As an artist, we are sure you’ll want to keep up to date with what is being played on the Radio.
BBC Radio 2 is the most listened to station in the UK. With a combination of popular music, culture, diverse range of specialist music, features, documentaries, light entertainment and readings, the station has something for everyone!
Find out all you need to know about Radio 2 from how it began to where it is today!
The BBC has two flagship radio stations. One being BBC Radio 2, which is the most popular station in the UK with over 15 million weekly listeners. The other is BBC Radio 1.
BBC Radio 2 playlist is the widest selection of music on the radio. It primarily focuses most of its daytime playlist on adult contemporary or AOR. However, the station does also broadcast specialist musical genres. The station has a wide repertoire from over 40 years! From classic and mainstream pop to a specialist portfolio including classical, country, folk, jazz, soul, rock ‘n’ roll, gospel, blues, organ music, big band and brass band.
Over the years the station has been known for its award-winning and top presenters including Terry Wogan, Michael Parkinson and Chris Evans. Current regular presenters include Zoe Ball, Jeremy Vine, Sara Cox, Jo Whiley, Vanessa Feltz, Dermot O’Leary, Rylan Clark-Neal. The network also has the most diverse range of musical experts, from Jamie Cullum, Nick Barraclough, Paul Gambaccini, Tony Blackburn and Cerys Matthews.
BBC Radio 2 is also very committed towards live music. The station is involved in major events such as the Cambridge Folk Festival, the Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, the Blackpool Illuminations and BBC Proms in the Park.
Radio 2 is broadcast throughout the UK. You can tune into BBC Radio 2 on FM between 88.1 MHz and 90.2 MHz. Broadcast from studios in Wogan House, adjacent to Broadcasting House in central London, programmes are also relayed on digital radio via DAB, Sky, Cable TV, IPTV, Freeview, Freesat and the Internet.
On FM analogue radio: 88 – 91 FM
DAB Digital Radio: Listed as “BBC Radio 2” or “Radio 2”
Freeview: Channel 702
Freesat: Channel 702
Sky TV: Channel 0102
Virgin: Channel 902
Every week, around 35 million people listen to BBC Radio. To accommodate all these listeners, the BBC compromises a collection of services aimed at providing listeners with the best quality programmes, depending on their interests and mood.
The remit of Radio 2 is to be unique with mixed music and speech service, aimed at a wide audience, targeting listeners over 35. With music truly at its heart and with some of the most popular and respected talent in broadcasting, BBC Radio 2 provides a unique blend of programming which entertains and educates its millions of listeners each day.
BBC Radio 2 provides entertaining popular music programmes and speech-based content including news, current affairs, documentaries, religion, arts, comedy, readings and social action output.
Today Radio 2 plays great music with an impressive line-up, however back when the station opened in 1967 the stations played peaceful instrumental light music, middle of the road classics and even had a weekly soap opera. We take a look back at how Radio 2 has adapted its playlist over the years:
On 30 September 1967 BBC Radio 2 launched. It replaced the light programme with some pop music transferred from BBC Radio 1. Both Radio 1 and Radio 2 commenced at 5:30 but continued with Breakfast Special from Paul Hollingdale as Radio 1 split. Radio 2 was a mixture of laid-back pop/rock, folk and country, jazz and big-band music, easy listening, light classics, and oldies, with significant amounts of comedy and sport.
During the 70s/80s some notable broadcasters included Tom Edwards and Ray Moore who both individually presented the early breakfast show. Radio 2 was never complete without a daily dose from Sir Terry Wogan. Wogan hosted breakfast on Radio 2 from 1972 until 1984 when he left for his own TV show.
In 1986 Frances Line, head of music before becoming Controller in 1990, positioned the station to appeal exclusively to the over-fifties, introducing older presenters and based the playlist around nostalgia, easy listening and light music.
James Moir replaced Line in 1996, Radio 2 became largely AOR/contemporary playlist by day. It was aimed at a more mature audience compared to Radio 1 (post-Britpop Radio 1 was focussing on a younger audience). In the evenings, Radio 2 incorporated new music, and expert broadcasting by recognised genre specialists.
During this time many renowned Radio 1 presenters moved across to Radio 2. Radio 2 was now “the nation’s favourite”, a title the BBC formerly used for BBC Radio 1. As well as having the highest number of listeners nationally, it also ranks first in many regions above local radio stations.
Attracting a mature, down-market demographic, Terry Wogan returned as Derek Jameson’s replacement for the early morning slot from 1993-2009. At its height in 2008, 8.1 million people were listening, topping Radio 1 in the ratings war. The 80s was Wogan’s peak as his early evening chat show on BBC 1 really took off and who could forget his legendary Eurovision commentaries!
For several consecutive years and again in 2009, Radio 2 won the Music Week Award for National Radio Station of the Years. Radio 2 changed its “sonic logo” in 2013, deciding to replace the one by US jingle company ‘Groove Worx’ that they’d had for 15 years!
In 2014 Radio 2 started to run several “pop-up” DAB services to report on special events, the first being BBC Radio 2 Eurovision. By 2018, Radio 2 had various presenter reallocations. In May, long-time drivetime host Simon Mayo teamed up with evening DJ Jo Whiley in a new format. The move wasn’t popular with listeners and resulted in Mayo leaving the station. Mayo and Whiley’s final show broadcast on 20 December 2018. Whiley then moved back to her evening slot and the station later announced Sara Cox as the new drivetime host commencing January 2019.
Although in recent years it has attracted more younger listeners, the station’s target audience is mainly adults over the age of 35 (82%). Radio 2 is continuously adapting its playlists to cater to more younger listeners. They are increasingly gearing their peak-time schedule toward relatively young audiences outside radio 2’s usual listeners.
Its daytime playlist features music from the 60s as well as a variety of current chart hits and indie music. The station’s appeal is extensive, with daytime programmes and specialist playlists of specific types or periods of music. In more recent news, BBC Radio 2 announced Helen Thomas as its new Head of Station (May 2020).
With a mixture of popular radio DJs and presenters, the station has established itself as the most popular in the UK with millions listening each week. As an artist, you can’t doubt the importance of getting radio airplay to amplify your music to listeners. It can do wonders for your career but, like all radio the competition is fierce. There are some simple rules which mean you can target the right people and improve your chances.
To be played on a big national station you’ll battle up and coming as well as renowned international artists. That’s not to say you shouldn’t give it a try! Target the stations with specialist shows and DJs, send copies to show producers and presenters. Do a little research to see what format is best to send it in. A good starting point is to get your music to BBC Introducing you can upload your tracks here. However, if you’d like a helping hand or would like to tap into our contacts, we’d be happy to help! Music Gateway offers music promotion tailored specially for you to help you achieve your goals. Find out more on our music promotion page.
So, there you have it, everything you need to know about BBC Radio 2. Next time you’re in the car or sat at home, why not tune into Radio 2!