Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Scottish Broadcasting Company?

Yesterday there was discussion at Broadcasting Scotland an event to discuss broadcasting in Scotland (!) there was once again discussion about Scottish Six, the BBC's new programme; that is to say that Scotland wouldn't carry the BBC news from London but do its own thing. If last nights Scottish News at 6.30 was anything to go by it will be a disaster. The quality of the broadcasting is, if anything, getting worse. The presenters banter is banal, the reporters are equally so and often the subject matter is so trivial it beggars belief that it is all that's going on in our country.


Anonymous said...

(it's Corporation btw)

BBC policy is to lay on the cheesy chat in the 'regional' news. The same applies to the egregious UK-wide Breakfast programe.

The current set up is undeniably flawed. While it is interesting to get news from an English perspective it is also a substandard service, as it gives us up here a distorted view of reality. For example, who can say whether the recent news on easing the planning permissions regime actually applies to Scotland? It's a difficult one, but I think the current set up needs updated in some way.

Richard Havers said...

Anon, I picked the word company deliberately because I felt it signalled the change away from the Corporation's attitudes.

I have no real issue with a separate Scottish news, what I do have a problem with is the quality of what's currently presented and with no guarantee of any improvement even if we got it alone. There seems to be a fixation with footie!

Mind you I have an issue with news programmes full stop. They've stopped being news in many cases and become comment instead.

Anonymous said...

I must admit to being constantly wound up by the BBC's bias, and get most of my news from websites and blogs nowadays. Which no doubt are biased in a way that I find acceptable.
Still... I pay a license fee and feel justified in complaining about the Beeb.

Richard Havers said...

Anon, I'm with you. I think the BBC has become somewhat discredited of late. Like you I feel completely justified in making my points about the quality of their news. In the past I’ve complained to the head of news about their lack of coverage of events in the Borders. He has no justifiable reason for it. It all comes down to, there's not many of you so you don't get much coverage!

Richard Thomson said...

At the moment, BBC Scotland doesn't have the resources to put out anything other than the pap it does, and that's the way the BBC mandarins in London like it.

Scotland contributes far more in TV licence fees than is spent on BBC Scotland. While I accept that much of the difference is made up from the network output we receive, news and current affairs, the incomparable Brian Taylor aside, is one area where the BBC lets us down at both Scottish and UK levels. If the network output isn't up to scratch, we should be getting the resource back to do it ourselves.

I'm fed up hearing about stories which only affect that strange place called 'englandandwales'. A properly resourced Scottish Six, which takes the best of the BBC's international coverage and cuts out the stories irrelevant to Scotland, would drive standards up. And if we got a Scottish Six, maybe we could even get Newsnight back the way it was...

Richard Havers said...

Richard, I'm afraid I don't agree with you on it's the best we can get with the resources. There is a policy of promoting football because they feel it drives the ratings. I also think that it's about editorial policy which seems to lack a real 'heads held high' attitude.

Somehow Scottish BBC News always seems down market, and that's not because of resources.

Richard Thomson said...

Maybe so, and I'm sure they could do a lot better. However, there's been no shortage of presenting and production talent coming through the BBC Scotland ranks in recent years. Given the situation you describe, is it any wonder that so many talents choose to head south, where the serious stories are covered with serious resources?

For all the periodic complaints we have, arguing against the BBC is one of the hardest gigs there is for nationalists, since it's clearly the pre-eminent broadcaster and programme maker in the world. BBC News is just so far ahead of most of the competitors that there are few broadcasters of any size that could hope to compete on quality or coverage.

That said, if you are looking for an indication of what BBC Scotland was once like, and could be again, how about Radio Scotland in the 1990's? Intelligent, erudite, informed, cultured, outward-looking - everything you could want in a national broadcaster. Today's fitba-centric tripe is a travesty in comparison to what has gone before.