The syndicated BBC Local Radio evening show contract has been awarded to a new company set up by the former BBC executive.
Bannister and his partner former BBC Asian Network Head of Programmes, Husain Husaini have set up Wire Free Productions and this is their first major production.
Plans were announced in May for the new show which will be syndicated across all 39 BBC local radio stations in England and the Channel Islands from Monday 7 January 2013, on weekdays between 7-10 pm.
Speaking today, David Holdsworth, Controller, BBC English Regions, said, “The competition was extremely strong as you’d expect. We were looking for an organisation that understands the local radio audience and can deliver real experience and expertise in what we know is a very demanding slot. We believe we have found that combination in Wire Free Productions.”
Matthew Bannister said, “I can’t think of a better way to launch our new journalistic production company, Wire Free Productions, than being given the opportunity to make this programme for all the BBC’s Local Radio stations. Husain Husaini and I both started our careers in local radio. We know it is a much loved service for millions of listeners – and we’re really looking forward to creating a new and very special show for them. The programme will be an engaging and lively companion to their evening – bringing the very best of each day’s output on BBC local stations to a much wider audience and making connections between communities in different parts of the country.”
Bidders for the contract were asked to submit their ideas for a speech-led programme that would entertain and inform adults aged 50+ with creativity and quality at its core. Central to the brief was how bidders might engage and interact with listeners as well as showcase the very best of BBC Local Radio output.
Andrew Robson, Head of Local Radio Development, managed the bid process and commented, “With the combined local radio and network experience of Husain and Matthew, I’m really looking forward to building a new show in the evening that shares some of the most compelling stories from all 39 of our radio stations. Storytelling is at the heart of BBC Local Radio. Together with a unique mix of music and topicality this new show will be completely in-keeping with the tone and feel of all our radio stations.”
Have joined my ex 5 Live editor @husainhusaini to found Wire Free Productions – high quality journalism and creative media production.
— Matthew Bannister (@Bannmatt) September 17, 2012
All BBC Local Radio stations will broadcast the new show, except in instances such as major breaking news stories or sport commentaries.