What it will take to run BBC Radio 3

What it will take to run BBC Radio 3


norman lebrecht

June 12, 2014

They’ve averstised the vacancy today, and shifted the goalposts.

It is a much diminished role, in which the new boss will function beneath a new ‘Controller’ of Music and will have oversight, rather than control, of the BBC Proms.

The key criteria are:

Respected industry/media figure, ideally with experience gained within music, culture, media and / or broadcasting, and a demonstrable ability to schedule, programme and prioritise to the benefit of audiences

Experience of leadership within a large or complex organisation and of effectively leading large teams and developing talent.

The second line would appear to exclude internal favourite Tom Service, who has the support of many staff.

tom service

It would tend to favour old ex-BBC hands like Stephen Maddock, Tony Sargent and Hilary Boulding.

Gillian Moore of London’s South Bank remains the front-runner among non-BBC applicants, though we hope the likes of Susannah Eastburn (Sound and Music) and Marcus Davey (Roundhouse) will be tempted to throw their hats into the ring.

Full advertisement here.


  • Mark Stratford says:

    Tom Service wouldn’t have the gravitas for this position. Though I’m sure he’s massively ambitious and would love it

  • Dennis Marks says:

    If you read the job description and the advertisement you can see between the lines that the BBC is still hedging its bets. And they’ve handed it over pro tem to a very experienced headhunter. With only six weeks to go before the First Night, there’s a slight sense of “we are waiting to see what turns up but have to be seen doing something.” It’s partly because they have stripped out several key middle management posts and accepted retirements and reduces from some of their most qualified senior music executives. Perhaps one or two of them might return from the cold, although with the current confused managerial structure they will need very strong nerves.

  • Dennis Marks says:

    Typo alert – not “reduces” but “redundancies”, although there’s a certain Freudian accuracy about “reduces”!

  • Oliver says:

    I doubt very much that Tom Service, who has said that given the chance he would cut funding to the BBC orchestras, is the internal favourite candidate. Anyone who cares about the BBCSO ought to consider it very good news that the job description has been framed in a way that effectively rules him out.

  • Tim says:

    What you don’t mention here is that the new Controller will subsequently appoint a new Director of the Proms. So – as widely predicted – the combined role performed by Roger Wright becomes two again.

    So it’ll still be some time before we see the full picture, and when considering the names in the frame, it’s worth noting that there are actually two rather different jobs up for grabs here.