Belfast Telegraph

'I don't want to go' - long-serving presenter Sean Coyle axed from BBC Radio Ulster

Sean Coyle
Sean Coyle
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

Long-serving radio presenter Sean Coyle has announced his popular BBC Radio Ulster show has been axed.

He announced the BBC's decision in an emotional address to listeners on his Friday morning show, which aired on both Radio Ulster and Radio Foyle.

He told them that it would be his final show after 35 years at the BBC.

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

After Anderson passed away in 2014 Coyle continued the show solo, but often made reference to his absent and much missed friend.

The news of Coyle's departure came just days after the fifth anniversary of Anderson's passing.

He said that he was leaving the station "with a heavy heart". 

Gerry Anderson and Sean Coyle
Gerry Anderson and Sean Coyle

"This is my last programme, on Monday of this week I met with bosses in the BBC and they told me their plans for the future," Coyle told listeners.

"There's a whole new plan for the future on Radio Ulster and Radio Foyle and they're making changes and I didn't figure in the changes. I wasn't there.

"They told me that this show would end in six weeks time and in fairness they offered me other work.

"They are bringing on another programme, what it is I don't know. Whoever it is I wish that person every success."

The veteran broadcaster thanked his crew and listeners for their support over the years.

"I have enjoyed it, I don't want to go, but the decision has been made and I must abide by it," he said.

Sean Coyle and his wife Patricia
Sean Coyle and his wife Patricia

"Was it Arnold Schwarzenegger said 'I will be back', you don't know. I abide by the decision, I don't understand it, but that's that.

"This is my last show, I'll not be here on Monday, I'll not be here on Tuesday and I'll not be here ever again, as far as I know."

He said he would play the song 'Part of Me Will Always Be In Love With You' by Roly Daniels which summed up his feelings.

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

"Sean has been a regular fixture with listeners on BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle for decades," he said in a statement.

"He is a brilliant broadcaster and his easy-going repartee and deep musical repertoire – not to mention his countless impressions - have made him a popular voice on our airwaves.

"Whether as a presenter of his own programmes or as Gerry Anderson’s right-hand man, he has played an unforgettable part in BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle’s story. On behalf of myself and everyone at BBC Northern Ireland I’d like to thank Sean for everything he has brought to the station."

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

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