Belfast Telegraph

'Disgraceful decision': Radio Ulster listeners react to axing of Sean Coyle show

Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee said cancelling Sean Coyle was "madness lads...."

Wee buns: Sean Coyle and Gerry Anderson had a unique relationship
Wee buns: Sean Coyle and Gerry Anderson had a unique relationship
Radio Ulster presenter Sean Coyle

Listeners have reacted with disbelief after long-serving presenter Sean Coyle announced his popular BBC Radio Ulster show has been axed.

Coyle was known for many years for his double act with legendary Londonderry presenter Gerry Anderson.

He told listeners on Friday morning that it would be his last show, leading many listeners to take to social media to express their sadness, anger and disbelief at the decision.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood, posting on social media, said the decision was "disgraceful".

"Sean provided much needed joy and brightness amidst all the doom and gloom. Solidarity with Sean and all at Radio Foyle," the Foyle MLA added.

Ulster Unionist councillor Darryl Wilson said the move was "absolutely bad craic".

"Always enjoyed listening....perfect way to stabilise the blood pressure between Stephen Nolan and William Crawley. Best wishes for the future Sean," the councillor added.

Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee tweeted: "Cancelling Sean Coyle is madness lads..."

One listener said: "Can't believe Sean Coyle has presented his last show! BBC clearly don't know or care what listeners want. Best show on the radio by far. Wish Sean all the best for the future. I won't be listening to BBC anymore".

Another listener said: "I'm not exactly Sean Coyle's target audience- but his voice kept me company in the car most mornings. Always dug his wit and kindness, and the old rock n roll and country deep cuts. You could feel the shared affection between him and his listeners."

Newsletter political editor Sam McBride said: "Awful to hear that Radio Ulster has axed the Sean Coyle Show. It was one of those idiosyncratically Northern Ireland things which transcended all the usual boundaries. Always a relaxing joy to listen to Sean Coyle- and not just because of the link to the great Gerry Anderson."

Another listener said that he had called into his mum's house on Friday morning as Coyle's show was ending, only to find her in tears.

Fellow Radio Ulster presenter William Crawley tweeted: "I’ve chatted on-air with Seán Coyle every week day for the past 5 years. We’ve still never met in person—he was in Derry, I was in Belfast.  But I feel like we’re old friends at this point, and I already miss him. Does this mean we have to meet now? (Drinks on me, Sean.)"

Listeners are so upset by the decision that a petition has even been launched to save Coyle's job.

Director of BBC Northern Ireland Peter Johnston said the decision was "difficult" and had not been taken lightly.

A BBC spokesperson said that plans for the 10.30am Monday to Friday slot on BBC Radio Ulster and Foyle would be confirmed in due course.

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