Wednesday, January 20, 2016


I suspect if the Great Ankle-Biter of Radio, Jenny Abramsky was still around at Broadcasting House today, she'd be keeping a low profile.

Jenny's competitive nature was often applied inside the BBC to make sure that radio management were rewarded in the same way as their television counterparts - with company cars, private healthcare insurance, and Senior Management-grades a-go-go.

That me-too-ism was fine when TV was on the up. Yesterday saw BBC2 lose a dedicated "Controller" for the first time in its 51 year history. Is it likely that the same fate will hit radio networks ?  Radio 4 (alongside the other numerically-named networks) was the creation of first Controller Gerard Mansell - it emerged from The Home Service in 1967, making it three years younger than BBC2, and thus probably not immune to a similar downgrade. There's been some clustering of digital stations in recent years, but could we see a new post of Controller, Radio Networks on the horizon, with 'editors' scheduling the individual networks ?

What seems to be happening at the moment is a gentle lifting of corners of the coverlet draped across the self-assembly IKEA Hemnes Divan that represents Lord Hall's McKinsey-inspired simplification of the BBC's management structure, replacing Mark Thompson's Hypnos Eminence King-sized Double Bed, with a hand-stitched mattress and topper covered with a wool-infused Belgian Damask and embroidered with the Royal Crest and the Hypnos name.

The coverlet will be fully lifted sometime before the end of the financial year, and there will be gasps, low moaning and the odd scream when it happens. People who should know believe there will finally be a single Director of Content, something this blog has been harping on about for five years. As a result, I predict that quality office space will become steadily available right through 2016 at Broadcasting House.

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