Forget the noise, the new Radio 2 will sound better than ever!
At the tender age of 38 (pushing 39) I should no longer be listening to Radio 1. The nation’s biggest popular music station is officially targeted at 15-29 year olds and let’s be real here, if you’ve listened anytime in the last few years (most noticeably since Moyles’s departure) the push is very much for listeners on the lower end of that scale.
I’ve hung on though, because there hasn’t been anywhere else to go. Growing up, I remember my parents doing the same. Radio 2 was always seen as a destination for older people and this was reflected in the playlist and presenting lineup.
Gradually, I’ve started to dip my toe into toe. Appointments such as Zoe Ball and Dermot O’Leary have certainly made this easier, whilst Jo Whiley’s evening show was the perfect vehicle for guitar music that I’d grown up listening to in the 90’s.
When I was younger, I was hugely into radio. I still am. Chris Evans was everything. His zoo format breakfast show on Radio 1 was a must-listen, day in day out. He broke the rules, he turned up drunk and his games and stunts were an extension of what I’d always loved about The Big Breakfast.
However, and this isn’t taking anything away from the great man, his Radio 2 show was not for me. If anything, it’s been the Top Gear of Radio. Talk of “car fest” and a playlist that feels like all I hear is ELO has not ticked my boxes. There’s been nothing wrong with it, but it hasn’t been the Evans I grew up listening to. Likewise, Steve Wright and Ken Bruce – masters in the craft of radio but as a 38 year old, I just don’t feel ready to tune in. So whilst things have been a little more interesting to me at Radio 2, there hasn’t been enough for me to become a dedicated listener as such. Aside from pockets of interest (we loved the recent Fatboy Slim show), there have been more interesting things going on at Radio X, Absolute and Hits Radio for us to listen to, whist Scott Mills has managed to retain the old sound of Radio 1 that I grew up enjoying - and the majority of those 29 year olds I expect.
Much has been written about the “crisis” at Radio 2. Simon Mayo announced his departure just weeks after Evans decided to go after the money and freedom of commercial radio. As I say, this, we are told, is a crisis. Middle class media is in uproar.
I however, am delighted. Not because I have anything against Mayo or Evans who are both brilliant broadcasters, but because I think Radio 2 can finally bridge the gap with Radio 1. If you heard Zoe Ball in Ibiza, you’ll know how well this can be achieved.
The appointment of Ball at Breakfast is brilliant. Zoe will appeal to families and the older generation that I’m by no means dismissing, but I also have every faith that she will bring a more… contemporary feel to proceedings.
Likewise, Sara Cox is moving to Drivetime. Perfect. In that window of the day where we’re rushing to pick the kids up, trying to make dinner or get away from work we can’t think of anything better than the light relief Cox can provide.
From there, Jo Whiley will provide the perfect evening relief as she showcases the best new music, live performances and classic tracks, Monday to Thursday. We’re hoping for more guests and more live sessions, which lets face it – both the BBC and Jo herself do best. Jo will be followed by another Radio 1 alumni, Trevor Nelson who well deserves a proper weekday platform for his talents – and music collection.
It’s an enormous change for the station which arguably stood still for ten years if not more (it felt like longer).
When you factor in the already brilliant weekend schedule which includes highlights from Graham Norton, Dermot and Ana Matronic, it’s a station that already feels significantly updated.
Come January 2019, the new Radio 2 will go live. The Radio 2 trolls who have been in their element on the back of the Mayo and Whiley show will no doubt go into overdrive for the sake of it. For the rest of us, and especially those of us in my age band, will finally have something to be a part of so yes, some listeners will go elsewhere but I’m confident so many more will be hopping on for the ride.
Words: Nothing But’s Editor.