Radio 2 Responds To Alleged 'Ageism' After Ken Bruce Announces BBC Exit

Ken made headlines this week when he announced he was leaving the BBC after 40 years.
Ken Bruce in the Radio 2 studio
Ken Bruce in the Radio 2 studio
BBC / James Watkins

The BBC has dismissed reports that Ken Bruce made the decision to leave Radio 2 due to concerns about “ageism” at the station.

On Tuesday, it was revealed that the radio legend would be leaving the BBC later this year after over 40 years at the broadcaster, and had landed a new show with Greatest Hits Radio.

Following this, The Sun published an article alleging that the 71-year-old had grown “concerned by the corporation’s drive for younger talent” before choosing to leave.

In a statement issued to HuffPost UK, a BBC spokesperson said: “Radio 2 is hugely proud of having a range of presenters from their 30s to 80 years old on the station, an age range which hasn’t changed in decades, in fact Terry Wogan started presenting the R2 Breakfast Show at the age of 34.

“Radio 2 will continue to be a multi-generational radio station that serves a 35+ audience with listeners tuning in each week to our brilliant range of programmes, hosted by some of the UK’s best loved presenters.

“We continue to play a wide variety of the best music from the past seven decades, including from the 60s and 70s.”

Ken Bruce on stage at the BBC's Biggest Weekend in 2018
Ken Bruce on stage at the BBC's Biggest Weekend in 2018
Lorne Thomson via Getty Images

The departure of Ken Bruce – who began presenting on Radio 2 at 32 – comes after something of a mass exodus at Radio 2, with Paul O’Grady, Vanessa Feltz and Craig Charles among those to have said farewell to the station in the last year.

Steve Wright also left his daily drivetime show in 2022, and now hosts a Sunday morning slot.

Opening up about the “hellish” decision to step down from Radio 2, Vanessa Feltz claimed last month: “I was aware of women over the age of 60 suddenly biting the dust. I don’t think that I would have been exempt from that at all.”

Vanessa Feltz
Vanessa Feltz
Jo Hale via Getty Images

On the subject of the raft of Radio 2 staples who have now left the BBC, she added: “It seems to be a casual culling and jettisoning of proper broadcasting adornments. And it feels as if that casualness and that callousness is applying not just to the presenters but to the audience.

“It’s like, ‘Oh, we don’t need you and we don’t want you. You’re too old, you’re too staid, you’re too middle-class, you’re too middle-aged.’”

Announcing his departure on Tuesday, Ken said: “Nothing stays the same forever and I have decided the time is right for me to move on from Radio 2 when I reach the end of my current contract in March.

“It’s been a tremendously happy time for me: I’ve made many friends and worked with many wonderful colleagues. However I feel that after 45 years of full-time broadcasting on BBC Radio it’s time for a change.”

He also insisted: “This is entirely my decision but some new opportunities have come up and I would like to continue my career in a slightly different way in the next few years.”


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