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I will be leaving a job I have loved in October. I will miss almost all of it. But I always felt that I should not do much more than seven years as Controller of Radio 4 and by October I will have had the best job in the BBC for six of those years. I did not want to run the risk of my ideas drying up, being insensate to the best ideas of the many people who make Radio 4 what it is or have anyone muse over a date for my departure. The job of Controller gives one person a very large amount of power and that needs to be disbursed with care. So I knew that I would one day have to hand over the reins before anything about Radio 4 became routine - but I very much wanted to leave bursting with enthusiasm and love for Radio 4 - and I am.

There was no other big job in broadcasting that appealed to me - and anyway I should not presume that anyone would have offered. I wanted a complete change and I have always had a profound respect and interest in academic life and academics. (Radio 4 after all is a platform for many academics and it manifestly needs their knowledge and goodwill). So I will be swapping the particular rituals of BBC life for the rather different ones of Oxford. I am well aware that it will be different - and exciting. Scholarship and curiosity help define who we are - and Oxford and St.Peter's are places of fantastic intellectual achievement and learning.

I hope very much that I have left Radio 4 in good shape for whoever is lucky enough to be asked to run it, and what will become Radio 4 extra (now Radio 7) if the Trust approves our plans - though in the end that is a judgement for you - the audience. I am acutely aware that not all of you, by any stretch of the imagination, will approve of everything that I have done. And there will be some of you who think I have got it mostly wrong - but when I listen to the programmes I am very often moved, excited, amused or thrilled by what I hear.

The editors, programme makers, schedulers, announcers, financial wizards and others who work to produce the programmes are devoted to their work and to the audience. I do not know that this is a unique phenomenon but it is one that is palpable in Radio 4. So to have been the beneficiary of their work and commitment has been a great privilege - and I shall miss their creativity, energy and companionship. It's been wonderful. I am not going for a while and in the few months that remain there is much to be done - though I shall try not to bind my successor with ideas that he/she may not want.

Throughout my life I have been grateful that Radio 4 exists - but that applies to the BBC too. For all its failings and frustrations the BBC is a noble idea and much of what it does - though inevitably not all - lives up to its aspirations. So I wish not only for a strong Radio 4 - but a strong BBC too. And I shall be a devoted listener.

Mark Damazer is Controller of BBC Radio 4

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  • Comment number 26. Posted by Clivie

    on 7 Sept 2010 14:56

    Ming vase safely delivered - thanks Mark

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  • Comment number 25. Posted by love6music

    on 20 Apr 2010 14:24


    Radio 4 will miss you greatly - a huge shame for you to form part of the mass exodus from what was the jewel of British cultural life - the BBC - until the arrival of Mark Thompson and Tim Davie.

    Good luck!

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  • Comment number 24. Posted by dennisjunior1

    on 18 Apr 2010 22:52

    My best wishes to you on your journey, Mark....

    (d)

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  • Comment number 23. Posted by Anna

    on 14 Apr 2010 21:56

    Mr Damazer, thanks for a job well done. As a leaving present we'll be very happy to let you take "Thought for the Day" with you when you go. We know you treasure it just the way it is.

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  • Comment number 22. Posted by TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship

    on 14 Apr 2010 17:28

    20. At 4:44pm on 14 Apr 2010, gcdavis wrote:

    "18. At 12:33pm on 14 Apr 2010, Boilerplated wrote: But TftD is and has always been a religious slot....

    ....so what!"


    The part you missed off the quote, relevance to the genre...

    "Times change and so should R4. It is as insulting to exclude a non religious voice as it would be to exclude a black contributor."

    ...so you also think that the BBC should show (for example) figure-skating in place of football within the programme called "Match of the Day"?...

    "If your argument is that the audience expect it to be religious then you have made my point for me."

    No I have not, people expect news and current affairs from "WATO", they would not expect either a pop concert or the afternoon play.

    "An enlightened broadcaster should not perpetuate the myth that morality is the sole purview of those who believe in God."

    Indeed, so they need a neutral programme, not the adulteration of an existing programme, as I said, you might have a valid point regarding the cancellation of TftD, even the moving of the time-slot but not changing the programmes genre.

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  • Comment number 21. Posted by Emmanuel K Bensah Jr

    on 14 Apr 2010 16:00

    I'm Ghanaian, and had the priviledge of listening to BBC Radio Four when I was going through British-style secondary education in Belgium throughout to university.

    Although I loved the Belgian stations, Radio 4 was a station of choice after I went to university, as much of the information there complemented my tertiary education in wild and inexplicable ways! The "Today" programme (who can forget John Humphrys?!) in particular was--and continues to be--a source of great journalism and erudition, and given my area of study was political communication and international affairs, I could not have asked for anything better than the Beeb's own Radio Four.

    I came back home to Ghana, from Belgium in 2004 to work professionally, and sometimes wish that instead of listening to the excellent BBC Worldservice, I could get Radio 4. Thankfully, re-discovering excellent podcasts has been a relief. Broadband here is good (now managed by Vodafone since 2008), but is often sporadic, so listening live to BBC Radio Four is out of the question.

    Just wanted to say "Thank you!" to BBC Radio Four. Although I can understand why it might never go the way of FM as the BBC WS has done, kindly keep the podcasts coming, as they help some of us BBCR4 aficionados keep in touch with very quality domestic content!

    Oh, and on TFTD, back in Brussels, I was recording almost every edition of it on regular cassette; I thoroughly prefer them as podcasts now!!

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  • Comment number 20. Posted by gcdavis

    on 14 Apr 2010 15:44

    18. At 12:33pm on 14 Apr 2010, Boilerplated wrote: But TftD is and has always been a religious slot....

    ....so what!

    Times change and so should R4. It is as insulting to exclude a non religious voice as it would be to exclude a black contributor.

    If your argument is that the audience expect it to be religious then you have made my point for me. An enlightened broadcaster should not perpetuate the myth that morality is the sole purview of those who believe in God.

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  • Comment number 19. Posted by Russ

    on 14 Apr 2010 13:26

    Mark

    Did you identify a future direction or ethos for '4extra', or is that state secret to be revealed only by your successor?

    Russ

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  • Comment number 18. Posted by TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship

    on 14 Apr 2010 11:33

    #16. At 11:43am on 14 Apr 2010, gcdavis wrote:

    "I don’t want to exclude the religious voice on TftD, I simply want to include the non religious one."

    But TftD is and has always been a religious slot, I can accept an argument for the removal of such religious slots/programmes but not the inclusion of a non religious element, it would be like showing "Match of the Day" on the TV and then showing figure skating instead of football.

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  • Comment number 17. Posted by Sir Ad E Noid

    on 14 Apr 2010 11:20

    Dear Mr Damazer

    Best wishes for your new role. Please can you ensure that you take Lenny Henry with you when you go. Thanks.

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