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Sam Jackson has today been announced as BBC Radio 3’s new Controller. Sam will drive creative and managerial responsibility for the running of Radio 3 and the delivery of the annual BBC Proms, the world’s biggest classical music festival.

Having started his career as a runner for the BBC Proms, Sam is now one of the industry’s most respected leaders. He has worked across broadcasting and the recorded music industry, and has collaborated with many of the world’s greatest classical and jazz musicians for nearly twenty years. He brings a wealth of experience in senior leadership roles, most recently as Executive Vice-President of Global Classics & Jazz for Universal Music Group, managing teams both in London and Berlin.

As Controller, Sam will set the strategic vision for Radio 3 and the Proms to ensure that the needs and expectations of its audience are met, making sure the network and the BBC Proms remain at the forefront of cultural life in the UK and across the world.

Sam Jackson, Radio 3’s incoming Controller, says:

“BBC Radio 3 is unlike any other station: a network delivering ambitious, unique content, with live classical music at its core. This ambition, quality and diversity must stay at the heart of everything Radio 3 and the BBC Proms deliver. I’m thrilled to be tasked with driving both Radio 3 and the Proms forward, with the help of brilliant people across the BBC and the wider music sector.”

Lorna Clarke, BBC Director of Music, says:

“I’m delighted that Sam will be joining us as Controller of Radio 3, leading the strategy for classical music across the BBC. Sam’s track record in broadcasting, love of classical music and inspirational leadership will be crucial to the BBC’s ongoing commitment to bring great music to everyone.”

For over 15 years, Sam worked in the commercial radio sector, latterly running three national radio brands: Classic FM, Smooth and Gold. Named by The Hospital Club as ‘one of the 100 most influential and innovative people working across arts, culture and the creative industries’, during his time at Classic FM he was responsible for the station’s entire on-air output, music policy and the popular Classic FM Live concerts. 

Music education has been important to Sam throughout his career. He was a member of The Music Commission – a year-long inquiry into supporting and sustaining musical progression for all – and is a Board Member of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance. In addition he is a trustee of the charities Help Musicians and the Young Classical Artists Trust. He has also written and co-written a number of best-selling books on classical music.

Sam Jackson begins his role as Controller in April and will report into Lorna Clarke, Director of Music for the BBC.

He will work alongside David Pickard, Director of BBC Proms, and Simon Webb, who was recently announced as the BBC’s first Head of Orchestras and Choirs.

After eight years, Alan Davey will leave his role as BBC Radio 3 Controller in March.