Simon Mayo defends Radio 2 over lack of diversity claims

Jo Whiley will join Mayo hosting the early evening show next month.

Simon Mayo has defended Radio 2 from accusations that it is too “male” and “pale” – and suggested his new female co-host will earn the same as him.

Jane Garvey, host of Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, previously described Radio 2 as “extraordinarily male, entirely pale and big salaries”.

Asked whether the hit BBC station had not been diverse enough, Mayo told The Observer: “I’ve never thought that particularly. Radio 2 has been and still is an extraordinary success story.

“The share (of listeners) that our shows get is unbelievable.”

Jane Garvey (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)
Jane Garvey (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

He said that “over the next few years there will be a lot of changes”.

Mayo added: “It might be that it’s lagged behind a bit, but when you look at the success of Chris Evans, Ken Bruce, Jeremy Vine, Steve Wright, Drivetime … Astonishing.”

Jo Whiley, previously revealed to be earning around £150,000, will join Mayo, whose earnings were far higher last year at around £350,000, hosting the station’s early evening show next month.

Asked whether they will both now earn the same, Mayo said: “I’m sure that’s been discussed, because you can’t launch a show and have two presenters starting if they are not on the same money.

“I’m sure that we’ll be on the same otherwise there would be a lot of embarrassment for a lot of people.”

It was revealed last year that Radio 2’s Evans topped the list of high-earning BBC stars on more than £2 million, while the highest paid woman was Claudia Winkleman on between £450,000 and £499,999.

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