The ABC has promoted Aidan Laverty, former executive producer of Catalyst, to head of specialist, overseeing all arts, science, health and technology, religion and ethics, education and society and culture content.
Richard Buckham has been acting head of specialist since Judith Whelan was upped to director of ABC regional and radio. Buckham will continue in the role of manager, art.
Laverty joined the broadcaster in 2017 to relaunch the flagship science program. Last year he was appointed manager of the ABC’s new science genre, where he was involved in the creation of such shows as Gut Revolution, Feeding Australia, The Great Australian Bee Keeping Challenge, Staying Younger for Longer and this year’s Stargazing: Moon and Beyond, marking the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
In other moves, Jonathan Webb has been appointed acting manager, science, in addition to his role as science editor, while the ABC looks to fill the manager, science position, and Penny Palmer has been named acting EP of Catalyst.
Michael Carrington, ABC director of entertainment and specialist, said: “The ABC’s specialist content is at the heart of our duty to inform, educate and entertain all Australians.
“Aidan’s wealth of experience in public broadcasting, particularly in driving digital innovation and creativity, will ensure we continue to tell important stories to audiences that impact their daily lives and the world around them.”
Laverty added: “Specialist is home to so many talented people across radio, television and digital and what we do has never been more important to the ABC. I’m looking forward to working together to find new ways to inform, delight and surprise our audiences.”
Before joining the ABC he was specialist factual commissioner at the BBC, where he launched series such as Make It Digital, The Truth About, Natural Wonders, The Secrets of Quantum Physics and Girls Can Code.
He was also editor of the BBC’s science program Horizon and launched The Secret Life of the Cat, Science Under Attack and Eat Fast and Live Longer, which helped spark the 5:2 diet phenomena. He also developed the long-running BBC series Trust Me, I’m a Doctor.