The voices of British radio’s most powerful people will be sounding out the future of the service at an event hosted by the University of Sunderland.

The Radio Academy event takes place Monday, 16 January, 2017, 6pm-9pm at the Media Centre, Sir Tom Cowie Campus, featuring Helen Boaden, the BBC’s Director of Radio since 2013, who recently announced her resignation.

As the most powerful person in British radio she’s been overseeing BBC Radios 1,2,3,4, the digital-only stations 6 Music, 1Xtra, Radio 4 Extra and the Asian Network. She had previously been in charge of BBC News for seven years.

After studying journalism at the University of Sussex and the London College of Printing Helen’s first job was as a reporter at Radio Tees in Stockton. She went on to work at Radio Aire before moving to the BBC as a news producer with Radio Leeds. At the BBC she presented and produced a range of major programmes for Radio 4, including Woman’s Hour and File on Four, and in 1998 was the first woman to become Head of Current Affairs.

Helen will be in conversation with Wendy Pilmer, herself no stranger to the upper reaches of BBC management having previously been head of the BBC in the North East and Cumbria. Wendy’s background in radio includes work at a senior level at 5Live, Radio 4 and Radio One where she was a Sony Award-winning producer. She now works as a consultant.

Helen is a Fellow of the Radio Academy and can be relied upon to provide a unique and fascinating insight into the past, present and future of radio in the UK.

Richard Berry, Senior Lecturer in Radio, said: “When we were asked if we’d like to host this event for the Academy we jumped at the chance.

“We’ve previously hosted other senior BBC leaders like Peter Salmon and Ben Cooper and we know that our students have found those experiences to be really beneficial. I’m sure Helen Boaden will offer some fascinating insights into the media industry and I look forward to welcoming her to the media centre.”

Brian Lister, the Chair of the North East Branch of the Radio Academy, added: “The Radio Academy represents people working and volunteering in all kinds of radio stations and those studying broadcasting, this will be great opportunity for commercial and community radio people as well as BBC staff to get insights into the future, and the recent past, of the radio business. We are honoured that Helen Boaden has chosen the University of Sunderland as the place to share her experiences.”


Doors open at 6.15 for a 6.45 pm start. Admission is free but tickets should be reserved in advance.