Lewis Carnie to leave Radio 2 in the summer

The Head of BBC Radio 2, Lewis Carnie, is leaving the station after 19 years.

Lorna Clarke, Controller of Pop, confirmed the news to staff today, saying he would be a ‘hard act to follow’ when he departs in the summer.

It hasn’t been confirmed what Lewis will be doing next, but in a message to staff at Radio 2 he said he’d be ‘very active in entertainment – there will be more on that when the time is right.’

Lewis Carnie told RadioToday: “After 19 glorious years at BBC Radio 2, it’s time to take a leap of faith and move on to new challenges. During my time here, I’ve been lucky enough to have had so many incredible experiences working as part of a very talented team, who produce brilliant programming day in, day out. I’m proud that the network keeps millions of people entertained each day and would like to thank everyone in Wogan House for their dedication and passion, which makes Radio 2 both a very special radio station, and a fantastic place to work.”

Lewis joined Radio 2 in 2001 as an Executive Producer for live music and events before becoming Head of Talent and then Head of Programmes for Radio 2 and 6 Music. Before that he had been Managing Director at commercial station Central FM in Falkirk in the late 90s.

Lorna Clarke said: “Lewis has decided to leave us after what I can only describe as an incredible career at the BBC, largely here in BBC Radio. Having joined the BBC in 2001, he has held senior positions across Radio 2 and 6 Music, most recently as the Senior Head of Content Commissioning for Radio 2. He’s also been the exec on some great TV entertainment programmes, including ‘When Miranda Met Bruce’ on BBC One.

“Lewis is the envy of the industry for spotting and securing talent and over the years he has brought to Radio 2 some of Britain’s most loved presenters, from Zoe Ball to Paul O’Grady, Sara Cox, and Rylan to name just a few… His ability to develop fleeting ideas into award winning programmes is impressive. Throughout the years, we’ve witnessed his real passion for bringing the biggest stars to the Radio 2 audience with live concerts and special events. Most recently, he spearheaded the success that was Radio 2’s Beatles pop up station to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Abbey Road album.”

She added: “Anyone who knows Lewis, knows he LOVES the world of entertainment and that he’ll be a hard act to follow. There will be a moment to officially celebrate his time with us before he leaves. So, I wanted to personally say ‘Good Luck’ you’ll be missed, and what a hugely creative, and supportive colleague he has been to work with.”

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37 Comments
  1. Colin says

    Strange how the comments on Carnie gloss over the recent Mayo/Whiley debacle, resulting in negative headlines for the station for months

    1. Gordon says

      Goodbye and good riddance, ruined radio 2, it’s not a youth station, it’s for people over 30 up till 90 plus see what else you can ruin, total inadequate person, go to community radio

      1. Steve says

        Brilliant – completely agree.

  2. bob hellier says

    i hope the new controller will keep pick of the pops on Saturday as they usually make changes to the network and maybe 3hrs for ken bruce 9-12 weekdays because i enjoy popmaster

    1. Mrs Colleen Butler says

      I hope we can have presenters who have a sense of humour like our dear Terry and Ken Bruce.
      If the BBC is short of money why oh why do we have a team doing what Terry and his producer did for years when we only had a pause for thought. Dear Ken only has some one read the traffic news. Pop master.
      I’ve stopped listening to most of radio after many past laughs feeling I was with friends in my home. There is only Ken Bruce , Johnny Walker ,Tony Blackburn, Paul Gambaccini. That I and many of my friends tune into now.
      The younger generation have radio one , why do we older listeners have to listen the nonsense talking with the public it’s pathetic. I am 73 years ago disabled used to listen to radio 2 all day and evening feel very let down.
      I pay a tv license I’m seriously thinking of stopping it.

      1. Lee says

        Good riddance. Lewis has ruined Radio 2.

  3. Steve Bishop says

    Good f###### riddance. Bring in the next box-ticker.

    1. Mr. Robert Haynes says

      If there is any doubt about it, Lewis Carnie has somewhat spoilt R2 in some way or other. Leaving alone bands’ back catalogues and subsequently wasting them on one single each, that is just DIS-ARST-ROUS in the words of Craig Revel Horwood.

