Paul Jones, the long-running host of BBC Radio 2’s Monday night Blues Show, is to step down from the role to be replaced by Cerys Matthews.
A former lead singer with 60s rock band Manfred Mann, Jones has presented the programme for the last three decades and said it was time “to hand over the baton”.
“I have loved playing tracks from the world of Rhythm & Blues on Radio 2 over the last 30-plus years,” he said. “I’m very grateful to all my listeners (not least for their influence on the content of programmes) but it’s time for me to hand over the baton – and I hope and believe Cerys will derive as much joy from the new show as I have until now.”
Matthews is also a singer, having fronted 90s indie band Catatonia, and currently hosts the most listened to show on BBC 6 Music, on Sunday mornings.
“To be able to play the music that inspires me on Radio 2 is a dream come true,” she said. “I look forward to playing tracks by blues legends like Memphis Minnie, John Lee Hooker, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Jo Ann Kelly and Peter Green, and bands like the Rolling Stones, the Groundhogs, White Stripes and Black Keys. Each week we’ll dive into the vast archive of the BBC unearthing long lost gems and interviews, and we’ll also play some of the best new releases and emerging artists steeped in this genre, the cradle of jazz and rock ‘n roll.”
Matthews’ 60-minute blues show will remain on Monday nights but will start an hour later than the current slot of 7pm.
The changes are part of a major overhaul of the Radio 2 schedule which takes effect in mid-May and will also see Jo Whiley join Simon Mayo for an extended Drivetime show, Sara Cox taking on a new evening series focusing on theatre, music and film, and the ‘resting’ of the weekly radio 2 Arts Show and long-running segments The Organist Entertains and Listen to the Band.