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Former BBC PM presenter Eddie Mair will host two-hour ‘drivetime’ show on LBC as Iain Dale bumped to evening slot

By Charlotte Tobitt

Talk radio station LBC has announced that Eddie Mair will present a new two-hour drivetime show starting from next Monday.

Mair presented BBC Radio 4’s current affairs programme PM for the final time on 8 August after 20 years, leaving two days early after deciding there was “no way to match that for a last Eddie programme”.

He announced in July that he planned to leave the BBC after 31 years for LBC to “step out and give someone else a chance”, but until today the station had not officially revealed what time slot Mair would be in.

Mair will present LBC’s “drivetime” 4pm to 6pm show on Mondays to Fridays from 3 September. It makes a change from his hourly 5pm slot for PM.

He takes over the timeslot from LBC’s Iain Dale who will launch a new evening show from 7pm to 10pm every Monday to Thursday.

Dale presented the drivetime show for five and a half years and said in a blog post today it was a “shock” when he was told by LBC managing editor James Rea he would be moving from the slot.

He wrote: “James Rea told me LBC had the opportunity to bring in a massive star of speech radio and when he could tell me who it was I’d understand, but he needed this person to present Drive.

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“I can’t pretend it didn’t come as a bit of a shock. It did. A few days later James told me it would be Eddie Mair who would be replacing me.

“In all honesty, if I’d been James, I’d have made the same decision. Eddie is, in my view, one of the top five names in speech radio. When you get the chance to recruit someone like him you’re a fool if you pass it up.

“And also, it would be a bit odd if he wasn’t put in the slot where he already has an existing audience, some of which will hopefully follow him. So, I completely get it.”

Dale said his new show would feature a “news hour” at 7pm with in-depth coverage of major news stories and “headline-making interviews with high-profile guests”.

It will showcase reporting teams from LBC and its owner Global across the UK and the world, and on a Wednesday at 8pm will feature Cross Question where listeners can put questions on the big issues of the week to a panel of politicians and commentators.

Dale said: “Cross Question is going to be a particular highlight and my intention is to lure into LBC viewers/listeners who have grown a little tired with the BBC versions. ”

In response, Mair wrote to Dale on Twitter saying: “I will do my best not to shrink your growing audience. You’re a very hard act to follow and were a tough competitor in my old job. I hope not to disappoint your loyal listeners.”

Mair will now hand over to former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who will move to the slightly earlier time of 6pm on Monday to Thursday alongside his Sunday morning show.

Rea said: “LBC is home to the nation’s most respected and formidable broadcasters – and it’s terrific to welcome Eddie to our powerhouse presenting team.

“As we launch our new autumn schedule, LBC will continue to lead the way in opinionated and compelling speech radio, stimulating debate on the issues that people are really talking about.”

Mair will continue to write a weekly Radio Times column and appear in the BBC’s Grenfell Tower Inquiry podcast until its conclusion.

In his column this week, he revealed why he decided to end his stint at PM two days early by playing Willie Nelson’s version of Bring Me Sunshine.

He wrote: “It was a perfect ending, suggested by a listener. No fuss or faff, as I had wanted. Why not go out with that? It was not intended to be the last, but it felt just right.”

In other changes to LBC’s schedule, sports broadcaster Ian Payne will launch a weekend drivetime show between 3pm and 6pm and Tom Swarbrick, a former adviser to Theresa May, will move from the weekend breakfast show to LBC’s late-night weekday programme from 10pm to 1am Sunday to Thursday.

Picture: LBC

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