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Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Ken Bruce: BBC Bosses Should Justify their Existence


Veteran Radio 2 presenter Ken Bruce has made some candid observations about management of the BBC.

Bruce joined BBC Radio 4 Scotland as a continuity announcer in 1977.

In 1978 he was the announcer on the opening day of newly launched station BBC Radio Scotland, where he went on to present the late evening Nightbeat programme.

In 1980, he took on the mid-morning slot and then, in 1983, he presented a daily afternoon entertainment show. He hosted his mid-morning show on the BBC World Service in the late 1980s.

Throughout the 1980s he was presenting programmes on BBC Radio 2.

Speaking on David Lloyd's Radio Conversations podcast, Bruce said: "I do sometimes think a cull of managers would be no bad thing.

"Every so often they say 'we are doing that, we are going to cut the management layers'. And somehow, even if they do, they come back within a few years.

"Unfortunately, part of our slice of the licence fee has to pay for the Director General's car, things like that, and a Policy Unit. How much does Radio 2 need a Policy Unit dealing with the Government?

"The basic thing is the programmes and once you start forgetting about them, you're in trouble."

He added: "It was always said there was a famous part of the BBC called the Programme Prevention Department, which existed purely to stop you getting your ideas on air. I'm afraid sometimes it can seem like that at the BBC.

"I'm a huge admirer of the organisation. But you can scratch your head sometimes and see itself shooting itself in the foot. And you think 'please, please don't do that to an organisation we all love'."

Bruce is the longest serving presenter on Radio 2, having presented the popular mid-morning slot since 1992.

The Ken Bruce show has a weekly reach of 8.5 million listeners, making it the biggest on the station.

Last year Bruce received a BBC salary of £280k, which was less than Radio 2 colleagues Jeremy Vine (£290k), Zoe Ball (£370k) and Steve Wright (£465k).

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