Sports broadcaster Mark Pougatch has been dropped from BBC 5 Live, following over 25 years at the radio station since its beginnings in 1994.
Pougatch, who viewers may also recognise as Chief Sport Presenter for ITV Sport, contradicted the BBC when it released a statement suggesting that the broadcaster had “decided to move on.”
“Mark is a brilliant broadcaster who has been an integral part of 5 Live Sport for years,” a BBC statement read. “Recently he has been presenting fewer programmes because his other commitments have grown and he has now decided to move on. We wish him well.”
However, Pougatch rebuked that statement in a tweet posted on Thursday, revealing that it “was not [his] decision” to leave 5 Live Sport.
“Thank you very much for all the kind messages, from listeners, friends & colleagues. I’m very touched & appreciative people took the time. Just so we’re clear this was not my decision but on we go,” he wrote.
Thank you very much for all the kind messages, from listeners, friends & colleagues. I’m very touched & appreciative people took the time. Just so we’re clear this was not my decision but on we go. Lots of love to @bbc5live @5liveSport. Now three dogs need a walk, not in loafers.
— Mark Pougatch (@markpougatch) January 9, 2020
The news comes as the station aims to fulfil its remit of attracting younger listeners, apparently as part of a broader masterplan previously outlined by the BBC’s director of radio and education James Purnell, who listed engaging a “younger audience” as one of his top priorities.
“It may mean some surprises, some content that is not for everyone, but to me this only shows how little variety there once was in spoken content on the BBC,” he said in a speech last May. “Besides, if the tastes of the younger generation do not offend the sensibilities of their elders, something would seem pretty amiss to me.”
Pougatch’s departure follows the news that 5 Live’s long-standing horse racing correspondent, Cornelius Lysacht, is also leaving the station.
RadioTimes.com has contacted BBC Radio 5 Live for further comment.