Iona Jones: My Life In Media

'With Jones such a common surname in Wales, embarrassing moments inevitably arise'

Iona Jones, 41, is the new chief executive of S4C, the Welsh language television channel. Born in west Wales, Jones was raised in Cardiff and studied economic and social history at Exeter University. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a member of the British Screen Advisory Council, and is married with three children.

So what inspired you to embark on a career in the media?

In the early 1980s the media emerged as a positive tool to support cultural and linguistic regeneration. My love of the written and spoken word, and contributing to Wales's growing sense of nationhood, were and remain great motivators.

When you were 15 years, which paper did your family get, and did you read it?

The Western Mail and yes, I read it from cover to cover. The paper's annual, much-anticipated St David's Day essay-writing competition was of particular interest when I was at school.

What were your favourite TV and radio programmes?

I watched all the American TV imports - Charlie's Angels, Starsky and Hutch - as well as UK comedy shows such as The Two Ronnies. In pre-S4C days, Welsh-language shows were broadcast across the BBC and ITV and one of my favourites was Ryan a Ronnie, a comedy sketch and music show starring the late Ryan Davies and Ronnie Williams. It was quintessentially Welsh, but had wide-ranging appeal and was a huge hit. Some of their characters were not quite forerunners of Little Britain, but they certainly came close, in particular camp Glanaman housewife Phyllis Doris. Cardiff's local radio station, CBC in those days, had a cult Welsh language Sunday-night music-based show called Cadw Cwmni.

Describe your job

In many ways my role is that of editor-in-chief. The programme service is at the top of my list of priorities - if the service is right, then a lot of other things will fall into place. I'm in the process of redefining S4C's public service proposition, giving prominence to specific genres, with an overall emphasis on entertainment and creative excellence.

What media do you turn to first thing in the morning?

Radio 4.

Do you consult any media sources during the working day?

I scan the press cuttings first thing.

What is the best thing about your job?

Being in a position to facilitate greater creative and commercial opportunities for the independent sector in Wales.

And the worst?

Dealing with complacency.

How do you feel you influence the media?

As well as fulfilling its core remit of providing a comprehensive Welsh language television service, S4C has tremendous potential as a catalyst for reinvigorating the creative community in Wales. It's about empowering creative people, while ensuring contestability and transparency. It's also about building a partnership based on trust - rather than the one-sided, rather patriarchal relationship that existed between broadcaster and independent producer before the new Terms of Trade were introduced.

What's the proudest achievement in your work?

Devising and implementing S4C's new Programme Strategy, with its emphasis on landmark programming, which has led to an 11 per cent year-on-year increase in peak time viewing - which runs counter to the current trend for other terrestrial broadcasters.

And what's your most embarrassing moment?

With Jones such a common surname in Wales, embarrassing moments inevitably arise from time to time. On a business trip to London, one hotel tried to book me and former S4C chief exec Huw Jones into the same suite, as they thought we were husband and wife.

At home, what do you tune in to?

I never miss an episode of The Bill. Rugby is also a big draw for me and my family on S4C and other channels. We were firm supporters of Pontypridd RFC and supported the Celtic Warriors but since the demise of the Warriors, we're clubless!

What is your Sunday paper? And do you have a favourite magazine?

It's still The Sunday Times along with Wales on Sunday. I buy Vogue, InStyle, Eve and Livingetc every month.

Name the one career ambition you want to realise before you retire.

S4C has received four Oscar nominations, for two films - Hedd Wyn, the story of poet Ellis Humphrey Evans, killed in the First World War, and love story Solomon a Gaenor, which stars Ioan Gruffudd - and for animations, Famous Fred (adventures of a rock star cat) and The Canterbury Tales. I would love to see an S4C production get another Oscar nomination but win!

If you didn't work in the media what would you do?

I'd be a florist.

Who in the media do you most admire and why?

Clive Jones of ITV, a clever, savvy Welshman who's remained true to his roots.

The CV

1986 Starts career as a journalist with BBC Cymru Wales, later becoming editor of the current affairs strand Taro Naw and daily news programme Newyddion, produced by the BBC for S4C.

1995 Joins Welsh language television channel S4C as the director of corporate affairs.

2000 Moves to ITV Wales, where she represented Carlton's regional companies throughout the UK on the Communications Bill and other strategic matters.

2003 Returns to S4C as director of programmes.

2005 Becomes chief executive of S4C.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
Sport
Sean Abbott
cricketSean Abbott is named Australia's young cricketer of the year
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Sauce Recruitment: Partnership Sales Executive - TV

competitive + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: An award-winning global multi-media...

Sauce Recruitment: Account Director

£26017.21 - £32521.19 per annum + OTE $90,000: Sauce Recruitment: My client is...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Events Business) - Manchester - Urgent!

£30000 - £35000 per annum + 25 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Marketi...

Sphere Digital Recruitment: Senior Sales Engineer - SaaS-based CX & Personalisation Solutions

£60-80k fixed + 20-30% bonus + benefits + Pre-IPO shares: Sphere Digital Recru...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea