The BBC has appointed Jason Horton as director of production overseeing its local services across England.
The BBC said Horton will be leading more than 2,000 members of staff in its “local production teams across news and audio – and will oversee the new BBC’s new local strategy to deliver greater value to communities across the country”.
The role will mean Horton will oversee the planned cuts to local radio in England, involving more sharing of programmes between stations, and the simultaneous investment into online local news and investigations.
Horton is currently acting director of BBC England and his previous roles have included BBC head of East and South East, head of regional and local programming at BBC South, and managing editor of BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.
BBC director of nations Rhodri Talfan Davies, to whom Horton will report, said he was “expertly placed to lead the modernisation of our services over the coming months”.
Horton added: “Our connection with local audiences has never been more important and I’m looking forward to working closely with – and supporting – our superb local teams across England as we introduce the new plans.”
The BBC’s local plans, announced in October, involve cutting 139 jobs in radio across its 39 stations in England but the creation of 131 roles in online local news.
Horton told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee earlier this month that the BBC faced “tough” decisions as it decided which areas should share local radio content after the cuts.
He said: “These are tough choices for us and some of those regions are big. But we are looking at both the historical element and in terms of the regional television news programmes where we continue to serve an audience across all of those areas.
“But, equally, we will ensure that when we are looking at the sharing, if there is a community of interest that straddles the boundaries which we have set out in our proposals, then we will look to share in a different way.”
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