Hetherington's time as Controller of BBC Scotland was not a happy one. He did much to invigorate programme output and appointed a number of specialist News correspondents including Helen Liddell and Chris Baur to try to increase Scotland's presence on the BBC networks . He also sought increased financial freedom from the BBC in London. Encountering a more bureaucratic organization than the one he knew at The Guardian, he clashed with the director general of the BBC, Charles Curran. In 1978 he was sacked from the position by Curran's successor, Ian Trethowan and named as Manager of BBC Radio Highland. In 1982 he became research professor in media studies at Stirling University and in 1984 he succeeded Richard Scott as chairman of the Scott Trust. In 1989 he retired to the Isle of Arran, where he wrote and worked on projects before he was forced to give up such activities due to the onset of Alzheimer's disease in the mid-1990s.
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