Tim Crook

Remembering Dr. Fred Hunter pioneer of UK Independent Broadcasting, Broadcast Journalism Education, Sound Poetry and Cultural Historian

In Obituary on February 19, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Dr. Frederic Hunter receiving his doctorate in 1984

An innovator and pioneer of UK broadcasting and journalism education, and media historian passed away on the 5th of January 2012 in his 78th year.  Dr. Fred Hunter had completed the last proofs for his unique and ground-breaking book on the UK’s first university journalism course at the University of London between 1919 and 1939.  But as well as applying his painstaking and enlightening historian’s attention to the achievements of pioneers before him, Frederic Newlands Hunter, born in Gateshead in 1934, had been a significant and important innovator himself.

Fred, as he was known to his colleagues, was the first Director of the UK’s Independent Radio News, and one of the first assistant editors at the country’s first licensed independent radio station, LBC, in London in 1973. The country’s broadcasting industry and culture owes him a huge debt.

Fred, founded and developed the first broadcast journalism training course in UK further and higher education at the London College of Printing (now London College of Communications in the University of the Arts) in 1977.  Every convenor and student in the scores of broadcast and multi-media journalism courses throughout the country owe their opportunity and success to his pioneering vision.

Fred completed the first PhD in Journalism at the City University in 1984, under the supervision and examination of the country’s foremost broadcast historian Lord Asa Briggs and celebrated editor of the Sunday Times  Sir Harold Evans. The UK academic discipline of journalism owes him respect and recognition for bringing intellectual and academic rigour to the practice of journalism in terms of social and cultural history. As with so many good developments in the country’s media and academia,  Fred was there at the start.

The cover for the forthcoming book 'Hacks and Dons' based on Dr. Fred Hunter's PhD research.

In his role as historian and cultural innovator, Fred was a founding editor of Stream Records, and during the swinging 60s he was responsible for recording the leading poets of the time,  such as Basil Bunting and Lee Harwood, an achievement celebrated in a BBC Radio 4 documentary in 2008 called Fred’s Archive and presented by Joan Bakewell.

Fred Hunter’s positive and generous intellectual, creative and humanitarian spirit is known and appreciated by hundreds of people in the arts, politics, journalism, education and culture and his gentle encouragement and confidence in other people’s ability and ambition leaves a legacy that is priceless in terms of value in the human community.

This online obituary inevitably offers a personal perspective, but I know from talking to so many people that his life-changing and enhancing interactions and inspiration were experienced and shared by many others.

We first met in January 1978.  I was 18 years old and applying for the pre-entry course in Magazine Journalism at the London College of Printing in the Elephant and Castle.  It was a brutal block of glass, steel and concrete and the ground floor concourse was filled with historical printing presses. The smell wafting up the lift shafts was of ink. On the sixth floor, that I am pretty sure I climbed to via the stairs, as the lifts were not working, I entered one of those 1970s box-style offices, furnished in teak veneer, and an open window bringing in the low frequency sounds of early rush-hour traffic from below.

18 year old Tim Crook's LCP NUS card in 1978

Fred Hunter and Brian Bedwell were conducting the interviews for the journalism intake for the academic/training year 78-9. Mr. Bedwell played hard cop, and Fred, inevitably soft ball, though I did notice that he would theatrically frown when extolling the virtues of meeting a deadline and the discipline of journalistic writing.  While I thought I was being emotionally terrorised by Brian, Fred, unbeknownst to me, was evaluating my potential for joining the second year of the Pre-Entry Certificate in Radio Journalism one year course that he had founded against the odds, all advice and much educational oppositional bureaucratic artifice at a College that still believed in its branding in terms of ‘Printing’ and presumably thought broadcasting was something decadent aliens did on Mars or Jupiter.

Fred was a meritocrat.  He had no sense of hierarchy in terms of class, ethnicity, gender, status and age. I didn’t know it at the time, and I had absolutely no conscious ambition to pursue a career in ‘voice’ or ‘sound’ journalism, but he was clocking my predilection to melodrama based on Saturday classes at the Italia Conti Drama School and a scholarship offered but not taken up, my unorthodox political activism for the Young Liberals in community newspaper journalism, my love, interest and knowledge of poetry, and the fact that because of middle/lower-middle class poverty had bailed out of the first term of my grammar school sixth form to earn a living selling leathergoods in the Brompton Road, King’s Road and Tottenham Court Road (male and female handbags were my speciality), mixing cocktails and bar-tending at night, and lately being an enthusiastic employee of the Corporation of London as a public maintenance assistant (popularly understood as road-sweeper and occasional dustman).

This somewhat Down and Out in London more than Paris turn in my career had been motivated by the fact that with overtime public maintenance in the City paid more than selling luggage, belts and bags in the West End.

There was further appreciation of the fact that despite working day and night, I had managed to pass an A’level in Sociology, and gather a portfolio of published local and campaigning journalism. He passed an open envelope franked with the slogan ‘Support The Leveller.’ He later claimed I was the only candidate who could give them chapter and verse on the prosecution of the radical magazine under the Official Secrets Act and contempt of court for naming a witness called Colonel ‘B’ in a celebrated trial.

But I thought the interview was not going at all well. Neither of them seemed in the least bit interested in my desire to edit New Society or learn how to design the pages of Time Out, nor indeed push the boundaries of Agitprop libertarian socialism. While being justifiably verbally skewed by Brian, Fred interjected ‘Ever thought of working in radio?’  ‘Might have done,’ I piped up unconvincingly and when they both leaned forward in stereo to demand ‘Why?’ feebly replied ‘because I like the sound of my own voice.’

Even then I thought I had long passed the eviction point for what became the Apprentice, and Fred departed without explanation. I was left to be further and properly berated for my lack of clear thinking by Brian and turned out with the flea in my ear that if I had any chance at all I’d better deliver 800 words on the experience of the interview in the style of a news feature for New Society before the same time tomorrow.

Red-faced, with moist armpits and a battered brain, I met Fred on the way out and held the door open as he walked past with a tray of cream cakes, silver tea-pot, milk and sugar. ‘Thanks’ he said and ‘See you in September.’

By this time, Fred had achieved more than most people would have struggled to attain in a lifetime. His father had been a mining engineer and his mother a hair-dresser and academic prowess and scholarship to Wycliffe College in Gloucestershire led to Christ’s College, Cambridge where he read Economics and Moral Sciences alongside the playwright Michael Frayn.

For his national service he was commissioned into the 5th Royal Tank Regiment, which meant officer training at Sandhurst. For two years he served in Korea. After graduation from Cambridge, he paid the rent by selling shirts at Harrods and then embarked on a 15 year career in the Central Office of Information where he headed the London Radio News Service. He was on the first trip by Concorde to Tokyo though Japan mistakenly translated his identity card acronym as ‘CIA’ instead of ‘COI.’

Fred relished participating in the counter-culture movements of the 1960s and while recording cutting edge poetry with the Cassidys for Stream, he would meet and collaborate in performance art with Yoko Ono. Fred was a prodigious archivist. He appreciated how the 20th century had the opportunity to record itself. His papers, books, and audio recordings, are of enormous historical significance, and any prestigious university library would be enhanced by the acquisition of his collection.

Fred was one of the more qualified and flexible journalistic editors at LBC/IRN for the challenge of launching independent and commercial radio in the UK from the 8th October 1973, in the middle of the Yom Kippur War between Egypt, Syria and Israel. His political links from his COI days ensured that the first half hour of broadcasting included audio birthday cards from the Prime Minister, Edward Heath, the leader of the Labour opposition Harold Wilson and Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe.

The first half hour of licensed independent radio broadcasting, LBC, 8th October 1973.

