Ken Bruce has claimed the BBC declined to jointly trademark his long-running PopMaster music radio quiz, allowing him to purchase the rights himself.
The Scottish veteran broadcaster hosted the segment on BBC Radio 2 for more than two decades, before moving to Bauer’s Greatest Hits Radio earlier this year and taking the format with him.
PopMaster has now been turned into a Channel 4 television programme, which sees two contestants asked 10 questions based on popular music from the 1950s to the present day, with host Bruce describing its launch on TV as “going quite nicely”.
'I don't think I understood the question, let alone had a clue about the answer.'@RealKenBruce puts @MartinSLewis, @susannareid100 and @RichardAArnold to the PopMaster test. pic.twitter.com/fMoPcsFq6W
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) June 28, 2023
Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain (GMB), co-host Martin Lewis asked the 72-year-old: “Who owned the rights? Was it not a BBC quiz, how did you manage to wangle the rights?”
Bruce replied: “It’s a long story. I thought about protecting the name PopMaster a few years ago. I asked somebody at the BBC do they want to come in on it and they said ‘nah’ so I just trademarked it myself, so it became mine and my colleagues.”
The segment has been adapted into a six-part series for More4, with the first programme airing on Monday evening.
Asked how he is faring outside the “warm bosom of Radio 2”, Bruce said: “I’ve dragged myself away from it quite successfully, I think.
“I’m very very happy at Greatest Hits Radio. It’s a lovely station and I’m playing terrific music so it’s a good thing for me to do, I think – move on and try something new.”
The broadcaster also spoke about being made an MBE in the King’s Birthday Honours for his services to radio, autism awareness and to charity.
“It’s a huge honour, and unexpected because I’ve just been getting on with what I do, really.” he said.
“But also I’m championing autism awareness, because my son has autism, and so I’m very pleased if a little more attention can be paid to those who are on the autistic spectrum and need a little bit of recognition.”
Bruce, who has previously spoken about his experience raising his non-verbal son Murray with his third wife Kerith, said he would like people to understand the “individuality of each autistic person”.
On Wednesday, he told GMB: “Everyone is different, and they all have different needs, and I think provision in the education system is wanting quite badly, in all age groups, from the very youngest up to further education.
“If that can be expanded, if better provision can be made for people on the spectrum, I think we’d all be a lot happier and we’d all be helped and improved in our lives by their greater contribution.”
The BBC has declined to comment.