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Jonathan Wall appointed Controller for BBC Radio 5 live and 5 live sports extra

Tuesday 19 February 2013, 12:36

 BBC Radio 5 live BBC Radio 5 live

Jonathan Wall has been appointed as Controller of BBC Radio 5 live and 5 live sports extra. Based at MediaCityUK, Wall takes up the post immediately, having worked as Acting Controller of the station.

Peter Salmon, Director, BBC North said: "Jonathan has shown enormous commitment to BBC Radio 5 live already and now earns the right to take on one of the best Controller roles in the BBC. He played a crucial role in the highly successful move of the station to Salford and helped build a talent roster and schedule that has just clocked up a record number of successive quarters of over six million listeners. More than anything Jonathan has a passion for R5l's audience and I am certain he is going to make a superb station leader."

As Controller, BBC Radio 5 live, Wall will have overall responsibility for the editorial and strategic direction of both BBC Radio 5 live and sports extra. Reporting to Peter Salmon, he will sit on the BBC North board as well as the BBC Radio Board.

Jonathan Wall began his career at BBC Radio Humberside before moving into BBC Sport. He later became Editor, 5live Sport before being appointed Deputy Controller and Commissioning Editor, 5 live, in July 2008.

Jonathan Wall commented: “It's a privilege to be given this opportunity - for me the best job in British radio. I inherit a station in good health after the successful move to Salford and the wonderful London 2012 coverage. We have the potential to build on all of that and grow even stronger. I want to wake up every day knowing we are delivering live radio that you don't hear anywhere else in the UK. We will look to make a bigger impact with our news journalism and continue to bring people together for major events off and on air. I have a wonderfully committed and supportive team to help achieve all this with and am looking forward to getting started.'

He replaces Adrian van Klaveren who has taken over responsibility for the BBC’s forthcoming coverage of the centenary of the First World War.

In January 2013, BBC Radio 5 live recorded a reach of 6.12 million, up slightly from 6.10m the previous quarter. It was the sixteenth consecutive quarter that R5l has recorded reach figures of more than six million. Its sister station, BBC Radio 5 sports extra recorded a 37.5% year-on-year growth to reach 847,000 listeners a week, slightly down from its record Olympic quarter of one million but an increase from 616,000 last year.

The station played a pivotal role in the BBC's much-praised coverage of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics with nearly 8 million listeners enjoying the action on 5 live, 5 live sports extra and 5 live Olympics Extra.  Each year over 20 different sports are covered live on 5 live and 5 live sports extra ranging from Premier League football to Test Match Cricket and from Athletics to American Football. Sporting highlights over the next 18 months include home and away Ashes test series, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the World Cup in Brazil.

Earlier this week BBC Radio 5 live signed a new deal through to 2016 to bring racing coverage starting with the Cheltenham Festival in March 2013.

Comments

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    Comment number 1.

    No!

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    Comment number 2.

    Brillant decison, Jonathan i am sure will continue to take 5live to even higher heights, hopefully he will imrpove the already fantastic spors coverage, by not losing any more rights to talkSPORT!!

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    Comment number 3.

    "I want to wake up every day knowing we are delivering live radio that you don't hear anywhere else in the UK"

    Well he's already achieved that.
    I doubt there's another station where you'd hear anything like Robbie Savage, Colin Murray or Richard Bacon's 'Moan-in'.
    Unless you're unfortunate enough to be listening to hospital radio.

    Perhaps that's why the last listening figures showed a year-on-year drop of 1.7% of the listeners, approximately 100,000 people who were presumably switched off by the increased 'accessibility' of the station. Not sure why that's not mentioned in the self-congratulatory statistics!

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    Comment number 4.

    hmm the same old gripes, from the same old people, dont like the station? Dont listen to it, simples! I dont like Radio2 yet i dont go on their Blog and pollute it with negative missives, life is to short, move on.

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    Comment number 5.

    Oh God nooo! The ghost of Van Klaveren still haunts Five Live. So we're stuck with the likes of Savage, Murray, Bacon and Campbell. Not to mention the ridiculous policy of having to drop a mildly interesting discussion to go live to yet another press conference...

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    Comment number 6.

    Will you make Victoria Derbyshire actually turn up and present in Salford? Or will she continue to get special treatment and present from London when other staff were forced to relocate or quit?

    Only 27% of her shows have been presented from Salford this year.

    5 live a station in desperate need of a revamp – get back to being the home of live news!

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    Comment number 7.

    Although a sport hater, I love R5 in the morning. The breakfast show is excellent and does not do the Today trick of asking someone a question about the key to life as we know it, then cutting them off after 3 seconds. I really like the Bacon Show too, so stop slagging him off! I don't listen to the sports coverage, you don't have to listen to Bacon.

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    Comment number 8.

    @Fedster
    I fail to see why a BBC blog shouldn't be 'polluted' by people with negative comments just because you disagree with them.

    I actually do like a lot of Five Live and some of the best radio personalities in the business such as Baker, Inverdale, Payne, Pougatch, Pienaar, Peter Allen, Oldroyd & Fogarty.

    If the presenters I don't like appear then I switch off. It just seems to be happening a lot more with more and more celebrity froth, trivial features and Nolan and his Jeremy Kyle style 'real life stories'
    It seems I'm not the only one as the audience has dropped by a million since the end of 2009. A bit ironic as the station has tried to become more 'accessible'.

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    Comment number 9.

    Good luck Jonathon.

