Former Radio 1 controller quits senior BBC role

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The Independent Online

Matthew Bannister, the man behind the controversial shake-up of Radio 1, quit his senior role at the BBC yesterday.

Matthew Bannister, the man behind the controversial shake-up of Radio 1, quit his senior role at the BBC yesterday.

The former controller of the station, who was appointed director of marketing and communications earlier this year, will step down in December.

Mr Bannister, who was tipped to take the role of director general but lost to Greg Dyke last year, declined to reveal his plans. In an e-mail, he told BBC colleagues: "I first joined the corporation 22 years ago, and I've decided it is a good time to move my career in a different direction."

As Radio 1's controller, he was responsible for clearing out the old guard of disc jockeys and refocusing the station for younger listeners - a move that initially saw him vilified. He also recruited Chris Evans to the station.

Mr Dyke said of Mr Bannister's departure: "He will be stepping down as director of marketing and communications at the end of the year to pursue opportunities outside the corporation.

"Matthew has been a great colleague in the short time we've been working together, and the ideas he has contributed to the BBC restructuring and the future direction of the organisation have been stimulating and productive."

Mr Bannister, 43, worked for BBC local radio as a reporter and later for Capital Radio in London, with a brief spell at Radio 1's Newsbeat.

In 1988 he became managing editor of BBC Greater London Radio and later became Radio 1 controller in November 1993, making it more contemporary.

By 1996 he had taken on the additional role of director of BBC Radio, with responsibility for controlling the BBC's radio strategy as well as commissioning and scheduling for Radios 1, 2, 3 and 4.

He relinquished his Radio 1 post in 1998 and the following year became chief executive of BBC Production.

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