A quirk of history meant that the BBC had had a radio monopoly since 1922. It was a clever strategic decision to site the first journalistic and speech programming competition to the BBC in Gough Square, just off Fleet Street, the heart-beat of the country’s journalism industry. But LBC/IRN was at the core of a broadcasting cultural revolution. It was not just radio funded by adverts- a kind of ITV in sound.

LBC periscope for the royal wedding of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips in 1973. The yellow colour and style of branding was on the station's Hillman Hunter radio car until the early 1980s.

Nobody in Britain had the experience or clearest idea how to do it. The journalists, engineers and producers drawn from the BBC were regimented to the tradition of scripted talks and news, a civil service mentality and a turgid, middle class and very bourgeois elan typified by the style of Jack de Manio and Robert Robinson. The inkies from the newspaper world were sharper news people, but their idea of communicating it was putting the front page of the Daily Telegraph or The Times on medium wave. They were talking readers, instead of talkers.

Fred had the advantage of knowing how to do sophisticated and sustained talk and speech radio outside the BBC and he knew the experts at what LBC and IRN needed to do were Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians who had had decades of commercial radio talk and news experience.

And there was something else. LBC was a station for London, a vast, rich, warm, complex, vibrant, multi-class, multi-ethnic, and socially mobile metropolis. The sound of news and the sound of talk had to be more open, spontaneous, egalitarian, energetic, curious, and questioning.

I will never forget when LBC started. I was a 14 year old bored and distant from anything on Radios 4 & 3, only a few years previously known respectively as the Home Service, and Third Programme. Like everyone in the music youth culture of the 60s and 70s, I listened to the pirates and Luxembourg, read Melody Maker and New Musical Express (NME) and prowled the gig scene for cutting edge music. Only John Peel and whispering Bob’s Old Grey Whistle Test were my BBC reference points. But when 1,000 pigeons were released on LBC’s first day of transmission and a town crier went round the capital’s streets shouting ‘You’ll never hear anything like it’ a lot more went up in London town.

Fred Hunter at LBC's 25th Birthday Party October 1998. From left to right, the station's first presenter, David Jessel, Howard Yentis, Fred Hunter, Ken Guy, the first IRN news-reader and Peter Cole.

LBC/IRN was a rush of adrenaline and excitement and the tranny was tuned into 261 MW and 97.3 FM (They called it VHF in those days) twenty four hours a day. The war reporters were ad-libbing from the Golan Heights and Sinai in a style I had never heard before. Correspondents in far away places were reporting with live Q & As, and London was the blossoming of edgy angry phone-ins.

For the first time I heard English spoken as it was in Fulham. Janet Street-Porter, 6 ft tall, red haired, in her twenties and with attitude, ping ponging with a posh dude called Paul Callan. Janet had been at Lady Margaret in Parsons Green– the school my first girlfriends had gone to.  And then there was this guy called Adrian Love, who not only could talk music, (his father was the musician and band leader Geoff Love) he could talk anything and everything including persuading a man not to jump off Westminster Bridge at 3 a.m. and while staying at the microphone for 12 hours solid because the presenter booked to follow him had called in sick.

LBC's successful milk bottle marketing campaign promoting the AM morning show of Douglas Cameron and Bob Holness: "More Snap, Less Crackle No Pop."

Britain was in a state of urgent and complex economic, political and social flux. Yom Kippur, and middle east oil boycott meant recession. Labour, who had been opposed to commercial radio, won through in two general elections in 1974. It was inevitable that 24/7 news radio, only in London, and with a network of local stations to launch was going to be wobbly.  Fred moved onto ITN to work on their election specials. But the foundation stones of the cultural revolution in British Broadcasting had been laid. Brilliant editors such as George Ffitch, Ron Onions, Peter Thornton, Keith Belcher and many others steered Gough Square with an equally talented crew of journalists to success.

