Radio 2 has announced the resignation of Paul Gambaccini, who will be replaced by BBC veteran Steve Wright, as part of its recent major shake-up.
The 74-year-old American-British radio personality and music specialist will depart the station after seven years, with Wright, 68, taking up his Saturday noon position.
Pick of the Pops will be Wright’s first new programme since leaving his weekday afternoon position in 2022, which is now presented by Scott Mills.
Over the last year, the iconic broadcaster, who joined the BBC in 1981, has continued to conduct his Sunday Love Songs show on Sunday mornings.
In a statement about taking over the long-running chart archive show, he said: ‘Pick of the Pops is such a legendary show. Gambo brilliantly made it his own.’
‘[Gambaccini has hosted] over the last seven-and-a-half years and now it’s my chance to give it a go,’ he added, revealing his excitement at taking over.
It’s good news for long-time listeners who have been let down by many of Radio 2’s major changes in the previous five years.
‘Great news!’ one fan wrote on social media, adding: ‘Steve Wright should never have been given the boot in the first place.’
Another said: ‘Makes you wonder why Radio 2 ever decided to remove him from his original afternoon show.’
Following the exits of Graham Norton, Simon Mayo, and Ken Bruce in recent years, his comeback comes amid a flurry of major changes at the station.
Following Bruce’s departure from Greatest Hits Radio earlier in 2023, Radio 2 has lost over a million weekly listeners – a 7% reduction.
The station’s weekly listenership fell from 14.5 million to 13.5 million, while Greatest Hits increased its listenership by 13% to over 6 million.
Gambaccini joined the BBC in the mid-1970s and eventually became the host of Pick of the Pops, which Wright will now take over.
Gambaccini’s final Pick of the Pops programme will air on October 21 before he goes on to another BBC show at the station.
Pick of the Pops debuted on the BBC in 1955, with no pop music at all until it was significantly reworked in the 1960s and 1970s.
It has since been cancelled and resurrected on many radio stations over the previous 50 years, until settling at Radio 2 in 1997.
The show now focuses mostly on going down historical charts from previous years, with the most recent episode delving further into the year 1970.
Source My Celebrity Life.