Andrew Marr has promised to ruffle feathers when he launches his new LBC radio show next month by taking advantage of the freedom he has gained by leaving the BBC.
The former BBC political editor will host his own hour-long programme at 6pm between Monday and Thursday. He previously said he was looking forward to “getting my voice back” after being freed from the BBC’s impartiality requirements.
While the national broadcaster is increasingly cracking down on any presenter who dares to express even a mild personal opinion, stations such as LBC are hitting record ratings by encouraging their hosts to take provocative political stances.
Marr said: “I’ve always thought journalism is about breaking stories, ruffling feathers and having some fun on the way … Anyone wanting bland, safe, wearily predictable journalism is strongly advised to look elsewhere.”
The announcement means Eddie Mair, another former BBC presenter, will have to give up the final hour of his LBC show to make way for Marr.
The BBC has been hit hard by the increasingly competitive market for political journalism in the UK which has seen deep-pocketed commercial media companies poach BBC presenters.
Earlier this week Global, the media company that owns LBC, hired Jon Sopel and Emily Maitlis from the BBC to host a new podcast – while Rupert Murdoch’s News UK made large offers to hire BBC staff for its TimesRadio station and forthcoming talkTV service.
Marr’s LBC show will also be broadcast live as a video stream, another indication that the division between radio and television is increasingly blurred.
Marr gave up a £340,000 salary when he left the BBC but will now hold a variety of jobs, including the New Statesman’s chief political commentator and presenting a show on LBC’s sister station Classic FM.
While BBC staff are required to declare outside earnings from paid speaking gigs, there is no such scrutiny for employees of commercial organisations.
It is not only on-air talent jumping ship from the BBC but also the behind-the-scenes producers. Marr’s show will be put together by former BBC staff, including ex-political programming boss Rob Burley, who oversaw Marr’s Sunday politics show, as well as Newsnight producer Matt Harris.