Radio 2 DJ Jo Whiley shared a picture of her and an otherwise male dominant line-up of her BBC colleagues just hours after the news that her co-host Simon Mayo was stepping down.
Simon Mayo will become the latest high-profile departure from BBC Radio 2 as he leaves his Drivetime show five months after he was forced to work alongside Jo.
Listeners reacted with sadness and anger today as the popular DJ, who previously claimed he was unhappy at sharing the show, announced he was leaving.
Jo Whiley appeared to poke fun at the amount of female presenters in her post which was made on the day it was announced that Simon Mayo was stepping down
In May this year, Jo became a co-host of Mayo-‘s previous one-man afternoon show and it was extended to 8pm in the evening.
Her appointment to Drivetime came after Radio 2 was criticised for its lack of female presenters.
In a tweet earlier this morning Jo appeared to be having a jibe about the amount of women presenters on BBC radio when she said: ‘This pic was taken the first time I started out in radio & was working for Radio 4. How times have changed… ‘
Then this afternoon, Jo took to Twitter again to say: ‘I’m incredibly sad that Simon has decided to leave Radio 2. He’s a brilliant broadcaster, a great friend and I really will miss working with him.
‘However, I’m very much looking forward to hosting a new show for a new year which will have music at the very heart of it as well as guests and live sessions. Dream show, actually. Can’t wait!’
Many of Mayo’s army of loyal listeners hit out at the BBC, saying the format should never have been changed.
Jo Whiley became co-host of the Drivetime show just eight months ago
Listeners reacted with sadness and anger today as the popular DJ, who previously claimed he was unhappy at sharing the show, announced he was leaving
Listeners praised Mayo today and accused the BBC of ruining his original, one-man,format
It was previously claimed that Mayo, who has been appearing in the 5-7pm slot for eight years and was plotting a move to Smooth Radio.
Earlier this month, a source told The Sun: ‘He was an incredibly successful broadcaster with huge ratings who was essentially forced into having a female co-host in Jo because it helped with a gender imbalance.’
But Mayo praised co-host Jo Whiley following his announcement today, paying tribute to his co-host as ‘a warm-hearted and loyal friend’.
It comes after breakfast show host Chris Evans left the station to join Virgin Radio, and Radio 4 veteran Eddie Mair moved to LBC amid increased scrutiny of BBC radio presenters’ salaries.
A BBC insider told MailOnline today that Mayo was not following Evans or Mair’s example. The source insisted: ‘Simon Mayo is not going to a rival station.’
Whiley will be moved to the 7pm to 9pm slot, meaning the station will appoint a new Drivetime host.
Mayo pictured in 1992. He started working for the BBC Radio Nottingham in the 1980s before moving to Radio One
Mayo was the BBC’s 14th highest-paid presenter in this year’s publication of staff salaries. He was paid up to £350,000 in 2017/18, although that wage includes his work for Radio Five Live.
Whiley was paid less than £180,000 for her work at the corporation, although she was not co-hosting the Drivetime show during that time.
Mayo previously criticised the decision to publish stars’ salaries, saying: ‘My worry is that it will become like a yearly turkey shoot and I think it’s often used as a stick to hit the BBC with.’
Mayo praised Whiley in a series of tweets today, writing: ‘I’ve loved working with the exceptional Jo Whiley and when the show was “reconfigured” she was my first and only choice.
‘Some of the abuse she (Whiley) has had here [on Twitter] has been appalling. Support for a show is one thing, assaulting the dignity of a warm-hearted and loyal friend is another.’
The 60-year had announced his decision by tweeting: ‘Very sadly, I have decided to move on from Radio 2. Sad to leave the show, sad to leave Jo, sad to leave Wogan House (I thought I’d be dragged out aged 120). But circumstances change…’
Mayo announced the developments to fans in a series of tweets this morning
Mayo’s move is the latest switch by a series of high-paid BBC men
Simon Mayo’s departure BBC Radio 2 after 17 years is the latest in a string of exits and changes across the BBC’s radio schedules this year.
Presenter Chris Evans announced in September that he was quitting Radio 2 and his breakfast show after 13 years, and that he is returning to Virgin Radio. Zoe Ball (pictured) will take over his show.
Another of the corporation’s flagship radio shows – Radio 1’s breakfast show – also recently underwent an overhaul as Greg James took over from Nick Grimshaw in August.
Grimshaw, who presented the Radio 1 Breakfast Show for six years, has remained with the station in the drivetime slot in a job swap with James.
Eddie Mair, the presenter of Radio 4’s PM programme, left the BBC in August to join commercial station LBC. Like Evans, he insisted he did not leave because of ‘pay problems’. Newsnight’s Evan Davis will replace him.
Radio 1’s Charlie Sloth announced at the weekend that he has left the station earlier than expected, following an outburst on stage at an awards ceremony last week.
He said he has signed a new book deal and was working on filming projects.
Mayo continued: ‘I’m as surprised at this turn of events as you. But at my grand old age to be setting off on these brand new trails is enormous fun. And all the more so for being so unexpected. There are, however, only so many hours in a day.
‘Radio 2 has been a wonderful place for me – my happiest radio I think. Our listeners are really quite extraordinary’.
No end date has been set for the current Drivetime show to finish, the BBC said.
Prior to his Drivetime show, Mayo hosted the Radio 2 Album Chart Show from 2001 until 2007, as well as presenting 5 Live’s afternoon show between 2001 and 2009.
Whiley started her Radio 2 career in 2009 covering for various presenters, and hosted the In Concert series from 2010, before launching her own evening show in 2011.
She will launch a new show in January in the 7-9pm slot on Mondays to Thursdays, while continuing her In Concert series and filling in for Ken Bruce whenever he is away in 2019.
The BBC said further details of the early evening Radio 2 schedule will be announced in the near future.
The BBC’s Jon Sopel, Tony Blackburn and Mark Chapman reacted to new of Mayo’s departure