Simon leaves us but Wittertainment lives on
As the echoes reverberate from last week's announcement of Terry Wogan's departure from the Radio 2 breakfast show, there's another piece of news likely to be of huge interest to 5 live listeners. I know there's been a lot of speculation over the last few days but I can now confirm that Simon Mayo is to take over from Chris Evans in the Radio 2 Drivetime slot from January. Very sadly of course this means his Monday-Friday 5 live afternoon show will come to an end at the end of the year.
Simon's programme has been one of 5 live's greatest successes over the last nine years, steadily building a reputation as a home of intelligent conversation and entertainment as well as the afternoon's news and sport. It's won many awards and even more plaudits for both the team as a whole and for Simon in particular. He's established himself as one of the very best radio interviewers - a tribute to his skills at asking the right questions and his always immaculate preparation and research. Almost everyone remembers his deft coverage of the events of 9/11, which unfolded while he was on air. But there are many other items such as the beautifully-managed collision of Ricky Gervais and the Archbishop of Canterbury, which is one of my all-time favourite moments from Simon's show. Few presenters can match his ability to switch seamlessly from subject to subject or his natural warmth and modesty.
The opportunity to move to a daytime music-based show on Radio 2 is another change of direction for Simon but I'm really pleased to say that he won't be leaving 5 live - even after 5 live's move to Salford in 2011. Every Friday afternoon Simon will continue to present a live film programme with Mark Kermode - it'll be an even bigger version of the existing Mayo and Kermode film show.
Of course Simon's departure will mean other changes to the 5 live schedule. I'm working on some exciting plans so please keep reading this blog over the next few weeks and I'll share all the details as decisions are finalised.
Adrian Van Klaveren is Controller of BBC Radio 5 live