Helen Boaden has resigned from her post as Director of Radio at the BBC, and radio industry colleagues have been quick to show their appreciation.
Commenting on the announcement Siobhan Kenny the CEO of Radiocentre, the industry body for commercial radio, said: “Helen has been a brilliant leader of BBC Radio and has worked tirelessly with all of us who love radio for the immense good of the medium.
“When I joined Radiocentre as a newcomer to the industry, Helen was one of the first to welcome me to the big radio family. We will miss her and look forward to discovering whatever the next amazing chapter brings for her.”
Phil Critchlow, Chair of Radio Independents Group, added: “Helen has expertly overseen the beginning of a process that will introduce more healthy competition across public service radio, and a greater diversity of content for the listener. We wish her well and very much look forward to engaging with her successor, a key role for whom will be creating the framework in which a level playing field can be achieved for the commissioning process.
“RIG welcomes the BBC’s decision to retain the ‘Director Of Radio’ post in support of James Purnell’s New Role. We believe that it is key, even in an increasingly converged media, that there is a senior BBC figure who is focused, first and foremost, on the future of media with audio at its heart.
“Now that we know the new structure we hope to begin discussions very shortly with James Purnell on ‘Compete or Compare’ in radio.”
Ford Ennals CEO of Digital Radio UK said: “Helen Boaden has been a great champion for radio and a strong supporter of digital broadcast radio.
Since 2013 Helen has served on the Digital Radio UK Board and was the founding President of the European Digital Radio Alliance (EDRA). Helen is someone who is totally passionate about the medium of radio and on her watch BBC Radio has strengthened and evolved , bringing all the national radio stations together and doubling digital listening.
Helen has been an inspiration and is widely respected across Europe as someone who has a clear sighted vision of radio’s digital future. Helen leaves BBC digital radio in outstanding shape with the completion of the national BBC and local DAB coverage expansion and record listening for BBC digital stations. We will miss Helen enormously and wish her well with all her future endeavours.”
Helen, who turned 60 earlier this year, has been the BBC’s Director of Radio since a management reshuffle in 2013. She had previously headed up the corporations News department for seven years, a role she temporarily stepped down from during the investigation into the BBC’s coverage of the Jimmy Savile abuse story.
She started her radio career in the UK at commercial stations Radio Tees and Radio Aire before joining the BBC in 1983. She rose to become Controller of Radio 4 between 2000 and 2004.