‘Delighted’ Ken Bruce celebrates Greatest Hits 3m win, and reveals his secret new project

Starting a new job at 72 is a gamble that’s paid off for DJ Ken Bruce: he’s now making the headlines for his record listening figures.

Ken Bruce’s move from Radio 2 to Greatest Hits Radio has been a huge success, with the legendary DJ almost doubling the audience for the morning show, according to official figures released today.

Bruce now has three million listeners on GHR – an increase of 93% for his 10am-1pm slot on weekdays, while more than a million have tuned out of his former Radio 2 slot, which has been hosted by Vernon Kay since May. These latest RAJAR figures cover the period from April to June.

The DJ – loved for his razor-sharp music knowledge, mild-mannered style and trademark tricky PopMaster quiz – took a risk when he left Radio 2 in March, where he’d been for 31 years. In April, he moved to commercial station Greatest Hits Radio.

Ken Bruce with a microphone in the Greatest Hits Radio studioCredit: Greatest Hits Radio

But the risk paid off – proving that 72 is a great age to try something new. “One of the things I wanted to show is that you can, over 70, take on a whole new way of life, a way of work,” he told Saga Exceptional as he made his big move. “You’re not on the scrapheap.

“My vision, looking back over the years, is totally affectionate. But when you’ve been doing something for so long then the choice is, ‘Do I challenge myself a bit?’ I’ve reached the summit, there’s no mountain left to climb. So I thought, ‘Leave at the top.’”

GHR has 5.9 million listeners compared to Radio 2’s 13.5 million and the station, with its promise of “legends playing legends”, has seen a rise of 47% over the last three months, thanks to what it now describes as The Ken Effect. When news of the listening figures broke, Bruce opened his show with the song Flashdance… What A Feeling and a low-key: “I think today we can allow ourselves a little dance.”


It’s not about the numbers

In a statement, Bruce said: “I’ve always said that it’s not really about the numbers and it’s not, for me at least, but I’m delighted to hear today’s news for the team here at my new home, Greatest Hits Radio. My first four months have flown by and I’ve loved every minute of it – and there’s much more to come.

“So thank you for listening, playing along to PopMaster and taking the time to write, email and message into the show. It wouldn’t be what it is without its listeners, so your company is always much appreciated.”

Bruce has other new projects to keep him busy, including taking PopMaster to TV and the launch of his own spin-off radio station.

GHR has grown its audience in less than five years, playing instantly recognisable songs from the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties, but Bruce is also reshaping that with his love of Sixties music. He would regularly play songs from the Sixties too, which went down so well with listeners that he’s about to launch his own spin-off station for Premium subscribers, Ken Bruce’s Secret 60s.

A subscription costs £3.99 a month and also gives you ad-free listening (a free 30-day trial is also available).

Bruce said: “Don’t tell the bosses, but I’ve been sneaking the odd Sixties record into my show for a while now, so the fact that I’ve got a whole station to now play with is very exciting. You can expect the greatest hits, obviously, but also some buried treasure you haven’t heard in a while. I’m sure many people will agree it’s the soundtrack of our youth!”

Hannah Verdier

Written by Hannah Verdier


Hannah Verdier writes about fitness, health, relationships, podcasts, TV and the joy of reinventing yourself at 50 and beyond. She’s a graduate of teenage music bible Smash Hits and has a side hustle as a fitness trainer who shows people who hated PE at school how to love exercise.

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