Chris Evans has told listeners to his Virgin Radio breakfast show that Wireless’ talkRADIO is going to rebrand as talkNEWS – and suggested Nick Ferrari and John Humphrys would be great signings.
Speaking on Friday’s show at around 7.15am, he referred back to a reference to ‘talkNEWS’ on the previous day’s show.
“The reason I called it talkNEWS on the radio yesterday,” he said. “Is because I know something that nobody else knows, and it slipped out. It’s going to be called talkNEWS.”
The chat between Chris and colleague Vassos Alexander then moved onto LBC’s Nick Ferrari.
Chris said: “I don’t know if Nick’s coming to work here or not. But if he wants to meet for a post-breakfast show brunch and if he wants to know how great it is to work here I’m happy to tell him.”
He also referred to an off-air conversation with News UK CEO Rebekah Brooks, saying: “So what happened yesterday is I called talkRADIO talkNEWS and then the boss said ‘That’s a great name, let’s change it to talkNEWS’ – but it’s not because I demanded it or anything. So it’s going to be rebranded talkNEWS.”
Chis also talked about John Humphrys’ comments earlier this week that he plans to leave Radio 4 later this year. “John Humphrys announced he’s leaving the Today Programme – so is he coming here?” said Chris. “Yesterday I said he might be, but I’m only prepared to go that far. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up here. That is the great John Humphrys. And Mr Nick Ferrari. But we’ll see.”
When approached for comment, a News UK spokesperson told RadioToday: “Chris likes to have fun on air – and that’s exactly what it was, Chris having fun on air!”
Listen to the audio from the show here
As we’ve seen from the last few weeks, Chris likes to say things on air that will get him quoted in the press. So is this a deliberate ploy to get RadioToday to write a story about his Virgin breakfast show? If it is, we fell for it – hook line and sinker.
But what he’s saying about the station and talkNEWS doing ‘what it says on the tin’ does all make sense. And as for Nick Ferrari or John Humphrys joining? Well, not that News UK is short of money, but Wireless is about to boost its bank balance by a sizeable amount following the sale of its local radio stations to Bauer. That’s a healthy kitty to spend on talent for its national stations.