It is honest to say Zoe Ball’s new breakfast present goes to strike fairly a unique tone to the one she hosted on Radio 1 within the late 1990s.
“I bear in mind our quiz Store ‘Em or Drop ‘Em, the place Hollywood stars must both give us a bit of gossip or drop their pants, and Samuel L Jackson dropped his denims,” the presenter recollects to BBC Information.
“It was fairly wild… I noticed my outdated workforce lately and we have been like, ‘God, do you bear in mind after we went to France for the Euros and I broke Simon Mayo’s ankle taking part in five-a-side soccer?
“These little issues have come again to me. However the principle factor that is come again to me is how a lot enjoyable breakfast radio is.”
It is simply as nicely she feels that means, as Ball is gearing up for a brand new lifetime of alarm clocks and afternoon naps as she replaces Chris Evans on Radio 2’s breakfast present from Monday, following his nine-year tenure.
It is one in every of a number of schedule adjustments on the station – Rylan Clark-Neal is joining to take over Ball’s weekend slot and there are new weekday programmes for Jo Whiley, Trevor Nelson and Sara Cox, who strikes to Drivetime.
However it’s Ball who’s has landed the massive gig.
As probably the most listened to programme within the UK by fairly a long way, internet hosting the Radio 2 breakfast present is, fairly merely, the highest job in radio.
Evans’s departure got here on the finish of a turbulent yr for the station, by which Whiley joined Mayo on Drivetime – a format change which lasted only a few months and was a total disaster with listeners.
Ball’s appointment was additionally not with out controversy, with the radio trade and certainly many listeners anticipating one in every of her colleagues to get the breakfast job.
“A small spurt of optimistic publicity, from the announcement of Zoe Ball as Evans’s successor, was offset by disappointment from some listeners, who would have most well-liked Sara Cox,” wrote Mark Lawson in the Radio Times in a wide-ranging piece that outlined Radio 2’s troubles.
Acknowledging Cox’s standing as frontrunner, Ball says: “I believe it is as a result of Sara had been Chris’s stand-in, and I like Sara, and so it is really all turned out so brilliantly – she begins her new [Drivetime] present on Monday.
“And it is also good not being the one new lady. I imply, I am not a brand new lady, I have been at Radio 2 for 2 years, however in that new function.
Speaking to This Morning on Wednesday, Cox joked: “The traditional Chinese language proverb says the stand-in by no means will get the gig. It simply would not occur in radio. So I by no means thought I used to be going to get breakfast.”
She added: “The wonder about this second is there are extra girls coming by means of in broadcasting. Zoe and I’ve been texting continuous about our numerous anxiousness goals we have been having.
“However I believe Zoe’s received the job as a result of she’s a terrific broadcaster, not as a result of she’s received fallopian tubes.”
Some have argued, nevertheless, that the variety of girls on radio is not fairly as progressive because it appears.
“Sara Cox, Zoe Ball, Jo Whiley all got here out of the 1990s, and at the moment they have been all referred to as ‘ladettes’, i.e. girls you possibly can have a pint with,” Observer radio critic Miranda Sawyer told Media Masters last month.
“What I discover fairly fascinating is that these girls, whereas nonetheless seen as girls and eminently certified to try this job, are all seen as barely blokey, so that they’re allowed into the blokes’ world.”
With that in thoughts, has the radio trade actually modified since these nineties days?
“I do assume [it has], but additionally we have modified,” replies Ball. “I believe the ladette tradition was a label factor, and it was the nineties and it was Britpop and it was fairly wild.
“To be sincere with you, I believe you attempt to stay as much as that, I do not assume really it was as rock’n’roll as we professed it to be, however 20 years on, you are mums, you’ve got been working, you’ve got realized lots, you are at a unique level in your life.
“I am almost 50, you have to develop up in some unspecified time in the future, I am such a unique particular person to the one I used to be at Radio 1… and I prefer to assume that girls are handled barely in a different way to again then.”
Ball plans to juggle breakfast along with her Strictly: It Takes Two presenting gig within the latter a part of the yr.
Which implies she might discover herself recurrently interviewing her new rival Evans, who has already mentioned he’ll be taking part within the subsequent sequence.
Beneath his stewardship, the Radio 2 breakfast present has usually attracted between 9 and 10 million listeners, based on trade physique Rajar, which displays rankings.
Ball will, nevertheless, seemingly be feeling relieved that his listening figures dropped to a six-year low on the final quarter to be revealed earlier than he left. Is she more likely to be involved with viewers ranges?
“You possibly can’t assist however take note of the Rajars,” she admits.
“It should be fascinating instances, I’ll be up towards Chris, I am up towards Jamie Theakston [on Heart], my outdated telly husband. However I really feel usually it is a actually thrilling time for radio, and I hope we are able to make successful of it.”
The 48-year-old says her options on the brand new present will embrace Why Wednesdays, the place researchers from QI will reply listeners’ questions, and The Ken O’Clock Information, constructing as much as Ken Bruce at 09:30.
“The factor we actually wanna do is deliver a number of music, a number of power, not an excessive amount of chat – however sufficient, and we wish folks to have realized one thing by the tip of the present,” says Ball.
“And I believe the present you begin with may not essentially be the present you end with, I am certain the listeners will inform us in a short time in the event that they’re loving options or not, however we wish folks to really feel that they are a part of the present, and that we’re listening to them about issues that they need.”
The Zoe Ball Breakfast Present might be broadcast Monday-Friday, 6.30am-9.30am, on BBC Radio 2, from Monday 14 January.