Broadcaster and producer Rob McLoughlin is “humbled and surprised” to be honoured with an OBE. The award in the 2015 New Year Honours List is for Services to Broadcasting in the North West of England.
He has thanked his colleagues, family and friends for their “hard work and endless support”.
In 2014, he became ITV’s longest serving presenter of political programmes, hosting his first show in May 1994; a tribute to the Labour Leader John Smith MP who had died suddenly. The former World in Action investigator co-hosted the first Weekend Breakfast programme on BBC Radio Five Live, worked with ITN and became a Board Director of Granada TV in 1996. He chaired major charitable projects including the Granada Community Challenge which was valued at more than £12.5m; created Live Challenge which raised more than £1.4m for youth charities in the region (and even led to the surprise hit Tragedy by Steps). He chaired the working party which created the first Film and TV Commission for the North West and helped create the first North West Awards for the Royal Television Society.
He said today; “I am astonished and genuinely humbled. You genuinely feel it should go to worthier causes and people.I see It really as a tribute to the great journalistic and production teams I have worked with over many decades at Granada Television and now in ITV – its been a privilege to work with so many great people.
“This award should really encourage us to continue asking the difficult questions viewers want answering; to carry on campaigning and to creating new opportunities for the media in our region – we’ve much more work to do on that score to secure the sector’s future in the North West. It’s also great for my family who have had to put up with the long hours and my obsession for detail and for trying to get it right over so many years –often against the odds.
“There is one team I would single out for praise. They are key individuals including Sue Woodward OBE, Brenda Smith, Jane Luca and Helen Michael who were ahead of everybody in the mid-1990s in encouraging the powers that be, that media could be a powerful job creator in the North West and that it was time to encourage the BBC and others to move more resources North’. ‘That pressure was subtle but it gained momentum and others such as Greg Dyke had reached the same conclusion by the time he became Director General. Granada played a critical and largely unrecognised role behind the scenes. Without their vision the region would not have such a strong position on the digital and creative map of Britain. But the job is not complete – we need to do more to strengthen the media sector and to attract more companies and more investment over the next ten years. I’d love to see a business plan for North West plc to put these sectors at its heart.”
Rob returns as host of Party People in January for a new series of the monthly ITV political programme and in association with The Telegraph Media Group he has just launched a major initiative Educate – The North Awards and Conference which will take place in Manchester on 3rd June 2015 to celebrate the world class success of many institutions and debate the future of Higher and Further Education in the North of England where there are now 33 universities and a wide range of HE colleges. The conference and awards are timed to follow the 2015 General Election when the value of the knowledge economy will be a hot and relevant topic.