Controversial BBC Cymru Wales (BBC CW) presenter Lucy Owen has proclaimed the importance of travelling by bus to work in a tweet ‘liked’ by her lover the Editor of Radio Wales (RW) throwing the spotlight once again on the huge potential conflict of interest presented by their affair, The Eye can reveal.
The RW Editor Colin Paterson showed his approval of Ms Owen’s message on Twitter which declared that she had taken her first commute to the new BBC CW building in Cardiff, and that she loved it.
She says: “I’ve always been a fan of X2 (a bus service) now I get to take it to work”, and has ‘hashtagged’ ‘publictransport’.
She also sent her tweet to BBC CW.
Yet officials of her lover Mr Paterson have commissioned a BBC CW RW programme hosted by Ms Owen and media executives both inside and outside the corporation have told us that they are worried about their partnership’s possible impact on the process.
The programme Ms Owen hosted on BBC CW RW was called ‘Sunday morning with Lucy Owen’, and in the context of her affair, the ‘predictive search results’ in ‘Google’ for Ms Owen and her husband have been, perhaps, prescient.
They have said ‘Lucy Owen Rhodri Owen split’, and knowledge of the affair is widespread in media circles.
Ms Owen’s partner and Editor, Mr Paterson, has himself also been a contentious figure, with his BBC CW RW schedules at the centre of recent changes.
There has been a huge shake up in the line up at BBC CW RW as Mr Paterson struggled to combat audience figures which are at a record low.
He described the new line up as a “creative challenge” and the statistics have made the scale of the challenge clear, revealing that his station had an average weekly audience of just 317,000 listeners in a three month period.
Among the changes that were announced in a bid to stem the tide of disastrous listening figures was a new breakfast programme hosted by different presenters on Monday to Thursday, to Fridays and Saturdays.
But a former day time programme presenter, who was called on Wikipedia one of the main presenters on BBC CW RW at the beginning, Mike Flynn, was deeply unimpressed.
He told The Eye: “Paterson has not responded to my demands to resign or indeed had the decency to discuss where this strategy is leading. He is a public servant not some cavalier local businessman running a chip shop – £18 million in the kitty and the listeners are deserting in droves”.
Mr Flynn was equally angry at our revelations of the affair and said to us: “If Paterson has been having an affair with a Wales Today and Radio Wales presenter it brings his management skills in to question and he needs to be suspended immediately.”
But in May 2017 Mr Paterson proudly underlined his changes saying: “I’m so happy we’ve managed to secure a strong and varied set of new voices for the station”.
Yet others have been less happy.
His new morning programme on BBC CW RW was described by listeners as “awful”, “abysmal“, and “one of the worst programmes I have heard in a long time”.
One contributor to the Digital Spy online forum has said in the past ‘Breakfast with Claire Summers‘: “… sounds like a community radio station bloody awful. Woman presenter has a grating voice and is fluffing her lines. Morning news programme should contain news”.
The Deputy Economy Minister in Wales Lee Waters AM has said publicly he is worried by what is happening and that there should be ‘serious’ and ‘challenging’ journalism, and objected to the decision to drop the Good Morning Wales (GMW) programme.
Mr Waters (himself a former producer on GMW) said the changes meant there would be “no serious news programme” broadcast at breakfast time.
His comments echo statements on Twitter when he has called for more ‘challenging’ journalism.
He quoted approvingly a call for “… serious, challenging journalism and consistently high-quality radio programmes which make politicians nervous…”
He has tweeted to BBC CW after the new schedule was announced: “Really concerned about this – absolutely nothing against Claire, but plenty against magazine format. We need agenda-setting news & scrutiny in this slot. You’re a national public service broadcaster. Where else are we going to get it?”.
The objections of Mr Waters have now been adopted by the Welsh Government.
He has expressed concern at the changes to Ofcom, which is the external regulator of the BBC’s television, radio and on-demand programmes.
He said: “We feel that as a public service broadcaster, with a duty under its latest charter to reflect the nations, that they have an obligation to provide serious news and scrutiny. Just as BBC Scotland and BBC network do”.
But BBC CW remains fully behind the controversial changes to the RW schedule, saying it was “committed to delivering news to the widest audience”.
Apart from presenting BBC Wales Today and the RW programme, Ms Owen also hosts the BBC One Wales (BBCW) consumer affairs programme ‘X-Ray’ with her husband, Rhodri, who it’s predicted she will split from.
She has published a book which raises funds for the Noah’s Ark Charity for the Children’s Hospital of Wales called ‘Boo-a-bog In The Park’.
She proclaimed: “The story is about how a little boy gets though a situation that is challenging for him with the help of an imaginary friend. But it’s all about finding any way through a difficult time or situation.
“It’s been a real family affair, with Rhod translating, and Gabs (eight year old son) came up with idea for Boo-a-bog fun and games at the end of the book. And the link to the charity as well makes it extra special for us. The theme of the story feels a good fit with the charity.”
Evidently another theme for Ms Owen is how she takes the bus to work – but not that how her tweet about it throws the spotlight once more on the affair with BBC CW RW Editor Mr Paterson, and how this puts centre stage a possible conflict of interest.
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