Chris Smith, the culture secretary, has named Richard Hooper as the
new chairman of the Radio Authority. He will replace Sir Peter Gibbings,
whose five-year term expires at the beginning of next year.
Hooper is a founding member of the Government-regulated body, and will
preside over the board for five years. At the same time, another member,
David Witherow, has been appointed as Hooper’s deputy.
The appointment puts an end to months of speculation over who would
replace Gibbings, during which time the Department of Culture, Media and
Sport canvassed opinion from a wide range of senior industry
Among the names linked to the post were the former director-general of
MI5, Stella Rimington, and John Swift, the former rail regulator.
The Radio Authority has come under fire from the commercial radio
industry for not being as flexible as the Broadcasting Act allows in
terms of ownership regulations and awarding licences.
Smith said: ’Richard has a particularly strong background and knowledge
of the broadcasting and wider media industry. As a founder member of the
Radio Authority, he is well placed to steer it in coming years. And I
have do doubt that David, with his longstanding involvement with radio
and broadcasting and experience as a member of the Authority, will
provide valuable support.’