'Great music and great presenters': Heart's James Rea talks new breakfast show

'Great music and great presenters': Heart's James Rea talks new breakfast show

Heart managing editor James Rea has told Music Week that the station’s new breakfast show is a “huge moment”.

Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden is teaming up with longstanding presenter Jamie Theakston for the first nationwide Heart Breakfast Show from today (June 3). It follows a shake-up across the industry with new breakfast shows launching in the past year on BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2, Radio 6 Music, Kiss, Absolute and Virgin Radio.

Global previously had a range of regional Heart shows in the time slot. Heart has been able to launch the UK-wide show because of changes to Ofcom rules on regional radio.

“This is going to be a marathon and not a sprint,” Rea told Music Week. “I think they’ll make it their own. As you’d expect from a breakfast show, the colour, the brightness is going to be turned very high. It’s Heart, so it’s going to be upbeat, fun, positive, lots of great music, and great presenters with plenty to say as well. The audience will very much be part of it too.”

Rea said there was a buzz at the network about the pairing of the presenters.

Speaking shortly before the first show, he said: “Amanda said it’s like childbirth and she’s ready to pop. So there’s huge anticipation here.”

It’s Heart, so it’s going to be upbeat, fun, positive, lots of great music

James Rea

Heart has also recruited former Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts to present showbiz news during the Breakfast Show.

“We’ll have the biggest guests, huge A-list stars, and these actually are names we haven’t been able to bring our audiences across the network until this point,” added Rea. “We are feeling very encouraged. You can’t force chemistry but the great news is that it already exists with Jamie and Amanda, who are a really terrific partnership for Heart. I think their personalities will be infectious with the audience, they’re here to lift the nation’s mood.”

The Heart network had 8.524 million weekly listeners in the Q1 RAJAR results, up 1.1% year-on-year. 

“In London, we’re No.1 commercial music station on share,” said Rea. “The RAJAR is a magnificent performance from the Heart team. We feel that we should never stop reinvigorating and reinventing especially at a time of winning.”

To read the full story on the Heart Breakfast Show and the evolution of the station’s music policy, pick up the latest issue of Music Week.

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