Friday, May 29, 2015

As old as you feel...

The Telegraph has an interesting obituary of former Radio 1 Controller Derek Chinnery. He was 89 - statistically off the longevity scale in terms of standard recipients of the BBC Pension.

Mr Chinnery was running the network when I had a spell at Newsbeat - then in Broadcasting House, with Radio 1 across the street in Langham Place.  We never met - I wouldn't have expected to at my level - but it seemed odd in the 80s that men in suits were in charge of a pop station (and helped select our Editors).

He was 47 when he was elevated to the top job. Launch controller Robin Scott was 47 when Radio 1 started. Then came Douglas Muggeridge, first cousin of Malcolm, 41. Charles McClelland, who arrived from the Arabic Service to succeed him, was 46. Ageless Johnny Beerling was actually 48 when he ran the network.

Matthew Bannister was the youngest to take the job, with the backing of John Birt. Matthew had worked on Charter Renewal projects for the DG (it duly came through in 1997), but started clearing out the Smashy and Nicey regime in 1993, at the age of 36.

Andy Parfitt was 40 when he stepped up; Ben Cooper, who espouses wrangler jackets rather than suits, was 40 too.

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