Helen Boaden (born 1st March 1956) is the Director of BBC Radio, the service that provides national radio stations covering the majority of musical genres, as well as local radio stations covering local news, affairs and interests

Early life[edit]Edit

Boaden was born on 1 March 1956 in Colchester in Essex. Her father was an FE lecturer in Geography and then worked for a teaching union. She says that she came "from one of those families where there was quite a lot of shouting and plates whizzing through the air".


Boaden says that she found school "a great relief from home life because it was calm and ordered". She was educated at Rushmere junior school and Northgate Grammar School (nowNorthgate High School) in the large county town of Ipswich in Suffolk, and at Cedars Grammar School (now Cedars Upper School) in the town of Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire, followed by the University of Sussex, where she gained a BA Honours in English Literature and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1999, where she gained an MBA.

Life and career[edit|edit source]Edit

Boaden started her career in 1978 as a Care Assistant with disturbed adolescents in the London Borough of Hackney. The following year, she became a journalist with the New York City radio station WBAI. On returning to the UK, she took a course in Radio Journalism at the London College of Printing (now the London College of Communication). After Radio Tees and Radio Aire, she joined the BBC in 1983 as a news producer with Radio Leeds. From there, she joined BBC Radio 4 as a reporter on the File on 4 series, then as its Editor from 1991. Boaden worked from the BBC in Manchester as a presenter for Woman's Hour and later presented other documentaries for Radio 4, and also for theBrass Tacks political programme on BBC Two.

In 1997, Boaden became the BBC's Head of Business Programmes, then in 1998 Head of BBC Current Affairs – the first woman to hold this position. She was Controller of BBC Radio 4 from March 2000 until 20 September 2004, superseded by Mark Damazer. She became Controller of BBC7 in 2002, when the station started.[4] In 2004, she succeeded Richard Sambrook as Director of BBC News.

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