Mike Harding to leave BBC Radio 2 show

Posted on October 20th, 2012 in News, Recent posts by .

The hugely popular Mancunian broadcaster Mike Harding, who gave Songlines his folk-driven playlist in issue #82, is to be replaced by Mark Radcliffe’s weekly folk music show on Wednesdays at 7pm.

Following a chequered early career as a dustbin man, bus conductor and member of a skiffle band, Harding has gone on to be an incredibly influencial figure in the folk music scene. His Radio 2 folk show has been a staple of the BBC airwaves for the past 15 years, and he has been the presenter for Radio 2’s annual folk awards since their inception in 2000.

Reminiscent of the axing of Mary Ann Kennedy’s Global Gathering radio show earlier this year, fans and musicians have reacted angrily to the news of his departure, once again blaming BBC controllers for their lack of audience understanding. Folk singer Emily Portman, of whom Harding has long been a vocal advocate, said she was “disappointed” with the decision.

Controller of Radio 2 and 6Music Bob Shennan spoke extremely highly of Radcliffe: “Mark is a firm favourite with Radio 2 listeners, along with his unrivalled broadcasting credentials and longstanding passion, knowledge and hands-on experience of folk music.” Of Mike Harding, Shennan thanked the veteran broadcaster for spending “15 years at the top of his game, delighting fans with his expertise and rooting out the very best folk music.”

However, the departure may not have been as amicable as Bob Shennan suggests, as Mike Harding took to Facebook after the announcement to state ‘I did not choose to go – was told I was going.

Harding’s final show will be air December 26 2012.

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    5 Responses to “Mike Harding to leave BBC Radio 2 show”




    2. Roger Thomas Says:

      I will listen to Mark’s show; I was gutted when he was booted off to afternoons on 6Music BUT to dump Mike like this, NOT ON. I hope Mike comes back fighting – he could do a good job of in-depth profiles of the big names in popular folk and folk-rock. Largely unexplored ground on the beeb.
      Or perhaps a freer version of what he’s been doing somewhere on the web perhaps.

      Roger Thomas Coventry.

    3. Guy Johnson Says:

      I’m going off Radio 2.

      This is really bad and sad.

      Doesn’t matter how good Mark Radcliffe is, I won’t be able to enjoy the show after this sacking. I’m basically a loyal sort of person, and therefore dislike disloyalty intensely.

      Managers need to manage their audiences and their relationships with broadcasters.

    4. Kate Ridley Says:

      I too was sorry when Mark Radcliffe moved from Radio 2 and am thrilled he is taking over from Mike Harding, whose style of presentation and rather narrow playlists have annoyed me so much that I have not made an effort to listen in weekly recently. I believe Mark Radcliffe will be a much-needed breath of fresh air, but I am sorry if Mike has been treated unfairly. Hopefully he will be able to reward his fans with different programmes for the BBC or perhaps an online radio show. nb I am 60 years old and have been listening to and playing folk music for 45 years…..

    5. John Greenwood Says:

      This is another BBC betrayal of its listeners, folk music having already been almost completely culled from BBC Local Radio, with the magnificent Radio Derby’s two hour weekly Folkwaves programme by Mick Peat and Lester Simpson, which had a devoted national and international audience, the most prominent. It is some small consolation that the one hour slot that Mike Harding is to ‘vacate’ on Radio 2 will continue with Mark Radcliffe. I wish Mark well. However, like Mike, Mark will struggle to do justice to the rich, vibrant folk genre in just an hour a week. Mike’s show was a curate’s egg but, with such a vast wealth of folk music to choose from, he could never please everyone, as Mark will also find. The BBC is totally lacking in vision and fails woefully to meet its remit except, thank goodness, for BBC Scotland which seems immune from the BBC’s perverse side lining of folk music when it has never been more popular. The vandals are inside the gates.