Wire Free Productions to make all-England radio show
A new evening show across BBC local radio in England and the Channel Islands will be made by Wire Free Productions.
Led by former Radio 1 controller Matthew Bannister and former Asian Network head of programmes Husain Husaini, the new company will broadcast the weekday show from January 7 next year, between 7pm and 10pm.
The pair started their careers in local radio and first worked together when Husaini edited Bannister's late night talk show on Radio 5 live.
English regions controller David Holdsworth said the competition for the slot, which was opened to bids, was "extremely strong".
"We were looking for an organisation that understands the local radio audience and can deliver real experience and expertise in what we know is a very demanding slot. We believe we have found that combination in Wire Free Productions."
Bidders were asked to submit ideas for a speech-led show that would entertain and inform adults aged 50+ and "showcase the best of BBC local radio output"."Much loved service"
The evening show's title and presenter have not yet been confirmed but the programme will be broadcast on all BBC local radio stations in England except when there are major breaking stories or sport commentaries.
The decision to have an all-England show on BBC local radio was approved in May by the BBC Trust, as part of the corporation's attempts to make 20% savings due to a frozen licence fee until 2017.
English local radio, which is the third biggest BBC service in terms of content spend, will have to save £8 million annually, after the BBC Trust overturned the corporation's initial plans to cut £15m a year.
Bannister, who currently hosts Last Word on Radio 4 and Outlook on the World Service, said: "I can't think of a better way to launch our new journalistic production company, Wire Free Productions, than being given the opportunity to make this programme for all the BBC's Local Radio stations.
He added: "We know it is a much loved service for millions of listeners - and we're really looking forward to creating a new and very special show for them."
Andrew Robson, head of Local Radio development, managed the bid process and said: "With the combined local radio and network experience of Husain and Matthew, I'm really looking forward to building a new show in the evening that shares some of the most compelling stories from all 39 of our radio stations."