|BBC Director of Audio and Music|
2006 – June 2008
|Succeeded by||Tim Davie|
|Born||Jennifer Gita Abramsky
7 October 1946
|Alma mater||University of East Anglia|
Dame Jennifer Gita "Jenny" Abramsky, DBE (born 7 October 1946) is chairman of the UK's National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF). The NHMF makes grants to preserve heritage of outstanding national importance. Until her retirement from the BBC Abramsky was its most senior woman employee; she was Director of Audio and Music. She is the daughter of Professor Chimen Abramsky and the granddaughter of Rabbi Yehezkel Abramsky. She was educated at Holland Park School in London and the University of East Anglia, where she read English.
Early life and education
Born to a Jewish family, she was the daughter of Miriam, a social worker and former communist who was in Brick Lane during Oswald Mosley's fascist marches, and Chimen Abramsky, a professor of Jewish studies and rare book expert. One of her grandfathers was Yehezkel Abramsky, a prominent Orthodox rabbi and scholar who was jailed by the Soviet Union and later headed the London Beth Din for 17 years. She was educated at Holland Park Comprehensive and then completed her university education at East Anglia.
In 1969, she joined the BBC as a programmes operations assistant, and in 1973 was appointed as a producer of The World at One. She became the first woman editor of the agenda-setting Today programme, ran the first Gulf War Radio 4 News FM service, and went on to launch Britain's first continuous news and sport radio station, Five Live, before launching the television channel BBC News 24. She launched the BBC's online news website, news.bbc.co.uk. She was named Director of BBC Radio in January 1999 and was subsequently promoted to the BBC's Executive Board with overall responsibility for BBC Radios 1, 2, 3, 4, and Five Live and the BBC's digital radio stations 1Xtra, BBC 7, 6 Music, Five Live Sports Extra and the Asian Network; the three BBC orchestras based in England; and the Proms. In 2006 she became Director of Audio and Music – adding online services, audio on demand and podcasting to her remit of broadcast radio.
She had an annual programming budget of £236 million (about US $475m) and a staff of 1,681. Under her leadership, by the first three months of 2007 the BBC's radio stations had an audience share of 56.6 percent – compared with the 13.9 percent of listeners shared by all commercial radio broadcasters – and a reach of almost 33.5 million people – a record, according to Guardian newspaper (9 July 2007). The paper listed Abramsky as the 18th most powerful person in the UK's media, though she had slipped from No. 11 in the paper's 2006 ranking.
It was announced in June 2008 that Abramsky was retiring from the BBC after 39 years of service, to be replaced by Tim Davie. She currently serves on the board of trustees for the UK's largest youth drama festival, the Shakespeare Schools Festival and is a Fellow of The Radio Academy.
She was married to Alasdair Liddell, former head of planning for the NHS, who quit to go into private business. He died on 31 December 2012. Their son is a director and producer of science programmes, and their daughter is a producer for ITV.
- "Appointment of chair to the National Heritage Memorial Fund". Number10.gov.uk. 10 April 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2009.
- The Observer: "The cat's whiskers - It's not a crystal set any more, it's hi-tech and it's digital. And it's not Auntie any more, it's the nation's favourite network. As last week's figures show, BBC radio is now drawing in an as many listeners as it ever has, and it's all down to Jenny Abramsky" by Ben Summerskill 3 February 2002
- "The Media Guardian 100". London: Guardian.co.uk. 27 September 2007. Retrieved 17 February 2009.
- BBC Press Office, "Tim Davie appointed as Director of BBC Audio & Music", 27 June 2008
- Dickson, Niall (11 January 2013). "Alasdair Liddell obituary". London: Guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 31 December 2008.