    Ceased listening to drive time when it was re-vamped by dropping the existing team & guests, I listened to one show hated having to listen to two presenters, which really didn’t work. I haven’t listened to another drive time since, my radio remains switched off and will remain so when Sarah Cox takes over, hate the BBC and constant stream of women presenters, even on soccer programmes radio and television. Simon Mayo was as near to a Terry Wogan that you could get on radio, Simon made you feel part of the programme, foolish BBC they no don’t know a good programme if hit them in face, we can’t all be wrong about disaster Drivetime became & is still.

  15. Peps says

    Will Sara fill in on breakfast at all still? I love listening to her in the morning.

  16. Sarah Clifford says

    We need to a Irish show on radio 2 and more blues and more 70s and 80s disco we need sounds of the 50s back for 10 weeks and may be 2 hours of sounds of 50s on Xmas day and boxing day

  17. Sarah Clifford says

    We need more disco from , 70s and 80s I think k tervor Nelson should play more disco. . Gary Davies should of been doing drive time. Sounds of the 60s show once a month should be a motown show.

  18. Sarah Clifford says

    I think for new year eve afternoon we should have 3 hours of sounds of the 70s. And on*new year day we should have 3 hours of sounds of the 60s and 3 hours of sounds of the 80s

  19. Joe Smith says

    We need Radio 2 Extra re-running all the old shows like Radio 4 Extra!

    1. Nick says

      Actually R2 vintage would be a good idea. Classic broadcasts from the likes of Ray Moore, Steve Madden, Debbie Thrower and the Jamesons.

      1. Joe Smith says

        Agree with Ray Moore but the Jamesons?

        Maybe the good old days weren’t quite so good after all!

    2. Mike says

      What like the commercial radio ‘Gold’ stations? Has been jocks tucked away on AM frequencies. Oh joy!

      1. Joe Smith says

        No for two reasons.

        No 1 – I said re-runs which isn’t what happens on the ‘Gold’ stations

        No 2 – I said like Radio 4 Extra which is on DAB and not AM

  20. Ian says

    Was a loyal radio 2 fan not anymore since they got rid of proper radio presenters like Alex LESTER and richard Allinson , glad the ginger has gone though loudmouth by far, dont care for the music content , Lewis Carnie had systematically wrecked the station, he won’t be sacked he will sidelined to run c beebies .

  21. Grampian says

    Alex Lester – yes! Cheesey Dickie Allinson? No thanks! Ok, just my opinion.
    Really don’t care for Ball. Glad the ginger one is going though.

    Would’ve preferred Cox for breakfast, but got Ball’s inane chatter and fake enthusiasm to put up with instead. Actually turned out nice with Cox after all. Great choice for Drivetime. Liza Tarbuck as stand-in. Wasn’t she great with Simon when poor Jo was sick recently (no wonder).

    PC? Really? I remember the time when Judith Chalmers and Gloria Hunniford had prime time shows on R2 with Sarah Kennedy doing the pre-Wogan slot (he didn’t get started until 07:30 hours then). Those were the days …. Haha!

  22. Radio Geordie says

    I’m sure I have said something similar to this before (and quite recently), but I’m going to say again.
    Radio 1 is hemorrhaging listeners and Radio 1 Xtra is aimed at the same audience with some programmes also carried on Radio 1. Why doesn’t the BBC just merge the two services. Least then they might get a decent audience.
    Then, the freed up DAB capacity can be used for a new service called Radio 2 Extra which could broadcast the easy listening and specialist music shows which are getting pushed out from the FM service.
    Don’t mention Radio 6 Music. Yes it’s branded as Radio 2’s sister service, but its aimed more at the younger end of the target audience which is why it broadcasts more indie rock and plays specialist music for that end of the market.
    With regards to Carnie, he’s going to be remembered as Radio 2’s answer to Matthew Bannister.
    However, with the BBC being hell bent on employing more women & ethnic minority people regardless as to whether they are any good, they may as well rename the organisation the BPCC – the British Politically Correct Corporation.

    1. Adrian says

      Great post,couldn’t agree more!.

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