Radio One Breakfast Show presenter Chris Moyles has shocked listeners this morning with the announcement that he is leaving the show after eight and a half years. He told listeners that he will leave at the end of September, earlier than expected with his contract not set to end until New Year 2014.
The decision to let the 38-year-old Leeds-native leave comes as the BBC have been pressurised to make the station appeal to a younger demographic, as a recent BBC Trust report found that the station needed to do more in order to attract listeners under the age of 30. Research last November suggested that the average Radio 1 listener was 32 and 33 during the breakfast show.
BBC Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans, who presents the breakfast show, had suggested as far back as 2010 that Moyles was too old for the targeted audience:
’It’s time for him to leave. Chris has got to go somewhere else. It’s time for him to leave isn’t it? I think he is way out of the demographic already of the listenership.’
Moyles made the announcement by playing Take That’s Never Forget, and simply saying: ’We’re off. I wanted to let you know. A couple more months of us, then it’s someone else’s turn. Thank you for listening.’
Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper said in a statement: ‘I’d like to thank Chris. Quite simply he’s been the most successful breakfast show host in Radio 1 history.
The former Capital FM presenter, joined Radio 1 in 1997 and took over the early breakfast (4-7am) slot, before making the move to the afternoon show the following year and finally landing the breakfast show in January 2004, when predecessor Sara Cox left. In September 2009, he became the station’s longest-serving presenter, overtaking Tony Blackburn’s in the process, with his listener figures having risen from 9.73million in 2004 to their peak of 11.82million in 2010. 7.10 million listeners heard his announcement this morning.
Moyles’ replacement is expected to be revealed later this morning.