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Radio 2: Drivetime Cox as specialist slot squeezed

Sara Cox becomes Radio 2's new drivetime presenter as evening specialist slot squeezed.

Another week, another Radio 2 schedule change announcement. Following the announcement that Simon Mayo is leaving the station at the end of the year and Jo Whiley is to host a new evening show, the BBC has announced that Sara Cox is being moved to drivetime from January 2019.

It's part of a wider change to BBC Radio 2 from the new year that sees Zoe Ball take over from Chris Evans at breakfast time.

As a result of Sara Cox moving to drivetime, her current late night slot is being filled by Trevor Nelson, whose Rhythm Nation show is being promoted from a once-weekly Saturday night show to a weeknightly show, broadcasting Monday to Thursday from 10pm until midnight. The BBC says it will make a further announcement soon confirming what will happen to the current Saturday evening slot.

But with Jo Whiley to move to a new 7-9pm music show in January, the current two hour specialist music and documentary slot is being squeezed to just one hour. The BBC hasn't yet commented on which programmes will survive. Current occupants of the two hour slot include Jamie Cullum, Jool Holland, Cerys Matthews and Mark Radcliffe. This week, the slot is also being used for a Young Choristers of the Year feature, a programme on the Ballards of the Great War and the CMA Music Festival. There are fears that these will be lost or watered down amidst the more high-profile schedule changes.

Of her move to drivetime, Sara Cox said:

“I’ve been proud to be part of the Radio 2 family for a few years now and the opportunity to present such a big show as Drivetime - playing fantastic music and hopefully making people smile as they cook tea or head home after a day’s graft - is the icing on what is already a very brilliant cake. I’m beyond chuffed to be given this role and to directly quote my mum on hearing the good news, it is indeed ‘fandabbyruddydozy’.”

And on his promotion to a weeknightly show, Trevor Nelson said:

"To present eight hours a week of the music I love on BBC Radio 2 is a dream come true for me. I’ll be introducing tracks from some soul stars of the future as well as playing some of my favourite songs from the past 50 years of dance music, from Motown to the present day. Bring it on!"

BBC Radio 2 - 2019 weekday schedule
6:30am Zoe Ball (new)
9:30 Ken Bruce
12:00noon Jeremy Vine
2:00pm Steve Wright in the Afternoon
5:00 Sara Cox (new)

Mon-Thu only
7:00 Jo Whiley (new)
9:00 (remainder of the specialist music and documentary slot)
10:00 - midnight Trevor Nelson (new)