The independent local radio network grew. The formula of labour intensive radio journalism to profit margin through high morning listening figures and settled advertising emerged, and LBC and Independent Radio News enjoyed a golden age until the early 1990s.  The BBC struggled to catch up, and keep up. Everything fresh, exciting, new and professional about broadcast news resonated from the basement studios and first floor editorial offices. Not least was the fact that  LBC/IRN had put women reporters such as Barbara Groom and Antonia Higgs on the front line and consistently on the major stories.

Tim Crook editing at LBC in Gough Square as the station's specialist Crime and Legal Affairs reporter as a result of completing the LCP Radio Journalism course set up by Fred Hunter. Only a few years earlier Tim had been emptying the station's dustbins.

I was able to be part of that era because I connected with Fred Hunter and Brian Bedwell (actually a very nice man) on that January afternoon at the Elephant and Castle in 1978. While poor regulatory decisions and over-licensing eventually gave the BBC an ascendancy, it can be seriously argued that BBC Five Live,  Sky News, BBC News 24, Al Jazeera are the legacies of the LBC/IRN innovation and success story.

The proof lies in the copy of the first advertising campaign in 1973:

“We Never Close”

News is happening 24 hours a day. We’ll be there 24 hours a day telling you about it. With more time we’ll be able to dig deeper, think further, report fuller. Whenever you tune in, a news bulletin will never be more than 20 minutes away.

The opening of independent local radio stations and development of a network increased direct income to Independent Radio News and stabilised its financial growth.

It was an amazing surprise when my father read me the offer from LCP to do the Radio Journalism course. I was speaking to him in a telephone call to London from Kiryat Shmona while Palestinian Katyusha rockets were raining down on northern Galilee and the Israelis were invading southern Lebanon in March 1978. I had in fact only recently reacquainted myself with LBC at Gough Square by reading the discarded UPI, Reuters and PA news agency copy spilling out of their dustbins.  I know it sounds a little Dick Whittingtonish, but I did genuinely sweep the alleyways and square around the LBC/IRN building only a year or two before working inside as a reporter.

That year between September 1978 and June 1979 changed my life. I borrowed two LPs of Ed Murrow and Richard Dimbleby‘s famous war-time broadcasts from Balham library and couldn’t believe my luck at being given the chance to do their kind of journalism.

It was only the second year of the course and Fred had purloined a large room [some would call it a broom cupboard] on the second floor and crammed it with portable reel to reel Uher tape-recorders and box files of training materials. The mixer arrived half way through and was soldered together by one of my fellow students to an amplifier powered by valves.

My fellow students, we were a group of 9, were awe-inspiring in terms of talent, qualifications and experience. Most had degrees or two and were moving careers from teaching, marketing, and the arts. They included Martin Shankleman, for many years one of the BBC’s sure-footed labour and business journalists, Nigel Swettenham, now an independent film maker, and Angie Bray, now a hard-working London MP and aide to cabinet minister Francis Maude.

All LCP Radio Journalism students were able to join the NUJ as temporary members.

In that year Fred demonstrated those fine qualities that made him a legend in lecturing and teaching.  He went out of his way to understand the uniqueness and potential of each of his students. Teaching broadcast journalism is not just about knowing your profession. It is about innovation, inspiration and something of enormous importance in what appears to be an age characterised by media nastiness-  kindness.

The first major project for the students was to cover the Lord Mayor’s show. Two producers were needed. The rest would be reporters. He appointed Angie and me. 34 years later I can understand why he selected us to do the most responsible job, team leading, and managing something neither of us had ever done before and I was certainly not entirely confident I could ever do.

Angie was a professional with an MA from St Andrews University.  She had already exercised responsibility in a national media institution, though without the appropriate title and salary. Despite my outward show of political radicalism, penchant for wearing flat caps and badges in the mould of ‘George Davis is Innocent OK’ (well he was actually, though he did get banged up for an armed robbery he did commit) I had been a successful agent of capitalism, managing a West End shop with a turnover of hundreds of thousands of pounds a year.

