The BBC has appointed its first head of press and public affairs
for its restructured English Regions operation.
Jerry Johns is to take up the post, moving from his role as press and
public relations manager at the Pebble Mill studios in Birmingham.
Johns, who will continue to be based in Birmingham, will be responsible
for the ten English regions, leading over 30 staff in the press office
teams in Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester.
His appointment follows the restructuring of the BBC’s local and
regional operations across the country under the new controller of
English Regions, Nigel Chapman.
The previous set-up was divided into three regions: the North, the
Midlands and East, and the South, but since Chapman came on board last
autumn he has streamlined the structure to run from a single senior
management team in Birmingham.
Johns, who reports to Chapman, will be responsible for publicising and
promoting the BBC’s network and regional television and local radio
output across England.
Chapman said: ’I am delighted that Jerry has joined the team. He will
play a key role in providing strategic leadership to the press and
public affairs staff working across England.’
Johns’ duties also include implementing the strategy of public
accountability which will involve him in direct contact with the public
to listen to their views.
He will oversee the work of the ten regional advisory councils and he
will also be secretary to the English National Forum, the body chaired
by BBC Governor Dr Margaret Spurr OBE, which reviews the performance and
output of the English Regions.
Johns said that his main challenge was in raising the profile of BBC
local programmes in England to build on the audience that they currently
attract. ’We will be communicating their purpose and values in the face
of growing competition, and the fact that we offer a range of
distinctive radio and television services rooted in the locality,’ he