Johnny Vaughan leaves Capital

By | Published on Monday 21 November 2011

Capital FM

Johnny Vaughan is leaving Capital Radio with immediate effect after being told his million pound a year contract would not be renewed.

According to The Guardian, the breakfast show host was told by Global Radio director Richard Park that his current two year contract would not be renewed late last week, and the presenter decided to leave immediately rather than wait for the actual contract renewal date. As of this morning DJ Greg Burns will fill in with Vaughan’s co-host Lisa Snowdon until a replacement can be found.

Insiders say that Capital bosses feel they need someone younger on the show, and that the parting with Vaughan, although sudden, was actually quite amicable, he agreeing it’s good to leave on a high.

In 2004 Vaughan replaced Capital’s long term breakfast show host Chris Tarrant, a DJ so closely aligned with the Capital Radio brand that his departure caused the share price of the then publicly listed GCap Radio Group to wobble. The new host initially lost a portion of Tarrant’s listeners, allowing rivals Heart and Magic to gain ground in the hugely competitive London breakfast show market.

Then an attempt to reunite Vaughan with previous ‘Big Breakfast’ co-host Denise Van Outen backfired when she quit just five months in. But Vaughan slowly found his ground and started to build his audience, so that in the last year Capital could again claim to have the biggest breakfast show in London.

Confirming his departure, Vaughan said on Friday: “I have just loved doing this job, but after all these years of getting up in the middle of the night, I really think the time is right to hand over the microphone to someone else. It’s been a joy waking up London every morning and a thrill to have been part of the broadcasting tapestry of this great city”.

It remains to be seen who Global recruit to take over one of its most important programme slots. Meanwhile, in an interesting sideshow, one time Capital Radio DJ Steve Penk took to Twitter this weekend to diss Capital Radio for axing Vaughan, and to bad mouth his albeit temporary replacement, Burns.

Penk wrote: “Greg Burns? Has anyone ever heard this guy? As dull as they come. Capital was always about BIG personality and that big London sound. Capital have made a big mistake getting rid of Johnny. In the history of Capital FM the radio station has never been bland. But it is now”.

Assuming @GregCapital is a genuine Twitter feed, which it seems to be, Burns responded, referencing that Penk now works for a radio station he also owns, Manchester’s The Revolution. Burns tweeted: “Of course you have the right to your opinion. I can only try to do the show as well as [possible until the] new host arrives. Then if all else fails, and I can’t get a gig anywhere, I’ll buy my own tinpot fm, put myself on air, and tweet bitter messages”.

On a roll, and presumably having checked out Penk’s weekend schedule, Burns then added: “I’m just chuffed you took the time to tweet about me. Busy weekend, what with Rochdale’s Xmas lights being switched on!”.

Fun times. In other Capital news, media regulator OfCom has approved requests by Global to adjust its FM licences in Scotland and Birmingham, now broadcasting the Capital network with local shows in prime time. The aim was to allow the basic Capital format to be broadcast on both outputs, without having to fulfil specific music or programming commitments included in the original licence and relating to the stations that previously used those frequencies.

According to Radio Today, all but one of the responses to the public consultation opposed the change, but OfCom nevertheless approved the request. That said, Global had already altered its request for the Midlands so that it retained a commitment to “include programmes of specific appeal to listeners of African or Afro-Caribbean origin” in order to placate both the regulator and its complainants.

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