JEFF Zycinski has quit as head of radio at BBC Scotland as it ungoes a major revamp with Radio Scotland expected to get rid of music to become a news and sport station.

The Easterhouse-born radio chief who has been with the BBC for 24 years presided over a rise in the audience for Radio Scotland from 904,000 in 2009 to 952,000 earlier this year.

It comes as Donalda MacKinnon, who was appointed director of BBC Scotland at the end of last year, introduced a management revamp with Ewan Angus brought in as multi-platform commissioning editor and Pauline Law heading the production division.

HeraldScotland: Donalda MacKinnon, the new director of BBC Scotland. Picture credit: Alan Peebles/BBC Scotland/PA Wire

The revamp effectively would take responsiblity for commissioning away from the head of radio, who also schedules programmes for BBC Radio Scotland and is responsible for the producting streams working for BBC Network Radio based in Scotland.

His portfolio had also included online and multimedia content including podcasts and themed audio streams.

His decision to step down as radio head after 12 years in post, comes as the shape of Radio Scotland is expected to change, with music shows such as Vic Galloway's new music show potentially transferring to a new Scottish music radio station as it concentrates on talk.

HeraldScotland: Vic Galloway.

It could eventually be called Radio Scotland Two or Radio Scotland Music, although early indications had been that it would be a digital-only offering available only on DAB radios.

The changes are expected to take place over the next few years.

Mr Zycinski, 54, who is due to leave the BBC early next year told staff in a message that he was making the announcement now so that "Donalda, Ewan and Pauline can make progress with their plans for a new commissioning and production structure and can start advertising any new posts that are to be created".


He said: The BBC’s emphasis on contestability between in-house and independent suppliers – especially now in this multi-platform environment – doesn’t allow for a traditional Head of Radio with responsibilities for both production and commissioning. "For me, therefore, this seems like a very good time to look for other opportunities. It’s been said that you can’t discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore, so that’s why I’ll be pursuing those opportunities outside the BBC.

"I’ll be saying goodbye in January or February and in the meantime I’ll continue to steer through the existing commissions and deal with all the regular station management and scheduling issues."

He added: " Listening figures are the highest they have been for many years and the schedule has been refreshed with new on-air talent, new formats and with successful innovations in visualisation and social media. I’m absolutely confident that BBC Radio Scotland has a great future ahead and that the opportunities afforded by multi-platform working will mean exciting times for everyone.


"As for me, after a 24 year stretch at BBC Scotland, I feel I’ve done my time and am grateful for my forthcoming parole."

Ms MacKinnon paid tribute to the outgoing radio chief saying he had "proved to be a passionate leader and advocate for radio broadcasting" and thanked him for "his commitment and amazing contribution to BBC Scotland".

She added: "I shall miss him very much.

"In the meantime, Jeff will continue to work with Pauline, Ewan and I as we progress our plans for a multi-platform organisation and transition to a new structure for the future. That includes the new leadership structure for radio and once that is finalised, I’ll be able to share the next steps with you.

"I also emphasise that my advocacy of and commitment to radio for and from Scotland, remains firmly as strong as ever."

Mr Zycinski, the seventh son of a Polish sailor who settled in Scotland after the Second World War, started his career as a news journalist in 1989 and, in 1992, joined BBC Scotland as senior producer in Selkirk.

A year later he moved to the BBC in Inverness to launch the Tom Morton morning programme.

He would go on to launch both the award-winning lunchtime Lesley Riddoch programme and in the 2006 Sony Awards, he was nominated as Station Programmer of the Year.