We set about sharing the negotiation of passes, access, interviews, broadcasting vistas, live commentary timetables, angles to the story, structure of the programme, and directing the team of fellow reporters, trying to measure and play to their strengths and weaknesses.

The resulting programme that was produced in less than a month of the course was evaluated by the late Tricia Ingrams– the star reporter of Thames Television’s News programme. I’ve got a bad shorthand outline (we had only started our Teeline course) of what she said: ‘An ace programme, brilliantly produced and very professional sounding,’ I seem to recall she patted my head. As far as I was concerned we had been blessed by the Virgin Mary.

Tim Crook as student radio journalist at LCP in 1978-9 using a course microphone and Uher.

Every week, the country’s leading journalists and broadcasters would be coming into the second floor room teaching us everything we needed to know about writing, law, producing, presenting, and editing. Fred had a team of specialists that included Professor John Herbert, a respected editor of ABC Australia, LBC and the BBC World Service, and Stanley Baldwin barrister and night editor of The Times and grand nephew of the Prime Minister of the 1930s.

When they were not training, educating and teaching us (the difference is an enduring debate in journalism education) Fred and John were travelling the country arranging internships with BBC and independent local radio stations and the work placements were remunerated. Angie and I received £50 a week for 4 weeks at Radio 210 in Reading.

Fred’s course was all about thinking, ethical and intelligent journalism. The syllabus was a model for what followed throughout the entire university system: Radio Journalism theory, Practice and Broadcasting Skills, Broadcasting, Tape Editing, Data and Business Economics, Principles of Law for Broadcast Journalists, Public Administration, Structure of the Communications Industry, Studio Equipment and Techniques, Voice Production and Presentation, General Studies and, of course, Typing and Shorthand.

LCP Radio Journalism course syllabus set out in the year's end results for Tim Crook in 1979.

All around us was constant inspiration and confidence building encouragement. The previous year’s students paid flying visits. I can’t tell you how cool and successful they were. Carole Walker had been at Radio City in Liverpool and was now at BBC London. Greg Strange was LBC/IRN’s motoring correspondent and covering Formula One Racing.

Vince McGarry, IRN’s intake editor, came in to explain how the radio journalist is always working, never far from his/her microphone and recorder. And most of us were in and out of Gough Square selling stories and news features.

LBC news reporter's microphone- heavy duty and robust AKG D130

My first political interview was with the General Secretary of the National Council for Civil Liberties, Patricia Hewitt on Labour’s failed Freedom of Information legislation. My first arts interview was with the Flamenco guitarist Paco Peña. He actually improvised for nearly ten minutes. A 15 minute feature went out on LBC’s evening arts show ‘After Eight’ presented by Therese Birch.

Fred and the course had unleashed my enthusiasm and energy without limit or restraint, and only the genius of his kindness and intelligence as a lecturer could prevent it all ending in tears. He called me in for a tutorial, dropped his glasses to the end of his nose and in a serious voice advised: ‘Stop working so hard. You are upsetting the other students.’

Fred was worried that I would have worked myself into a frenzy of spontaneous combustion and knew that the only way he could reach me was by my consideration, respect and concern for the other students.

This remarkable team of Fred Hunter, John Herbert and Bob Tyler led and fashioned an exponential growth and development of the course into a postgraduate diploma, and in a few years it shot up to occupy the entire tenth floor with studios and post production booths and audio networks. If they had wanted to, they could have run a pirate speech service and hijacked the BBC R4 frequencies. They had the talent in the students to make the programmes. Radio at LCP was more than encapsulated broadcast journalism. It was narrative, culture, politics, aesthetics and telling stories in the sound medium. In our year we even had a day long workshop from a BBC radio drama producer and I devoured the 20 volume British Council course on radio drama writing, direction and production left on the newsroom shelves.

Between 1977 and 1986, Fred recruited, educated and trained generations of LCP broadcast journalism graduates who now brighten the brilliant heights of public life, media, the arts, and professions.  It didn’t matter if you did not choose to be a radio journalist.

