Radio Scotland boss to leave BBC after 25 years

BBC Scotland’s Head of Radio, Jeff Zycinski, has announced he’s leaving the corporation early next year.

The Herald reports that his decision comes as Radio Scotland is expected to switch to an all-speech format covering news and sport, with music programmes moving to a new digital-only station.

New director of BBC Scotland, Donalda MacKinnon, made some changes to the senior management team at BBC Scotland in May, to structure teams across radio, TV and online. Ewan Angus became Head of Multiplatform Commissioning and Pauline Law was appointed Head of Multiplatform Content Production.

The Herald quotes an email from Mr Zycinski to staff, where he told them he was announcing his departure so that “Donalda, Ewan and Pauline can make progress with their plans for a new commissioning and production structure and can start advertising any new posts that are to be created.”

He wrote: “The BBC’s emphasis on contestability between in-house and independent suppliers – especially now in this multi-platform environment – doesn’t allow for a traditional Head of Radio with responsibilities for both production and commissioning. For me, therefore, this seems like a very good time to look for other opportunities. It’s been said that you can’t discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore, so that’s why I’ll be pursuing those opportunities outside the BBC. I’ll be saying goodbye in January or February and in the meantime I’ll continue to steer through the existing commissions and deal with all the regular station management and scheduling issues.

“Listening figures are the highest they have been for many years and the schedule has been refreshed with new on-air talent, new formats and with successful innovations in visualisation and social media. I’m absolutely confident that BBC Radio Scotland has a great future ahead and that the opportunities afforded by multi-platform working will mean exciting times for everyone. As for me, after a 24 year stretch at BBC Scotland, I feel I’ve done my time and am grateful for my forthcoming parole.”

Jeff joined the BBC in 1992 as Senior Producer in Selkirk before a move to Inverness. He returned to Glasgow in 1998 when promoted to Editor, Topical. He has been Head of Radio for BBC Scotland since January 2005.

In an email to staff provided to RadioToday by the BBC, Donalda MacKinnon said: “I wanted to let you know that Jeff Zycinski, Head of Radio, Scotland has made the decision to leave the BBC early next year. Jeff has spent 24 years working with the BBC and over that time he has proved to be a passionate leader and advocate for radio broadcasting, as well as a generous and supportive colleague and member of Scotland’s Executive Board. I shall miss him very much. In the meantime, Jeff will continue to work with Pauline, Ewan and I as we progress our plans for a multi-platform organisation and transition to a new structure for the future. That includes the new leadership structure for radio and once that is finalised, I’ll be able to share the next steps with you.

“I also emphasise that my advocacy of and commitment to radio for and from Scotland, remains firmly as strong as ever. In the New Year, I’m sure there will be an opportunity to gather together to celebrate all of Jeff’s achievements over the past 24 years. In the meantime though, please join me in thanking him for his commitment and amazing contribution to BBC Scotland, and wishing him well for the future.”

Posted on Wednesday, July 12th, 2017 at 11:06 am by RadioToday

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1 Comment

  1. Willie Bone says

    There must of been a change of heart by the BBC management in London, the idea of a BBC Radio Scotland 2 was jettisoned by the chairman when he visited staff at BBC Scotland in Glasgow, back in January 2016. Last autumn’s temporary station ‘BBC Radio Scotland Music Extra’ was a bit of a hit with Scottish listeners which must have prompted a change of heart by the big wigs management in London!

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