Chris Evans on Virgin Radio – same show, different station

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Chris Evans returned to the radio this morning with the same show, different station.

The Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Virgin Radio has the same jingles, most of the same people, and the same energy from his BBC Radio 2 show which is finished on December 24th.

The first song, Lucky Man, was played live by Richard Ashcroft, followed by Queen’s Dont’s Stop Me Now.

In the first half hour, Chris mentioned “the other place” a number of times, and played his Wisebuddah jingles with an added “With Sky” sing on the end. Virgin Radio’s station voice-over Dave Bethell voices the show idents and sponsor credit.

The show is commercial free, with Chris adding: “This show will be commercial free for at least the next 100 years..”

His Radio 2 team, including Vassos Alexander as sports reporter and Rachel Horne on travel news, are on the show, plus a new addition of Sky News weather presenter Nazaneen Ghaffar providing the forecast.

The only difference is the audience and distribution. On BBC Radio 2 Chris had 10 million listeners each morning, whilst the total audience for Virgin Radio is currently under half a million.

His first guests include Fay Ripley, Paul Whitehouse, Romesh Ranganathan, and Rob Beckett, whilst returning features are the Big Screen Belter, Golden Oldie and Gobsmackers. The first Golden Oldie was chosen by Richard Branson.

Chris said: “Thank the Lord, we are so grateful for being back on the radio” and told listeners that Virgin was part of the Wireless Group, and based on the 14th floor of a building in London. Chris also mentioned that he walked into the office without being recognised by anyone so had to go back down outside for the photographers.

Sister company The Sun included a wrap-around its newspaper this morning as part of a major marketing campaign for the show.

News UK building in London – home of Virgin Radio

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38 Comments
  1. rob charles says

    So when will the Wireless Group going to be putting it out on their FM Stations? within a month? start of Feb!

    1. Mark Levy says

      I think the idea should be that Wireless should be that those stations be merged into one Virgin Radio station in order for that to happen. It would result in more redundancies at a local level, but the way things are going, its inevitable.

      1. mb23 says

        They can’t do it on the Swansea station, the new rules currently only apply to England & Northern Ireland.

  2. Simon Hart says

    Top draw Chris and crew,
    Alexa is loving the show as I am.
    Keep up the good work.
    God bless you all.
    Best Simon Hart.

  3. Neil says

    Same great show but with downsides:
    1) music variety much more restricted
    2) audio quality not great. A move to a different floor was mentioned, hopefully they invest in some decent mic’s. And how I miss the BBC 320kbps stream!
    3) no app functionality for catch up and podcast (but promised soon in Q&A)

    Bottom line, unclear what the dear listener has gained out of this move. Quick snap poll of people around me suggest playlist maybe the biggest opportunity if they are to retain transfers from R2. Not sure desire or licence allows this though?

  4. Sheila says

    Yes, the ego has landed on Virgin still with the ‘best thing on radio since it began’ attitude. I can’t see him reaching the heights of 10 million listeners again despite some of his followers buying new digital radios which is all what I was hearing this morning. All his show is going to achieve is line his back pocket even further.

    1. mb23 says

      A good day for DAB though with a high quality breakfast show that isn’t available on FM, that can only drive the digital listening share upwards. Now we eagerly wait for Wednesday’s announcement from Mr Mayo.

    2. Mike Rose says

      He didn’t go for the money and made it clear he wanted to do something new on a smaller platform from scratch having achieved all he could at the BBC. He made that clear last year. He’s also said this morning there is no rivalry with his BBC successor. If you’d have listened rather than constantly assume Chris Evans is the same guy he was 15 years ago, you’d have heard it from the horses mouth.

      1. neal says

        But the show is not something new. It is the same old show on a different station.

      2. Sheila says

        I was listening MIke and heard the same old show on a different station. I don’t hate him by any means and have met him at CarFest back in 2017. A nice guy by all accounts but I still think he’s a show off.

        1. Jeff C says

          He’s not my cup of tea and past comments on RadioToday have shown that there’s not much love for him amongst some of the replies. My opinion is that he had teething problems this morning which will get better once he’s used to his new surroundings. At least he’ll know that from now on his enormous salary won’t be published.

  5. Pete Samuels says

    This has all the potential of being a seismic shift. Many listeners will undoubtedly follow Chris and retune to Virgin, in fact I look forward to the listening figures for the new show.

    Not only a potential for a large uplift in Virgin audience, but more listeners going across to DAB.

  6. Nicole Inwood says

    Hi Chris,
    At last back on the airwave, it took my husband Tom a little while to find the station on our DAB radio but got there eventually, great we love your bubbly, energetic voice in the morning that is one point of my message. The second one is regarding our granddaughter Lucy 11 who attends a dance school «Oncore Dance Academy » in Northampton, their modern dance group have been chosen to represent ENGLAND at the Dance World championship in Portugal next June, as you can imagine the excitement and pride of representing your country at such an event. We’re all so proud however we’re doing all sort of sponsorship to raise money for flights, uniform, hotel, etc. as it is going to be an expensive trip, just wondered if you could advertise on your program to raise awareness in Northampton so may be some locale companies can may be sponsor the dancers, as you can imagine parents and grandparents of the 16 girls already spend quite a lot of their well earned cash. A little plug would be absolutely lovely.
    Keep up the good work.
    Best regards
    Nicole Inwood

    1. UK-DJ says

      Why not email [email protected] and ask him direct.

