Saturday, August 27, 2016


Stephen Glover is the weekend-duty columnist at the Mail with special responsibility for being grumpy about the BBC.

He's frothing about James Purnell emerging as Director of Radio (not yet confirmed) without appropriate experience. I'm afraid it's happened in the past. Ian Trethowan arrived as Managing Director of Radio in 1970 from a tv presenting background, en route to the Director General's chair. He sacked Kenny Everett, made Radio 1 and Radio 2 share an afternoon show to save money, pushed forward with stereo broadcasts on FM, and saw the set-up of Radio Ulster.

Aubrey Singer came from tv in 1978, and set up banks of televisions in the Council Chamber for a party to watch the 1979 election results (which annoyed radio folk). He got into trouble with the BBC Orchestras - who doesn't ?

Brian Wenham came from tv in 1986, talked about 'the wireless', and retired early after two years.

Liz Forgan came from the Guardian in 1993, after experience as arts editor of the Tehran Journal, and reporting for the Ham and High and Evening Standard. She argued for, and got a Radio 5Live with a populist approach.

Marketing man Tim Davie emerged as Mark Thompson's man running 'wireless' in 2008. He had to handle the Russell Brand/Jonathan Ross nonsense, and offered 6Music as a saving.

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