Monday, October 31, 2016


And today, we welcome to the world the newest BBC Division, Radio & Education, led by James Purnell. I'm sure an encouraging email has been crafted by Internal Communications and Engagement to mark the occasion, and we'll bring it to you as soon as we can.

For the 1,100-odd employees working in Network Radio, the message has a few corners to turn. Thanks to the rigorous application of the mantra "Compete and compare", they face five years of increasingly enforced competition to hang on to their programmes and jobs. By the end of 2022, 60% of eligible network programming must be out to competitive tender - it's taken 20 years to get to the current level of 20% indie production.

And leading the rigorous application of the mantra ? Yes, James Purnell - against sensible, dissenting voices at a high level who argued the radio market was really quite different to tv, with the BBC effectively a sole purchaser, and much of the supply side formed of small groups of ex-BBC producers with quite short company histories. The BBC production teams will be saddled with overheads of rent, HR, pensions, technology (cf BBC Monitoring), and the costs of a Radio & Education management team, on top of a Radio management team. How on earth can they win business on price ?

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