Radio 2 schedule changes: Jo Whiley joins Drivetime in reshuffle

The Organist Entertains and Listen to the Band to end after more than 40 years on the air

Jo Whiley
(Image credit: Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images for Advertising Week)

Jo Whiley is to join BBC Radio 2’s Drivetime programme as a co-host alongside Simon Mayo as part of a major schedule shake-up at the station.

The former Radio 1 DJ said she “cannot wait” to join Mayo at the helm of the coveted after-work slot.

In a statement, Mayo 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.”

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Whiley “will be the first female DJ on the station's weekday daytime schedule for 20 years,” the BBC notes.

The revamped Drivetime will run in an extended timeslot when the reshuffle comes into effect on Monday 14 May, airing between 5pm and 8pm.

Another BBC radio stalwart, Sara Cox, will leave her current gig on Sounds of the 80s to host a new two-hour programme of “upbeat” music and chat, which will air from 10pm until midnight from Monday to Thursday.

Veteran disc jockey Gary Davies will take over presenting duties on Sounds of the 80s, which retains its Friday 10pm slot.

Elsewhere, Welsh singer Cerys Matthews, whose Sunday morning slot on BBC Radio 6 Music is the most listened-to show on the station, is to take over Radio 2’s weekly blues show from Paul Jones.

The 75-year-old former Manfred Mann frontman, who has hosted The Blues Show for 30 years, said it was “time for me to hand over the baton”.

In sad news for listeners who enjoy nothing more than a resounding set of church pipes, The Organist Entertains has fallen victim to the commissioner’s scythe.

The half-hour programme of organ music, currently broadcast at 11pm on Tuesdays, will come to an end this spring, one year short of its 50th anniversary.

Host Nigel Ogden said it had been a “huge privilege” to present the show for the past 38 years.

Other victims of the reshuffle include the station’s Thursday night arts show and the stirring brass of Listen To The Band.

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