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29 October 2014
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15.05.02

NORTH EAST & CUMRIA REGIONAL TV
BBCi


BBC North East & Cumbria boss moves to bridge "the digital divide"

Olwyn Hocking has announced she is leaving her post as Head of Regional and Local Programmes for BBC North East & Cumbria to take a job in the BBC's New Media operation.

Andy Griffee, Controller BBC English Regions, says:

"Olwyn has led BBC North East & Cumbria with passionate professionalism for the past seven years.

"Her tenacious advocacy on behalf of the region's licence fee payers and her staff was eventually recognised with the creation of the BBC's Northern Taskforce. As a result, more new BBC investment flowed up the Tyne, Tees, Wear and to Cumbria this year than ever before.

"She has been a leading player in the region's broadcasting industry and enjoyed a wealth of awards in recent years for work by her television and radio teams."

Olwyn, aged 46, moves to the BBC's New Media service later in the year, but will continue to be based in the North East.

She says: "I will be leaving my current job at a time when the importance of local and network coverage of the region is on a high, but I was simply unable any longer to resist the temptation to learn even more about the web and its potential for involving our audiences.

"It's been a growing fascination and I'm particularly concerned to make sure we bridge the "digital divide" and help people not online at present to share all it has to offer."

She says one of the greatest highlights of her career as regional head of the BBC is that people at the top have made such a determined effort to improve coverage of the region in many different ways.

In the last two years there has been the biggest-ever coverage of the Great North Run on BBC ONE, successful dramas and comedy such as Ted and Alice, filmed in the Lake District, Auf Wiedersehen Pet and Breeze Block, filmed on Tyneside and Teesside, as well as pilot programmes for the future like Cashing In, which visited Newcastle last month.

These were in addition to extra regional programmes such as the Queen's Golden Jubilee tour which was marked by two special programmes, and earlier this year an hour-long Regional Devolution Debate was broadcast on BBC News 24.

This increased investment of more than £1 million additional funding for BBC North East & Cumrbia is reflected by the record audience figures for BBC Radio Newcastle and the Sony Station of the Year Award for BBC Radio Cumbria.

Olwyn adds: "Of course there is still more we would like to have done and we're working hard to introduce still more developments later in the year.

"More jobs are on the way to increase website services and strengthen coverage of the devolution debate, and the regional TV news Look North is getting the latest satellite truck technology to improve live newsgathering across the region."



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