Gary Davies 'hints he'd be happy to take on Ken Bruce's Radio 2 slot'
Long-time radio DJ Gary Davies has said he’s ‘open to discussions’ when it comes to the possibility of replacing Ken Bruce in Radio 2’s mid-morning slot.
The disc jockey, 65, made a sudden exit from BBC Radio 1 in 1993 when station bosses rushed to embrace Britpop and make way for the likes of Chris Evans, 56, to host its programmes.
Gary first joined Radio 1 in 1984 when he fronted lunchtime show The Bit in the Middle but, after his departure from the channel, he moved to Virgin Radio in 1994 where he remained until 2000.
While he now hosts Radio 2’s Sounds of the 80s having taken over from S during a year in which they ripped up their schedule and older stars including Ken, Steve and Paul were shipped out for younger DJs such as Scott Mills.
The station has as commercial rivals playing more music from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s saw their audiences grow by up to a third.
So-called ‘Radio 2 refugees’ have abandoned the station for Boom Radio – a station aimed at baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 – and Greatest Hits Radio, the new home of Ken Bruce, who will take his beloved PopMaster quiz with him in March.
Radio 2 is still the UK’s most popular station, but its overall weekly audience has fallen by 580,000 to 14.29million.
History: The disc jockey made a sudden exit from BBC Radio 1 in 1993 when station bosses rushed to embrace Britpop (pictured in 1984)
Breakfast show host Zoe Ball has seen a drop in listeners, while Ken’s listenership is also down – although his show is still the most listened to on the station with 8.2million, according to the radio audience research group Rajar.
Radio 2’s breakfast show, presented by Zoe Ball, was down 359,000 in the last quarter of 2022 compared with the same period in 2021.However, it is still the most listened to breakfast radio programme, with a weekly audience of 7.1million.
A BBC spokesman said: ‘Radio 2 continues to be the UK’s most popular radio station, and we’re hugely proud that Zoe Ball remains the most listened to Breakfast Show in the country.’
It came as Steve Wright, 68, was replaced in the afternoon link slot gacor after 23 years by Radio 1’s Scott Mills, 49.
All change: Radio 2 has seen a drop of 580,000 weekly listeners as BBC bosses revamp the schedule with new younger DJs replacing older stalwarts such as Ken Bruce (pictured in 2019)
Paul O’Grady, 67, who was at Radio 2 for 14 years, quit his show months after he was forced to share the time slot with comedian Rob Beckett, 37, while Ken Bruce, 71, last month announced his departure after 31 years on the UK’s most popular radio programme.
He is moving to Greatest Hits Radio which boosted its audience by nearly a third in the last year to 4.3million a week.
Ken was said to be pondering staying before deciding to jump ship to a commercial rival.
One insider said: ‘Ken is still hugely ambitious and the BBC actually offered him a new deal.But after some months of negotiations, he decided the time was right for new opportunities.’
The source told : ‘The music has become edgier and more modern and the DJs seemingly ever-younger, which is a bit concerning for the old guard.’
Rylan Clark and Gary Davies are being touted as his replacement on the mid-morning show he has run since 1986 aside from a short gap between 1990 and 1992.
Radio 2 is trying to modernise – playing less music from before the 1990s and bringing in younger DJs, including from Radio 1.
Ken is expected to obtain a significant pay increase from his BBC salary of nearly £400,000 by moving to the station owned by media giant Bauer.Bruce’s current 9.30am to 12 noon programme, including the daily PopMaster quiz, is the most popular show on British radio with more than 8.5million listeners a week.
Numbers: Radio 2’s breakfast show, presented by Zoe Ball, was down 359,000 in the last quarter of 2022 compared with the same period in 2021 (pictured in 2018)