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Moving to Salford - an end-of-year progress update

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Adrian Van-Klaveren Adrian Van-Klaveren | 18:37 UK time, Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Adrian Van Klaveren and Richard Bacon in Salford

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


  • Comment number 1.

    Shame that the removal lorries did not continue for a further 1,000 miles northward.

  • Comment number 2.

    Dear Adrian. Thank you for your comments. You know Richard Bacon isn't going to be able to interview, in any normal sense of the world, the sort of guests that Mayo has had on. Scientists, writers, soldiers, etc., etc. It's not his fault, but he just isn't bright enough. Not only that, but he delights in his ignorance (the 'flying ants nonsense!). I know he's presentable and cheery (even if his ego and nerves about his background intrude too often) but he just doesn't know enough 'stuff' to ask intelligible questions, or to probe even to the lightest depth. He's had plenty of time at night to learn to expand his skills, but he hasn't.
    It seems to me you may well be changing the programme from what it is now to fit the special needs of the presenter you have available, or want to use, rather than what might meet the needs of listeners and indeed, let's not forget them, the interviewees! Can you imagine Bacon interviewing Richard Dawkins about a new book! Can you imagine him interviewing, well, anyone with the slightest substance? I've heard him try and you can hear the guests slowing their cogs down to cope with his level of questioning. It is truly embarrassing. Perhaps what is really going on is the programme is going to be generally more frothy and insubstantial.
    On a personal note, I've tried him at length at night and it is just awful so (with the addition of the 'female Bacon', Logan on before him) you've lost me from 12 til 4. You may well get an increase in listeners with similar frilly/frothy minds who like that sort of thing. But think on... budget cuts in the future... privatisation of programmes. You may well lose a whole station, if not two, to the private sector come another shade of goverment. 5 will, for most of the day, be indistinguishable from the rest of the burble on the radio waves. Compare RB with Rhod Sharpe. Compare RB with Danny Baker. Rhod - knowledgable, broad cultural framework. Danny - sharp, funny, very bright but wears it lightly. Able to deal in trivia without appearing trivial. And then Richard Bacon? What were you all thinking? Were you thinking?

  • Comment number 3.

    A few weeks late I may be, but I want to add that the above commenter has got it absolutely spot on. I think moving Bacon to the mid-afternoon slot will prove to be a mistake.

  • Comment number 4.

    Unlike majortrouble, I quite liked Bacon after "pub closing hour" at night; when I'm half listening, half doing other things. I think he's good, lively company - though he occasionally flirts with glibness.

    But could anyone reading this honestly say that Bacon is someone they'd bother to listen to very deeply? Has Bacon ever said anything sufficiently memorable that you've bothered to repeat it to anyone else? What you expect to hear from him is something amusing but shallow that you'll forgot the next day.

    I certainly wouldn't say he lacked intelligence, but he does seem to lack any depth. There's a lack of any intellectual curiosity, in favour of "moving switftly on"; I don't expect Melvyn Bragg, but someone between Bacon and Bragg would be nice.

    Having said all that he comes across as a decent human being. I make a prediction that one day Richard Bacon will host that TV show of Noel Edmonds where you open boxes - and another prediction that he'll end up a multi-millionaire - he's made for the modern age!

  • Comment number 5.

    I'd forgotten about ths blog until it was flagged up again on the blogs page. It is always good to hear from the man in charge of the station.

    I would really like to see an update from Adrian now about how the new schedule is going and being received by listeners. Have there been any changes made as shows get bed in? Are some things obviously not working and being addressed? What are the high points? etc


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