Richard Keys and Andy Gray join TalkSport

Station says it has scored 'sensational coup' by signing former Sky Sports presenters who were caught up in sexism storm

Andy Gray and Richard Keys
Andy Gray and Richard Keys left Sky Sports after a row over sexist comments thay made about a female football official. Photograph: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire

Disgraced former Sky Sports presenters Richard Keys and Andy Gray have been signed up by TalkSport to present a flagship daytime show on the talk radio station, MediaGuardian.co.uk can reveal.

TalkSport moved in for the pair just two weeks after they were engulfed in a sexism storm which began after they made disparaging comments about a female football official off air that were leaked to the Mail on Sunday.

Gray was sacked by Sky Sports after new evidence of "unacceptable and offensive behaviour" came to light. Keys later resigned after giving an ill-advised radio interview about the incident, coincidentally on TalkSport.

The pair will present a three-hour weekday show between 10am and 1pm, beginning next Monday. It is understood they have been hired on six-figure salaries.

TalkSport said there were no plans for Keys and Gray to interview Sian Massey, the assistant referee who was the subject of their initial comments.

Keys said it was the "start of something new and very exciting for Andy and myself". He added: "We are delighted to be joining the TalkSport family and can't wait to get started."

The TalkSport programme director, Moz Dee, described the signing as a "sensational coup" for the station.

"The events of the last couple of weeks have been a lesson and have changed them," said Dee.

"One thing that hasn't changed however is that they are two iconic broadcasters who have a wealth of experience in the world of sport and that's what we have to do now – move forward with them as sports broadcasters.

"I think it's a sensational coup for TalkSport and great for radio. These men have carved out amazing careers in television and were at the forefront of the Sky revolution. I think they are going to have a massive impact on the radio scene."

Dee has known Gray and Keys for some time, working with the former on the original incarnation of TalkSport, Talk Radio's coverage of the 1998 football World Cup. He later worked with Gray at BBC Radio 5 Live and its coverage of the 2002 World Cup.

Gray said: "I can't tell you how excited I am to be joining TalkSport. It's a wonderful opportunity for Richard and I to do what we do best and that's talk about sport."

Keys and Gray were the long-serving faces of Sky Sports' Premier League coverage until the sexism row that engulfed the broadcaster after they were recorded suggesting that female officials "don't know the offside rule".

Further clips emerged showing Gray exchanging sexist comments with a Sky Sports touchline reporter before the match and to a female Sky Sports presenter.

Another clip emerged of Keys discussing a former girlfriend of Sky pundit Jamie Redknapp.

TalkSport broadcasts 64 live Premier League games a year and celebrated record audience figures of more than 3 million in the final three months of last year.

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Comments in chronological order (Total 409 comments)

  • This symbol indicates that that person is The Guardian's staffStaff
  • This symbol indicates that that person is a contributorContributor
  • borderlineobtuse

    8 February 2011 2:26PM

    The least surprising career move of the year? Nice move by Moz.

    Cue outraged comments from Guardianistas "I will never again watch, err, subscribe to, err, listen to, Talksport, whatever it is".

  • Rapture

    8 February 2011 2:27PM

    Good for them. Sky Sports should have fired the person/s who recorded these private conversation and then published them. They were not broadcast to the public so while perhaps they were in bad taste that is a matter for the management to raise the issue with the commentators before simply sack them.

    Wasn't Andy Gray suing a Murdoch Newspaper for phone hacking? Perhaps this explains the leaks?

  • davidabsalom

    8 February 2011 2:27PM

    Gray said: "I can't tell you how excited I am to be joining TalkSport. It's a wonderful opportunity for Richard and I to do what we do best and that's talk about sport."

    Translation:

    "It was this or a part-time job at B&Q. And this is less of a commute."

  • Dilshnev

    8 February 2011 2:28PM

    Made for each other, the callers to that station are very similar to them both.

  • drabacus

    8 February 2011 2:28PM

    'caught up in sexism storm'?

    caught up being stupid enough to think they could keep their jobs in sky while suing news of the world, more like.

  • Cyahrem

    8 February 2011 2:28PM

    Of course. It's a perfect fit.

    Wonder if Keys has learnt any lessons from the last time he was on TalkSport?

  • NonOxbridgeColumnist

    8 February 2011 2:33PM

    One thing that hasn't changed however is that they are two iconic broadcasters

    Has any word in the English language been more devalued by overuse than "iconic"?

  • GiveTheDogABone

    8 February 2011 2:33PM

    This is the first time I have ever been grateful for living in an area where car stereos are stolen.

    I have never had the misfortune of listening to talkSPORT and can safely say I have no plans to with a line up consisting of Grays, Keys and Collymore - no women will be safe from the abuse, the latter self inflicted in car parks if I recall?

