Alex Lester joins Greatest Hits Radio for overnights

Former BBC Radio 2 presenter Alex Lester is joining Bauer to host the weekday overnight show on Greatest Hits Radio.

Alex will continue his BBC Local Radio commitments in the West Midlands, but sees a return to ‘the best time of the day show’ for Alex since he left Radio 2 overnights in 2017.

His former colleague on Radio 2 overnights, Janice Long, is also joining Greatest Hits Radio, along with Tony Dibbin and Paul Gambaccini.

Paul Gambaccini will bring back America’s Greatest Hits every Saturday 5-7pm, whilst Janice Long will broadcast from Liverpool every Saturday 1-4pm.

Former Gold breakfast presenter, and current Sam FM South weekday breakfast presenter Toby Dibbin will host a new weekend Breakfast Show on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 6am – 10am.

Other changes, just announced on the Greatest Hits Radio breakfast show with Simon Ross, include Andy Bouglas’ Saturday show extending to Scotland and Pat Sharp hosting an extra show on Sundays.


On joining the station, Paul Gambaccini said “I give three cheers for joining Greatest Hits Radio with Amercia’s Greatest Hits. First, I get to bring my most personal and most rewarding show back to national radio. Second, I am honoured to be on the same day’s schedule as two radio legends who have been friends for decades, Pat Sharp and Janice Long.

“Third, I join a network that believes as fervently in the value and permanence of radio as I do. Hip, hip, hooray!”

Janice Long said: “I can’t wait to start playing the greatest hits on a Saturday afternoon right across the country from my home city of Liverpool. And being me, you can be sure I will be digging deep to find some classics that you haven’t heard in ages and that we helped make famous the first time around.”

Andy Ashton, Content Director for Greatest Hits Radio Network added: “Weekends on Greatest Hits Radio are the ultimate good times! As the home of the biggest songs of the 70s, 80s and 90s, we are thrilled to appoint these radio heavyweights who have helped shape the soundtrack of many of our lives and look forward to welcoming them to the station this weekend.”

Alex starts his new overnight show tonight, whilst the new weekend shows launch this Saturday 15th of February when the weekends will look like this in England:


06:00 –10:00 – Weekend Breakfast with Tony Dibbin
10:00 – 13:00 – Pat Sharp
13:00– 16:00 – Janice Long
16:00 – 17:00 – Greatest Hits Weekend Anthems
17:00 – 19:00 – America’s Greatest Hits with Paul Gambaccini
19:00 – 22.00 – The House Party, with Darren Proctor (GHRN)
22.00 – 1.00 – Boogie Nights with Boogie (GHRN)


06:00 –10:00 – Weekend Breakfast with Tony Dibbin
10:00 – 13:00 – Pat Sharp
13:00– 16:00 – Rossie
16:00 – 17:00pm – Greatest Hits Superstars (GHRN)
17:00 – 19:00 – Now that’s What I Call a Chart Show, with Mark Goodier (GHRN)
19:00 – 22:00 – Arlene Stuart (GHRN)
22:00 – 01:00 – Sean Goldsmith (GHRN)

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  1. Colin Williams says

    I hope Janice will really be able to “dig deep and find some classics”. People have been sacked for less!

    1. Pat says

      if not Colin catch her on Radio Wales weekday evenings!.

  2. James h says

    Dave brown former smooth would have been a better choice

  3. Pat says

    A step in the right direction but in my opinion they still need to improve the music (too much repetition),introduce more sixties tracks,get someone else to do breakfast in the week.Those 4-5pm slot looks a bit lacking in ideas,surely they could have given Janice or Paul an extra hour?,

    1. mb23 says

      Paul is doing Pick of the Pops on Radio 2 on Saturdays (until 3pm). If he is doing both shows live he won’t make it to Golden Square by 4pm.

      1. Adrian says

        I doubt if Paul’s GHR show will be live.As far as Claire Simmo is concerned I think Bauer would be wise to once again team her up with Rossie and do an opt out for Liverpool at breakfast.They could also reinstate Rick Houghton (who is about to lose another show this time on Sunday) to drive in Liverpool and find new presenters for the national breakfast and drive time shows which personally I feel lack pulling power.

        1. Stephen barnes says

          Have ghr listened to Tony Blackburn. He tweeted last week all the over 50s want is great music from all decades but with personality not jukebox. Mark goodier replied to him it’s here ghr come and join us. I reckon Mark new something good was about to happen. My overnights are about to change find o j borg show too young for me love Alex lester

    2. Stuart says

      It’s format is 70s, 80s, 90s so I don’t see why they would add ‘more sixties tracks’.

