Boycott call to save Heart FM radio duo

Listener warns local businesses to avoid advertising with the radio station

A once-loyal listener of Heart FM has vowed to boycott the Dunstable-based radio station after much-loved presenters Gaz and Babs were taken off the air. And she is encouraging other listeners to join her.

Jo Dawkins, 39, of Hever Close, Pitstone, has started a Facebook group called Save Gaz And Babs, which has attracted more than 2,000 fans in just two weeks. A boycott has been planned for Monday, August 23 until Monday, August 30.

"I hope that the people at Heart will see that they have made a mistake and reinstate Gaz and Babs. So many people enjoyed the show and they are upset," Jo told Dunstable Today.

Jo feels that Gaz and Babs are not just radio presenters, but are also part of the community, taking a role in local events in their free time.

"They did an awful lot for charity. They weren't getting paid for a lot of it. I don't know why they took off something that was so successful," said Jo.

The Facebook group Jo set up is gathering momentum, with 2,200 fans demanding the return of Gaz and Babs.

One fan wrote: "I so miss my morning chuckles with Gaz and Babs. I no longer listen to Heart."

Global, the group that owns Heart, has spent 7 million to create "15 centres of broadcasting excellence" across the UK.

The Dunstable team has relocated to Crownhill in Milton Keynes.

Barbara Michel, known as Babs, has been moved to the station's Reading office, but Gareth Wesley, known as Gaz, was not so lucky and has lost his job.

The Dunstable-based station has become part of the Heart Home Counties, which will broadcast local breakfast and drivetime shows.

Jo has also warned local businesses to avoid advertising with the radio station during the boycott due to the drop in listener numbers that is expected.

"People are outraged that a big company can ride rough shod over our community and the people in it and expect no one to notice," said Jo.

Heart has declined to make a comment at this time.

> To join the group, visit!/group.php?gid=136077916419175&v=wall&ref=ts.