- Whiley and Mayo will from May co-host a new early evening Radio 2 show
- Radio 2 also axes three of its long running shows which were presented by men
- Cox will host a new late night slot while Matthews presents a new blues show
- On Monday China Editor Carrie Gracie resigned in protest over gender pay
Jo Whiley and Simon Mayo will unite to form a new BBC Radio 2 programme that will hit the airwaves from May as Radio 2 overhauls its schedule in the wake of the gender pay row.
The popular BBC radio station has shut down three of its longest-running shows – and axed their veteran male presenters – in a revamp that puts women in the driving seat.
On Monday China Editor Carrie Gracie resigned from her £135,000-a-year position with a scathing 1,400-word open letter on her blog declaring ‘enough is enough’ in relation to equal gender pay, accusing the corporation of widespread pay discrimination.
Simon Mayo and Jo Whiley are to form a new broadcasting partnership on Radio 2
Sara Cox’s new programme will air Mondays to Thursdays from 10pm until midnight from 14 May
A new blues programme will be fronted by Radio 2 newcomer Cerys Matthews (above)
Jo Whiley says her new programme with Simon Mayo ‘is going to be great fun and listeners can look forward to some incredible music and chat’
Carrie Gracie, who earned £135,000 a year, quit in protest at widespread ‘pay discrimination’ – turning down a £45,000 raise – and has moved to another role in the newsroom
The new Radio 2 early evening show is part of various BBC scheduling changes for spring, which will also include the abolition of the three long-running programmes The Organist Entertains, the Arts Show and Listen to the Band – a weekly mix of brass and military band music.
Whiley, who joined Radio 2 in 2011 and presents a weeknight show focusing on new music, will co-host the newly-extended show from 5pm until 8pm on weekdays with existing drivetime host Mayo.
She said: ‘What a thrill to be working with Simon on this exciting new show.
‘It’s going to be great fun and listeners can look forward to some incredible music and chat, as well as being introduced to some fantastic new talent along the way. Cannot wait!’
Mayo, who has hosted the drivetime slot from 5pm until 7pm since 2010, said: ‘Although we’ve known each other for over 20 years, we’ve never presented a show together.
‘And given that Jo is quite brilliant, it’s high-time we put that right.’
Their new programme will begin from Monday May 14.
Radio 2 has said that the current Friday schedule will remain, with the All Request Friday show running from 5pm until 7pm, followed by Tony Blackburn’s The Golden Hour from 7pm until 8pm.
As the BBC grapples with the resignation of its China editor Carrie Gracie over the gender pay gap, it is trying to cut the salaries of some of its male stars to make things more even. Newsreader Huw Edwards (pictured) is earning £600,000 a year
Elsewhere, the station has confirmed the end of programmes
Nigel Ogden, who has hosted 30-minute music show The Organist Entertains since 1980, said: ‘I’d like to thank my ever loyal audience for their support and messages during the 38 years I’ve hosted The Organist Entertains.
‘I’ve loved hearing from them and send them my very best wishes for the future.
‘I’d also like to thank Radio 2 for giving me the opportunity to play the music I love each week; it has been a huge privilege.’
Listen to the Band’s host Frank Renton said: ‘My 23 years presenting Listen to the Band have been hugely enjoyable, especially playing so much of the music that I love.’
Renton and Ogden will be replaced in their late night slots by Sara Cox, who will present a new live music show.
In addition a new blues programme will be fronted by Radio 2 newcomer Cerys Matthews who will replace Paul Jones, the former Manfred Mann singer and presenter of a Radio 2 rhythm and blues show for more than 30 years,
Cox’s current show Sounds of the 80s will remain in its Friday night 10pm slot, but will now be hosted by Gary Davies, and Cox will continue her role as an occasional stand-in for Chris Evans on his breakfast show.
Cox’s new programme will air Mondays to Thursdays from 10pm until midnight from 14 May.
Lewis Carnie, Head of Radio 2, said: ‘These changes herald another stage of the evolution of Radio 2.
‘Simon and Jo are two of the network’s most popular presenters, and I’m delighted that they will unite in this exciting partnership to present a new show.
‘Sara’s new evening show will provide the network, for the first time in many years, with a truly interactive show to end the day.’