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BBC’s regional controller to leave corporation

DAVID-HOLDSWORTHThe head of the BBC’s regional news operation is to stand down next year, it has been announced.

David Holdsworth, left, who has been described as one of the most influential figures in the history of local radio regional TV, is leaving the corporation after 33 years in 2018.

He took over as controller of BBC Regions in December 2008, with overall responsibility for 39 local BBC radio stations and the nightly regional TV news programmes.

Recently he has been overseeing the Local News Partnership scheme designed to recruit 150 local democracy reporters to work in the regional press, covering council and public meetings across the UK.

Said David: “Choosing to leave now has been a difficult decision because I have loved every minute of my job. But this feels like a good moment to hand over BBC English Regions. Our budget is secure and the importance of the services we provide is understood clearly.

“I am hugely proud of the teams I have led for nearly nine years. They make the most watched news programme on British television (the 6:30 BBC One regional bulletin), run 39 unique radio stations that attract six million listeners, produce some of the most innovative and engaging digital news content available and make England’s only current affairs TV programme Inside Out.

“The local media landscape has changed significantly since I first became a journalist 40 years ago. There has been a sharp drop in the number of journalists on local newspapers and there is less genuinely local radio or regional current affairs made outside the BBC.

“This makes the BBC’s local mission more crucial than ever. I will be cheering on my successor and the whole of English Regions once I have left.”

James Harding, director of BBC News and Current Affairs, added: “David is one of the most influential figures in the modern history of local radio and regional television at the BBC.

“During his 33 years at the BBC, he has launched two radio stations, worked as a TV producer and TV editor and ran three BBC regions.

“David is a relentless advocate of innovation. He has championed the transformation of English Regions into digital newsrooms, driving journalism online, on mobile and social media.

“He is decent and considerate, has sound judgment, strong principles and a good sense of humour. I’d like to thank him and wish him well for the future.”

The BBc said that David’s successor will be appointed promptly.

He will continue to work on the Local News Partnership project until his departure.