Sunday, 15 May 2011

"Why the BBC should mind the Salford gap"

June 2nd // 6-9 pm // Revolution Gallery, MOSI

Annual Lecture with Steve Hewlett, with special tour of Mosi Great Western Warehouse

“BBC Breakfast's move to the north has been presented as a bold move – but the reality is that it needs to hit relocation targets

The BBC has been keen to present its decision to relocate BBC1's Breakfast programme from London to its new MediaCity:UK HQ in Salford as a positive move for the programme and the 100 or so staff that will go with it.

Breakfast will "benefit from the iconic new waterside location" in an "especially symbolic move" that will "create opportunities for career development", gushed the press release.
But if it was such a good idea why have we only just heard about it? The answer lies in what has become known internally at the BBC as the "Salford gap".

When the BBC signed up to move to Salford's MediaCity:UK in the first place it was offered very attractive terms by the North West Development Agency. In return for which the BBC agreed to contractual terms that specified the minimum number of posts that had to be relocated from London to Salford. That number was 1,500.

Since the deal was done the departments earmarked to make the move have been doing two things: politicking to avoid moving anything they could justify keeping in London; and, critically, shrinking as a result of BBC-wide efficiency drives. Hence the emergence of the "Salford gap" as the difference between the contractual requirement to move 1,500 posts and the actual numbers relocating.

FMT boss Erik Huggers has described Salford as the place to build the BBC's new future. Broadcasting House was the radio age, Television Centre the TV equivalent, and MediaCity:UK the online "universal gateway" to the BBC's future. However, the man himself meanwhile seems curiously unwilling to make the move.” Steve Hewlett,

Come and listen to Steve Hewlett as he talks about his views on the BBC’s relocation to MediaCity, and how they have dealt with the move. Steve will also give his opinion on whether Manchester can be an international media hub. You will then get a chance to ask to put your own questions to Steve, who won’t hold back on telling you what he thinks.

The annual lecture will take place in the spectacular Revolution Gallery in the newly refurbished Museum of Science and Industry. You will also get a chance to take a tour of the Great Western Warehouse, an integral part of Manchester’s history. So come and join us for a fascinating lecture, a bite to eat, a couple of drinks and plenty of networking opportunities.

Steve Hewlett
Writer, Broadcaster and Media Consultant

Steve Hewlett is currently a Guardian Columnist and broadcasting consultant whose clients have included Tiger Aspect, the Guardian Media Group, Ofcom, DCMS, Channel 4, BSkyB and New South Wales FTO.
He also runs Big Pictures Ltd, a television production Company with commissions from Channel 4, the BBC and the PBS Network in the USA. He is visiting Professor of Journalism and Broadcast policy at Salford University He is also a regular contributor to and presenter of programmes on Radio 4 and Five Live and now presents Radio 4’s weekly Media Show.
Steve is the Chair of DocFest – the Sheffield International Documentary festival, a board member at Screen Yorkshire and a fellow of the Royal Television Society.

June 2, 2011
Revolution Gallery
Museum of Science and Industry
18.00pm – 21.00pm

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