MediaCityUK to become 'heart' of BBC Sounds and tech hub to open in Newcastle

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MediaCityUK is to become “the heart” of BBC Sounds, with the curation team joining Controller Jonathan Wall at the Salford base “within weeks”, Director General Lord Hall has announced.

Prolific North understands the BBC is currently recruiting a new Head of Curation role for BBC Sounds and that this person will build a team based in Salford over the coming year.

In his New Year speech to staff today, Hall said: “Salford will become the heart of BBC Sounds, with the curation team joining the Controller in MediaCity within weeks”.

There will also be a new tech hub in Newcastle to "help deliver a new generation of software engineers and designers," Hall said. He described Newcastle as a city "looking for fresh ideas, collaboration and innovation, with two highly successful universities and a digital cluster growing faster than any area outside London."

The existing building in the city will be used for this expansion of the design and engineering teams, with staff there working on BBC iPlayer, BBC Sounds and BBC News Online.

Hall added that “much more journalism” and “a lot of our digital growth” would come from the BBC North headquarters in Salford in future.

On Monday, Prolific North reported that the BBC wants two thirds of its staff to be based outside London by 2027 and Hall gave more details in his address from Cardiff.“Today over half our spending - and half our teams - are away from the capital,” he said. “I’ve spent a lot of time with them in local radio; Salford; Birmingham; Bristol; and around the nations.

BBC Newcastle

“We’ve more than doubled the proportion of our network TV programmes produced in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in a decade. And, just last year, we set up a new channel for Scotland.

“Our centres have become magnets for ideas and talent, new jobs and investment. That’s really good news. But I know we can go further. We can do so much more for this country - and we’re going to - starting this year.”

“We’ll produce much more journalism from our North of England hub - and a lot of our digital growth is going to come from there too.”

The Director General added more details about the Corporation’s “big plans for Sounds”, its streaming service for audio and media. 

“There’ll be a step change in podcasting with more world-class storytelling from within the BBC,” he said. “And, for the first time, we’re going to open up Sounds to new British creators wherever they are and bring the best podcasts to everyone.

“We’ll be launching new music streams bringing together favourite radio shows and on-demand content; more gems from the archive; and the Sounds app will showcase the great audio we produce in this country to the world when it goes global later this year.”