BBC Radio 2

BBC Radio 2

Infobox Radio Station
name = BBC Radio 2

city = London
area = flagicon|United Kingdom UK - National
branding =
slogan = The UK's Most Listened To Radio Station
airdate = 30 September 1967
frequency = FM: 88.1 MHz - 90.2 MHz
DAB: 12B
Freeview: 702
Freesat: 702
Sky: 0102
Virgin Media: 902
Tiscali TV: 602
UPC Ireland: 908
[ Live Stream] Real/WM
share = 16.5%
share as of = March 2008
share source = []
format = Adult contemporary, oldies music, comedy
power =
erp =
class =
callsign_meaning =
owner = BBC
BBC Radio
website = [ BBC Radio 2]

BBC Radio 2 is one of the BBC's national radio stations and the most popular station in the UK. Much of its daytime playlist-based programming is best described as Adult Contemporary or AOR, although the station is also noted for its specialist broadcasting of other musical genres. Radio 2 broadcasts throughout the UK on FM between 88.1 and 90.2MHz from studios in Western House, adjacent to Broadcasting House in central London. Programmes are relayed on digital radio via DAB, Sky Digital, Cable TV, IPTV, Freeview, Freesat and the Internet. The station's programming is broadcast on a network of FM transmitters of up to 250kW, the strongest FM signals in the EU. [ [ BBC (FM) radio transmitters in England] ]



The station launched at 5.30am [ [ - Radio 2] ] on 30 September 1967, and evolved from the Light Programme, with some of the Light's music shows transferring to the newly-launched Radio 1. The first show had started at 5.30am (on the Light programme) but continued with "Breakfast Special" from Paul Hollingdale as Radio 1 split.

In early years, much programming and music was common to both stations, particularly on the shared FM frequency. Radio 1 was targeted at the audience of pirate radio stations whereas Radio 2 settled down as a middle-of-the-road station playing laid-back pop/rock, folk and country, jazz and big-band music, easy listening, light classics, and oldies, with significant amounts of comedy and sport. Notable broadcasters on Radio 2 in the 70s and 80s were Ray Moore on early breakfast, Terry Wogan on breakfast, replaced by Ken Bruce and later Derek Jameson; Jimmy Young and his lunchtime news and current affairs show; 'Diddy' David Hamilton on mid-afteroons, John Dunn at what became known as drivetime. Radio 2 became the first 24-hour radio station in the UK in 1979.

Frances Line: 1986-1996

The station's policy remained stable with only minor changes until April 1986 when Frances Line, head of music, repositioned the station. She would become controller in 1990. An ageing Radio 1 audience which had grown up with the station was sticking with it into their 40s and beyond; Line repositioned Radio 2 to appeal exclusively the over-fifties and introduced older presenters and based the playlist around nostalgia, easy listening and light music. As a result, David Hamilton quit the station at the end of 1986, claiming the music policy had become "geriatric"; Terry Wogan's replacement Derek Jameson also appealed to an older, downmarket demographic. Although popular with its target audience, the policy alienated many younger listeners who had listened to both Radio 1 and Radio 2 and the station's audience fell. It took another hit when sports coverage moved to Radio 5 in August 1990. Another blow was struck by the rise of album-rock commercial stations (particularly Virgin Radio) and 'gold' spinoffs from Independent Local Radio stations playing classic pop and rock. With the station's audience in decline a change of emphasis was needed.

James Moir "The Nation's Favourite" - 1996 onwards

Line was replaced by James Moir in 1996. Moir repositioned Radio 2 with a largely AOR/contemporary playlist by day, aimed at a more mature audience than Radio 1 (which, post-Britpop, was again starting to focus on a young audience) but still embracing new music, and more specialist broadcasting by recognised genre experts in the evenings. Unlike the early-90s repositioning of Radio 1 in which the BBC lost many well-known names, many former Radio 1 presenters stayed with the BBC and moved across to Radio 2.

Radio 2 is now termed "the nation's favourite", a title the BBC formerly used for BBC Radio 1. It is the most listened to station in the UK, its schedule filled with broadcasters such as: Russell Brand, Sir Terry Wogan, Steve Wright, Chris Evans, Ken Bruce, Jeremy Vine, Mark Radcliffe, Stuart Maconie, Janice Long, Johnnie Walker, Bob Harris, and Jonathan Ross.

As well as having most listeners nationally, it ranks first in all regions above local radio stations. BBC Radio 2 played to 27% of the available audience in 2006 [ [ Rajar national radio ratings ending December 2006] ] .

The current position

The station now has adult listeners, mainly aged 30 and above In recent years it has attracted more younger listeners. Its daytime playlist features music from the 1960s to the 1990s as well as contemporary chart, album and indie music. The station's appeal is broad and deep, with accessible daytime programmes and specialist programmes of particular types or eras of music.

Weekday evenings feature specialist music, including jazz, folk music, blues, country and western, reggae, classic rock, showtunes and biographies and documentaries on musical artists and genres. This specialist programming typically runs 7-8pm, and 10pm-12midnight.

Brian Matthew's "Sounds of the Sixties" remains a regular fixture on the Saturday schedule, Steve Harley's shorter "Sounds of the Seventies" running midweek.

On Sundays the schedule reverts to closer its old style, with a focus on easy listening music, presenters like Malcolm Laycock and David Jacobs and long-standing programmes like Sunday Half Hour.

