Naga Munchetty takes BBC Radio 5 live slot alongside Breakfast role – The Guardian

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Naga Munchetty, one of the four main presenters on BBC Breakfast, is to succeed Emma Barnett as host of the mid-morning programme on Radio 5 live.

Barnett, 35, is leaving the slot to take over Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour after the departures of Jane Garvey and Dame Jenni Murray.

Announcing the news on Wednesday, Heidi Dawson, the controller of 5 live, said Munchetty was “a brilliant broadcaster and a fearless journalist” who would be a perfect fit for the programme.

“She impressed us while working briefly at the station in the summer, when our listeners loved her warmth, wit and straight-talking interview style,” Dawson said. “I’m sure she will make the mid-morning programme a must listen. I can’t wait to hear her interviewing the biggest names in news and telling stories from around the UK that you won’t hear anywhere else.”

Munchetty, who will continue presenting BBC Breakfast, is to present the 10am-1pm radio programme on Mondays to Wednesdays from January – the same month Barnett moves to Woman’s Hour.

Munchetty, 45, said she was thrilled to be joining the station. “I have always wanted to work more in radio and after such an enjoyable experience presenting on the station recently, I jumped at this opportunity,” she said. “5 live has one of the most passionate, engaged audiences in radio. The prospect of talking to those listeners every week really excites me. I can’t wait to get stuck into the role.”

Munchetty began her career as a financial journalist at the Evening Standard and she has worked for Reuters, CNBC Europe and Channel 4 News. She joined the BBC in 2008, presenting the business news programme Working Lunch, and became one of the lead Breakfast presenters in 2014.

Last year she was in the headlines after discussing an item on Breakfast about Donald Trump tweeting that four congresswomen should “go back” to where they had come from. She told viewers: “Every time I have been told, as a woman of colour, to go back to where I came from, that was embedded in racism.” Asked by her co-host Dan Walker how she felt about the president using it, she said she was “furious. Absolutely furious.”

The BBC initially ruled that she had breached editorial guidelines, provoking widespread condemnation. The then director general, Tony Hall, overturned the ruling.

In a Guardian interview, Munchetty revealed she had very robust conversations with Hall and BBC management. She said: “I’m not a victim in any shape or form. I think there was a process that needed to be gone through. I think lessons have been learned and things are improving. We’re learning all the time – the BBC learns, I learn, move on.”

In 2013 she won an episode of Celebrity Mastermind, choosing the Ryder Cup for her specialist subject. In 2016 she was a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing, paired with Pasha Kovalev and voted out in week four.


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