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Controller, BBC Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra

Please Note: The application deadline for this job has now passed.

Job Introduction

...a creative leader developing and commissioning  audio speech content for live and on demand


BBC Radio is the home of 10 national radio stations, a new digital audio platform – BBC Sounds – performing groups and the BBC Proms.

With its audience of around 11 million listeners, BBC Radio 4 is a unique station, with a schedule that ranges from news, documentaries and debate through to new comedy and original drama.  Radio 4 Extra is BBC Radio's digital entertainment network, broadcasting classic comedy, drama, features and special seasons. Every day, on air and on BBC Sounds, Radio 4 has more original content than any other broadcaster in the world.

Radio 4 is a successful, much loved and listened to service, at the heart of the BBC’s public service purpose. The Controller of Radio 4 will be the custodian of the public service values and ambitions of Radio 4, curating a service that will thrive; maintaining and developing the world-class, intelligent content which the station is known for, building on Radio 4’s digital successes with podcasts such as Tracks, The Ratline and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward to ensure it thrives in the digital age; and developing a renewed cultural and intellectual vision for the network.

The challenge for the Controller of Radio 4 will be to retain the station’s importance for its loyal audience, continually increase the depth of cultural and political impact of Radio 4 and grow the new and younger audiences within an increasingly competitive environment. They will lead a process of creative renewal for the network; developing new content and formats which appeal to the younger listeners seeking the type of intellectual and cultural insight Radio 4 provides, retaining its importance in the lives of millions of loyal fans, reinventing the network and continuing to build on the station’s digital success as this becomes increasingly the way people choose to listen in the future.

Role Responsibility

  • You will articulate the creative vision and strategy for the network and be responsible for commissioning speech content for BBC Radio 4 and 4 Extra to reach new and heartland audiences.
  • You will inspire the Radio 4 commissioning teams to reinvent speech content on air and on demand, helping to create the UK’s audio fans of the future.
  • You will be a key part of the senior team leading BBC Sounds, influencing its overall strategy and delivery with a particular emphasis on contributing to the editorial plan for Sounds, ensuring that young listeners make BBC Sounds their destination for audio entertainment, cultural and intellectual insight.
  • You will find new and better ways of working, seeking efficiencies and delivering value for money as part of the contribution to meet the BBC’s financial challenge.
  • You will be responsible for the commissioning and production of content for BBC Ideas, ensuring this service retains its unique, independent, yet distinctive style and tone and continues to grow reach.

Are you the right candidate?

  • You will be a respected industry figure, with experience of the arts, culture and/or news and journalism, ideally in the media or broadcasting industry, and able to demonstrate a depth of political and cultural insight and intellectual vision.
  • You will have a detailed knowledge and understanding of the Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra content and audience and the ability to apply objective and rigorous editorial judgement across a variety of genres and output.  
  • You will have a deep understanding of the competitive and technological landscape
  • You will be a champion for diversity and inclusion, on and off air.
  • You will have a deep understanding of the changing media landscape and a vision for Radio 4/4Extra’s linear and digital future.
  • You will have experience of leading change through re-invention and renewal.  
  • You will be a natural collaborator, flexible and resilient and able to sustain performance when under pressure from conflicting demands and in the face of significant external scrutiny.


Candidates shortlisted for interview will be asked to present a short paper articulating their vision and strategy for Radio 4 and 4 Extra, live and on demand.

Interviews are expected to take place in late March and early April.

Please see the job description and appendix below for the full scope of duties and requirements.

For more information, please email Bob Shennan.


Package Description

Band:                     SL
Contract type:       Continuing
Location:               Broadcasting House, London


About the BBC

We don’t focus simply on what we do – we also care how we do it. Our values and the way we behave are important to us. Please make sure you’ve read about our values and behaviours in the document attached below.

Diversity matters at the BBC. We have a working environment where we value and respect every individual's unique contribution, enabling all of our employees to thrive and achieve their full potential.

We want to attract the broadest range of talented people to be part of the BBC – whether that’s to contribute to our programming or our wide range of non-production roles. The more diverse our workforce, the better able we are to respond to and reflect our audiences in all their diversity. 

We are committed to equality of opportunity and welcome applications from individuals, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality, social background, religion and/or belief. We will consider flexible working requests for all roles, unless operational requirements prevent otherwise.

To find out more about Diversity and Inclusion at the BBC, please click here


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