  4. Maureen says

    Is this the same fellow who got rid of the brilliant Simon Mayo? Shame on him

    1. mb23 says

      He didn’t get rid of him, Simon decided to leave and join an obscure classical music station. It was his decision, but he has gone from an audience of 6 million to 160,000.

      1. Dave Williams says

        Scala is hardly obscure!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Radio Producer says

    This is the person who ‘Brought You’
    Zoe Ball and Rylan Clarke Neal….

    A hard act to follow?

  6. Chris says

    Shame on him for bringing zoe ball on the morning shift. Terrible decision. We have turned to virgin to listen to chris Evan’s as have a lot of others. Rylan is brilliant as are Alan and mel and paul o’Grady. Get rid of zoe. Vanessa and claudia and you might be on to a winner.

    1. Alan says

      No Rylan is dreadful get rid of him

  7. Joe Smith says

    Can you take Feltz, Vine and Wright with you too please?

    1. Alan says

      No Just not Steve Wright and Jeremy Vine but just take Vanessa Feltz and Jo Whiley with him

  8. Simon says

    I left radio 2 with mayo and Evans. Apart from ken Bruce it is now dire. Zoe ball always kills her shows off and is part of the reason radio 2 is so poor.

  9. Pat says

    I’ll remember him as the man who presided over the loss of the Bob Harris Saturday night show which was initially moved into the very early hours,the marginalisation of specialist music shows except soul and disco which he seems mad about and turning Radio 2 from my favourite national station into something which I never thought it could be-worse than a lot of commercial stations music wise.

    1. NEAL says

      Totally 100% agree.Trouble is there is nobody out there who will care or listen to this type of complaint. The BBC is hell bent on pc and compliance to try and keep the Government sweet and hold on to their licence fee for as long as possible. If is not the Government it’s Ofcom telling the BBC to balance male/female presenter ratios regardless of whether they are right for the job or not. In true BBC fashion these days they sack the good ones like Janice Long and take on the pc replacements Vanessa Feltz, Zoe Ball,Sarah Cox,, Claudia Winkleman who just don’t work on the radio. As pointed out in other posts here good old Lewis then pulls another talented female DJ Jo Wiley from an evening slot suited to her talents dumps her on drive time giving the woman a massive backlash from listeners and annoying Simon Mayo to the point of resignation and then puts Jo back where she should have been left in the first place. Anybody else would have been sacked on the spot.,As has also been mentioned he destroyed Bob Harris, Mark Lamarr and America’s Greatest Hits together with countless other specialist shows-dumps Paul Jones from Blues and Soul Mike Harding from the folk show-the list of his carnage is unbelievable. I for one would happily pay a licence fee for BBC Radio if it meant getting back the standard of programming it used to have! I certainly don’t need bloody soul and disco music on a Saturday night when thanks to the commercial radio big brother bully boys I can now get that on virtually every commercial station that exists with their club classics!!! The point the BBC has lost is that we pay a licence fee for them to be different and not to copy their commercial rivals. A sad fact totally lost on poor old Lewis and I have no doubt it will be equally lost on the next controller of Radio 2 who will be nothing but compliant and as weak as the outgoing one. To hear a brilliant lady of the airwaves take a listen to Eve Blair’s late show on BBC Radio Ulster and hear how someone with a passion for music new and old sounds-and what great radio can truly be like when a talented DJ is left the hell alone to pick her OWN playlist!!!!’ Magical and proves the point dear BBC that you can get it so right when you take a moment out to stop behaving like a bunch of idiots and remember what you were created for!

      1. Steven Oliver says

        This is the man who axed the live overnights, effectively saying that overnight audiences didn’t matter to him as the programming spend had to reach the most listeners, and then half-heartedly brought the live overnights back. Good riddance to bad rubbish is all that I can say.

  10. SteveB says

    Jim Moir in particular and Lesley Douglas (mostly) knew what they were doing. Plainly Lewis Carnie did not. There’s a very long list of blunders. Obviously Mayo/Whiley. Getting rid of Alex Lester And are Nikki Chapman/Vanessa Feltz really the very best early morning broadcasters? Certainly the jury is out on Zoe Ball as well. One more thought – Grace Dent as Christmas/New Year cover. When you think that works on a national BBC music station, it really is time to move on.

