Moving to Salford - an end-of-year progress update
One of the things I aim to do on this blog is to tell the story of 5 live's move to Salford. As 2009 draws to a close, it's a good moment to sum up how the planning for the move is progressing.
We've made a lot of progress in terms of being able to say who will be part of the station in Salford. We start our new weekday schedule on Monday January 11th 2010 with a set of presenters who are committed to making the move and being part of 5 live at our new home in the north-west of England. The latest person to commit is Shelagh Fogarty so I'm delighted to say that her award-winning partnership with Nicky Campbell will continue after we've moved to Salford in mid-2011. Overall we will have a line-up of talented and experienced broadcasters who I think will be able to take 5 live from strength to strength over the next few years.
January 11th will also see the launch of Tony Livesey's late night programme from Manchester, already the home of Stephen Nolan's programme. Nighttime editor Jonathan Aspinwall wrote in more detail about moving Nighttime to Manchester earlier today. Moving this programme will give us good practical experience of moving a team and output from London to Manchester as well as being a significant shift in 5 live's centre of gravity.
The building which will be our new home is now being fitted out with cabling and technology and all the other things needed to make a state-of-the-art broadcasting centre. Once that is finished (and it's a huge job), we'll begin a process of testing and trying out our new surroundings before moving programmes in a phased way during 2011. We are trying to achieve some very specific benefits. For the BBC as a whole it's about connecting better with audiences wherever in the UK they live and in particular improving the BBC's performance and reputation in the North of England.
For 5 live, it should help us offer a more distinctive agenda, tailored to the interests of our audience, with as broad a range of voices and contributors as possible. We aim to sound like a radio station free of any metropolitan bias which covers events and stories in every part of the UK. A base outside London should make that easier to achieve to the full - as I've written here before, if you were starting 5 live today I'm certain you would not choose be based in London. Moving something already established raises another set of issues but it seems to me that 2009 has been a year where we've laid some very important foundations for making the move as smoothly and seamlessly as possible.
Adrian Van Klaveren is Controller of BBC Radio 5 live