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Radio 2 axes midnight show, rejigs overnights

By | Published on Tuesday 10 January 2017

BBC Radio 2

Good news for fans of not listening to the radio while asleep, Radio 2 is axing its overnight show, meaning there will be no live programming between midnight and 5am on the BBC station from next month.

The cost-saving measure means that the ‘After Midnight’ programme, currently hosted on different days by Janice Long and Alex Lester, will no longer air. Instead repeats of shows like ‘Sounds Of The 60s’ and ‘Sounds Of The 80s’ – which currently have a second airing at 3am – will be shifted to the midnight slot. Back-to-back music will then be played from 2-5am in a strand dubbed ‘Radio 2 Playlists’.

Admitting ‘After Midnight’ was being axed in a bid to save money, Radio 2 overseer Lewis Carnie told Radio Today: “Radio 2 has had to make extremely tough decisions to reduce programming costs in order to make savings in line with the rest of the BBC. As a relatively small percentage of our audience listens to Radio 2 through the night, changes need to be made to ensure that our programming spend reaches the most listeners. I’d like to thank both Janice Long and Alex Lester for their contributions to the programme”.

Insisting that the overnight back-to-back music strand will be all kinds of carefully curated, Radio 2 music man Jeff Smith added: “Radio 2’s audience is increasingly aware of the benefits of streaming music but to date the offering for them has been limited or designed for younger audiences. It’s important that we offer Radio 2 listeners a way into curated, genre and mood orientated playlists but with a distinctive Radio 2 spin. So we are introducing ‘Radio 2 Playlists’. These are playlists which are uniquely curated by our leading music presenters and music team and that our audience can enjoy on the radio or on demand as ‘Radio 2 Playlists’ in the BBC Music app on their mobile devices”.

Good times. Elsewhere in BBC radio cutbacks, Radio 1’s ‘service licence’ has been amended by the BBC Trust to allow it to axe the standalone Newsbeat website and app. The station’s youth-orientated news service will continue to air on Radio 1 itself, but online its content will be integrated within the main BBC news site and app.