MEDIA: PROFILE; Has he got news for you: Charles Golding, Programme Controller, LBC

Charles Golding does not seem an obvious choice for radio controller for the relaunch of London News Radio’s News-talk 1152 AM station under the well known name of its first licence holder LBC.

Charles Golding does not seem an obvious choice for radio controller for

the relaunch of London News Radio’s News-talk 1152 AM station under the

well known name of its first licence holder LBC.



For one thing, he has never worked in radio before.



But Steve Orchard, group programme director at GWR, which has a

controlling stake in London News Radio, recognised that the relaunch of

the troubled station could do with a fresh approach - someone who could

see things without the constraints of ‘we’ve always done it that way’.



The proliferation of radio stations since LBC first launched in 1973 as

the UK’s first commercial radio station, means LBC will have to work

hard to fight for its share of listeners. Still, Golding, 39, brings

with him a wealth of experience gained from 11 jobs in both television

and newspapers.



Educated at the Jewish Free School in Camden and the University of

Essex, Golding took up his first job as a researcher to Sir David Frost.

Two years later he become deputy features editor of TV am, and later a

film critic for ITV’s Good Morning Britain.



In 1987 he became a producer for Channel 4’s Business Daily, moving into

newspapers in 1989 as features editor of the Sunday Mirror. A year

later he was back in television as producer/presenter of Astra’s The

Video Show.



He went back to newspapers with a spell as features editor of the Sunday

Express but later became producer/presenter of the BBC’s The Computer

Show and producer of The Weekend Show, both produced by Planet 24.



In 1988 he wrote a non-fiction book Rats: The New Plague. No, rats are

not his main interest: the holocaust and science fiction are. He has

built up an extensive library on the holocaust, which is now well

regarded and used by authors. He’s also a columnist for the Jewish

Chronicle and he studies Hebrew once a week.



There are basically two types of radio programme controllers: those who

set the tone and remain hands off, and those who have a hand in

everything. Golding says he is the latter.



Nearly two weeks after LBC relaunched, Golding believes he is already

making his mark. One of his first steps has been to conduct an audit of

all the specialist contributors used by presenters, such as doctors,

gardeners, astrologers and parenting experts. Golding says he wanted to

simplify the number of people used so that people could recognise the

names associated with the station. Golding has also hired more female

presenters rejecting the notion that people don’t like listening to

women on the radio.



He is trying to move beyond the station’s current listener profile,

which is 55 years and over and predominately female. Far from trying to

compete head on with Talk Radio and Radio 4, Golding says he is steering

for the mid-market audience.



But he is wary about changing too much and has retained many of LBC’s

former presenters: ‘It’s a bit like a museum, the good things remain but

the things around them change. I am not looking to make all the changes

overnight. It’s a slow burn thing.’



HIGHLIGHTS



1983 Deputy features editor, TV AM

1987 Producer, C4’s Business Daily

1989 Features editor, Sunday Mirror

1991 Features editor, Sunday Express

1995 Producer/presenter, Planet 24’s The Computer Show and the BBC’s The

Weekend Show



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