AS she prepares to begin her new show on Radio 2, Jo Whiley has hit out at claims she’s the latest high-profile presenter to fall victim to ageism at the BBC.
The 45-year-old, who has just bowed out of Radio 1 after 17 years, rejects claims station bosses considered her too old for the more youth-orientated station.
Jo, who will instead fill Radio 2’s 8pm slot from next month, insists: “It’s just not an issue. I’ve been there 17 years and was offered the job at Radio 2. It’s lazy and too easy to say its ageism.”
Fans of the mother-of-four were upset when she lost her high-profile morning slot on Radio 1 back in 2009 to younger colleague Fearne Cotton, 29. Whiley was instead moved to an afternoon slot at the weekend, with critics claiming she was paying the price for being over 40.
BBC chiefs have repeatedly found themselves accused of ageism in recent years – most notably when Arlene Phillips, 67, was controversially replaced as a Strictly Come Dancing judge by 32-year-old Alesha Dixon. Only last week BBC director general Mark Thompson faced a backlash when he publicly listed 40-year-old Emily Maitlis among his “older” news presenters.
Whiley, however, believes there are still opportunities for more mature broadcasters over at Radio 1. “There are so many people like Annie Nightingale and Tim Westwood who are older than me and still left at Radio 1,” she points out. “My new show is just a continuation of what I’ve been doing so far.”
She adds: “The new show suits my life well. I’ll get to be with my kids in the daytime and then I’ll be in town to go to gigs after my show.”
Article from Express