Hundreds protest over decision to drop popular presenter Ronnie Barbour from his afternoon show on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PUBLISHED: 18:49 29 February 2020 | UPDATED: 14:17 06 March 2020

Hundreds are complaining over the decision by BBC Radio Cambridgeshire to end the afternoon show presented by Ronnie Barbour of Ely. Picture; RONNIE BARBOUR/TWITTER

Hundreds are complaining over the decision by BBC Radio Cambridgeshire to end the afternoon show presented by Ronnie Barbour of Ely. Picture; RONNIE BARBOUR/TWITTER

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An online campaign to protest to BBC Radio Cambridgeshire over the removal of popular presenter Ronnie Barbour has attracted hundreds of comments with many being urged to phone the station’s news room to complain.

Ronnie announced on his own Twitter feed that his 4pm weekday show will end in March but his listeners are not taking his axing lightly.

"It's the end of The DriveThru on March 19," he tweeted. "It's been joyous and the listeners made my tail wag every night. I would have loved to have stayed but my pigeon hole was auctioned off to buy Jeremy Sallis a new leotard."

And he in a second tweet wrote that "I hope to return sometime to a radio station near you soon".

Listener Mark Taylor was one of 200 people protesting on a Facebook page of another former Radio Cambridgeshire presenter Paul Stainton.

Brian Corley added: "I phoned and was told a lot of people have complained but wouldn't say what a 'lot' was."

Across the country other broadcasters have lent support to the 'save Ronnie' campaign with Talk Radio presenter Katherine Boyle tweeting : "Ronnie's the reason I'm still in radio. Creative, funny and dedicated, we laughed like kids every day making The Nine and The Other One Show."

BBC Question Time host Chris Mason also joined in with a tweet to tell his 122,000 followers that "Ronnie really is one of the best — creative, funny, thoughtful, engaging. Here's hoping he pops up elsewhere soon."

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And Max Rusden of Sky, who began his career in Cambridge, reflected to his 294,000 followers on Twitter that Ronnie "taught me everything I know".

But it wasn't just celebrity broadcasters giving of their opinion with a driver telling his followers how sad he was to hear that Ronnie was leaving.

"As a long distance trucker running out of Felixstowe, I always have aimed to be running back through your territory around 4 in the afternoon for some much needed humour and light hearted rubbish. I will miss that a lot. Good luck for the future," he wrote.

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire says former breakfast time presenter Thordis Fridriksson will be returning to the afternoon slot.

Station manager David Harvey told Cambridge newspapers: "The original plan was for Ronnie to join us for just a few months, but I'm glad it turned into a much longer stay. He's one of a kind and has combined laugh out loud entertainment with sharp, intelligent journalism.

"Thordis Fridriksson fronted the Drivetime show from 2017 to 2019 and fans will be pleased to hear that she'll be back behind the mic every weekday from 3pm to 6pm.

"Thordis combines her love of the great outdoors, the environment, nature and gardening, with the essential information you need when you're winding down after a long day."

Paul Stainton believes the support will continue for Ronnie but it is unlikely to change management's mind.

He described Ronnie as "creative, funny, intelligent & interactive, listener led radio at its best and one of the few shows on the station to increase its audience - bonkers decision - like dropping Ben Stokes because he is scoring too many runs".


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