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
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
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.’
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