Barely a year after the capital hosted the Olympic and Paralympic Games, BBC London, the city’s television, radio and online channel, has decided to axe the role of sports news correspondent Adrian Warner as part of cost-cutting.
Award-winner Warner is one of 10 jobs being cut by the BBC’s regional broadcaster. According to one source at the station, whose own job is safe, “It’s not good for the team: as usual the journos go, and managers stay.”
A memo to BBC London staff said the job of main weather presenter, currently held by Peter Cockcroft, was also being axed, together with another high-profile freelance post. The decisions are part of the ongoing “Delivering Quality First” programme of cuts in which BBC London has to save £500,000.
The memo from BBC London Editor Mchael MacFarlane said: “We have benefited enormously from the role of Sports News/Olympics Correspondent but it is one we can no longer afford.” So if there is any sporting legacy from the Olympics, it seems that BBC London won’t be covering it.
Warner joined the BBC as Olympics correspondent in 2007 from the Evening Standard, a month after he became SJA Sports News Reporter of the Year for a front-page exclusive on Chelsea and investigation into football agents.
A former Reuters foreign correspondent, Warner has covered 13 Olympics and five World Cups. He was not available for comment when contacted by sportsjournalists.co.uk.
It is understood, however, that he is disappointed by the decision since he was given assurances about his future at the BBC beyond the 2012 Olympics before he left the Standard.
Well-connected with senior figures within LOCOG, the BOA and the International Olympic Committee, Warner broke the story on West Ham being awarded the rights to use the Olympic Stadium and was only reporter to be part of a special exhibition of photographs of the key London 2012 personalities at the National Portrait Gallery.
The decision is a further downgrading of BBC London’s sports coverage following the departure last year of presenter, Mark Bright, the former Crystal Palace footballer.
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