UNDER-fire Radio Solent bosses are pinning their hopes on presenter Sally Taylor turning around flagging audience figures.

The BBC South Today host is taking over the flagship Saturday morning show on Radio Solent from presenter Peter White, who was axed as part of a radical shake-up in response to plummeting listening figures BBC Solent bosses are promising a fun, lively and sociable Saturday morning show with the listeners "firmly at its heart".

The BBC refused to let Sally answer questions from the Daily Echo about the new show, but in a statement from the Corporation, she said: "Quite simply, I'm excited because I love radio. It's going to be a fun show with fun guests and we want to invite our listeners to come in and be part of the show every week.

"The atmosphere will be like a caf or coffee bar with people coming and going having lively discussions over a cup of coffee."

Sally, a Daily Echo columnist, added: "While I might miss my Saturday morning lie-in, it's going to be great to have listeners in the studio every week taking part."

The show is replacing Peter White's Saturday morning slot after the presenter was axed in a cull that included jazz show host Chris Walker, Top Soil anchorwoman Pippa Greenwood and veteran sailing correspondent Dennis Skillicorn.

Backlash Yesterday the Daily Echo revealed how Richard Cartridge was also leaving after 30 years with the station.

Radio bosses last night received an angry backlash to news that the popular 57-year-old presenter was leaving - live on air.

One listener who was taking part in a telephone quiz on his afternoon show launched into a furious outburst after finding out that Richard, who lives just outside Southampton, was leaving next year.

Earlier this week we reported how an internal memo from the station's managing editor Mia Costello sparked controversy when it urged presenters not to put callers on air if they sound over-65.

The move was described as "ageist" by Age Concern and prompted scores of angry letters to the Daily Echo from complaining listeners. That response was echoed live on air by a listener who telephoned Richard Cartridge's show yesterday afternoon.

The caller, Lillian, refused to take part in the telephone quiz and then launched into a verbal attack on BBC management, after discovering that the presenter was leaving.

"I am sorry, I am really, really cross about it - I am so angry," she said.

"I am really cross about it, especially losing you and Peter (White)."

Speaking about the new Saturday morning line-up Ms Costello said: "It's fantastic to welcome Sally to the BBC Radio Solent team; she has a wealth of broadcasting experience, unbeatable local knowledge and is already much loved across the region."

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