Pienaar switching to Radio Five Live

Pienaar: "political heavyweight"

John Pienaar, political correspondent on the BBC’s Ten O’Clock News, is moving to Radio Five Live where he will take up a new role as part of the station’s drive to boost its coverage.

After a long recruitment process, Pienaar has been signed up as Five Live’s first dedicated political correspondent and will focus on covering stories for the breakfast show.

A member of the team that launched The Independent in 1986, Pienaar began his career as a local newspaper trainee with the South London Press. He joined the BBC 10 years ago as a political correspondent, working for both TV and radio.

Set against the backdrop of former Newsnight editor Sian Kevill’s political review, the appointment is part of the station’s drive to find new ways of covering politics and to pump more resources into its Breakfast show, said commissioning editor Steve Kyte.

"We want to strengthen our political coverage, but to try to do it in a more distinctive way," he added. "John is an incredibly experienced journalist and tonally he’s very much in the mould of Radio Five. People will identify with him as the voice of politics."

Pienaar, who will take up his new role next month, said: "Radio Five Live is one of the most engaging listens around. It also takes politics very seriously but talks to people the way people talk to each other. So I’m very excited about the move and the opportunities it will give me for covering stories in a fresh way.

"Apathy is talked about endlessly, but I think people are interested – they’re just tired of party politics and point scoring."

Five Live controller Bob Shennan said the appointment of "political heavyweight" Pienaar was a "coup" for the station and showed "how seriously we take our political coverage".

By Julie Tomlin

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