BBC reveals new presenting line-ups for Leeds, Sheffield and York radio stations after departures of long-serving hosts
Earlier this year several long-serving presenters with daytime programmes announced they were leaving the BBC due to a reorganisation which would see no local transmissions between 2-6pm on weekdays.
Jonathan Cowap left BBC Radio York after more than 30 years and David Burns departed BBC Radio Humberside after being told he would ‘no longer be needed’ under the new structure.
BBC Radio Sheffield’s Toby Foster, whose breakfast show has been the station’s most popular since 2004, confirmed he was losing his morning slot, and the BBC have now announced that he will be replaced by Ellie Colton, though he will move to an afternoon show broadcast across the whole Yorkshire region. Colton, a new talent, only graduated from Sheffield Hallam University three years ago.
The BBC defended the cuts by saying they were investing in news journalism instead, and have recruited 130 additional reporters, 70 of them to work on in-depth investigations.
Most of the new line-up consists of presenters who already had shows on their stations, but have been promoted into prime slots.
The BBC said: “Toby Foster will be hosting a new afternoon programme across the Yorkshire region and Ellie Colton will be the host of a brand-new weekday breakfast show on BBC Radio Sheffield.
"We said there would be schedule changes to afternoon, evening and weekend schedules for all 39 stations including BBC Radio Leeds, BBC Radio Sheffield, and BBC Radio York.
"Most of the voices in the new schedules will be familiar to listeners with some taking on new shows and, or areas.
"One of the newer voices is Ellie Colton. Born and bred in South Yorkshire, Ellie has successfully hosted BBC Upload for the station for the past three years where she has been proud to showcase local creative talent from poetry to playwrighting to podcasting.”
Foster, who has 21 years of service, will host his afternoon programme on five days of the week.
The BBC’s head of production for Yorkshire, Katrina Bunker, said that the new format would see the shared programmes become ‘big shows that bring our county together’ despite the loss of local coverage.
Producers have given a number of the new slots to female presenters, while several are from ethnic minority backgrounds to reflect the diversity of audiences in Yorkshire. The revamped schedule includes programmes aimed at South Asian, African and Caribbean communities.
Radio Sheffield: Ellie Colton from 6-10am and Paulette Edwards from 10am-2pm
Radio Leeds: Rima Ahmed from 6-10am and Gayle Lofthouse from 10am-2pm
Radio York: Georgey Spanswick from 6-10am and Joanita Musisi from 10am-2pm Monday-Thursday, with newcomer Bek Homer on Fridays
Toby Foster’s new programme to be broadcast across Leeds, Sheffield and York
All broadcast across Leeds, Sheffield and York:-
Monday - Conversation and music for South Asian communities with Arzu Dutta
Tuesday - Sport or Bek Homer (coastal communities)
Wednesday - Sport or John Kane (Northern Soul)
Thursday & Saturday - BBC Upload – Ellie Colton
Friday - Conversation and music for African and Caribbean communities with Sile Sibanda
Thursday nights 8-10pm – BBC Music Introducing on BBC Radio Leeds and BBC Radio Sheffield – Emily Pilbeam and Christian Carlisle
To be broadcast across Leeds, Sheffield and York
6-10am: Kat Cowan
Saturday 10am-2pm: Nick Ahad
Sunday 10am-2pm: Becky Measures