Nicky Campbell has discussed his "really tough" decision to leave BBC Radio 5 Live's Breakfast show as he prepares to launch a new project on the station.
Regular listeners to the national broadcaster, which specialises in news, sport and discussion, may be shocked to hear of Campbell's departure after almost two decades on the programme.
Half of that has been spent working alongside co-host Rachel Burden, who will continue on Breakfast as Campbell moves to a later morning slot for a new phone-in show.
The Long Lost Family presenter has built a strong reputation for his ability to field challenging and, at times, deeply personal calls from listeners, making this a natural fit for his skill set.
Campbell said in a statement: "It’s why I love 5 Live – hearing from listeners and talking to people about what really does matter to them and their communities.
"It’s a constant privilege hearing people’s passion, candour, anger and raw honesty. Our listeners make me listen. They make me think, laugh and cry. I can’t wait for this to start."
He added: "Leaving Breakfast is really tough after so many unforgettable programmes with Rachel and the team, but I’ve been getting up at four a.m. for 19 years now so it’s time I had a bit more sleep!"
The new phone-in programme, which is expected to launch later this year, will air every weekday from 9-11am and feature contributions from listeners across the country.
As a result, the current mid-morning programmes hosted by Naga Munchetty (Monday-Wednesday) and Adrian Chiles (Thursday-Friday) will be cut by an hour, shifting to 11am until 1pm on the schedules.
A spokesperson for BBC Radio 5 Live said that it was "always" intended for the shows to keep to this shorter runtime, before extending a thank you to Munchetty and Chiles for putting in an extra hour during the interim period.
On top of the new live show, Campbell will also host a new podcast for BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Sounds, so fans of his presenting style will have no shortage of content to listen to.
Heidi Dawson, Controller of BBC Radio 5 Live, said: “Nicky is the master of radio phone-in broadcasting. The last year with the pandemic has shown just how deep Nicky’s connection is with our listeners across the UK.
"They have opened up to him about every detail of their lives through this difficult time. We want to give our audience more time on air and Nicky is the perfect presenter to enable that conversation.
"So it’s exciting he’ll launch this new show for us, giving him more time to do what he does best."
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