Balancing Jon Gaunt's departure

From: Andy Griffee Subject: Balance As your reporter didn’t bother
to seek a balancing statement from the organisation being “slammed”

by Jon Gaunt last week, allow me on behalf of the BBC to respond to his comments.

We’re
all disappointed that our relationship with Jon has ended unhappily.
But the fact is that Jon was no longer hosting a topical phone-in show
but presenting our main news and current affairs breakfast show. A week
before going on air in his new job on our newest local radio station,
BBC Coventry and Warwickshire, he advised us of his new job at The Sun.
There was a clear conflict of interest with the BBC’s guidelines.

Unsurprisingly,
senior BBC managers were consulted on this issue, but the decision was
taken within BBC English Regions, which I run. Jon was indeed taken off
air four days earlier than planned. Listeners had their say about his
departure and on our Where I Live internet site (both pro and con) but
it wasn’t fair on the wider audience to have another week of it. Other
news continues to happen in Coventry and Warwickshire and life goes on
– with the fabulous Liz Kershaw now in the breakfast presenter’s chair.

Jon has enjoyed a long and distinguished career with the BBC.

Ultimately, and disappointingly for us, it was his choice to breach his contract and take The Sun’s money.

Andy Griffee Controller, BBC English Regions

(Editor’s note: we contacted the BBC press office in Birmingham to
seek comment from the corporation. Their response was to send us a copy
of the editorial guidelines.)

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