FANS of Ken Bruce have reacted with fury to the veteran DJ's announcement that the BBC have decided to end his show early.

The Glasgow-born Radio 2 DJ, who hosts the mid-morning show on the station, said on Friday night he was "a little surprised and disappointed" to have his departure brought forward.

He tweeted: "I will be presenting my last show on Radio 2 next Friday.

"I had intended fulfilling my contract until the end of March but the BBC has decided it wants me to leave earlier. Let's enjoy the week ahead!"

Bruce then told the Daily Mail newspaper: "I was called in at 12.30 and told that my final show would be a week today and wasn't given any real reason that I understood.

"I'm a little surprised and disappointed."

The 71-year-old “king of the airwaves” last month announced he was leaving Radio 2, after more than 40 years with the BBC, to join Greatest Hits Radio with a mid-morning show in April, taking his beloved PopMaster quiz with him.

Bruce said he was doing so of his own volition, but Radio 2 has been embroiled in an ageism storm following the departure of a raft of older stars, with the station’s relatively new boss, Helen Thomas, apparently keen to encourage “mood mums” to listen - women in their 40s who apparently enjoy listening to the likes of Sara Cox in the drivetime slot.

It comes in the wake of the departure of Steve Wright, 68, from the afternoon slot in September, and other DJs, including Vanessa Feltz, 60, and Paul O’Grady, 67. In an interview on This Morning, Feltz said she "can't speak" for Bruce "but I imagine that it's a feeling of some sense of ageism" that made him leave.

It has now been confirmed Vernon Kay will take over Bruce's slot, with Bruce presenting his final 9.30am to midday show on March 3 and Gary Davies - host of the station's Sounds Of The 80s show - hosting the show from March 6 until Kay takes over.

Fans have vented their fury online, with "Ken Bruce" trending on Twitter.

One fan wrote: "There's gratitude for you. Looks like their listener figures will be dropping a month earlier than planned. You are loved Ken."

Another wrote, "No way to treat a loyal servant", adding that the BBC was "obsessed with change", while another tweeted: "I will be boycotting Radio 2 after next Friday. The way they have treated Ken is absolutely appalling."

On the "Ken Bruce Radio Show Appreciation Group" on Facebook, Eileen Booth wrote that "Radio 2 have lost the best", while another wrote the BBC was going "totally crazy". Janice Ferguson wrote: "It's completely disrespectful to Ken and his fans i.e the licence fee payer. The BBC should hang their corporate head in shame."

At the time his departure was announced, a Radio 2 spokesperson said: "Ken decided to leave Radio 2 and it's always been known he's leaving in March.

"Returning to Wogan House for a week after a month of broadcasting the Piano Room sessions at Maida Vale provided a natural break. We wish Ken all the best for the future."
Bruce, who started at the BBC in his early 30s, said he would "always be proud" of his association with the BBC and Radio 2, but that he wanted to continue his career "in a slightly different way in the next few years".

He first joined the corporation in 1977 as a BBC Radio Scotland presenter and his first regular slot on Radio 2 was the Saturday Late Show in 1984. The following year he fronted the Radio 2 Breakfast Show, taking over from Sir Terry Wogan.

He later moved to mid-mornings in 1986 and after a brief stint in other slots, returned to mid-mornings in 1992.

Bruce has also presented Radio 2's coverage of Eurovision since 1988, and has been a regular presenter of Sunday Night Is Music Night.

Radio 2 is still the UK’s most popular radio station but its overall weekly audience has fallen to 14.29million - a drop of 580,000. Zoe Ball’s Breakfast Show has seen a drop in listeners - down 359,000 in the last quarter of 2022 compared with the same period in 2021, while Ken Bruce's listenership is also down - although his show is still the most listened to on the station with 8.2million, according to data from radio audience measurement body Rajar.

Now branded "Radio 2 refugees", former listeners have jumped ship to stations such as Greatest Hits Radio, which will be the new home of Bruce's morning show from April, where he will take his iconic PopMaster quiz with him. The station is also home to former Radio 2 DJ Simon Mayo, who left after he had a co-host, Jo Whiley, added to his drivetime slot.

GHR has expanded its audience by nearly a third in the last year to 4.3 million a week. Boom Radio, launched by veterans to target the “baby boomers” born between 1946 and 1964, is also on the rise, attracting more than half a million listeners each week.