It was obvious to everyone that the course gave you what would now be described as ‘transferable skills’ that launched you on the horizon of following your dreams. It was apparent to me that the only thing that mattered to him was that his students were happy.

In 2007, a more than worthy successor to Fred at LCP (now LCC), Martin Shaw, organised the 30th anniversary of the course’s inauguration. Fred was moved and delighted to be joined by so many of his former students, some of whom had travelled continents to be there that evening.

Fred and Bob Tyler kept an updated list of the alumni and looking at it now you only have to drop a pin onto a page for it to touch a success story in every name: Helen Boaden, now Director of BBC News Group, Mark Mardell, the BBC’s North America editor, Jon Sopel, BBC Presenter and author, and Gurinder Chadha, one of the country’s leading film directors.

In a way every student that Fred recruited added to the course’s authority and opportunity. At the age of 19 I was making investigative documentaries for BBC Radio 1 and LBC in London. I was offered a reporting staff position by the news editor of Radio Tees, Mike Best,  at what was my first interview.  The LCP students who followed me into the Tees newsroom were quite outstanding. Peter Laverock, who persuaded a fugitive to give himself up and drove him to Middlesbrough police headquarters, Mark Mardell whose charm and passion for politics got the first key interviews with Labour’s breakaway social democrats, Tony Lockwood, so passionate and dedicated, that he was appointed the station’s sports editor when only 19 years old, replacing the great Jeff Stelling who had left for London, and a remarkable, talented, thoughtful, bright, and outstanding trainee called Helen Boaden, who Mike would recruit into the Radio Aire newsroom he went to set up in Leeds.

Broadcast Journalism education in Britain’s Further and Higher Education system is now something to be proud of. The Broadcast Journalism Training Council accredits 60 courses in 37 institutions in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We have come such a long way from the Certificate course in radio Journalism (Pre-Entry) at the London College of Printing in 1977.

Fred left LCP in 1986 in yet another embracing of progressive and innovative enquiry. While working in broadcast and educational consultancy he became a master gardener. The skill and joy of his allotment gardening was captured in a beautiful article in the Independent by one of his alumni, the award-winning and world respected landscape designer Cleve West.  Fred seemed to instinctively capture and embrace the significance of key social developments: from the post second world war Zeitgeist of feminism to late twentieth century environmentalism.

Fred Hunter as master gardener on his allotment

He also focused on his talent as a journalism and education historian. It is incredible to think that while Fred was founding and developing Broadcast Journalism teaching at LCP from 1977, he had been accepted by the Director of Journalism Studies at City University, Tom Welsh, to undertake a PhD in British journalism education.  Seven years later he submitted:

“Grub Street and Academia: the Relationship Between Journalism and Education, 1880-1940, with Special Reference to the London University Diploma for Journalism, 1919-1939”.

This was the first journalism PhD to be awarded by City University– yet another pioneering achievement. Heather Purdey, who founded and developed City’s course in International Journalism, referenced Fred’s thesis in her MPhil on broadcast education.

Most if not all of Fred’s students remained his friend and I was no exception.  He was such an elegant and gentle mentor and companion. As his son-in-law Chris Brown eloquently put it in the family eulogy at his funeral on 27th January: ‘He was an extraordinary man, a larger than life character with a big guffaw and a kind and generous heart.’

We delighted in sharing my own forays into radio drama, broadcasting, publishing and academia and regularly toasted and celebrated the continuing success of his alumni.

It was a chance conversation about the history of journalism education that led to my discovery that educational publishers had turned down the opportunity to commission Fred’s City University thesis into a book. And so we then embarked on a story that became another Odyssey  in his life. We could call it ‘Two Men and a Book’. True to character, Fred was not prepared to persecute future readers with a PhD thesis in a book cover.

