Digital UK lures BBC man for media

Digital UK, the body charged with ensuring every British household is able to receive digital TV before the analogue switch-off in 2012, has poached BBC corporate and public relations commissioning editor Jon Steel.

The former BBC News head of publicity becomes Digital UK's first head of media relations next month.

Reporting to Digital UK director of comms Beth Thoren and head of marketing and customer infrastructure Jane Ostler, Steel will manage local and national media campaigns. A region-by-region switch to digital TV was announced last month by Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell.

Digital UK is a not-for-profit organisation previously known as SwitchCo.

Challenges include the overhaul of the digital broadcast infrastructure, with more than 1,100 new antennae being installed on high masts around the country. Digital UK also has to consider
the overlap of signals with France and other neighbouring countries.

A priority for Digital UK is ensuring that vulnerable members of the public – and in particular the elderly refuseniks reluctant to adopt a technology they find difficult to understand – are not left without television or exploited by unscrupulous traders.

Last month the then SwitchCo hired Freud Communications to manage a national and regional campaign (PRWeek, 2 September). Digital UK also uses Fishburn Hedges for public affairs.

Steel joined the BBC in 1995 after three years as a press officer for Kent Police. After a stint as BBC News head of publicity, Steel was appointed to his present role in April 2002, where he is responsible for commissioning corporate publications and speechwriting.

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