A round-up of the week’s stories and observations.
- WED 3RD MAY (10AM)
Channel 4 to launch new permanent Leeds news facility
- THU 4TH MAY (7.10PM)
BBC South East Today taken off air by electrical fault
- THU 4TH MAY (7.50PM)
BBC Northern Ireland journalists vote to strike
- FRI 5TH MAY (9.35AM)
Lights out again on BBC Look North breakfast bulletin
- SAT 6TH MAY (12.55PM)
Intermittent audio dropout on BBC One HD Coronation coverage
- SUN 7TH MAY (2.15PM)
Culture secretary: “licence fee isn’t the only way” to fund BBC
- SUN 7TH MAY (10.50PM)
Late Leeds edition of BBC Look North fails to appear
Wednesday 3rd May
10am Channel 4 to launch new permanent Leeds news facility
This evening’s edition of Channel 4 News will see the first on-air appearance of a new Leeds-based news studio.
Channel 4 first launched a Leeds news operation early last year, from a temporary location.
Channel 4 News will broadcast from London and Leeds each evening.
“Tonight we launch our new studio in Leeds – a project many years in the making, we’re delighted to finally be bringing it to life as we significantly expand our presence across the UK.Esme Wren, Editor of Channel 4 News
“With two national newsrooms to deliver the daily bulletin, this new venture is a visible investment in the region, marking our clear commitment to storytelling from across the country, alongside giving us a new home for our data-driven journalism.
“As we come to air, I want to say a huge thank you to the whole Channel 4 News team who have worked tirelessly to make this happen.”
“Today’s launch of the permanent studio officially makes Channel 4 News the first prime news programme to co-present from two locations – demonstrating Channel 4’s commitment to Nations and Regions and representing the whole of the UK.Louisa Compton, Head of News and Current Affairs and Specialist Factual and Sport
“It will bring more authentic regional voices to our news coverage, deliver more opportunities to people in the region and help ensure we continue to provide the best news coverage for our audiences.”
EXTERNAL LINK: Channel 4 News launches permanent Leeds newsroom.
Thursday 4th May
7.10pm BBC South East Today taken off air by electrical fault
This evening’s edition of BBC South East Today was taken off the air temporarily “for safety reasons” due to an electrical fault.
The programme had only been on air a couple of minutes when it was replaced by a simulcast of the BBC News Channel.
The programme resumed at 6.48pm.
7.50pm BBC Northern Ireland journalists vote to strike
Members of the National Union of Journalists at BBC Northern Ireland have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action over the implementation of the BBC’s “digital first” strategy.
The strike ballot came about mainly as a result of changes to job roles and the programme schedule at BBC Radio Foyle. The station’s two-hour breakfast programme has been reduced to thirty minutes and its lunchtime news programme has been axed.
Of the members that voted in the strike ballot, 82% backed strike action, with 95% backing action short of a strike.
When BBC Northern Ireland’s cost-cutting measures were first announced last November, the plan was to axe 36 jobs to achieve savings of £2.3m. Through discussions with union representatives, the plan evolved.
The BBC said it was disappointed by the result of the ballot:
“Foyle’s role as a newsgathering and production hub has been secured and it will continue to deliver great content for BBC audiences across the north-west and beyond,” it said.
“As we said back in November 2022, our ambition was to achieve the savings required without the need for compulsory redundancies.
“In accordance with that commitment, suitable roles have been offered to everyone who was ‘at risk’ of redundancy.”
The BBC statement confirmed there would be “no BBC headcount reduction in Foyle”.
“We have moved peak and off-peak Radio Ulster programming to the north-west; we reintroduced two posts which had previously been earmarked for closure; and we have retained daily news in peak-time, with an exclusively local focus,” it added.
“We will continue to work constructively with staff and the trade unions in the interests of everyone involved and the audiences we serve.”
Friday 5th May
9.35am Lights out again on BBC Look North breakfast bulletin
The lights failed this morning during the BBC Look North breakfast bulletin at 6.30am.
This is the second time we know of that this has happened recently.
The programme is currently in a temporary studio whilst testing of a new set continues in its main studio.
Saturday 6th May
12.55pm Intermittent audio dropout on BBC One HD Coronation coverage
Many BBC One HD viewers have taken to social media to complain about frequent audio dropouts during the coverage of The Coronation.
Viewers of all regional and national variants of BBC One HD on Freeview and satellite experienced the issue.
Although there’s been no official BBC confirmation of the cause, Clean Feed understands from various sources that it was a Dolby E decoding issue.
Sunday 7th May
2.15pm Culture secretary: “licence fee isn’t the only way” to fund BBC
The secretary of state for culture, media and sport, Lucy Frazer, says that she has started a review of the BBC licence fee.
Speaking on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Ms Frazer said that it’s important the BBC gets the funding it needs but that it might need to look at “a variety of sources” to obtain funding in the future.
It’s also worth noting that Ms Frazer’s predecessor Nadine Dorries previously stated that any review of the licence fee would be carried out independently of government. Lucy Frazer’s comments today seem to suggest the review is being undertaken by her department.
10.50pm Late Leeds edition of BBC Look North fails to appear
The late-evening Leeds edition of BBC Look North was replaced by a news programme from Hull, covering all of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.
The Leeds programme is expected to launch a new-look set next week.
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PICTURED: new Channel 4 News Leeds studio. COPYRIGHT: ITN/Channel 4 Television Corporation.
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