BBC 'fluffed chance to keep Ken Bruce' as he quits Radio 2
BBC ‘fluffed the chance to keep Ken Bruce’ as Britain’s most popular DJ quits Radio 2 because he felt ‘unloved’ by bosses
- Ken Bruce felt ‘unloved’ by BBC bosses over his new contract, insiders claim
- The 71-year-old’s unexpected departure is said to have sparked discord at BBC
Ken Bruce quit Radio 2 because he felt ‘unloved’ by bosses – who failed to reassure him over a new contract even though they wanted to keep him, say BBC insiders.
One source claimed that despite the desire to hang on to the DJ – Britain’s most popular radio host – a ‘mix-up’ meant he wasn’t told. This is said to have helped convince him to join commercial rival Greatest Hits Radio.
The unexpected announcement of the 71-year-old presenter’s departure is now said to have sparked discord at the BBC, as many regard it as completely avoidable.
One well-placed source said: ‘They definitely wanted to renew his contract but because of a mix-up nobody told him. He is a proud man and did not want to ask. When he told them he was going they were all saying, “but we were about to offer you a three-year deal”… Bit late.’
Ken Bruce quit Radio 2 because he felt ‘unloved’ by bosses according to insiders
But another source close to the station disputed the contract claims, saying: ‘Ken was reassured on more than one occasion that his future on Radio 2 was safe.’
The Scottish star is believed to have been unsettled by the way the corporation had axed presenter Steve Wright’s long-running show last year amid a push to appeal to younger listeners.
Bruce is also said to have asked bosses to stop making him play ‘tuneless dance music’ but had not received any proper responses to his pleas.
The Radio 2 insider told the Mail: ‘Ken felt unloved. Part of the issue was being told our target audience is “mood mums” but never hearing who they are or what they want! We have started to play a lot of tuneless dance music and Ken had begged them to stop making him play it but apparently his emails never got responses.’
The source, who accused bosses of being ‘asleep at the wheel’, added: ‘[Wright’s departure] just focused his mind. When they sacked Steve they didn’t consider the effect it might have on the rest of the presenters.’
Bruce has been at the BBC for 45 years – 31 of them presenting his Radio 2 mid-morning show. But loyal listeners have become increasingly fed-up at what they see as a shift to a younger audience.
The Scottish star is believed to have been unsettled by the way the corporation had axed presenter Steve Wright’s long-running show last year
Other hosts who have left include Paul O’Grady, 67, and Vanessa Feltz, 60. Among the names being touted to replace Bruce are Rylan Clark, 34, DJ Spoony, 52, Dermot O’Leary, 49, and 43-year-old OJ Borg.
Another source said that given Bruce has the biggest show on UK radio – with more than 8.5 million listeners a week – the corporation should have been moving ‘heaven and earth to keep him’.
A Radio 2 spokesman said: ‘It was Ken’s decision to leave Radio 2 – we respect his decision and wish him the very best of luck in the future as he’s been a much loved part of the Radio 2 family.’
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