Ken Bruce says early exit from Radio 2 ‘seems a shame’

Ken Bruce – Paul Grover for The Telegraph

He has been the cheerful voice of Radio 2 for decades, and even his farewells were in good spirits.

Ken Bruce said it was a “shame” to leave BBC 2 early but ended his last show without making a fuss.

The presenter’s departure has been controversial after claims BBC bosses brought his departure forward by a month amid an exodus of veteran presenters and attempts to appeal to younger listeners.

Bruce presented his final Radio 2 show this morning after 30 years behind the mic, and while he said it was a “shame” to be transferred to gardening leave, he said goodbye with what he had promised a “quick goodbye”.

The 72-year-old broadcaster had vowed not to make a fuss and “tug at hearts” as a “hard-nosed old Scot” in his last show.

Ken Bruce in the studio for his final show on Friday - BBC/PA

Ken Bruce in the studio for his final show on Friday – BBC/PA

His good-natured departure comes after Bruce appeared on Today and commented on his early departure from the BBC, saying: “The BBC is perfectly entitled to ask me to step down a little earlier.

“But for 17 days, which was all that was left (in my contract), it seems a shame.”

Bruce announced in January that he was leaving the BBC to join Greatest Hits Radio, becoming the youngest veteran presenter to leave the station after Paul O’Grady and Venssas Feltz.

Expecting to see March lead the morning show, Bruce previously said he was “surprised and disappointed” by the decision to end his tenure early, adding that he was given “no real reason that I understood.” have “.

Ken Bruce - Paul Grover for The Telegraph

Ken Bruce – Paul Grover for The Telegraph

While Bruce referenced these issues on the Today program prior to his final broadcast, he made no reference to controversies on his own show, which he said would feature “good music” and not “secret messages or hidden agendas.”

The program featured the DJ’s signature Popmaster quiz, and star tributes included Rob Brydon and colleague Jeremy Vine, who described him as “the most intelligent, generous and talented colleague”.

Thanking his listeners and his colleagues, as well as his employer, Bruce said, “I’ve been here a long time and barring the occasional whim, it’s still the best broadcasting organization in the world.”

He did, however, hint that his audience might follow him to Greatest Hits, saying, “May we meet again.”

The DJ’s last song choice on Radio 2 was The Beatles track The End, after which he quoted the lyrics: “In the end the love you take is equal to the love you make” before dropping out at 12 sharp PM handed PM to his colleague, saying, “It’s 12 PM, it’s Jeremy.”

Bruce’s place will be taken over by Vernon Kay in May and Gary Davies will take on presenting duties in the meantime.

The changes follow dissatisfaction among veteran Radio 2 presenters at the station’s attempt to appeal to youth, which has included a reduction in pre-1990s music and an attempt to woo listeners in their 30s and early 40s.

Steve Wright has been removed from his afternoon show and replaced by Radio 1’s Scott Mills, while other presenters have abandoned ship. Paul O’Grady quit after being told to share his seat with another presenter, and Vanessa Feltz joined TalkRadio.

Feltz accused Radio 2 bosses of a “merciless hunt for younger audiences” and said their attitude towards older presenters and listeners alike was: “You’re too old, you’re too stuffy, you’re too middle-class, you’re too.” old.”

Simon Mayo, former Radio 2 presenter, said Bruce’s departure was “poorly managed”.

The BBC said: “Ken has made the decision to leave Radio 2 and was always known to be leaving in March. He returns to Wogan House [the station’s headquarters] for a week after a month of broadcasting the Piano Room sessions at Maida Vale offered a natural break. We wish Ken all the best for the future.”

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