Billy Butler let go by BBC Radio Merseyside

Presenter Billy Butler has announced his contract is not being renewed by BBC Radio Merseyside where he hosts two shows a week.

Billy has worked on the radio in the region for five decades – at both Radio City and Radio Merseyside – and is one of the most well-known presenters in Liverpool.

He posted a public message on Facebook Saturday morning, saying: “I regret to say that Radio Merseyside have decided not to renew my contract. So my last shows will be this Thursday and Friday. Thank you. Tune in for the end of an era.

Billy’s son Lee also posted on social media, tweeting: “Over 50 years on local radio and no one has shown more support to local bands and music as my Dad.”

Billy told the local newspaper, the Liverpool Echo, that he was informed of the decision about two weeks ago when he was approached by Sue Owen, managing editor of Radio Merseyside.

He said: “She started off saying ‘You’ve been expecting this…’ She explained that from next year Jenny Lee Summers, who does Monday to Wednesday at the moment, would be doing the whole week.

“She said ‘We might have some projects for you in the New year’ but I said I wasn’t going to sit at home waiting for calls.”

Billy added: “In all fairness I probably have been expecting it. For the first time in my life, I’ve not felt part of the station this year. I’ve been doing just two days a week, I’ve not been asked to fill in for people when they’ve been off and I was asked not to play any more Hold Your Plums excerpts.

“And when the Giants came to Wirral, Snelly (Tony Snell) did his show from there live when the Giants were asleep, while I did mine – when they were awake – from the studio.

“I feel very sad, because broadcasting has been part of my life for 47 years. I’m not angry but I’m upset and disappointed.

“I have had a great run but still feel I have got a lot to offer on the radio. I have always been one to have original ideas and to be keen to discover and play new talent. I’d listen to any offers but don’t really expect anything from City – they are doing very well anyway and probably don’t think I fit into their style today.

“I’d also like to say I think the station is in good hands and still has some great presenters. But I think there could be a lot more fun injected into it. I would say the presenters they have are safe – whereas people never know what I’m going to say next!”

Aziz Rashid, head of the BBC in the North West, told RadioToday: “Billy Butler has been in radio for almost half a century and most of that on BBC Radio Merseyside.

“Few people attain the status of legend in their own lifetime. Billy Butler MBE (Mrs Butler’s Eldest) can certainly claim that honour. As well as an outstanding contribution award from the BBC in 2010, just this year he was enrolled as a Citizen of Honour of Liverpool; the highest accolade the city can bestow.

“Billy has brightened our listeners’ day; been a huge influence on local musicians; and impressed and flummoxed many a celebrity guest with his legendary forensic research – often knowing more about them than they do. And he is of course the man behind the iconic Hold Your Plums.

“We hope Billy will be working with us on some one-off projects in the future. A beloved broadcaster and a generous colleague, we thank him for the incredible contribution he has made not just to broadcasting but also to life on Merseyside.”

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23 Comments
  1. Adrian says

    There were plenty of slots they could have put Billy into at the weekend but then this is a station which now broadcasts it’s folk show at 5am on Sunday and a Chinese programme at Midnight.

  2. Pete Russell says

    4 people played my Christmas song billy Maher , Kev seed , but only Michael farrie and the fabulous Billy Butler played it numerous times on their Christmas Day shows. Huge respect to a Liverpool Icon

  3. Mike Rose says

    Perhaps Bauer will find him something on Citytalk or 10am extra City 2 opt out when g.h.r starts.

  4. Paul says

    Billy you brightened my nans life up when i was a kid and i met you once as a kid when you played footie at my old primary school .your a top man billy good luck in whatever you decide to do

  5. Dan Dean says

    With respect to Billy…..we all become yesterday’s people, it is how life evolves, and at some stage we need to move on because if we don’t then it is done for us, as is the case here.

    I recently heard Billy and with respect again his show sounded dated both in style and content. The city is not about Scotland Road, Chip Butties, and Cilla Black now days….Hold Your Plumbs was of it’s time and at that time very entertaining but is as relevant today as Bullseye and Emlyn Hughes!….of their time.

    It is a shame that he did not make the decision to go. The signs were pointing in that direction, and sometimes it is better to jump rather than being pushed. It is always difficult to admit that it is time to move on, but one must accept that and move on…..over staying your welcome is always dangerous!….move on or you will be moved.

    He deserved a better “retirement” than this, but I feel Billy has brought some of it on himself by not spotting or ignoring the signs already there, and so retiring gracefully after a wonderful career in which ha has been blessed.

    He would be a great addition to any community project in Liverpool as he is respected and loved by the City and it’s people.

    Just a shame that it all had to end like this when it could all have been done with more compassion and dignity for everyone.