  7. Dominic Doomer says

    The biggest USP being no ad breaks. Wow, what a statement for a commercial radio group to make. Doomed.

  8. Joe Smith says

    Who?

    1. AlexaPlayDespacito says

      You’re so bitter that you didn’t get anywhere in the radio industry.

      Not hard to understand why…

      1. Joe Smith says

        You’re so stupid that you make up things and think they are true. I have never been in nor wanted to be in the radio industry. I simply listen to the radio.

        You should try that instead of listening to the voices in your head that make you post utter nonsense time after time.

  9. Maurice says

    I have missed him.

    The fact that the show, jingles, features and people are virtually a direct (albeit sponsored by SKY) copy of his BBC offering, suits me just fine.

    The format works, he works, and I for one am very happy he is back.

    Good for you Chris.

    1. Kevin Henderson says

      Good to have his chirpy voice back, makes the morning fly by. Needs better mics though, sounds like he is talking in a bean tin!!!

  10. Jonathan says

    Its had its day, let it go. Yes he was good, but now repetitive. How’s about a bit of new talent?

  11. Ross Patzelt says

    Such a shame its not on fm as now I cannot listen to him at work in my van. Breakfast radio is great now. We have Greg James, Moyles, Zoe, Evans and many more all doing great breakfast shows.,

    1. Simon says

      You can get a dab adapter for your van , £30 on EBay 😄

  12. Pauline Jones says

    Yeah, great to wake up to Chris and team and not some frantic yappy females in the form if Vanessa, Sara and Zoe, my poor ears were suffering

  13. Stuart says

    He’s not ‘back on Virgin’ and he’s not been away for 20 years, it’s a different radio station.

    Also when did Wireless Group move to the News Corp building? I assumed Virgin was in Hatfields, albeit crammed in

  14. Michael Palmer says

    Chris is a game changer and yes he will never aspire to the 9 million he had at Radio 2,,but the Industry is changing and the way we listen to radio and the proliferation of stations .He will have more commercial freedom and his mere presence at Virgin will establish the station as a credible alternative.

  15. Mike says

    I’ve listened to Zoe for just 8 minutes so far during which her use of ‘gorgeous’ and ‘my lovely’ drove me to distraction so off it went.

  16. Stephen barnes says

    i like the show i listened on anthems only dissapointment same songs as main station. maybe this will change eventually

  17. Mike Rose says

    Listened for the first time this morning to show No. 2…such a relief. Gave Zoe a chance but just not cutting it for me.

    1. Maureen says

      I also tried and sorry that I had to switch her off just didn’t flow for me

  18. Michael Palmer says

    Yes there is no mistaking that Chris’s breakfast show floats on a bed of absolute positivity,,not a bad thing really and it does lift your mood ,yes it’s silly but it does inform and is addictive listening ,,,!!..I’m not motivated to listen to Zoe and that’s the difference,,

  19. Sj says

    I’m fascinated to see what happens with Rajar. He’s undoubtedly a gifted presenter but is he so good that people will follow? If I were a betting man, I think the comfortable familiarity of Radio 2 will keep the bulk of listeners there. Nobody likes change and people will moan about Zoe for a while but then she’ll become their new routine and life will go on. But this kind of high stakes competition can only be a good thing for radio.

    1. Mike Rose says

      It might not properly show a difference yet as the transitions have been during the survey period.

  20. E says

    Interesting to see that after 48 hours, there’s minimal video content on social media, and absolutely nothing on his show page on the website since launch. Almost as if Wireless bought the host, thought of the on-air launch, and forgot about the online strategy until it was too late… Or maybe they still haven’t got their heads around the idea that live radio isn’t just live radio anymore…

  21. Wendy says

    Love him and transferred straight away… Shame I have to use it on the APP and then bluetooth to my radio in car, as no DAB.

    Feel a bit sorry for Zoe Ball but if they had gone for the other favourite of Sarah Cox they might of kept me… but Zoe is not my cup of tea… so sorry BBC I followed my fav… Go Chris

  22. JASON TOYPIN says

    CHRIS
    I AM FROM MELBOURNE AUSTRALIA AND I HOPE WHEN YOU FINISH AT VIRGIN RADIO AN AUSTALIAN RADIO STATION WILL SIGN YOU UP HOPEFUKLY THE RADIO STATION WILL BE MELBPURNE BASED LIKE CHRIOSTIAN O’CONNELL WAS SIGNED BY GOKLD 124.3

    1. Joe Smith says

      Many, many people here hope he will go to Australia very soon as well!

  23. Mark says

    For Virgin, this is an investment in time and money. Some will follow Chris, some will find Chris and some will switch off Chris, they may have liked the previous Virgin breakfast line up. You can absolutely guarantee Virgin Radio are looking at the numbers, the number of website visits, number of downloads of the app, number of people listening in on line etc. They will crunch numbers and come to some quick analysis. But, what they have, which not all will like is a near perfect breakfast programme format that appeals to the demographic Virgin are clearly aiming for to build the station on and Chris, his experience and contacts to lead the way.

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