Radio 1 DJ quits and warns of 'minority station'

GARY DAVIES, one of Radio 1's best-known disc jockeys for a decade, said last night he was leaving the station and predicted that in five years it would be a minority station with no listener loyalty.

The latest wounded lion to leave since the BBC appointed Matthew Bannister as controller, Mr Davies, 36, has proved more outspoken than his former colleagues, Simon Bates and Dave Lee Travis.

The disc jockey, nicknamed Medallion Man after the gold chain and chest follicles which made many a viewer switch on or off Top Of The Pops in the early Eighties, is scheduled to broadcast his last weekend breakfast show on Christmas Day. But he said last night that what had really hurt him was Mr Bannister's decision two weeks ago to axe his popular night-time weekday slot, ratings for which he had trebled in two years.

Mr Davies said last night: 'I told him (Mr Bannister) that this is the most popular night-time show you have on radio. He told me 'yes it is'. But he then said he preferred 'shows that lead'. I'm afraid I've no idea what that means.'

Mr Davies, who made his name with a 'young, free and single' catchphrase and tantalised female fans by wearing skimpy white shorts at Radio 1 roadshows, sounded more careworn yesterday.

He agreed that there should be change, but added: 'It's not the Radio 1 it used to be. They don't care about the audience like they used to. They are prepared to lose audiences and I've never known a business before that's prepared to lose audiences. A lot of good people have left and the atmosphere isn't as good as it used to be. One of two things will happen now. Either in five years' time Radio 1 will have a couple of popular programmes but largely be a minority station without any loyalty whatsoever, or that will start to happen and they will suddenly reverse their policy.'

A Radio 1 spokesman said Mr Davies had a contract until next April, but 'decided with all the changes that he wanted to leave earlier'.

Radio 1 also announced yesterday that Jakki Brambles, 26, who hosts the lunchtime show, would be leaving to run an independent production company in the US and would do some broadcasts from there.

Mr Davies is being replaced by Kevin Greening, 30, from Virgin Radio, and Miss Brambles is being replaced by Emma Freud, a television presenter who also worked at Greater London Radio.

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