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5 live's move to Salford - a seismic shift

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Adrian Van-Klaveren Adrian Van-Klaveren | 17:30 UK time, Friday, 18 September 2009

mediacity

In two years time much will have happened - a General Election in the UK and the World Cup in South Africa to name but two. Also by then 5 live will have moved to Salford and next month we reach a really important landmark in the planning of that move. The BBC will take possession of what is currently known as Building C at Mediacity in Salford Quays and the first floor of that building will be 5 live's new home in 2011 (by which time I promise we'll have come up with a better name for the building). But for now we'll begin fitting it out, putting in all the wiring, technology and furnishing which a radio station needs in the 21st century. Things were so much simpler in Marconi's time.

The whole development is striking - ambitious in scale and completely transforming the area around Salford Quays. It's designed to create a new hub for the entire media industry which can be a magnet for talent from all over the world. From the BBC's point of view it's a chance to redefine our connections with the north of England, ensuring we spend the licence fee more equitably across the UK. The 1500 jobs we move - from areas including Sport, Childrens, Future Media and Technology and Learning - will be part of a seismic shift in how the BBC thinks and operates.

From 5 live's point of view it plays to our core aims of reflecting events, stories and voices from every part of the UK. If we were launching the station today, I've no doubt we'd decide that basing it outside London would make it easier to achieve our aims of having a distinctive non-metropolitan sound and agenda.

Moving an already successful national radio station 200 miles is no small task - that's probably why no one has ever done it before. But last week as I wandered round the space where we'll be working, the advantages are already clear. It's not just a shiny new state of the art building but a place where we can create a radio station for the internet age, bringing together everything we do on-air and online and ensuring the best possible coverage of live news and live sport. We'll be part of something which is closer and better connected to audiences and which is a place where innovation and great ideas can thrive.

5 live must continue to be a UK wide service as relevant in Peterhead as it is in Plymouth. To do that we need the best people working on the station both on air and off air. Already presenters including Nicky Campbell, Peter Allen and Colin Murray have signed up to being part of the move and nearly half of 5 live's current staff are likely to make the move. We will be bringing in new people as well and I've no doubt that the talent is there for us right across the north of England as well as with other people who are keen to make the move to the region. On-air the changes will be subtle rather than dramatic but we are determined to end up as an even better radio station. Starting something new in broadcasting is always an exciting moment - frustrating at times, terrifying momentarily but ultimately exhilarating. This has the feeling of a pioneering start-up and there'll be many stories to tell along the way. I want to use this blog to share them in a way which has never been possible before.

Adrian Van Klaveren is Controller of BBC Radio 5 live

  • The picture shows 5 live staff Katya Willems, Rhian Roberts, Richard Bacon and Adrian Van Klaveren looking out over the Mediacity piazza from what will be 5 live's office. It was taken by Steve Bowbrick on a tour of the new buildings earlier this month. There are more pictures here.
  • The Mediacity web site has information about the project, including a plan of the development (PDF).

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    is shelagh moving ?

  • Comment number 2.

    I have a feeling this is going to be a disaster, most presenters want to live and work in London where they have access to all the main sporting events, shows, art etc. There will be an exodus away from 5 live and it'll end up full of northerners and newcomers.

  • Comment number 3.

    good move. the rest of the country deserve to feel part of it. London isn't Britain and Britain isn't London. Northerners are also part of Britain. so some will leave others will also come in. Britain is full of talent and is not only based in the south!!

  • Comment number 4.

    I would recommend that anyone who wants to learn the truth about this fiasco reads the regular articles about it in Private Eye.

    It's hugely unpopular with BBC staff and was to have been funded through the sale of BBC properties in London...shame about the recession and the property crash.

  • Comment number 5.

    Of course it's hugely unpopular with (some) BBC staff!

    Do turkeys vote for Christmas?

    Do members of the cosy London media relish the thought of working in the real world?

    More emphasis away from London will be excellent news!

 

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