      I don’t think it needs them, I think it would change the nature of the station quite significantly

      1. Adrian says

        in my opinion sixties tracks would make it better,why not cater for the people radio 2 and BBC locals don’t want anymore?.

        1. mb23 says

          The answer is that if it skews too old the advertisers lose interest. The target age range is 35-59 year olds, and they are mostly not interested in sixties music.

        2. Stuart says

          It makes it a very broad remit, and there’s a big stylistic difference between a lot of 60’s songs and 70’s.

          Plus it’s a dying format, there’s a reason why there’s not many ‘gold’ stations around any more

          Also why do you think that Radio 2 and BBC Local listeners are all into 60’s music?

          1. mb23 says

            It is a dying format. Radio 2 plays very few sixties tracks during daytime, and the one specialist sixties show is on at a time when most people are in bed.

          2. Pat says

            Most of us in our 50’s were born in the 60’s you know and do STILL want to hear the music.Yes I know the BBC have relegated it to 6am but they are supposed to cater for everyone 35 up so they are at greater fault for marginalising it and other types of music.

      2. Stephen barnes says

        I’m 62 and happy with 70s 80s 90s with za little 00s new music thrown in. That’s what the old piccadilly and magic did.

        1. Charlie says

          Alex lester. Hope the new format doesn’t bore you as I know like a good chat with your audience.

          1. Adrian says

            probably won’t bore him as voicetracked radio means he won’t have to listen to the music being played or the commercials like us!

  4. AJ says

    So bauer just completely dumping Claire Simmo

    1. Sue says

      They could do with going national say replacement for absolute radio on AM 1215khz. As well as freevew.

    2. David says

      Clarie Simmo still works at Bauer. Incredibly nice person and she has more roles than just presenting.

  5. Stuart says

    Nice to have Janice Long as an alternative to Liz Kershaw

  6. Sue says

    They could do with going national say replacement for absolute radio on AM 1215khz. As well as freevew.

    1. Pat says

      Don’t worry,I’m sure this station will replace many local ones on FM Later this year (unfortunately!).Maybe with a 3 hour opt out for a local show.

    2. David says

      Already national on DAB

    3. Michael Palmer says

      Please no AM for music.Fine for speech but come on Digital radio in stereo ,,its here now and GHR clearly process the music output.Older hits are cleaner than the original recordings and I reckon they are played through a processor which balances the output and creates a slight reverb time(echo effect .)..sounds great against the Jingle package..

  7. Des Kehoe says

    As a fan of Alex I will be listening esp as I am a night owl. Never listened to this station but with Paul and Janice on board will give it a go

  8. Ciaran flavin says

    Is this station available on dab? Paul gambaccini is a terrific asset. I’d love to see Paul Burnett and kid jensen doing radio shows again.

    1. mb23 says

      It’s on most of the local DAB multiplexes.

    2. Paul Ford says

      Just Simon mayo to go now!

  9. Richard E says

    Gambo will have 2hrs to walk about 500 yards, from BH to Golden Square!

  10. T1 says

    Getting some big name on a format that’s losing RAJAR listeners in many areas. Huge gamble. Hope it works! GHR Coventry had 6000 listeners last QTR.

  11. bob hellier says

    maybe i would like paul burnett to do a show on radio 2 and maybe david Hamilton could do a show on greatest hits radio

    1. Ciaran flavin says

      Couldn’t agree more particularly as David Hamilton is no longer on age UK radio

      1. Joe Smith says

        David Hamilton? Isn’t the idea to attract listeners?

  12. Mark Laker says

    Alan Robson in the North East 2200-0200 on a Sunday still?

    1. Radio Geordie says

      You noticed that as well.
      Sean Goldsmith can’t possibly be heard across the entire network when Night Owls is on in the North East at the same time.

  13. Radio Geordie says

    You noticed that as well.
    Sean Goldsmith can’t possibly be heard across the entire network when Night Owls is on in the North East at the same time.

  14. Graham E says

    I’d say The name Greatest Hits Radio is too anonymous. It needs a more distinctive name/identity to attract people in. Also, I want to hear good radio music, not just big hits!

    1. Joe Smith says

      How about changing the name to “Yet Another Soundtracked Greatest Hits Radio Station”

  15. Neil Mclean says

    I wonder when they will introduce a 320k stream and sound as good as all oldies radio? No point in having big names when the audio is pony

  16. Al says

    Heading in the tight direction. Just sort out the presentation of the weekday breakfast a d midday shows.

