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March saw some significant developments across the UK broadcasting landscape. Here’s a romp through the major stories which impact PRs going into April:

Appointments and Departures

  • BBC Director of Sport: Alex Kay-Jelski, previously editor-in-chief at The Athletic, has been appointed the new Director of Sport at the BBC, succeeding Barbara Slater in June.
  • Mark Goodier Returns to Radio 2: Mark Goodier is returning to BBC Radio 2 to host ‘Pick of the Pops’, following the passing of Steve Wright.
  • Mariella Frostrup Leaves Times Radio: Mariella Frostrup is stepping down from Times Radio’s lunchtime show as the station pivots its focus towards more news and politics-based content.
  • Frank Skinner Leaves Absolute Radio: After 15 years, Frank Skinner announced his departure from Absolute Radio, with no renewal of his contract.

New Programming and Changes

  • Alison Hammond’s Big Weekend: Alison Hammond will host a new series on BBC1, engaging with celebrities over the weekend to uncover deeper personal insights.
  • Jordan North Joins Capital: Jordan North is set to replace Roman Kemp on the Capital Breakfast show, marking a significant change in one of the UK’s most popular morning radio slots.
  • BBC World Service Events: The BBC World Service will host a series of events showcasing global journalism, featuring panels and interviews on current journalistic challenges.
  • Expansion of Greatest Hits Radio: Shows from the former Wave 105 have been extended to other Greatest Hits Radio frequencies in the Dorset area.

Industry Challenges and Changes

  • BBC Financial Concerns: Richard Osman raised concerns about the future of the BBC, particularly focusing on potential changes to its funding model, such as the removal of the licence fee.
  • BBC’s Annual Financial Forecast: Facing a nearly £500m deficit, the BBC’s annual plan outlines significant budget cuts and a strategic refocus on high-profile, efficient programming.

Technological and Strategic Shifts

  • Tim Davie’s Vision for the BBC: Tim Davie discussed the integration of AI and other technologies into BBC operations, indicating significant future transformations.

Regulatory and Policy Updates

  • Ofcom and GB News: Ofcom has issued multiple notices to GB News after breaches of broadcasting rules, spotlighting regulatory scrutiny on the channel.
  • Ofcom Investigates David Lammy’s LBC Programme: Following over 50 complaints, Ofcom is investigating whether David Lammy’s hosting on LBC on Good Friday violated rules concerning politicians acting as news presenters.
  • Ofcom Consultation on Community Radio: Ofcom is consulting on relaxing Key Commitments for community radio to provide more flexibility and focus on service character and social gain.

Platform and Distribution Changes

  • TalkTV Moves to YouTube: TalkTV is transitioning to a YouTube-only format, stepping away from traditional broadcast platforms, which reflects the growing trend of digital-first content strategies.
  • BBC Radio 5 Live Celebrates 30 Years: The station commemorated its 30th anniversary with special programming and reflections on its history and impact.

International and Commercial Developments

  • BBC Podcasts on Amazon Music: BBC podcasts will now be available on Amazon Music outside the UK, expanding their global reach.
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