Loyal Radio 2 listeners have lashed out at the BBC over the treatment of veteran broadcaster Ken Bruce.
The radio legend will present his last show at the BBC on March 3, having originally intended to finish his contract.
Bruce, 72, who has fronted the popular PopMaster show for 31 years, only learned he would finish next week when he was called into a meeting at 12.30pm on Friday.
Speaking to the Mail, Bruce, 72, said he was ‘surprised and disappointed’ by the BBC’s decision, which paves the way for his younger replacement Vernon Kay.
Furious devoted listeners have expressed their anger at what they see as the poor treatment of the experienced broadcaster, with many saying they would be tuning in to his new Greatest Hits radio show later this year instead.
Veteran DJ Ken Bruce is to step down from his popular BBC Radio 2 show in April and will be succeeded by Vernon Kay
Twitter users said the treatment of the broadcaster was ‘classless’ and showed the BBC’s ageist agenda
Bruce, 72, issued a short statement last night revealing he intended to work right up until the end of his contract at the end of March, but his final show will now be next Friday.
He said on Twitter on Friday evening: ‘I will be presenting my last show on Radio 2 next Friday. I had intended fulfilling my contract until the end of March but the BBC has decided it wants me to leave earlier.
‘Let’s enjoy the week ahead.’
Bruce, 72, today issued a short statement revealing he intended to work right up until the end of his contract at the end of March, but his final show will now be next Friday
Radio 2 fans have accused the BBC of ageism as a string of older DJs step back, including Paul O’Grady, Steve Wright, Ken Bruce and Simon Mayo
Fans blasted the BBC’s treatment of the radio presenter online, with some saying it showed ‘everything that’s wrong with the BBC’.
Others said the corporation had ‘no respect’ for the listeners and that Radio 2 were ‘shooting themselves in the foot’.
One Twitter user made the situation into an exam question, asking what you would do if you were the controller of Radio 2.
Another social media user said they were going to have a ‘tumultuous divorce’ with the platform over its ‘frankly disgusting’ treatment of Ken Bruce.
Bruce said on Friday that he had been brusquely told that his final show was just a week away.
‘I was called in at 12.30 and told that my final show would be a week today and wasn’t given any real reason that I understood.
‘I’m a little surprised and disappointed.’
Twitter users blasted BBC bosses over the perceived mistreatment of the veteran broadcaster, who has been a staple presence on mid-morning radio for more than three decades
Friends say he’d given a commitment not to say anything that could embarrass the BBC in the remaining weeks of his contract, making him all the more surprised by the decision to end his show earlier than expected.
An industry insider said that move by the BBC made the broadcaster look ‘very ungracious’ about Bruce’s ‘decades of service’.
They said: ‘It shows zero respect for Ken and what he has done for Radio 2.’
A BBC spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘Ken decided to leave Radio 2 and it’s always been known he’s leaving in March.
‘Returning to Wogan House for a week after a month of broadcasting the Piano Room sessions at Maida Vale provided a natural break. We wish Ken all the best for the future.’
In spite of the backlash, sources at the network say Kay has amassed his own following who are excited to see him take the reins.
Helen Thomas, head of Radio 2, said: ‘Radio 2 is home to some of the UK’s best-loved presenters, and I’m thrilled to welcome Vernon to mid-mornings on Radio 2.
Ken Bruce (pictured with his good friend Rod Stewart) is leaving the BBC after 45 years, quitting Radio 2 for Greatest Hits Radio
Ken Bruce said he has done all he could at the BBC and wants a fresh challenge for the end of his career. Many fans will follow him
‘He’s a hugely talented, warm and witty host who has already proved himself to be a firm favourite with our listeners when he’s presented many and varied shows across the station. I can’t wait to hear his brilliant new show.’
Gary Davies, host of Sounds Of The 80s, will present the prime mid-morning show from March 6 until Vernon Kay takes over in May.
Last month, it was reported Bruce quit Radio 2 because he felt ‘unloved’ by bosses – who failed to reassure him over a new contract even though they wanted to keep him, BBC insiders say.
One source claimed that despite the desire to hang on to the DJ – Britain’s most popular radio host – a ‘mix-up’ meant he wasn’t told. This is said to have helped convince him to join commercial rival Greatest Hits Radio.
The unexpected announcement of the 71-year-old presenter’s departure is now said to have sparked discord at the BBC, as many regard it as completely avoidable.
One well-placed source said: ‘They definitely wanted to renew his contract but because of a mix-up nobody told him. He is a proud man and did not want to ask. When he told them he was going they were all saying, “But we were about to offer you a three-year deal”… Bit late.’
Presenter Vernon Kay will take over from Ken Bruce on the mid-morning slot in May. The veteran broadcaster’s last show will be on March 3
But another source close to the station disputed the contract claims, saying: ‘Ken was reassured on more than one occasion that his future on Radio 2 was safe.’
The Scottish star is believed to have been unsettled by the way the corporation had axed presenter Steve Wright’s long-running show last year amid a push to appeal to younger listeners.
The Radio 2 insider told the Mail: ‘Ken felt unloved. Part of the issue was being told our target audience is ‘mood mums’ but never hearing who they are or what they want! We have started to play a lot of tuneless dance music and Ken had begged them to stop making him play it but apparently his emails never got responses.’
The source, who accused bosses of being ‘asleep at the wheel’, added: ‘[Wright’s departure] just focused his mind. When they sacked Steve they didn’t consider the effect it might have on the rest of the presenters.’
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk