Ageism in the Media

Posted on 14/09/2014 by Emma Dadswell


Waking up to Chris Moyles on Radio 1 is part of the morning ritual for millions around the country, but change is on the horizon with the news that the seasoned presenter is leaving at the end of September. Many listeners have been expressing their views via social media – some claiming it marks  the end of the best era Radio 1 has seen, and others seemingly thrilled at his departure – but whatever their opinion, what is the real reason for his departure and could it all boil down to ageism?

Moyles has, in the past, sparked controversy about his relationship with the management of the BBC – in 2010 he berated the corporation for not paying him on time, and in 2009 he revealed that he took a 20% pay cut due to cost cutting exercises – so could his departure be attributed to bad relations with the bosses? Perhaps this goes some way to explaining the sudden departure; however the real reason appears to point towards the actions of Ben Cooper, Radio 1 controller, who has been under increasing pressure to make the show appeal to a younger audience.

So at 38 is Moyles simply deemed too old to attract and retain 15-29 year olds which, it seems, is the target market?  If this is the case, and with other moves at the station in recent months appearing to back this up – including 39 year old Scott Mills being replaced by a much younger 26 year old – could the BBC find itself subject to ageism claims? Perhaps it is too early to tell, after all there is speculation that Moyles may remain at the station and host another show, which would bury this theory.

However, ageism is a hot topic within employment law, and here at Handle Recruitment we know all too well how careful organisations need to be when it comes to this issue.  Not only can it result in lengthy legal action, but it can also damage an employer’s brand. Whether Moyle’s departure can be attributed to ageism remains to be seen, but what is certain is that businesses need to tread carefully around this issue.

What’s your opinion? Let us know by commenting below.