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Philippe Bouvard retires after 60 years with RTL
Philippe Bouvard, an iconic radio presenter for RTL Radio in France, announces his plans to retire in January at the age of 95.

After almost 60 years with RTL Group, French journalist, writer and radio host Philippe Bouvard has announced his plans to retire. RTL Radio in France has praised his career for being “a world record” as “the presenter who has spent the most seasons at one station”. Philippe has a long history with RTL: He started his career at Radio Luxembourg, which became French station RTL Radio in 1966. From 1977 to 2014 he hosted the daily French comedy programme Les Grosses Têtes (The Big Heads) on RTL Radio. From 1982 to 1986, he additionally hosted the comedy TV series Le Théâtre de Bouvard (Boulevard Bouvard), and since 2014, he has hosted the weekly radio programme Allo, Ici Bouvard (Hello, Bouvard here) on RTL Radio in France.

“There is a temptation,” says Philippe Bouvard regarding his retirement, “which is not a temptation to be lazy, but a temptation to set a record – and that is to go until 1 January. This will already be quite a bit, and after this I will listen to others and be silent. On 1 January, I’ll have set the double record I was hoping for – 60 years of radio and 60 years of RTL. I’d love to have this record because, I won’t hide it, I’ve loved radio a lot – and radio has paid me back well.”

Philippe Bouvard’s career has “revolutionised radio”, according to Régis Ravanas, Managing Director of RTL Radio in France. “We understand his choice,” says Régis, “but Philippe knows he belongs forever to the RTL family.” Gauthier Hourcade, Director of Programming, praises Philippe as “a cultured pioneer of humour on the airwaves” with a “lively, independent and impertinent spirit”.

Achieving cult status: Les Grosses Têtes

Launched on 1 April 1977 as RTL Radio’s flagship programme, Les Grosses Têtes is a daily French comedy radio programme that continues to entertain listeners to this day. It is broadcast on both RTL Radio and Bel RTL, part of RTL Belgium and previously owned by RTL Group. As the original host, Philippe achieved cult status for the iconic show, which has several regular segments and combines serious news topics with cultural issues, listener phone calls, and humour.

The success of the show is largely dependent on the host – as was proved in 1999, when the decision was made to replace Philippe Bouvard. Listener numbers dropped considerably, resulting in the reinstatement of Philippe in 2001. He continued to host the show until 2014 – a total of 35 years. Current host Laurent Ruquier, who replaced Philippe in 2014, expressed his admiration for Philippe on air in December 2023: “You will always be, and you know this very well, one of my masters in this profession.”

Entertaining over the Belgian airwaves

Alongside his long career with RTL Radio in France, Philippe also had a strong connection to French-speaking radio station Bel RTL when it was still owned by RTL Group. Following his departure from Les Grosses Têtes, Philippe began presenting Papier Bouvard for the Belgian general-interest station on 1 September 2014. In the review show, which was broadcast exclusively on Bel RTL, Philippe commented on the news, celebrity gossip, and anything weird and wonderful.

Over the years, Philippe Bouvard has played an important role in the history of RTL Group. In October 2016, he was featured in a programme to celebrate 50 years of RTL Radio in France and in March 2017, he celebrated his own 50th anniversary during a special show. In one of his many books, he wrote: “Talent consists of spouting the same old nonsense as everyone else, just more elegantly”.


Oliver Fahlbusch

Executive Vice President Communications & Investor Relations, RTL Group

+352 / 24 86 5200

Irina Mettner-Isfort

Vice President Media & Investor Relations

+49 221 456 56410