BBC DG Dyke replaces Murdoch at number one in MediaGuardian Top 100

MUMBAI: There is a shift in positions in the just released annual top 100 list of UK based publication MediaGuardian.

Last year, News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch was numero uno, followed by BBC DG Greg Dyke. This year, they have switched places. The BBC has had a good year with its TV and radio channels enjoying critical and ratings success. It also launched new digital channels.

A new entrant in the top 10 is Ofcom's chairman David Currie. Currie is in charge of the most powerful regulator the UK television, radio and telecommunications industries have ever seen. Due to be operational by the end of this year, the super-regulator replaces five existing bodies - the independent television commission, the broadcasting standards commission, the office of telecommunications, the radio communications agency and the radio authority. His priorities will include the rollout of broadband across the UK.

The television top ten sees the fairer sex break into the male bastion. There are three women. Sky Networks' managing director Dawn Airey, independent producer Eileen Gallagher and BBC director of TV Jana Bennett have taken the seventh, eighth and ninth spots respectively in the TV line-up for 2003.

Reports indicate that Airey's rise (from 33 in last year's MediaGuardian 100 to 16) can be attributed to her move from Channel Five to Sky, where she has responsiblity for all the broadcaster's non-sport services, including Sky One, Sky News and the movie networks. In the process, she has gone from overseeing a programming budget of around ?150m to nearer ?500m.

The MediaGuardian report states that Gallagher is this year's biggest MediaGuardian 100 climber, rising 76 places to 17. This is in part due to her position as co-founder and managing director of indie producer Shed, which makes hit ITV dramas Bad Girls and Footballers' Wives. Shed is in a good position to benefit from the government's decision to force broadcasters to improve the terms on which they deal with independent producers.

The overall top ten list also sees a woman. News Corp's The Sun's editor Rebekah Wade is at number six. Murdoch appointed her to the position six months ago and media analysts say that she has brought the spark back into the publication which had previously been missing. Wade climbed up 47 places from last year. She is also the top performer among the under 40 crowd.

As far as journalistic ethics are concerned, Wade caused a commotion earlier this year saying that journalists were entitled to use bugging devices and other covert methods if there was a strong public interest in the story under investigation. The creator of publishing phenomenon Harry Potter author J K Rowling is a new entrant on the list. She comes in at number 50.

In terms of slipping down, WPP 8's group CEO Sir Martin Sorrell's fall by 40 places reflected another tough year in the ad market. As reported earlier by he closed a deal to acquire Cordiant Communications. An interesting new entry is that of a blogger at number 94. Blogging came into its own after 9/11 and the Iraq conflict. The Baghdad Blogger wrote under the pseudonym Salam Pax. His story of how the war was affecting his family was read online everyday by 20,000 people.

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