Popular BBC radio hosts ‘are sidelined by religion of diversity’: Long-term presenters on London station are dumped from their slots in move blamed on box-ticking
- BBC is removing popular presenters Robert Elms and Jo Good from the top slots
- Insiders fear ‘jammed’ switchboards of angry listeners over the schedule change
- Radio London insider says BBC ‘binned’ good people ‘for the sake of diversity’
The BBC has angered staff after dumping much-loved presenters from their slots on its biggest local radio station, in a move blamed on the ‘religion of diversity’.
A ‘schedule refresh’ to be announced imminently for Radio London will see two of its most popular hosts replaced in their slots by more diverse talent.
A source at the station said they fear there will be a backlash from audiences which could damage listening figures.
Robert Elms, 62, has been a presenter on the station since 1994 and has a loyal audience. He will be lose his Monday-Friday mid-morning show
But the BBC said that to suggest decisions were being taken based on anything other than ability was ridiculous.
Robert Elms, 62, has been a presenter on the station since 1994 and has a loyal audience. He will be lose his Monday-Friday mid-morning show and present a programme on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings instead.
Jo Good, 66, who has been at the station since 2003 and is on after lunch, is being moved to a 10pm-1am slot from Monday to Thursday.
It is understood that Eddie Nestor, 57, who is black, will move from his 5pm show to replace Elms in broadly the same slot Monday to Thursday.
Jeanette Kwakye, 38, who TV viewers will have seen doing track-side interviews during the BBC’s Olympics coverage in Tokyo, will be given Miss Good’s slot.
Jo Good, 66, who has been at the station since 2003 and is on after lunch, is being moved to a 10pm-1am slot from Monday to Thursday
Staff are said to have been told not to speak to anyone about the situation until it is announced. But some even fear that in removing popular presenters from top slots, bosses are ‘deliberately crashing’ the station so it can be moved online in the long-term.
A Radio London source said: ‘They have binned some really good people for the sake of diversity. It’s like a religion of diversity at the BBC.
‘It’s every department. It’s got to be diverse and a drive to go younger. We feel like you can’t say anything or they think you’re Jim Davidson if you start saying stuff.’
They claimed staff were preparing for the switchboards to be ‘jammed’ with angry listeners once the new schedule is made public.
A BBC spokesman said: ‘No one is leaving the station and all our existing presenters will still host important shows. We make decisions based on a person’s ability to do a job; to suggest otherwise is ridiculous.’
The BBC has previously been accused of culling older white male presenters on Radio 5 Live in a bid to attract younger listeners.
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