  6. Joe Smith says

    “Aziz Rashid, head of the BBC in the North West, told RadioToday: “Billy Butler has been in radio for almost half a century and most of that on BBC Radio Merseyside.

    “Few people attain the status of legend in their own lifetime. Billy Butler MBE (Mrs Butler’s Eldest) can certainly claim that honour. As well as an outstanding contribution award from the BBC in 2010, just this year he was enrolled as a Citizen of Honour of Liverpool; the highest accolade the city can bestow.

    “Billy has brightened our listeners’ day; been a huge influence on local musicians; and impressed and flummoxed many a celebrity guest with his legendary forensic research – often knowing more about them than they do. And he is of course the man behind the iconic Hold Your Plums.”

    ………… so we will sack him.

  7. ciaran flavin says

    I havent heard Billy Butler but really people should just accept a decision and not make a fuss. John MC Cririck ‘s contract was not renewed by channel4 tv and he let himself down very badly by constantly complaining and lost a lot of money by the ridiculous decision to take C4 to an industrial tribunal.

  8. Radio Geordie says

    His replacement will be a lot cheaper. Simples.

  9. Thomas Currie says

    Live in Germany and Mr Butler is one of the few things left that Make me Love Liverpool sad sad BBC Tom Currie.

  10. Dante says

    Sorry Billy.You had your time, but past sell by of late. Good luck in pastures new.

  11. Paul McKenna says

    Thats typical of fools who think they know better than everyone else. Shame on all of you who came up with this crass decision. Its something I sincerely believe the BBC will live to regret. Then when the axe comes down on those cowards who brought this about, drops down on their heads, well they will know what its like to be dumped by those who should know better! if I had a Radio Station or TV channel at my disposal, I would be right around knocking on your door. You are one of the moat intelligent and knowladgeble people I have every heard on the radio, especially when it comes to Music information! What a loss to us all. Good Luck Billy,

  12. Brian Duffy says

    What a grossly stupid decision by the BBC. They clearly don’t know their customers !

  13. Derek Turner says

    Never mind worse things happen at see

    1. Joe Smith says

      See?

  14. Dave Cartwright says

    Tony Snell should have got Butler’s slot. He’s been on that early shift for years. Needs a change to liven it up.

  15. Alan says

    Huge biggest mistake ever Radio Merseyside to let them go an legend on this show for over 50 years and shame on you management. I’m not listen to that Jenny Lee Summers get rid of her and she is awful.

  16. Jenny says

    One day someone will approach the manager and say “you’ve been expecting this…” and then they will know how it feels to be pushed out with phoney plaudits and promises. But Billy’s star will shine longer and brighter than the dim cheap battery operated glow of thanks, but no thanks. For Billy is a true Scouse legend …………who will remember the boss of Radio Merseyside in five years time? Smug today, but forgotten tomorrow.

  17. Phil says

    Everyone I know has heard of Billy Butler. Nobody I know has heard of Aziz Rashid.

  18. Marie whitty says

    It’s the B.B.C what do you expect it has no loyalty to the people of Liverpool it’s employees, it’s the most biased station ever. British Broadcasting, having a laugh. Biggest Bleeding Corrupt. Disgaraceful but doesn’t shock me with their decisions. Desperate, hopeless and on a fine line.B.B.C.Sorry for Billy Butler and the yeRs he’s put in. Billies listeners could make there voices heated.

  19. Pat says

    You are not telling me that the rest of the output on the station is so wonderful that they could not have put aside an hour or two at the weekend for Billy to continue in a small way,I understand they want weekdays to be the same presenter but there is surely room on a Sunday if nowhere else?.

  20. A West says

    The way Billy Butler has been ‘let go’ in this way is a disgrace!! He has been an icon in Liverpool for decades.
    Why couldn’t they keep him on for 2 days a week. Jenny Lee Summers is awful- flat and boring . God help anyone listening to her droning on !!
    Is Billy having a decent send off, or are they just throwing him out?? I feel very sad for him!!!

  21. Steve says

    With respect why couldnt they give Billy Sean Styles slot, every day his show consists of , ” Give us a ring “. It’s the listeners who are doing the show for him and its the same old drone every day not having enough material to hold an audience. Ok uve guessed im not a fan but I just turn off. At the end of the day it’s for the listeners i think he bbc have made the wrong decision and need to have a reshuffle.

  22. Chris Jones says

    He was dated in his presentation methods, but a welcome voice on the radio, The Girl taking over needs to be taught how to talk and breath she often leaves me feeling breathless, and has a strange capacity for saying 20,000 words when a sentence will do. I will look elsewhere for my radio slot between 2 and 4 sadly. she is not the answer !

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