Tuesday, January 23, 2018


A selection of midnight auto-tweets from the Radio & Education machine - clickbait,  or 'preserving serendipity in a digital world' ?

Monday, January 22, 2018

Continuing re-invention

The BBC English Regions are getting a new boss, in the shape of lovable, soft-spoken Gaelophile Ken MacQuarrie, the Director of Nations and Regions.

This is a return to the way things were pre-the-Byfordian Journalism Directorate, which emerged under Greg Dyke in 2006. Director of News Fran Unsworth sheds responsibility for local tv output and local radio stations across England.

Current DG Lord Hall said “There’s one simple ambition behind the move. I want this talented group of staff to work together to shape what we do for communities across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. That’s an exciting prospect. It also means we can really start to re-invent local radio in England – and we’ll be appointing a single editorial head to lead those changes. Kenny will tell you more as we develop our plans in the coming weeks.”

I bet Radio & Education made a stab at wresting control of the Local Radio Stations

Love it or list it

BBC Northern Ireland is having second thoughts about moving from its current headquarters, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

Ever since Scotland got Pacific Quay and Wales secured a site at the bus station at Cardiff, it's been assumed NI would want its own new HQ too. They've flirted with Titanic Quarter, fluttered their eyes at sites off Royal Avenue, and pouted at the Sirocco Works development on the east bank of the Lagan.

Now, the Telegraph says they're leaning towards staying in Ormeau Avenue and undertaking a major refurbishment programme on a building that first opened in 1941. It's much handier for those nice shops and bars. A BBC spokesman said "The review into our property requirements is still ongoing".

Sunday, January 21, 2018

To coin a phrase

A-reader-who-should-know points out the broadcasting heritage of the new BBC Worldwide/Studios board. Anne Sarnoff, President, Americas (with Worldwide since 2010), is married to Richard (they met at Harvard Business School), whose great-uncle was David Sarnoff.

David wrote a letter in June 1922 proposing a new Public Service Broadcasting Company to General Electric: "Broadcasting represents a job of entertaining, informing, and educating the nation and should, therefore, be distinctly regarded as a public service."  This pre-dates "inform, educate and entertain", as espoused by Lord Reith for the BBC, which appears in the first Royal Charter of 1926.

(None of this, however, explains why BBC America shows so much Star Trek...)


And so Wedding Day Winners, the BBC1 show that looks like something sneaked from ITV while Kevin Lygo wasn't looking, finally sinks below 2m - 1.94m in the overnights for Episode 3 (10.5% share).

What will be more galling to Director of Content, Charlotte Moore, is the relative success of cheap and cheerful And They're Off... For Sport Relief, returning 2.55m (14.7%).

Later on BBC1, 'pure drama' Hard Sun continued to dip, down to 1.84m (10.8% share).

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Wrong by 123

A number of eyebrows were raised when the BBC responded to a Freedom of Information enquiry about recruitment to BBC News, back in November: "There was one external candidate recruited to BBC Network News between 17 October 2016 and 17 October 2017."

The enquirer, the exotically named Signor Benati (mentioned, en passant, in Smiley's People) had another go, and asked for an internal review.

Now, an unnamed internal reviewer has reported rather different findings.

"After this review, I can confirm that there were 124 external candidates recruited to BBC Network News between 17 October 2016 and 17 October 2017. The information provided to the applicant on 17 November 2017 was an accurate representation of the way that the information was recorded at the time of the request."


The Sun (prop News UK, CEO Rebekah Brooks) is the only national to make space this morning for a picture of lingerie model Mel Sykes (Mel Of A Body For 47). This breaks the news that Mel is to join the line-up of TalkRADIO (part of The Wireless Group, acquired by News UK in June 2016), to sit alongside Jamie East, The Sun's film critic, from 1pm to 4pm each weekday.

The paper reveals the pair will occupy the slot until "until a new brand new presenter is unveiled in April".

Friday, January 19, 2018

Crafted language

Kirsty Wark is 100 this year. At least according to the now-widely available BBC Arts 2018 media pack... 

The Many Primes of Muriel Spark - BBC Two Scotland & BBC Four this Spring (1 x 60)
In the centenary of her birth, Kirsty Wark presents a programme about the Scottish writer Muriel Spark. A unique voice in 20th century literature, Speak [sic - ed] was a prolific writer (The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie, The Girls Of Slender Means, Memento Mori) who crafted language with precision and a sometimes merciless humour.

Ski pass sorted ?

Is this James Harding's route to Davos ? The former BBC News supremo appeared this morning at the London launch of GlobalGoalsCast, a new-ish podcast operation "that inspires and empowers listeners to make the world a better place by sharing the stories individuals, companies, and organizations that are advancing and achieving a more sustainable world. " Their broadcast partner is CBS, BBC News' new best friend in Ameria.

James was on stage with the podcast hostesses, Edie Lush and Claudia Romo Edelman, wife of Richard, global PR man.

Claudia is looking forward to a Podcasting Session at Davos; she says they originally invited Mark Thompson of the NYT "but he seems to have broken his ankle or something".

Tim Davie's 16

A new executive board of 16 will lead the merged BBC Studios and BBC Worldwide forward from April. Gender balance: 9 to 7 male to female; 12.5% ethnic minority.

Tim Davie, CEO
Mark Linsey, Chief Creative Officer
Tom Fussell, Chief Finance Officer
Anna Mallett, Chief Operating Officer and MD, Production
Martyn Freeman, General Counsel
Jabbar Sardar, HR Director
Hannah Wyatt, MD for Factual Entertainment & Events
Lisa Opie, MD for Factual
Nick Betts, MD for Scripted
Suzy Lamb, MD for Entertainment & Music
Ann Sarnoff, President - Americas
Marcus Arthur, President - UK & Ireland and Australia/New Zealand
Paul Dempsey, President - Global Markets
Charlotte Elston, Director of Communications
David Moody, Director of Strategy & Business Development
Jaclyn Lee-Joe, Chief Marketing Officer

Other people who read this.......