Tom Welsh left and Fred Hunter right at a James Cameron lecture held annually at City University

It had to be developed into a real book and, of course, the research is never over. His only misfortune was that in his editor, he had met a fellow hoarder [we saw ourselves as dedicated archivists], procrastinator, and endless researcher, who when greeted with an electronic guffaw by email and the request for another addition or change, would simply smile and accept the prospect with enthusiasm.

Our correspondence and email archive is worthy of a book in itself. It has the character and warmth of Helene Hanff’s 84 Charing Cross Road. Friends and family would always be asking and hoping that Fred’s book Hacks And Dons: Teaching at the London University Journalism School, 1919-1939, Its Origins, Development and Influence would be published soon. You would not be surprised to learn that Fred’s family and friends were asking the same question.

It was going to be published in 2008, then 2009, then 2010. But Fred would find something new and interesting. And I would hopelessly agree to include it and expand it. And he was right. Chapter Ten should be Chapter Eleven. The index needed renumbering every few months. His fascinating and original research was building the material for a second book on the history of women journalists. I agreed to publish that without batting an eyelid and both families were becoming convinced that both projects would probably never see the light of day.

Dr. Fred Hunter interviewing Geoffrey Pinnington when he was editor of the Sunday People. He had been on the University of London Diploma for Journalism course in the 1930s that Fred researched for his PhD at City University.

But by the end of last year we had reached the finishing line. He knew I would send him the proofs so that he had one final perusal before publication. We had designed the companion website containing the sound of two remarkable interviews with former London University diploma for journalism students Geoffrey Pinnington, editor of the Sunday People and Ruth Tomalin, the author.

Fred Hunter’s research interview with Ruth Tomalin.

Fred Hunter’s research interview with Geoffrey Pinnington.

It was a tremendous shock to learn that he had left us without being able to hold the printed book in his hand. But it was fitting that such a kind and gentle man should pass away peacefully at his home. And his family arranged an elegant, creative, and comforting funeral so worthy of him.

The packed chapel heard from David Bowden of Sky News:

“I, like many others who ply their trade as a “broadcast journalist”, do so almost entirely due to the down to earth practical inspiration of Fred Hunter. Many have achieved great things because of the grounding he gave them. He truly was a pioneer.”

Mark Mardell wrote from America:

“Sad not to be able to congratulate my friend and tutor on his book- he just met his final deadline.”

Helen Boaden’s words were presented with strength and clarity by one of Fred’s granddaughters Ailish:

“Fred made a difference to my life in ways he probably never appreciated. He was  a learned and inspiring teacher who built on my own love of radio; he was a genuine egalitarian who thought women could flourish as well as men and he was very kind. When I arrived at LCP I was entirely on my own, holding down two cleaning jobs. He got me a bursary which was modest but terribly important, not just because I used it to buy a secondhand bed but also because it showed a commitment to me. I shall always remember him with gratitude and affectionate respect.”

We look forward to publishing Fred’s book in the Spring and finding another reason to remember him and celebrate his memory. He is survived by his wife Jill, (they had been married for 53 years) daughter Joanna, son Kit and grandchildren Caitlin, Ailish, Conall and Jessica.

Frederic Newlands Hunter, PhD, MA Cantab, Cert. Ed. 2nd Lieut. 5th Royal Tank Regiment 1953-4, National Service in Korea.

15th April 1934 – 5th January 2012.

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  1. […] Ron Onions, Head of News at Capital Radio, became Editor of Independent Radio News, succeeding Fred Hunter who went on to work on ITN’s election General Election coverage and pioneer education and training of broadcast […]

  2. I am sorry to hear Fred has passed away. He taught me radio journalism at the LCP in the 1980s., He was certainly an unorthodox person. On the first day of the course he dressed up as as a college caretaker, sweeping the lecture room floor, and only whipping off his brown caretakers coat and introducing himself as the course director after we students had been talking for ages amongst ourselves, unaware of who he was.

  3. […] late friend and mentor Dr. Fred Hunter researched the history of the Diploma for Journalism course which was published as ‘Hacks and […]

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