Confession: I am a “running bore”.
I have run 11 marathons on 5 different continents and I have lost track of how many half marathons I have taken part in.
Running influences almost every part of my life. When I plan a holiday I make sure the hotel has a running machine in the gym or I work out a running route near where I am staying. Running weighs heavily when deciding what to order at restaurants; pasta and rice the night before a long training run, protein after doing a series of sprints. And it was definitely the deciding factor in which pushchair I recently bought for my newborn son.
Running is definitely not the most important thing in my life but its influence can be felt in almost every part of it.
And I can talk about it all the time, given the opportunity.
There’s no doubt about it, I am a “running bore” and I am proud of it.
BROADCASTERS NEED TO BE “DIVERSITY BORES”
But if I am a “running bore” I want broadcasters to get to the point where they are “diversity bores”. Where diversity influences everything that they do and they can’t help but talk about it all the time. And judging from an important announcement last week, even though there is no denying that broadcasters are taking diversity, seriously they haven’t achieved the title of “diversity bore” yet.
A few weeks ago Tony Hall announced a major restructure of BBC management.
The restructure is important and is seen by most media observers as critical as the corporation enters the new Charter period. There’s little doubt that the restructure will have a big effect on TV diversity, the concern of many media observers is that no one at the BBC seemed to think it was important enough to mention it.
DIVERSITY AND THE NEW BBC CHARTER
Diversity was a major part of the recent Government White Paper on the BBC Charter Review with it being written into the Charter for the first time. So how will the BBC’s restructure address this central part of its charter requirements?
A quick ‘control f’ for the word “diversity” of the press release put out by the BBC’s Media Centre press office of Tony Hall’s announcement of the new leadership structure comes up with zero results.
But that does not mean that the restructure will not have a major impact on diversity in the organization.
The most obvious impact of the restructure is on gender diversity at the top of the organisation. Women have landed arguably three of the most important jobs in the BBC.
Anne Bulford has become the BBC’s Deputy Director General with many newspapers now tipping her as the next Director General when Tony Hall leaves office. Charlotte Moore will become Director of Content – arguably the most powerful position in British television. And Helen Boaden is unquestionably the most powerful person in British radio as she now, not only oversee the BBC’s radio output, but will now have responsibility for 5Live as it moves into BBC Radio.
Some BBC watches have expressed concern that the restructure might harm regional diversity as the directors for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – Ken MacQuarrie, Rhodri Talfan Davies and Peter Johnston – will no longer be part of the executive team. Instead a single role of Director of Nations and Regions has been created and will effectively take their place on the new streamlined board.
It is also unclear how important this new person will be in overseeing diversity. The BBC has previously talked about the importance of BBC Birmingham in promoting diversity throughout the corporation. With this in mind whoever is in charge of the Nations and Regions could be the most important person in the BBC when it comes to diversity.
IN PRAISE OF BOREDOM
There is no doubt that the restructure will affect diversity in other ways, many of which may not become clear for months or even years to come. But the most surprising aspect of the announcement regarding the restructure so far is the fact that diversity was not mentioned at all.
When it comes to marathon running I cannot help but bore the people around me talking about as I it has some kind of impact in most areas of my life. I look forward to the day when broadcasters can be as boring about diversity.
Oh and by the way I will be running in the Budapest Marathon in October.
Marcus Ryder is the Chair of the RTS Diversity Committee and is an award winning producer with over 20 years experience working in television, radio and online. He is currently in China on a sabbatical.