Riddoch moves step closer to clinching deal over radio show

BBC Radio Scotland is understood to be close to reaching an agreement with broadcaster Lesley Riddoch to outsource part of her daily 122pm current affairs programme to herself.

Riddoch wants to set up an independent production company along with Turan Ali, director of Bona Broadcasting, in Dundee, and Radio Scotland is expected to offer the new venture the 1-2pm slot. Riddoch, who has presented her own show for five years, officially finishes her current freelance contract on 24 December.

She is regarded by BBC Scotland bosses as one of their star current affairs broadcasters and her progamme has been winning consistently high ratings.

When news was leaked at BBC Scotland that the two hour lunchtime programme was possibly being considered for “privatisation”, there was an outcry about the possible job losses for 15 production staff.

NUJ members were unhappy about the rumoured projected change and Riddoch, an NUJ member, came in for sustained public criticism from fellow members on the BBC staff.

A BBC spokesman insisted that no decision had yet been taken on the 12-2pm slot although he said negotiations with Riddoch were continuing over content for the 1-2pm slot. He said: “BBC Scotland is still negotiating about a new programme between 1pm and 2pm and we would hope to have our new lunchtime schedule on air as soon as possible.

“Lesley aims to concentrate on a number of projects in the new year, including Radio Scotland work.”

Riddoch, a former assistant editor of The Scotsman , is also reported to be considering newspaper work.

By Hamish Mackay

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