BBC Radio Five Live is to step up its business coverage as part of a £250,000 boost for the station over the next year.
A new Five Live Money slot is being launched this month in a bid to beef up the news and sports station’s coverage of business and the markets.
Former News 24 reporter Richard Griffiths will be the dedicated presenter on Drive, while Pauline McCole will be presenting Five Live Money on Midday and Simon Mayo’s new show which launches next week.
Original journalism on the Five Live Breakfast show is also getting a boost with Angus Stickler, the station’s former social affairs specialist, appointed as investigative journalist.
While he is expected to work on domestic stories for the programme, former Observer journalist John Sweeney, who joined Five Live earlier this year, will mainly be working on overseas stories as well as doing reports for the Sunday Five Live Report.
"The station has been on-air seven years and we have a proven track record reacting to news," said Steve Kyte, deputy controller of Radio Five Live. "Now we’ve decided to put more money into original journalism so that we can start setting the agenda."
More money is also being poured into European news, with Paul Henley appointed as its specialist correspondent and extra cash for live broadcasts from around Europe.
Kyte said the station would be "capitalising on its main selling points" and was commissioning more debates around news events and more themed programme nights following the success of Living with Colour hosted by Nicky Campbell and George Alagiah last year.
With the launch of the media programme, The Juice, last month, the station is also developing its entertainment and media news. "The emphasis will be on journalism – we haven’t been getting that right before," said Kyte. "We don’t want to do the gossipy end of news but cut through the PR rubbish and report on industry news as well so it’s part of the main agenda." The station has poached Phil Williams from Radio 1 to contribute to the show and to Five Live Breakfast and has also brought film critic Mark Kermode on board to join Simon Mayo on his new show.
by Julie Tomlin