Disc jockey resigns on live radio show: Dave Lee Travis to quit BBC 'on principle'

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The Independent Online
ONE OF Radio 1's veteran disc jockeys, Dave Lee Travis, jumped yesterday before he could be pushed.

His contract ends in October and there had been hints from within the BBC that he would be sacrificed as the station tried to change its pop- and-prattle image.

Yesterday he told listeners to his morning show: 'The only option for me is to leave, so that is what I am going to be doing. But as we DJs say, 'the show must go on' - at least until October.'

At the end of that month, Johnny Beerling, 56, steps down as controller after eight years. Like Dave Lee Travis, 47, Mr Beerling was a founder of Radio 1 in 1967. The audience has slipped from about 25 million a week in the Sixties and Seventies to about 16 million today.

The new controller, Matthew Bannister, 36, is a lieutenant of John Birt, the Director-General, and helped him write Extending Choice, the blueprint for the BBC's future. While at GLR, the London station, he sacked Tony Blackburn, another of the original Radio 1 DJs. Extending Choice called for'innovative' radio services, with 'clearly informative and intelligent' presentation.

Dave Lee Travis told listeners yesterday: 'I just want to take a short break from the music for a moment to tell you about something which is very, very important to me. Recently there has been a lot in the press about the BBC and I really wanted to put the record straight at this point.

'I think you, the listeners, ought to know first. One point I wish to make clear is that I have the greatest admiration for what the BBC has stood for - but nothing stays the same. Changes are being made here which go against my principles, and I just cannot agree with them.'

A BBC spokesman said the announcement was a surprise. 'We are sorry to see him go,' he said. He would not comment on the reasons for Mr Travis' departure.