After 45 years with BBC Radio 2, Ken Bruce said his final words on the airwaves on Friday, 18th December 2020. The veteran broadcaster known for his soothing voice, impeccable taste in music, and unwavering wit, announced earlier in the year that he would be stepping down from his weekday morning show in February 2021, but with the pandemic still affecting most broadcasting networks, Bruce’s departure was brought forward.
The final minutes of his time on air were poignant, emotional, and, as one of the UK’s most distinguished radio broadcasters, the best of musical elegance. He dedicated his final show to his listeners, whom he considers to be his extended family, for the love, warmth, friendship, loyalty, and support they have shown him over the years. Bruce’s love for his craft was clear in his parting words. He conveyed a sense of pride and admiration for what he had achieved in his career spanning four decades, and through his characteristic humor, he made sure to acknowledge the people who had helped him achieve so much success.
Bruce stated that he was ‘humbled and overwhelmed’ by the outpouring of love and affection his listeners had shown him during his final show. Since he first hit the airwaves in 1973, Bruce has been one of the most recognisable voices of British radio, and by the time he stepped down from the BBC radio show in 2020, his legion of fans extended across almost two generations.
The audience that tuned in for Ken Bruce’s final show was treated to a special arrangement of “We’ll Meet Again,” Herman Hupfeld’s classic standard that signifies hope and optimism, and was used as a sign of hope by the UK during the Second World War. The emotional moment marked the perfect tribute to the broadcaster who has provided millions of listeners with a dose of daily sunshine that, particularly during the pandemic, has become a vital part of their lives.
Not only was Bruce a master of his craft, but he was also a man who placed immense value on his audience, who he referred to as “the wonderful people.” Bruce grew up listening to BBC radio, from which he learned the power of connecting with his listeners. In his final words, Bruce emphasized the value of the human touch and the sense of togetherness that radio can bring. He noted that his career in radio had given him the opportunity to make friends with his listeners, who had become an essential part of his life, and even as he signed off the airwaves, he expressed how much he would miss his daily interactions with them.
Bruce pointed out that the success of his long career was rooted in his passion for music and his love for people. He mentioned that he has been “enormously privileged” to do something that he loved and that brought joy to millions of people across the UK.
Bruce’s decision to leave BBC was not an easy one, but he believed that it was time to call it a day after 45 years of hard work. In Bruce’s words, “It’s been a blast,” and it is evident that he enjoyed every bit of his career. Despite the current circumstances, Bruce was able to sign off with gratitude to his listeners, who have been by his side throughout this incredible journey.
Shortly after his final broadcast, BBC Radio 2 released an emotional statement thanking him for his service, saying that “…he’ll be sorely missed.” They noted that Bruce’s music choices, his love for his audience, and his fun approach to broadcasting would remain an inspiration to everyone at BBC.
One could argue that no one could take Bruce’s place or replicate the passion and love he brought to radio. However, as with every legend, there comes a time when they must step aside and let others show their mettle. Still, Bruce’s influence will continue to be felt, and through his final words, he has left a mark on British radio history.
In conclusion, Ken Bruce’s final words on Radio 2 resonate with a sense of triumph and fulfillment, but also a sense of nostalgia and sadness. His contribution to BBC radio, his commitment to his listeners, and his love for music have had a profound impact on the nation, and he will be remembered as one of the best broadcasters the UK has ever had. While there will be other voices on the airwaves, none can replace the Ken Bruce we all grew to love.