Jonathan Ross signs for Radio 2

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The Independent Online
RADIO 2 has made the biggest break yet with its old-age image by hiring Jonathan Ross to present its biggest show and moving the former Radio 1 disc jockey Steve Wright to a key weekday afternoon slot.

The TV and radio presenter Ross will broadcast in Wright's old slot from 10am to 1pm on Saturday mornings. The show has an audience of 2.3m a week. Wright will host a show from 2pm to 5pm on weekday afternoons, which is designed to appeal to an older generation of former Radio 1 listeners familiar with his Steve Wright in the Afternoon programme from the Eighties.

The Radio 2 controller Jim Moir, who last month picked up the Station of the Year award at the Sony Radio Awards, said the new schedule was the most significant attempt yet to attract new listeners to Radio 2. "If you want to attract new listeners to a station you have to provide them with a kind of gateway that will appeal to them."

Radio 2 chiefs insist that the station still wants to appeal to the over-55s, who make up its core audience. But a leaked BBC report last November revealed that the corporation is worried that Radio 2's audience will die off in the next 10 years unless it attracts more younger listeners.