Wednesday, February 25, 2015


So the Continuity Radio Academy plan is out... and, so far, it seems to rely on the old funders to get things going again.

Last year the Academy made a loss of £265k, which ate up reserves of £259k. This was largely due to poor attendance at what was deemed a good Radio Festival. With delegate prices aimed at middle management pockets or expense budgets, the Academy failed to spot that a) there were many fewer middle managers in both the BBC and commercial operations and b) many of those remaining had better things on which to spend company money.

Now, the old patrons have stumped up 50% of this year's money ahead of time, to give the "new" organisation some funds to work with.

The BBC's Chris Burns, who sits at Helen Boaden's right hand, will be the new Chair. A deputy chair will be sought from outside the usual suspects. Chris will co-opt Trustees with skill sets in finance, social media and the running of member organisations. Up to six other trustees will apparently emerge with expertise in other sectors. Previously, Academy trustees came from patron organisations by turn and turn about.

The Trustees will set up the next festival with twelve months. It'll be "London-based" - a phrase which appeared in outgoing Chair Ben Cooper's presentation almost as many times as "going forward" - accessible and affordable. They'll continue to run the Radio Production Awards, and if you cough up to be an individual Gold member, you get to vote on the shortlists. Gold members will apparently get access to versions of online radio training developed by the BBC - and Ben dangled the possibility of reciprocal membership of a trendy drinking club, like The Hospital. A different sort of training, if you like.

As for the main Awards,  a "consortium" of the BBC, The Radio Centre (including Global, Bauer and Orion) Radio Centre-refusniks UTV, and the Radio Independents Group are going to thrash some new "contemporary and transparent" ideas out in the next month or so. It's rather sad that they can't apparently do that within the new Radio Academy structure.

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