Wright announced the change on Friday (1 July), that will see his slot be taken over by Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills.
He told listeners to Steve Wright in the Afternoon, which launched in 1999, that he would remain at the BBC to work on other projects, including a podcast series.
Wright’s radio colleagues, including Jeremy Vine and Jo Whiley, led tributes to the on-air legend, while fans lamented the decision.
“This really is a terrible decision,” one fan wrote on Twitter in reply to the Radio 2 announcement. “This is the best daily show on @BBCRadio2. What have you done Radio 2. Can't express how sad this is. No disrespect to Scott Mills but this is not good at all.”
Another wrote that Radio 2 was “spiralling”: “Scott Mills is fine. He's not Steve Wright though. First Simon Mayo, now Steve Wright. 2 of the finest ever presenters.”
“Unbelievable.... The best show on R2 and some bigwig wants to make a change. Why do administrators feel they are in charge and can change as they see fit. Surely it's down to those that listen???” wrote another.
Live on air Friday, Wright told his listeners that the decision had come at the behest of Radio 2 head Helen Thomas who told him she “wanted to do something different” with the veteran DJ’s afternoon slot.
“Now, I’ve been doing this programme for 24 years at Radio 2, and so how can I possibly complain?” the host said.
“The support and creative freedom that I’m given is fantastic at Radio 2 and really I can’t hog the slot for ever, so let’s give somebody else a go.”
He will continue to present Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs on the same station. Mills will be leaving Radio 1 and his Saturday morning show on Radio 5 live to take over the weekday slot.
“I really cannot believe I’m going to be calling Radio 2 my new home,” Mills said. “I’m beyond excited to be joining the team.”
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