Simon Bates is to quit the Classic FM breakfast show after more than seven years at the mic to host breakfast at Smooth Radio, which launches nationwide in October.
Bates, who has presented breakfast on Classic FM since June 2003, will join the Guardian Media Group-owned Smooth on 4 January and host the 6am to 10am show.
Lynn Parsons will host breakfast in the interim, after Smooth goes nationwide on 4 October.
Bates, who spent 16 years as the mid-morning presenter on BBC Radio 1, said: “I have had a very enjoyable and happy time at Classic FM and I leave with great affection for the station and people who work there and all at Global. I am now very much looking forward to joining the new national Smooth Radio.”
His move follows a decision in June by GMG to merge its five regional Smooth stations with a loss of up to 60 jobs and replace it with a single Manchester-based operation.
The easy-listening station will transmit on Smooth’s existing five FM frequencies in the north west, north east, West Midlands, East Midlands and London, as well as the national DAB platform, Digital One.
Mark Goodier will remain on mid-mornings, from 10am to 1pm, followed by Dave Lincoln from 1pm to 4pm. Lincoln has broadcast on Smooth in the North West for several years.
West Midlands’ broadcaster Carlos will take on the drivetime slot, from 4pm to 8pm, and Andy Peebles will continue to host the evening show and Saturday Night Soul Train from 8pm to midnight.
GMG Radio’s group programme director John Simons said: “Smooth Radio is all about the music and we will arguably have the most knowledgeable line-up of popular music broadcasters on the commercial airwaves.”
Regional news, travel and weather will be produced out of Manchester – broadcast over FM and regional DAB. Global Radio holds the exclusive contract to sell national airtime for the Smooth network on behalf of GMG Radio
Smooth Radio in Scotland will continue to broadcast seven hours of local programming from its Glasgow base, including breakfast, drive and afternoon, but will take a feed from the national station for the remainder of the day.
Smooth Radio has an average weekly reach of 2.6 million listeners.