The BBC is revamping its radio current affairs department by formally separating it from television current affairs and placing a new investigative unit at its centre, in a pre-charter renewal assessment of its public service radio coverage.
The investigative unit will be based around the output for radio current affairs flagship Radio 4’s File On 4 series in Manchester and will be run by its editor, David Ross. Programmes such as the Five Live Report and Moneybox Investigates will also come from the unit.
Ross will report to Gwyneth Williams, promoted from executive editor to head of radio current affairs, and appointed to the BBC News board.
“This revamp gives us a chance to bring it all together and give radio current affairs a boost in terms of status,” said Williams. “We’ll certainly be able to collaborate more and argue for the kind of programmes we make – core public service stuff.”
She said the new set-up would also allow her to “fight directly” for resources and she might be able to increase the number journalists working in the department.
Until now, File On 4 was part of the overall BBC current affairs department run by Peter Horrocks, alongside the likes of Panorama.
The decision for the split came from Richard Sambrook, BBC director of news, who has sanctioned an undisclosed allowance for the revamp and news investigations unit. “This is a statement of confidence in the core values of radio journalism,” he said.
By Wale Azeez