Ken Bruce explains his decision to quit BBC Radio 2 show and issue with music – best news

  • September 2, 2023

Ken Bruce shocked millions of listeners when he announced he was quitting BBC Radio 2 after three decades in the same slot.

The veteran broadcaster was pulling in 8.3 million listeners to his mid-morning show when he made the decision to leave the BBC for rival station Greatest Hits Radio.

Initially, when he announced his departure, he claimed he felt it was “time for a change,” but now he’s revealed the real reason behind his decision to leave.

Speaking to Gyles Brandreth for his new podcast series Rosebud, 72-year-old Ken said: “There was a point of saying that I can’t enthuse over all the new music I’m having to play as much as I could over the old music. And I didn’t want to get to the stage where I was badmouthing some of the music [or] pretending to like it.”

Ken, who Vernon Kay, 49, replaced, went on to reveal that the thought of his younger colleagues viewing him as an “old bloke” also had a bearing on the decision.

He continued: “I certainly did think I’ve got a bit more to offer. I didn’t want to be declining over the next three or four years and still doing the same show, but everybody around me getting younger and thinking, Am I the old bloke in the corner here?

“I was the youngster on the station and then almost overnight I became the veteran, and I didn’t want to become the old grump in the corner saying things aren’t what they used to be, or to any new idea say, No, we tried that, didn’t work, which does happen. I just felt I would get more bitter and entrenched.”

Bruce also spoke about how his move to Greatest Hits Radio had made him feel enthusiastic about radio again: “I do feel that it’s rejuvenated me to a certain extent.

I loved working for the BBC. I think it’s a great institution. But maybe for the last couple of years, I can’t be blamed for just trying something else.”

During the interview, Ken also told of how he was disappointed that BBC bosses asked him to leave before the end of his contract over fears that he was using his remaining time on air to advertise his new show.

Speaking of the decision, Ken said: “I thought, Come on, you can trust me, I’m not going to do a Dave Lee Travis and start badmouthing everybody, because I had a lovely time at the BBC.

So it was all a bit unnecessary. It’s entirely within the BBC’s right to ask me to step away a little early. But for the sake of 17 days, it seems a shame.”

Ken shared his final thoughts on the BBC during the interview, calling it the “finest broadcasting organisation in the world.”

You can listen to the whole interview between Ken Bruce and Glyes Brandreth on Friday by subscribing to the Rosebud podcast on Apple podcasts.

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