Jo Whiley to become first woman to host Radio 2 drivetime for 20 years

The DJ is joining Simon Mayo to present a new extended early evening show

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BBC, TL

As part of a major shake-up of the Radio 2 schedules, Jo Whiley will join Simon Mayo in a new extended Drivetime show.

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This marks the first time in 20 years that a woman has hosted the slot, with the last being DJ Debbie Thrower, who presented Radio 2’s afternoon show between 1995 and 1998.

The revamped show, an hour longer than Mayo’s current solo programme, will first air on May 14th between 5pm and 8pm.

Whiley said: “What a thrill to be working with Simon on this exciting new show. It’s going to be great fun and listeners can look forward to some incredible music and chat, as well as being introduced to some fantastic new talent along the way. Cannot wait!”

“Although we’ve known each other for over 20 years, we’ve never presented a show together,” said Mayo. “And given that Jo is quite brilliant, it’s high time we put that right.”

In other changes to Radio 2’s schedules, Sara Cox will present a new show at 10pm every Monday to Thursday promising “an upbeat playlist, with the great and the good from the world of theatre, music and film popping in”.

Sounds of the 80s, which Cox currently hosts, will be taken over by Gary Davies.

The revamp will also see Robot Wars and One Show presenter Angela Scanlon fronting a new Sunday Morning show, 4-6am. She said: “lazy Sunday morning radio is my favourite. Now all I have to do is stay awake!”

Plus, BBC Radio 6 Sunday morning DJ Cerys Matthews will take on a new blues show every Monday at the new time of 8-9pm (one hour later than usual), replacing Paul Jones, who has presented The Blues Show for 30 years.

Jones said: “I have loved playing tracks from the world of Rhythm & Blues on Radio 2 over the last 30-plus years. 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.”

Also coming off the airwaves are The Arts Show and The Organist Entertains, a programme that has been broadcast for almost 50 years.

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Host Nigel Ogden said: “I’d like to thank my ever loyal audience for their support and messages during the 38 years I’ve hosted The Organist Entertains. I’ve loved hearing from them and send them my very best wishes for the future.”