  11. Kevin Ditchburn says

    Everyone and anyone associated with the Simon and jo fiasco will be tarnished until we get an explanation and a comittment to learn lessons.

  12. Paul ford says

    After what he did to the Simon mayo drivetime show he should have been sacked, not allowed to wait until things settle down a bit then walk away leaving the mess behind him.

  13. Lookey says

    Good riddance
    You have ruined Radio 2
    Allinson…Lester .long….mayo. The list goes on..z list TV celebs….switch off..

  14. Ken munns says

    The only Radio 2 shows I listen to now are Cerys Matthews Blues show on Monday night and Jamie Cullum on Tuesday night. Trevor Nelson is great between 10 and midnight and Ken Bruce is the master, but the rest are useless.
    This guys whose leaving has destroyed the station, we’ve been forced to listen to the same garbage as radio 1 plays.
    I hope the next controller puts things right, but I hold out little hope.

  15. Paul Ford says

    May I just add that the one positive was the return of Gary Davies. It saddens me to think of how good radio 2 could have been if quality djs hadn’t had their time slots changed or forced out completely to be replaced by irritating presenters who just want to talk about themselves

  16. Billy says

    FFFT !

  17. Hydrangea says

    How wrong you are.

    In his final statement Simon May said ‘ I never wanted to go’.

    It was the destruction of his Drivetime Show that forced him to leave.

  18. Richard E says

    Didn’t know that “Ryland” and “Talent”
    were in a relationship?

  19. Wigan bill says

    Echo the good riddance comments. Obviously clueless about the profile of his audience. Like so many decision makers in the organisation cares more about political correctness than appealing to his listeners . Ken Bruce’s shoulders must be sore from carrying the station on his back single handed for the past couple of years .

  20. Brian. says

    Good riddance to him and thank you for making a complete shambles of Radio 2.

  21. Charlie says

    My gosh, do some of you have no shame!

    You have a man that was passionate and committed to deliver his very best, day in and day out, in providing US with the best possible product he could.

    In an ever changing world, he has had to handle:
    -budget cuts he has no power over.
    -the necessity to rightfully have more female presenters in popular time slots.
    -the pressure of running the most listened to station in Europe: all the while provide continuity as well as delivering new and original content.

    He has single handedly delivered the unbelievably ambitious Beatles Pop Up Station to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles iconic Abbey Road album. A feat he not only delivered, but has subsequently been nominated by the Radio Academy Awards for Radio Station of the Year!

    As well as the Beatles pop up station being nominated for Station of the Year, BBC Radio 2 has also been nominated.
    Meaning Lewis Carnie, in the ultimate Radio Academy Awards category for Station of the Year, is nominated TWICE!

    Yes of course everyone has the right to not agree with any or even all of the decisions he has made. Yet he has made those hard decisions, I suspect putting his heart and soul into making those decisions, with no other desire than to try and deliver to us, the listeners, the best possible station he could.

    Just because you don’t always agree with his choices, do you believe he should have to endure your mean, vindictive and often hateful criticism?

    All I can add is please stop abusing those who are bravely putting themselves out there. They don’t deserve it. Your criticisms have no good intentions and seemingly have the sole desire to do nothing but cause genuine harm. Is that what you want to go to sleep at night being what motivates you?

    1. Allan Wallace says

      Charlie, your valiant defence of Mr Carnie is admirable. However, the consensus appears to suggest that most believe the Shennan/Carnie era at Radio 2 to have been an unmitigated disaster. For each alleged success, there were numerous bizarre decisions in terms of scheduling and personnel changes. This is now a golden opportunity to restore Radio 2 to its former “Jim Moir” glory. Let’s hope that the BBC can appoint the right person this time.

    2. Joe Smith says

      Nice try Mr Carnie. Or is it Mrs Carnie?

  22. bob hellier says

    reading in the daily mail today i hope the bbc is not forced to sell radio 2 because it is a good station to listen to although i think some music is really radio 1 and if they like to play 90s maybe say scott mills should do sounds of the 90s as well as 60s 70s and 80s .

  23. bob hellier says

    i meant to compliment the 60s 70s and 80s shows

  24. Alan says

    Good riddance for himself, Bring back Richard Allinson, Alex Lester, Janice Long and Simon Mayo

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