Shock waves set to hit quality of radio

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The Independent Online
The radical shake-up at the BBC will inevitably result in a diminution of quality radio programming, according to the former head of the World Service.

John Tusa, now managing director of the Barbican Centre, London, said the restructuring of the corporation will involve more bureaucracy, which is likely to reduce resources for programme making. ``There must be real doubts about what it is going to achieve,'' he said. ``I am also concerned about suddenly separating commissioning and production. It seems to be excessively tidy, excessively rigid.''

Mr Tusa was particularly alarmed by the changes to the World Service: "... if the programme making capacity of the World Service ... is in anyway taken away and put into some centralised programme making, then I think the programmes are going to work less well for the World Service in English," he said.

One BBC radio journalist said: "We are totally bemused at the complexities of the changes. People want to make sure that radio is represented as well now as it was before."

Jocelyn Hay, chairman of the pressure group Voice of the Listener and Viewer, said she feared BBC radio would be sidelined by television under the new structure, which "bodes ill" for BBC core services.

After the announcement that Michael Green would leave the BBC once he has completed 10 years as controller of Radio 4, speculation mounted about whether any executives would leave IN opposition to its management.

It would not be the first time - it is understood that Liz Forgan resigned in February, as managing director of BBC Radio, aware that the radicalreorganisation was on its way.Other key BBC executives have recently quit the corporation: the head of light entertainment, David Liddiment, and Nick Elliott, head of drama series.

Charles Denton, who as head of drama oversaw the adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, said that the "Orwellian" regime under John Birt had undermined his ability to make good programmes.