BBC Wales’s news and current affairs department, massively expanded since devolution, is to get an overhaul which includes the search for a new head and deputy.
The move follows the decision by head of news and current affairs Aled Eirug not to return to the post after a 12-month attachment researching broadcasting in minority languages.
Eirug, who was BBC Wales’s head of news for 10 years prior to his attachment, will now take up the role of head of corporate social responsibility and continue to manage his languages project.
Mark O’Callaghan, acting head of news current affairs in Eirug’s absence and a former editor of Wales Today, is said to be in the frame to become Eiurug’s permanent successor. Both the head and deputy vacancies have been advertised.
It is understood that the role of deputy has been introduced to the current affairs department to address the expanding workload introduced since devolution in Wales. BBC Wales’s newsroom is the biggest outside of London.
“There was concern among members of staff that the department had become so big, that it was too much for one person to run,” said a source at the department. “Because broadcasting has changed, the head of department is less of a hands-on job and more of a management job. “A lot of internal lobbying went on until a deputy head of news was sanctioned.
The argument was we’re actually the biggest news operation outside of London. The Scots have one, yet they have half the number of staff that we have.
“Whoever gets this new job will need to have the right kind of support. “News and current affairs is the biggest department in BBC Wales. Whoever’s head of that has to play a big role on the management board.”
It is most likely that a Welsh speaker will fill at least one of the vacancies, the source added.
By Wale Azeez