Rick Edwards argues radio stations need to change as the new host of Fighting Talk

Rick Edwards argues radio stations need to change as the new host of Fighting Talk

Before taking over as host of BBC Radio 5’s Fighting Talk, Rick Edwards stated it was “imperative” for stations to change and feature fresh voices.

As of this year, Edwards, who currently co-hosts the BBC Radio 5 Live breakfast show, will take over the show from Colin Murray, who will instead devote his time to the station’s late night show four nights a week.

Starting this Saturday at 11am, Edwards will preside over the famous sports-themed panel program, where comedians, athletes, and TV hosts debate the week’s most contentious sporting events in an effort to gain punditry points.
Several prominent BBC Radio hosts have lately switched programs, with Ken Bruce moving from Radio 2 to Greatest Hits Radio and Scott Mills switching from Radio 1 to Radio 2.

According to the PA news agency, Edwards said that his appointment is “a little bit of tinkering” at the station rather than a “wholesale change where the audience is going to be shocked” because listeners will already be familiar with him from the breakfast program and Murray will still be broadcasting.

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He continued, “Some of those old school radio legends are moving on or have moved on, with Ken Bruce leaving to Greatest Hits being one example. Honestly, I expect that kind of thing from the radio.

Because radio is such a personal medium, “there’s always a little bit of resistance from the audience,” as one commentator put it. “You end up feeling like these people are your friends; they’ve been with you for so long; and you’ve gotten so comfortable with them that it can be difficult to suddenly not have them.”You can’t just wait for people to die and then replace them, so I believe it’s crucial that the stations do adapt and bring in new voices.

As the old adage goes, “you have to have a bit of movement and evolution so I don’t think any of it is bad.”
Edwards has co-hosted with Rachel Burden since 2021, when she replaced Nicky Campbell in the morning slot.
That people adapt to change “fairly rapidly” was one of the lessons he took away from the experience, and he elaborated by saying, “There’s reservations and as long as you do a decent job, then people are really more open than you might anticipate to that kind of change…

As the host or audience member, “I think you just have to get over the initial hump, and I think it can happen quite quickly – not always, but generally speaking.”
Despite his extensive history as a guest commentator on the show, the host confessed that he is “heady mix of nervous and excited” to be in charge this coming Saturday.

He claims he has no intentions to significantly alter the show’s format, but that his departure from Murray will give it a new vibe.
It’s been on the air for 20 years, and I still enjoy watching it as much as the next person. He continued, “I’d like to just be a part of that slow evolution as it’s occurred over the years.”
Edwards said that he enjoys Fighting Talk because of Murray and former host Johnny Vaughan, but that they are “incredible talkers” and that is not his style. He concluded by saying, “So I suppose (my show) will be less from the host and a bit more from the panellists, would be my guess.”
He also mentioned that tennis players John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova, as well as Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt, are on his wish list to appear on the show.

This Saturday, September 2nd, Fighting Talk will be broadcast again on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Sounds.

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