  17. geoff biffen says

    Fantastic news that the dark lord and Janice long are joining ghr Alex is a brilliant and talented broadcaster and will make tuning in a pleasure . How can the B.B.C. afford to let talent like this go. ghr have just gained another overnight listener

  18. Nathan Pierce says

    I think they need more music variety, as in play like Queen with Seven Seas of Rhye/Flash/Hammer to Fall Without it being a specialised feature/show. Like some album tracks would be nice to listen to as well! Billy Joel (Scenes from an Italian Restaurant/Piano Man) etc.

  19. Al says

    Need some big guns to cover more skits during weekdays

  20. Pat says

    The show didn’t sound live and there was very little chat-so won’t bother waking up early again.There was a similar show on Nation Radio which was basically a few recorded links and then a lid of non-stop music,IF this is to be the regular output then why bother?

  21. Jeff Featherstone says

    I assumed that 0100-0400 section would be voicetracked and the separately badged ‘Best Time Of The Day’ 0400-0600 section live. However, even that latter section consisted of speed links and multiple tracks in a row. I was left feeling, what’s the point of hiring someone like Alex if you don’t give space for his personality to shine out?

  22. Pat says

    Quite Jeff.If they did allow more personality and interaction it might just make up for the dreadful music selection with songs oft repeated.If you like Come on Eileen,I Will survive,Rehab,Hot stuff and the like well it’s the one for you.

  23. Lee Morris says

    It is really such a shame if it is all Voice Tracked, you might understand for a night or two until Alex is getting used to the equipment at Greatest Hits Radio or if the 1-4am slot is Voice Tracked which although would be a let down would be acceptable if listeners knew there would be live content from 4-6am but the whole show being Voice Tracked is just wrong.

    Of course, it all depends, when the announcement was made on Monday morning, I was really surprised when I saw that Alex was actually starting that night so it might be that it is just Voice Tracked this week and will be all live stating next Monday. Here’s hoping.

    I personally like the station, I like Andy Crane, Mark Goodier, Pat Sharp, Simon Ross, Darren Proctor and Sean Goldsmith and find the imaging with Dawn French is great.

    But I do feel it is such a shame that when there are critics of it and in response changes are made, when there is such a big build up such as “The Dark Lord Returns To Overnights On Greatest Hits Radio”, for listeners to tune in only to find horror of horrors not only is it Voice Tracked but it is obvious it is Voice Tracked.

    Listeners who used to listen to him on BBC Radio 2 and still miss him being on Radio 2 overnights who tune in because they are excited, only to then find it is nowhere near the same as his old BBC Radio 2 Show will just tune away.

    This means any potential new listeners to the station are lost, now I don’t know who’s decision it is/was to Voice Track the show, whether it was Alex’s or the bosses at Buaer but I would ask you to read Digital Spy as well as please take this into account and change things so that Alex can present the show live, otherwise if you don’t get the listeners overnight you will only have yourselves to blame when the Rajars do not show an increase in listeners.

    1. Adrian says

      It’s just typical of what happens on commercial radio.Imdon’t know how anybody can stand to listen to the station anyway-whenever I tune-in I hear loads of commercials including one which plays quite a bit of a Lewis Capaldi song-repeating all the time like the GHR playlist,I don’t expect these new faces to last long,it’s just to gain a bit of publicity in my opinion,the programmes will never be like they were-it’s just not the way commercial radio works.

  24. Mark Chaplain says

    Music is far too repetitive. Could do with far more variation and not the same tracks by the same artists all the time.

  25. Pat says

    Janice Long is playing tracks that she would never want to play on her other shows-suggest if anyone wants to hear what she really likes they listen to her Radio Wales show-you won’t get all this played to death by everybody else stuff on there.I personally think the station imaging is absolutely awful.

  26. Michael Palmer says

    Just listened to Gambo last night.I loved the whole feel of his show with an eclectic mix of American hits..certainly beyond the narrow remit of GHR daytime scheduling…high production values akin to its Radio 2 days..lets hope GHR stick with it.I don’t believe Paul would agree to do a show for the station without the creative freedom he would demand..Only criticism is that it has the feel of a syndicated show that could be sold on to other stations.
    GHR has the potential to grow but needs to be bold in its programming…this is a good start though.

    1. Pat says

      I have to agree it was an excellent programme,shame it’s the only one at the moment though.It’s just forgettable rubbish most of the time with ridiculously long commercial breaks.

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