Mary Kalemkerian, who launched BBC Radio 7, has announced her retirement from the BBC after 30 years.
She’s currently Head of Programming for Radio 4 Extra, after overseeing the station’s rebranding from BBC 7 last year.
A former winner of Station Programmer of the Year at the Sony Awards, Mary said she was sad to be leaving but felt the time was right. “It has been ten years since we launched Radio 7, and during that time we’ve seen the station steadily grow,” she said. “I wanted to be sure that last year’s re-branding was a success and now Radio 4 Extra is well and truly established and firmly on the digital radio map, the time is right for me to leave the BBC. I can move on confident in the knowledge that the station is in great shape and my small but perfectly formed team will carry on the good work.”
Gwyneth Williams, Controller of Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra, said: “We will miss Mary and her enthusiasm and knowledge of our unique archive, but she leaves behind her a wonderful legacy. Her editorial leadership has been a key part of making Radio 4 Extra into what it is today, for which I’m very grateful. Mary hands on the baton to her excellent team who will continue to bring the very best in archive comedy and drama to Radio 4 Extra’s growing audience.”
Mary’s first job at the BBC was on Radio Scotland’s pre-school programming. She later worked on Schools Radio programmes in London before joining BBC Worldwide as Senior Commissioning Editor for the Radio Collection. She was also chief producer of youth magazine programmes for Radio 5 following its launch in 1990.
The BBC says her responsibilities will be taken on by an ‘integrated management team for both Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra’.