The BBC is to create a new single role of Controller of its pop music stations Radio 1, 1Xtra, Asian Network, Radio 2 and 6 Music.
Heads of each station, plus BBC Music and the Music TV commissioning heads, will report to the new Controller.
A source tells RadioToday that Ben Cooper, currently Controller of Radio 1, 1Xtra and BBC Asian Network is expected to be appointed to the new position across all five services.
Bob Shennan, the former Controller of BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music, is moving to a new role of Managing Director of the BBC
In an email to staff today, seen by RadioToday, James Purnell, Director, Radio & Education, said the move is a great opportunity for the pop music stations to work more closely together and for the BBC to maintain its effective voice with the music industry.
Another new position, Controller of BBC Sounds, is also being created and advertised externally.
The BBC recently advertised for the new Controller of Radio 4, and an announcement is expected next month.
Here’s the email in full:
I hope you had a good Easter.
With Bob Shennan moving on to Managing Director, I’ve been thinking about the shape of the senior team in Radio & Music.
We currently have a mix of controllers and heads in the pop music area, so I’m planning to create a new role – Controller, BBC Pop Music – to bring our portfolio of pop stations and music output under one umbrella. The pop stations (Radio 1, 1Xtra, Asian Network, Radio 2, 6 Music), BBC Music and the Music TV commissioning heads will report into the new controller. This is a great opportunity for the pop music stations to work more closely together and for the BBC to maintain its effective voice with the music industry.
As you know, Tony Hall has made growing BBC Sounds one of the BBC’s top priorities. We have ambitious plans and have placed Sounds at the heart of everything we do in music, radio and podcasts.
We’ve made a great start with more than 2 million app downloads and brilliant new music mixes and podcasts like Forest 404, That Peter Crouch Podcast and Obsessed With Line of Duty. In just one year, our monthly downloads have gone up by 4m to 24m.
But we are also launching into a competitive, relatively mature market. Gaining audiences is going to require determination and focus.
We have something none of our competitors do – the breadth of our creativity. The streamers don’t have radio stations – yet. We are local, national and global. We have a unique public purpose – to serve the public by informing, educating and entertaining. And we have some of the best marketing and product teams in the world.
To succeed, we need to make Sounds more than the sum of those parts. We are therefore going to have a single person accountable for the service – a new Controller of BBC Sounds. They will develop the strategy for Sounds, and oversee its delivery, coordinating our editorial, product development and marketing teams. The Controller will develop the editorial strategy for Sounds with the networks, who will do the majority of the commissioning.
This new post will serve the whole BBC. They will work with commissioners and producers from other divisions – as we have for example on Multi Story and The Hurricane Tapes. Our strategies for Sounds and smart speakers overlap in important ways, so I’ll also be asking the Controller to oversee our editorial approach to Voice too.
Until the future structure is in place, everyone who used to be managed by Bob Shennan will report to me, and Ben Chapman’s Digital team will continue to report to the Launch Director of BBC Sounds. In future, the Voice team will report into the Controller of BBC Sounds.
Adverts for the Controller of Pop and Controller of Sounds are now live on Careers Hub. The roles are being advertised internally and externally. The closing date is 17 May and we expect to appoint in June. We expect to announce the new Controller of Radio 4 in May. These changes will result in reductions in the number of senior manager roles.
Leaders of the affected teams will be in touch with more information, but do drop me a line if you have any questions.
Director, Radio & Education