Sunday, February 19, 2017

No six, but....

The Herald is unequivocal: "Scottish Six plans dumped by London broadcasting chiefs".

The paper says the 20-year campaign for an hour-long bulletin of international, UK and Scottish news at 6pm weeknights produced in Scotland is over. BBC DG Lord Hall is expected to appear before the Scottish Parliament's Culture Committee on Thursday, accompanied by new Director of Scotland, Donalda McKinnon. As the Herald puts it, "It is not known whether Hall will cite lack of quality or finance".

I'm guessing that Lord Hall will not claim lack of quality in the various pilots that have been made, but the year-long operational costs of "dual running" at that level (which could be quadrupled if Wales and Northern Ireland also demanded their own mixed bulletins). It's a good bet he'll also wave some audience research suggesting there might be lower overall BBC1 viewing in Scotland between 6pm and 7pm. And he'll come bearing some other, slightly less expensive, goodies, like an extra channel for Radio Scotland, with which he'll hope to distract the MSPs.

Lovable former BBC presenter John Nicholson, SNP MP for East Dunbartonshire, tells the Herald, “BBC newsroom staff have been led up to the top of a hill and led back down again. The staff were working incredibly hard, working on pilot programmes. Reporting Scotland will remain stuck in a 1970s time warp. The argument for having a Scottish Six is unanswerable."

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