Saturday, September 22, 2018


Canapes and sparkling at Claridges this week for HR Magazine's 'Most Influential Awards', now in their 13th year.

Valerie Hughes-D’Aeth, HR director for the BBC, took third place - the same as last year.  “I’m truly shocked. We’ve had one hell of a year at the BBC, but it’s a fantastic time to be in HR,” she said.

“We’ve had to deal with the gender pay gap, we’ve had to deal with how much our presenters should be paid. This has been our most difficult year, but I do feel we’re in a much better place, so thank you very much.”

Val's chum, Jabbar Sardar, at BBC Studios, moved up from 17th to 13th.

On parade

Former BBC News boss James Harding seems increasingly available for 'events', whilst his new journalism venture, Tortoise Media, gestates. Here he is at Highgate School's prize-giving, sans tie, handing out ceremonial swords. All wrong, surely ?

Due process ?

Murmurs of talent discontent at Broadcasting House following the news that Evan Davies is moving from Newsnight to PM. Bosses asked for 'letters of intent' from interested parties to fill the vacancy, and, just as with Question Time, there seemed to be a procedure. The press release says Evan was 'appointed', which suggests a formality of approach - that doesn't seem to have been shown to others who said they'd like to do the job, and heard nothing.

Let's see how Question Time goes....

Friday, September 21, 2018

More re-invention

Chris Burns has been appointed Head of Local Radio at the BBC, charged with delivering the impossible - ensuring there is a 'more-joined-up' approach to serving audiences, whilst giving more freedom to be different to local radio editors.

She has the experience to give it a go. She started with the BBC as the first afternoon presenter on Radio Bedfordshire (now 3CR) in 1985. She's presented, produced and edited You and Yours, presented Woman's Hour, produced Any Questions, done social affairs programmes for Radio 1, and had a spell as Managing Editor Radio Kent. Don't ask her about her time as programme controller of Viva! in 1995 - a London 24-hour talk and music station for women, chaired by Lynne Franks in her Ab-Fab pomp. It closed after peaking at a weekly reach of 125,000.

Chris was Chair of the Radio Academy from 2015 until April this year. She's currently Chief Operating Officer within the Deputy Director General’s Group. According to the press release she said "I’m looking forward to helping nurture local talent, and leading the work to reinvent Local Radio for the next generation.”


A new alignment of stars in the BBC firmament. Evan Davies will get exposure to 4m a week rather than 400k a night as he moves from Newsnight to Radio 4's PM programme. Odd, that, in the not too distant past, Newsnight presenting was a much bigger deal than PM. Now even Emily Maitlis implies the radio gig might be a step-up...


A 'Launch Director' for BBC Sounds has emerged. It is Charlotte Lock, previously styled Director of Marketing and Audiences for Content, Radio & Education (as such, you might have thought a campaign for BBC Sounds was business as usual).

Charlotte will work to James Purnell for the next 18 months. She brings the experience of a Cambridge degree in Social and Political Sciences/Philosophy; that she took straight to early handling of loyalty cards for ASDA and the Tesco Clubcard, then, via partnerships in McCann Erikson and BJL, to the BBC at Salford Quays in 2011. She'll be on the flyer from Alderley Edge as we speak, probably...

Thursday, September 20, 2018


Even in the hugely compliant BBC, it's unusual to find presenters of key output recruited through traditional application, shortlisting and interview process.

The Evening Standard has found a email reminder to staff from News boss Fran Unsworth that applications to host Question Time close next Wednesday.

I wonder if the interview panel will have a BAME member and perhaps someone independent to help out. After all, the programme prides itself on balanced panels and audiences.


BBC News seems to have been doing a reasonable job levelling up salaries across its various wings.
Here's mean and media salaries for Broadcast Journalists and Senior Broadcast Journalists as disclosed in an FoI response, with data from 3rd August. London weighting explains the regional difference...


Some odd Norden decisions yesterday at the BBC.

Radio 4's PM went with seven and half minutes of an interview conducted by previous host Eddie Mair, alongside Robert Peston. The following Six O'Clock News, normally seen as a journal of record, didn't mention him (11 years of writing Take It From Here, 32 years of gthe radio panel show My Word!). David Sillito's tv obit noted, in passing, that he was Jewish. Do we normally give the religions of dead entertainers as a matter of course ?

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


Two bits worth reflecting on from the BBC DG's speech to the Royal Television Society this week.

"We need to move faster on our plans for iPlayer, for BBC Sounds and for young audiences. I have challenged the organisation to find £100 million a year from our current budgets to invest in these priorities from next April."

£100m is the combined content budget of Radio 1, Radio 2 and 6Music. Or the combined content budget of BBC4 and CBBC. This will hurt, even if it's a reinvestment. It's over and above the target savings of £800m a year by 2021/22. Last year that took £160m out of the business.

"Already over 50% of our teams and our spend on commissioning is outside of London. But to truly reflect the whole of the UK in our output, the BBC not only needs to invest more, it needs to do so outside the M25. That will mean more money spent around England and the Nations. And more of our staff will be located outside London."

London staff in the newly-formed BBC Studios and BBC Design & Engineering will be twitching. They're ain't much else left to move out. 

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