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Chris Evans’ Virgin Radio show secures Sky sponsorship

By | Published on Thursday 20 December 2018

Chris Evans

“I wonder how his Radio 2 audience will feel about having to listen to all those adverts”, you probably said witheringly upon hearing that Chris Evans was moving from the Beeb back into commercial radio to host the breakfast show on Virgin Radio. That’s just the sort of tedious thing you’d say. You’re so predictable and boring. I hate you. Anyway, they won’t have to, because Virgin Radio’s done a “groundbreaking” deal with Sky to ensure that there will be no ad breaks whatsoever on Evan’s grand new show.

Though, I suppose, that depends on what you count as an ad break. Presumably Sky isn’t throwing a load of money at the show and expecting nothing in return. I’m sure Evans will have to shout out “Sky threw a tonne of money at us so that we don’t have to have any stupid adverts, yay Sky!” – or words to that effect – every 30 minutes or so.

And before you think, well, hang on, Virgin Radio is owned by the Wireless Group, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News UK, and doesn’t Murdoch also control Sky, so isn’t this just shovelling money around the group to placate new hire Evans, you’ll be forgetting that US media giant Comcast bought the Sky business earlier this year. So that can’t be it. It’s almost certain there’ll be plenty of “blimey how good is Sky?” references on the new show.

That’s not how Evans himself is spinning it. Here’s a thing he said: “So much has changed in broadcasting since I was last at Virgin Radio that now, thanks to Sky, we can do the show without ad breaks. I’m even more excited about starting in the new year!”

Joining Evans in trying to make a sponsorship deal seem like the craziest thing anyone’s ever thought of, Sky’s UK & Ireland CEO Stephen Van Rooyen adds: “The ‘Chris Evans Breakfast Show’ on Virgin Radio will bring audiences something completely new, bold and fresh – everything we love at Sky. We’re excited to create an innovative radio first with Chris and Virgin Radio, and bring Sky customers even more of the entertainment they love when Virgin Radio launches across Sky from 7 Jan”.

Oh yeah, did I mention that you’ll also be able to listen to Virgin Radio via your Sky set-up (assuming you have one) from 7 Jan? Don’t tune in expecting to hear Chris Evans then though, his TOTALLY AD-FREE show doesn’t start until 21 Jan. Sponsored by Sky!