Radio 2 does not broadcast complete works of classical music, the domain of Radio 3, or offer in-depth discussion or drama and although some book readings, comedy and arts coverage still remains on the station this is the remit of Radio 4. Jeremy Vine's weekday lunchtime show covers current and consumer affairs informally, a style pioneered Jimmy Young. Until Radio Five Live, Radio 2's medium wave frequencies carried the BBC's sports coverage. Radio 5 Live was positioned on Radio 2's mediumwave frequencies.

Like all BBC radio stations broadcasting to UK audiences, Radio 2 is funded by the television licence fee, and does not broadcast commercials.

BBC Radio 2's last closedown was at 02:02am on 27 January 1979. Sarah Kennedy, who after her 1980s television career, has been a daily early-morning presenter since 1993 was at the Newsdesk after Brian Matthew finished "Round Midnight". From 2-5am the following night, listeners heard "You and the Night and the Music". Radio 2 has the longest period of continuous broadcasting of any national radio station in the UK.

The BBC Pips are broadcast at 7am and 8am on weekdays, then at 5pm.

BBC Radio 2 moved its studios from Broadcasting House to the adjacent Western House in 2005 [] . Although the majority of programming comes from London, some shows are broadcast from other cities around the UK, including Birmingham and Manchester. For many years, the network's overnight presenters, such as Janice Long and Alex Lester, were based in Birmingham, but made the move to London in April 2008. Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie continue to present their show from Manchester.

In February 2007, Radio 2 recruited Jeff Smith, director of UK and International programming at Napster and a former head of music at Radio 1, as its new head of music. Smith joined the network on 26 March. [cite web|url=|title=Radio 2 appoints Napster exec as head of music]

Presenters and shows

An alphabetical list of current presenters is below.

pecialist programming


*Paul Jones Blues
*Clare Teal "Big Band Special"
*Jools Holland: Jazz


*Desmond Carrington "The Music Goes Round"
*Nigel Ogden: "The Organist Entertains"


*Mike Harding Folk Music
*Trevor Nelson Soul Music


*Bob Harris "Country"
*Bob Dylan: "Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour"


*Friday Night is Music Night": light music
*"Frank Renton ;Listen to the Band"
*Claudia Winkleman ; The Weekender (arts programme)


*Paul Gambaccini: "America's Greatest Hits"
*Brian Matthew:"Sounds of the 60s"


*Aled Jones: "Good Morning Sunday" (religious-themed breakfast show)
*Elaine Paige - show tunes
*Alan Titchmarsh "Melodies for You" (from 28 January)
*Brian D'Arcy: "Sunday Half Hour" (hymns)
*Russell Davies: "Sunday Evening" (from 28 January)
*Malcolm Laycock - Celebrating "The Age of Swing"
*David Jacobs "The David Jacobs Collection" (musicals, film music)
*Dale Winton "Pick of the Pops" (nostalgia)


*"It's Been a Bad Week" - Comedy starring Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis.
*"The Day the Music Died" - music comedy series starring Jon Holmes and Andrew Collins
*Book Sequence
*Stand-in presenters heard when a regular presenter is away

tand-in presenters

* Richard Allinson
* Nikki Bedi
* Tim Smith
* Liza Tarbuck
* Nemone Metaxas
* Liz Kershaw
* Emma Forbes
* Matthew Bannister
* Gideon Coe
* Simon Mayo
* Janey Lee Grace
* Lulu
* Richard Hammond
* Lauren Laverne
* Sally Lindsay
* Julian Worricker
* Shaun Keaveny
* Clive Anderson
* Rob Brydon
* Davina McCall

Newsreaders and travel presenters

*Lynn Bowles (travel)
*Alan Dedicoat
*Fran Godfrey
*John Marsh
*Charles Nove
*Andrew Peach
*Sally Boazman (travel)

*Fenella Fudge
*Rebecca Pike (business)
* Bobbi Pryor (travel)
*Tom Sandars
*Jonny Saunders (sport)
*Andrea Simmons
*Colin Berry
*Charles Carroll
*Chandrika Chevli
*Dominic Cotter
*Jim Lee
*Ricky Salmon
*Alan Smith

Past presenters

*Jimmy Young: 1973-2002
*John Dunn: 1967-1998
*Alan Dell: 1967-1995
*Gloria Hunniford: 1981-1995
*Debbie Thrower: 1995-1997
*Benny Green
*David Hamilton1975-1986
*Anne Robinson 1988-1993 & briefly returned in 1996 sitting in for Jimmy Young.
*Jim Lloyd: "Folk on 2" (1970-1997)
*Ray Moore 1980-1988
*Ed Stewart 1980-1984 & 1991-2006
*Des Lynam 1998-1999
*Katrina Leskanich 1998-2000
*Lynn Parsons 1998-2003
*Sybil Ruscoe 2003-2004
*Don Maclean 1990-2006
*Humphrey Lyttelton 1967-2008
*Canon Roger Royle 1991-2008
*Matthew Wright 2006-2008


Logo History

Logo images from TV & Radio Bits


External links

* [ Official BBC Radio 2 website]
* [ Media UK's BBC Radio 2 site including scheduled programming]
* [ R2OK! the Radio 2 Preservation Society]
* [ Radio 2 Timeline/History]

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