BBC Three Counties Radio Managing Editor Mark Norman is the latest local radio boss to announce his departure from the corporation.
He’s spent the majority of his 21-year BBC career in Luton, becoming the station’s boss in 1998.
Before joining the BBC he worked as a newspaper reporter, including in Hertfordshire and the North East of England.
Mark told RadioToday.co.uk that leaving the BBC was one of the hardest decisions he’s had to make. “It is an organisation which has the ability to inspire those who work inside it and those who pay for it and that’s not something one gives up lightly,” he said. “I came to the BBC from newspapers by chance – it was a move dictated by geography rather than desire. I think I got lucky. Without knowing it I found myself in a job that made me feel passionate about broadcasting and reignited my appetite for journalism.
“Since then I have been privileged to be able to reflect the area in which I was born and grew up, working with some of the most amazing people I have encountered in any walk of my life. And even more gratifying than that is the fact I’ve done it in Local Radio – the one bit of the BBC that is truly defined by its listeners and is better than anything else on the radio because of it. I’ll miss working here, but I’m looking forward to becoming a proper listener.”
Mark joined BBC Radio Bedfordshire, as it was then, as a reporter in 1991, later going on to produce the station’s breakfast show and work as a presenter. In 1998 he had brief spells as a reporter at BBC Look East and Acting Managing Editor of BBC Radio Northampton before taking over as Managing Editor of BBC Three Counties Radio at the end of the year.
In recent years, he’s had three spells on attachment away from Three Counties – in 2005 as an Advisor in the BBC Corporate and Social Responsibility Unit; in 2006-7 as Executive Editor of BBC East; and in 2010-11 as Head of Local Radio Development.
Tim Bishop, Head of Regional and Local Programming BBC East, said: “I first met Mark when he came for a week’s work experience on his local paper. In lots of ways he hasn’t changed. He was always proud of working for the BBC covering the patch in which he grew up. He’s creative, restless, easily bored and out of that appetite for new and bigger and better ideas, BBC Three Counties has produced some great radio that have been recognised with a string of national awards.
“He’s had some great successes and like everyone who does anything really good he’s never been afraid to fail, to know when something hasn’t worked, but not to be afraid to come back and try again. He’s had the personality and presence to lead some of the best presenters in local radio and get the best out of them and leaves BBC Three Counties far stronger than we joined the BBC as a fresh faced young man.”