An editor has become embroiled in a spat with the BBC after his newspaper broke an exclusive about a new presenter’s appointment against the corporation’s wishes.
John Elworthy – who edits the Cambs Times, Ely Standard and Wisbech Standard – has branded the BBC “pathetic” after claiming he was denied an interview with new Radio Cambridgeshire breakfast show DJ Kev Lawrence.
John, pictured, had heard rumours of the appointment for weeks and decided to run a story about it despite a BBC press officer requesting he hold back from publication, saying he “couldn’t see why” there should be an embargo on the story.
He subsequently posted on Twitter on Monday that his titles has been denied interviews with Kev for their “naughtiness in exclusively breaking the news a week ago”.
Unfortunately @cambstimes @elystandard @wisbechstandard denied ‘exclusive’ interviews with @KevLawrence67 for our naughtiness in exclusively breaking the news a week ago. #itswhatwedo https://t.co/Upxxhi2eBv
— john elworthy (@johnelworthy) June 10, 2019
Speaking to HTFP, John described the saga as “all rather pathetic”.
He said: “We’d heard rumours for weeks that Kev had been appointed – indeed I tweeted as much six weeks ago. Last week two insiders at the BBC confirmed it and so I rang station manager Mr Harvey for comment. He asked if I would wait till end of week.
“I considered not running it but inquired if he had told staff about the changes. He confirmed he had.
“Later in the day I rang a BBC press officer who offered me an exclusive interview with Kev if I held back publication. I couldn’t see why there should be an embargo so went ahead with publication.
“The BBC reacted by suggesting my story was ‘pure speculation’ and so I amended it, knowing full well it wasn’t. There are some very angry people inside our local radio station and I doubt this will be the last time I write about it.”
Kev had previously been a long-serving breakfast presenter on Heart FM before a restructure earlier this year saw a number of local DJs lose their jobs in favour of more centralised progamming.
In breaking the news of Kev’s new role, the Times had claimed his appointment had been circulated among BBC local radio station staff for “weeks” and quoted “insiders” as saying they had “broken the local radio budget” to secure his services.
Following his departure from Heart, the Cambridge News quoted Kev in a story published on Tuesday 4 June that he had a new role which was “local and I can’t wait to announce details about it soon”, with the Times running its story the following day.
John added: “It does seem absurd for the BBC to be paying a large sum for a local DJ who clearly had no other local radio station to hand after Heart FM pulled out of the regions.”
The BBC declined to comment when approached by HTFP.