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Wall leaves Radio 5 live to head up BBC Sounds


Jonathan Wall, the current Controller of BBC Radio 5 live and 5 live Sports Extra, has been named as the corporation’s first Controller of BBC Sounds.

Wall, who is currently based out of Salford, will have responsibility for developing the strategy and content for the app, which launched in October 2018 and brings together the corporation’s radio, music and podcasts.

The app initially attracted criticism for issues including the ineffectiveness of its search function, a failure to reliably display track names and the difficulty of sharing content, but it has almost 1.5m users per week and was described by the BBC as one of its “key priorities”.

Wall, who began his career at Radio Humberside before moving into BBC Sport, was Editor of 5 live Sport before being appointed Deputy Controller and Commissioning Editor of 5 live in July 2008. He stepped up to Controller in February 2013.

Jonathan Wall, the new Controller of BBC Sounds

He has enthusiastically championed 5 live’s push into podcasting, launching titles including That Peter Crouch Podcast and You, Me And The Big C, and has also brought in the likes of Emma Barnett and Nihal Arthanayake.

He said: “After 21 wonderful years at 5 live it is time for a fresh challenge. BBC Sounds, alongside iPlayer, will help make the BBC thrive and it’s a privilege to get the chance to lead so many talented people who want to make sure we reach as many listeners as possible with our brilliant radio, music and podcasts. I can’t wait to get started.”

Richard Maddock, the station’s Commissioning Editor, will become Acting Controller of Radio 5 live, supported by Heidi Dawson as Managing Editor.

The BBC said it would be advertising the vacant position publically “in the near future”.

Richard Maddock, BBC Radio 5 Live
Acting 5 live Controller Richard Maddock

Recently, we reported how the launch director of the BBC Sounds app, Charlotte Lock, had left the post after opting not to continue to commute to London from her home in the North.

That post has now been closed, the BBC confirmed.

Other senior appointments confirmed today included Mohit Bakaya as the next Controller of Radio 4 and Lorna Clarke as the corporation’s first Controller of Pop Music.

Bakaya has been the Commissioning Editor for Factual at Radio 4 since 2008. He commissions and leads on current affairs, politics, history, science, natural history and religion programming on Radio 4.

Clarke, currently Head of Production for Radio 2 and Radio 6 Music, will have responsibility for the BBC’s pop stations – Radio 1, Radio 1Xtra, Radio 2, Radio 6 Music, Asian Network – and other music output.

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