  • lcmnick

    8 February 2011 2:34PM

    Honestly, I don't see this working out. If Talksport wanted them, at least have Keys presenting the football matches and Gray being the pundit.

    There's little evidence they can host a three hour show every day, every week, talking about sport other than football.

  • redjem

    8 February 2011 2:34PM

    Did they smash it? I bet they smashed it.

    I have no idea what this means or how it applies to this story, but i just want to be one of the lads.

  • vertical

    8 February 2011 2:34PM

    so they aren't doing the Guardian commentary then? Could dictate to Rob Smyth and others, sure they would be up for it.

  • Lampquote

    8 February 2011 2:35PM

    I hate this reactionary marketing ploy of taking anything with a current name and shoving it in the limelight. It seems like everything is split down the middle now or it's a hybrid: it must recognise that in modern times sexism is bad, but it recognises the value that sexism affords for their own agenda. It does two further things which are both indecisive and passive aggressive:

    1) It is designed to split opinion, therefore eating up one side of the argument to generate consumption as an end in itself

    2) It implies loyalty to a discourse without actually saying that it supports it, therefore bypassing responsibility and refusing to make any sort of stand for what is 'good'

    If you care about either promoting football or abolishing sexism, don't listen to this show. The two cannot be separated.

  • OldTom

    8 February 2011 2:37PM

    As long as they don't make the mistake of talking whilst the microphones are switched on everyone should be happy.

  • SuperIrons

    8 February 2011 2:37PM

    No great surprise, and they should fit in well at Talksh*te.

    Both have faces made for radio

  • rhinocero

    8 February 2011 2:40PM

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn't abide by our community standards. Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs.

  • matka

    8 February 2011 2:40PM

    So much better to just watch football than listen to some dick talk about it.

  • DundeeSkeptic

    8 February 2011 2:40PM

    I am sorry to see them go from Sky, I have grown up watching them both and will no doubt listen to Talksport from time to time now.

    I didn't approve of what they said but I also despise the hate mob mentality of the UK. They would have got less flak for committing an acutal crime!

  • brunovski

    8 February 2011 2:41PM

    Probably a better home for them than Al Jazeera Sports

    Let's face it: it would only be a matter of time before a "bombing down the strip" comment went wrong...

  • creekwhore

    8 February 2011 2:41PM

    Honestly, I don't see this working out. If Talksport wanted them, at least have Keys presenting the football matches and Gray being the pundit.

    There's little evidence they can host a three hour show every day, every week, talking about sport other than football.

    I agree, their (minimal) skills are not sufficient for the rigours of radio; they have spent ten/fifteen years supplying voice overs for interesting graphics and camera work. It's a lot harder work creating an image via words and making it worthy of continued listening.

    Or they could just become boorish loud mouths, sporting versions of US shocks jocks.

    Smashing.

  • iddonm50

    8 February 2011 2:41PM

    Wow, if they could also just sign Garth Crooks, Jamie Redknapp, Dean Windass, Mark Lawrenson and Alan Shearer they'd have all the 'top' football pundits on one station which we could all then ignore.

  • joshthedog

    8 February 2011 2:42PM

    TalkSport know their target market... I hope they are proud of it!

    Wonder whether their sponsors have the same demographic in mind? Although I suppose boorish men having mid-life crises also have to be advertised to I suppose.

  • scopey

    8 February 2011 2:44PM

    Did you see that charming Moz Dee appointment in the paper this morning?

    Give me a break love.

  • scaryduck

    8 February 2011 2:45PM

    If only they had a fitting name for their programme.

    "The race to the bottom" sums it up, I think.

  • betterman

    8 February 2011 2:45PM

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn't abide by our community standards. Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs.

  • stfcbob

    8 February 2011 2:46PM

    I stopped listening to TalkSport years ago but now that Keys and Gray are on ............. neh... still won`t bother.

  • Hooloovoo

    8 February 2011 2:46PM

    Cue outraged comments from Guardianistas "I will never again watch, err, subscribe to, err, listen to, Talksport, whatever it is".

    Yeah cos the Graun's chock full of TalkSport listeners

  • Catch22

    8 February 2011 2:47PM

    How is it a 'coup' to get two unemployed people to come and work for you?

  • SuntoryBoss

    8 February 2011 2:48PM

    "The events of the last couple of weeks have been a lesson and has changed them," said Dee.

    Balls.

  • Hugekebab

    8 February 2011 2:49PM

    I remember Moz Dee used to have pretty lefty politics on his early shows in the days of Talk Radio UK. Worked for Talksport for a number of years and ended up with white van man angry right politics.

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