Led by Professor Phil Redmond, LJMU Ambassador Fellow, the panel discussed whether relocation was the answer and what would change the regional broadcasting deficit.
As well as Stephen, the panel included:
Cat Lewis, CEO of Nine Lives Media and Chair of the Royal Society North;
Richard Caborn, Chair of Sheffield’s Channel 4 bid and former Minister of Sport;
Gill Wilson, Head of Features, Channel 4
It was chaired by Andy Bounds, the Northern Correspondent for the Financial Times.
Nations and Regions
It was a really lively discussion, led by Phil Redmond, who strongly believes that Channel 4 should move to Liverpool – and bring Channel 4 News with it.
Cat Lewis addressed the issue of quotas and that there should be an increase in spend outside of the capital. Moreover, senior people should be based out of London, to ensure that there is sustainability in the regions – “We need to ensure more empowered commissioners outside London” she said.
Richard Caborn concentrated on the digital skills that Sheffield offered and that they were building the infrastructure regardless, but that Channel 4 should seriously consider being part of it – after all the future isn’t analogue.
As a Liverpudlian herself, Gill Wilson argued passionately that Channel 4 wasn’t London-centric and that they did invest in the regions. However, she conceded more could be done – although relocation wasn’t the answer.
What is the solution?
Stephen’s position has previously been outlined, but it’s clear from all the speakers that something needs to be done – and it needs to be done soon.
What came out of it from me, was that we are probably are own worst enemy. We keep lumping ourselves together as “out of London”, “the regions”. It’s like with American tourists who know about London, Edinburgh and in between ‘there be dragons.’
I would really love all the towns and cities to start working together to market ourselves as a genuine broadcast and digital production hub that can rival anywhere in the world. The M62 and M6 corridors have some fantastic locations, talent and facilities. It’s also got the transport and hotel infrastructure to cope with large crews. So, let’s not talk individually about Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, because in US terms, we’re just down the road from each other.