Chris Evans has been tipped to have a strong influence over the direction of Virgin Radio after his surprise move from BBC Radio 2.
Speaking to Music Week, Wireless Group’s content director Francis Currie said they plan to make the most of their new breakfast show host’s vast experience.
“If you’re going to hire and work with somebody like Chris Evans you would be crazy not to involve him in wider discussions about the radio,” he said. “He’s a master broadcaster, he’s got an amazing history, a unique history in the UK industry. Of course, we’re very keen to make sure that we involve him, include him, pick his brains and take advantage of his contacts and his relationships as much as we can.”
Evans will join Virgin in the new year after rapping up his commitments at Radio 2, and Currie suggested that his decision was a big vote in confidence in digital radio and DAB.
“In terms of broadcast I don’t think there’s any question that DAB is the future,” he suggested. “In terms of the number of people who listen and how long they listen on digital, it’s been transformational.
“In terms, of maintaining radio’s share in a very competitive media landscape, dab has been critical because it’s allowed radio stations to offer brand extensions and to increase the range of choice for listeners. So i think from a broadcast point of view, there’s no question that DAB/d2 is the place to be.”
He added that Wireless were also making the most of new technological innovations to reach a wider audience.
“On top of DAB we’ve got all these other platforms appearing, so whether it’s apps, whether it’s smart speakers, we want to make sure we are there when people want to listen to us,” Currie said, “We need to be there any time, any place, anywhere.”
Earlier this week, BBC director general Lord Hall suggested top talent pay disclosures, plus the desire to have a new challenge had influenced Chris Evans decision to quit the BBC.
Read more of the interview with Currie and the plans around Evans' arrival in the current issue of Music Week, out now.