Festival director takes on additional role with Union JACK Radio
18 June 2019, Oxford: Founding Director of Leicester Comedy Festival, Geoff Rowe, has announced he’s joining the team at national digital radio station Union JACK as Director of Comedy; a position that will be undertaken alongside his existing role at the festival. The role, which is believed to be a first for any UK radio station, will help shape Union JACK’s long-term comedy strategy and reinforces its commitment to comedy, further cementing its position as ‘The Home of Great British Comedy’ on the radio.
The appointment will see Geoff supporting Union JACK in its ambition to increase its comedy credentials for both listeners and the comedy industry, introducing new radio formats and opportunities for live show production; amplifying its current comedy assets; supporting and nurturing new and established talent; presenting new opportunities and redefining what comedy on the radio can be; and strengthening the station’s link with the comedy industry.
Geoff established Leicester Comedy Festival in 1994 and has led the growth of the annual festival ever since. It is now the UK’s largest comedy festival, with over 870 shows in 72 venues across 19 days. As part of the festival, Geoff has developed formats and produced live shows including Comedy in the Dark, The UK Pun Championships, Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year Competition and Hotel D’Comedie. Alongside the festival, Geoff has also been a member of the judging panel for Edinburgh Comedy Awards, So You Think You’re Funny and The BBC New Comedy Award and, in 2013, was awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
2019 has seen Union JACK become the fastest growing radio station in the UK, with a 74% increase in listeners year-on-year. The station is rapidly reinforcing its position as the ‘Home of Great British Comedy’ on the radio, playing beloved clips of classic comedy such as Blackadder and Fawlty Towers, and investing in up-and-coming talent and formats. Current on-air comedy initiatives include One Night Stand (an evening of stand-up comedy delivered in conjunction with Jericho Comedy), Josh Berry’s Fake News (satire from viral impressionist Josh Berry), Pundays (hosted by UK Pun Champion Colin Leggo) & Geoff Lloyd’s Hometown Glory (hilarious interviews with famous faces).
Geoff Rowe, Director of Comedy at Union Jack, added: “I’m so excited to be undertaking this new role with the Union JACK team; I’ve always loved both radio and comedy, so combining these two passions is a fantastic opportunity. I first met the folk from Union JACK last summer and we have so much in common. The radio station and Leicester Comedy Festival each focus on celebrating great British comedy and supporting new and emerging talent, so there is a natural opportunity for me to play a role in the continued development of both.”
Giles Gear, Programme Manager at Union JACK radio, said: “Union JACK’s unusual appointment of a Director of Comedy is a small step on a very exciting journey. We take our commitment to comedy seriously and we’re not a station that simply puts a comedian on the radio and hopes for the best. The industry experience that Geoff brings to the table is second-to-none, and will support us in our ambition to shine a light on brilliant up-and-coming comedians, as well as commissioning new and very distinct show formats.”
Union JACK is available across the UK on digital radio, online at unionjack.co.uk and via the Union JACK app.