    Might I request that if you are so proud of the listening figures for the main station, not the 5LSE add ons, that you arrange to publish at the earliest opportunity, break downs for each of your programmes, maybe for the last 6 quarters so we can all look at them. We know you give these breakdowns to presenters because they sometimes show off about them (numbers gone up), other times keep completely silent (numbers gone down) or never mentioned at all (obvious!). The licence payer pays for the Rajars, and it seems quite fair to me to share them with the person picking up the tab. Then if the ne'ersayers are wrong, they will shut up, and if they are correct, they can expect an explanation from the powers that be as to why always the brightest spin is put on to the results.
    Surely if the numbers are up on all the programmes, there is nothing to be afraid about.
    Or should I send that in to the Moan in?
    Lastly, would it be too much to ask that as part of your new regime, you continue to encourage regular blogs, and that you do one yourself from time to time to keep in touch with your listeners, and that you actually respond on the blog, to some of the points that are raised?

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    Comment number 10.

    We all have to suffer yesterday with repeats as they had to support their striking friends.

    What a pathetic lot of broadcasters

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    Comment number 11.

    They could appoint the Dalai Lama as 5Live controller for all I care ( as a once long time and loyal listener who now gets his news and sport elsewhere )quite frankly I don't think anything or anyone would drag me back .If you are going to have slogans like ' Delivering Quality First ' please try and live up to this quite simple ideal.You don't have to be a brain surgeon to realise that 5Live needs a radical revamp and new presenters brought in for the completely stale old guard.Will it happen ? Not a chance !

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    Comment number 12.

    Just to add......is Victoria Derbyshire still in love with her own voice ?

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    Comment number 13.

    Can we get back to the discussion of serious issues on the 22.30 Mon-Thursday slot please, instead of the dumbed down rubbish we get at the moment?

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    Comment number 14.

    I absolutely agree with Stirling,some of the topics that have been discussed both on the morning phone and most of those on late at night have been appalling lately. In fact it has been so awful at night that I don't listen anymore. Tony Livesey is dreadful.

    Can we please return to a station that treats the listener as an adult with a reasonable mind and not as idiots who need to be patronised and treated like children.

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    Comment number 15.

    In the faint hope this isn't removed, moderated, censored, re-dacted or assigned to someone else (as here - I am Welcome2) - someone here's as touchy as a Brighton hairdresser in the rain...

    No-one of prep school age (Wilmslow or Chiswick) or above would believe a word beyond the first sentence, so why bother?

    The Guardian report: "Spontaneous applause (rang-out) from the news room! (sic)" - at the announcement of Wall's succession to the throne. Whilst, obviously, none of the presenters would have been present, it was presumably because they knew damn well nothing would change! The same 6 figure salaries for reading the D. Mail from London, the same old, same old... as if van Klav was a hiccup, a bad dream.

    When the BBC, as we'll hear on Friday, remain in serious doubt - as compulsory purveyors of timid news, we have a compromise here - as so often - that we're supposed to applaud as much as the newsroom.

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    Comment number 16.

    Lets only hope the money wasting antics of presenters like Mark Pougatch & John Inverdale are stopped. Why on earth is it necessary for a presenter to travel all over the country & the world just to present a show. Mr Inverdale was flown out to Australia for the tennis ? Other presenters manage to present a show from the studio and even Mr Pougatch has managed to do this now and again. This type of activity just abuses public money and presenters like this have no moral standards when it comes to flushing public money away. The rest of the Public Sector are suffering with extreme cuts but not staff within the BBC and clearly not at radio 5. Lets hope Mr Wall takes note of the ridiculous cost to cater for these presenters, their travelling & accommodation needs and the huge amount of public money wasted, when their activities are clearly not required.

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    Comment number 17.

    I assumed I was in a fairly small minority of listeners who didn't like the changing style of Five Live as the comments on these blogs are only by a few returning contributors.

    However, it may interest the new controller to read an article on the Guardian website entitled "BBC Radio 5 Live: where should it go from here?"
    There are over 250 comments and a there is a common theme of people grumbling about the same topics; the lightweight topics being covered and Robbie Savage being the two dominating ones.

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    Comment number 18.

    Why, despite a £1billion investment from licence payers, did the studios in Salford remain empty again for most of today. VD found herself unable to make it as usual, but finds herself able to make the south coast for tomorrow's programme. Despite no PMQs, Fogarty remained in London to interview MPs, as premumably there are no northern constituency MPs. And Bacon, a middle aged man was hangin' with the teens at the Brits. This isn't a music station.

    The default position of all the London living presenters is to think up an excuse to stay in London.

    As David Brent taught us, you can't be a boss and mate. Someone needs to do something about the absenteeism and the continuing drift to inertia.

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    Comment number 19.

    Just seen the comments on the Guardian..... Bacon isn't popular. I can't say I am suprised. Interesting reading. It seems we 'moaners' are not alone in our views.

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    Comment number 20.

    Well said ‘what’, one good thing you can say about Wall is he has actually shown some commitment and bought a house in the northwest unlike the Director of BBC North, the previous controller, Derbyshire and Bacon.

    How is the output going to become less London centric if the presenters either present from London or commute daily from London? It must be particularly irritating to staff at 5 live who were forced to relocate or quit to see teacher’s pet Victoria do as she pleases.

    There must be an effect on the quality of the programme if Derbyshire’s ‘team’ are in Salford and she is in London, how can they have pre and post show meetings?

    If it is ok for Derbyshire to do her show down the line from London why do you need to go to the expense of flying Nolan from Belfast to present his show from Salford?

 

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