BBC Radio 2 loses half a million listeners as old favourites quit

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The big switch-off comes amid an exodus of presenting favourites from the flagship BBC station. They include Ken Bruce, Steve Wright and Paul O’Grady, as younger hosts such as Scott Mills have come in.

As a result, the station has found itself at the centre of an ageism storm, while commercial rivals who play music from the 1960s, 70s and 80s have seen audiences grow by up to a third.

The figures, published by research group Rajar, show that despite Radio 2 remaining the UK’s most popular station, its weekly audience has dropped by 580,000 to 14.29 million – a fall of 3.9 per cent.

Rajar said all major BBC stations had fewer listeners tuning in.

Ken, 71, last month announced he would join Greatest Hits Radio after 31 years hosting the UK’s most popular radio show.

He followed Steve, 68, whose afternoon slot of 23 years is now filled by Scott, 49.

Paul, 67, quit after he was forced to share his time slot with comedian Rob Beckett, 37.

Vanessa Feltz also claimed she was let go by the BBC after passing the age of 60.

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