10/07/2011 The Politics Show West Midlands


Jon Sopel and Patrick Burns are here with the top political stories of the week.

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In the Midlands, you are now watching regional television, but


would you watch local TV? We will see how it is already working in


Birmingham, Alabama, as ministers prepare their plans for local


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2372 seconds


All politics is local. Well, so said the late Tip O'Neill, but all


television is definitely not local. This programme is about as closer


and personal as regional television gets, and we cover a giant region


from the Cotswolds are to the Staffordshire moorlands with a


population of 6 million. So, how can it be right, asks the Culture


Secretary that the city the size of Birmingham has no truly local TV


stations, while Birmingham Alabama has for? It is not just about the


big cities. We are joined by the chief executive of six TV, the UK's


largest TV licence holder. They have designs on serving South


Warwickshire. Fare is two key points of. It is partly access to


local news and information, and holding local politicians to


account. The other. Makes creating an advertising opportunity for


local businesses who come at the moment don't have access to a


freaky and terrestrial television. We are joined by Gavin Williamson,


the Conservative MP, and by David Wright, the Labour MP. Our


correspondent has been to that Visiting America, you notice they


do have a lot more local TV than we do, like this channel in Birmingham


Alabama. So, we're spending the day here and we're not the only new


boys' comic it is Scott Packard's new day, too. The day starts at the


meeting. Looking at this potential running order, this could be an


edition of our programme. Were we have Bacher's with TB affecting


farmers, they have armadillos with rabies. What about the differences?


There are four stations providing local news in this part of America,


all funded by advertising. So he wants advertise on local TV here?


If you drive through town, you will see 17 fast food restaurants and


they're all interested in advertising. So, everyone. We take


it. This is one argument for local TV in the UK, but there is an


untapped, under served pool of potential advertisers. One Midlands


ad agency has crunched the numbers and doubts that. Because I can see


that there would be any real demand from punt - - from the consumer, I


can see he would be watching it. If the TV station has a got an


audience, then they haven't got anything to sell. Others, who have


already expressed an interest in local TV, disagree. I am the


chairman of the theatre company that owns 40 theatres. We can't


afford to advertise on regional television. We would love to


advertise on local television. I think there is a market there.


Someone has to go out and find it and sell it. There is no doubt that


the local market leader can make news day, but can they produce news


more cheaply than we do? But, everyone keeps a tight rein on


costs and for the new boy in the studio, this is luxury to where he


started. This was my first taste of the daily meeting. The television


station I came from was very small. It was just a few reporters he had


to do everything. I have hired three people in the last four years


you're as old as my children, so why am hiring someone who is 25


were 26 years old. They had been in an even smaller market for a couple


of years and hopefully got on the floor polish, they may bring them


here. So, if you reduce costs and find a new source of advertising


revenue, could this work in the UK? We are not trying to bring the


whole American system of work, the government wants to graft a little


bit of it on to our existing set-up. Will that work?


We will not have to wait long to find out. They are due to start


going on air in the year. Incidentally, there is more on the


political background to all of this on my block - - blog. A lot of


people tell me that there is a reshuffle in the air and that she


are highly regarded, and an effective minister, and that you're


facing the possible promotion to a bigger department. If that happens,


what would you like your legacy to be remembered for? I would like us


to have a thriving local TV sector, so that your constituents hold


their local politician to account in a way that power national media


is so successful in all the non- national politicians to account.


Gavin Williamson, which should be up for this? Very much so. I think


there will be a fantastic platform for local politics. Would you want


to be held to account in this way? I think it would be great. I don't


think there is a lot of political disagreement on this. I think it


would be a real opportunity for people to engage with a member of


parliament. A clear lesson from that piece from Alabama is that the


mystics - - most successful local television stations in America are


backed by the big networks, whereas here the government wants to go for


something that is much more bottom- up. I think it will lead to real


proper local television. I do think there will be a high degree of co-


ordination between local channels and back felling. People will not


want local news 24 hours a day. They will want good quality


television, so there will be an off lot of co-ordination. Do you think


it would need the big commercial broadcasters to get involved, or


cannot all be left to local, small people. I think there will be a


mixed approach over the coming years. I think there is an


opportunity for other media to enter the market. If you live cats


the local paper in the local area, it already has as a major part of


its website video clip news. But do you think, bottom up or top-down?


In America they do have both and stations are not forced to


affiliate with the network, they do so voluntarily. I think this


bottom-up approach, I believe that is the right approach. All the


indications are that will be down to us to decide to be one to work


with other parties, and I believe we will. Let me to win what


somebody said on this, if the ITV regions could not survive without


merging together a most commercial radio stations are very similar,


how do they expect local television to survive? 10 or 15 years ago I


would have said that, but I believe everything has changed. Looking at


how television can be made with graduates to know how to use light


week - - lightweight cameras and laptops, I think it is possible.


One of the things that Greg Dyke said was that local television,


rather than in big cities like Birmingham, is the way to go, but


the Government is talking about television in the 20 or so bigger


cities. I think it has got to start off there. I think it has got to


show that the format can survive. Talking to many businesses, there


is a real appetite to target their advertising spend and directed to


the consumers that are trying to get through the door. We all know


that the regional press, well, some people say it is in terminal


decline with revenues drying up. think we can create those


partnerships at regional print media and I think that is a


potential way forward. One of the biggest media organisations this


week has come under tremendous pressure and I think there will be


a kickback against that. I think it will be looking for more local news


and diversity. Since he raised the question, trust in journalism is


one of the issues. How can local television, how can we be sure that


the standards will be maintained? When you talk about local


television, it is not necessarily a low-quality TV. You have got a lot


of regional media groups, a lot of local papers, excellent journalism


already thriving. They can be tapped into. Do you think you can


reassure people about standards? One of the things I think is


interesting, the BBC did some experiments and local TV a few


years ago and they managed to put BBC brand values on the sort of


model we are talking about with a handful of video journalists. If


the BBC can do it, anyone can do it. You can follow us at any time on


The government clearly hoped that local TV will be a resounding


success, but what do you want? big talking point today, can local


television services succeed where many have failed? When a wave of


local television stations come along in the 1990s, these


journalism students were toddlers, now they are the next generation of


television talent. You might remember stations like Coventry


Cable, all short lived, often because of shoestring budgets.


Local TV television in Britain has failed repeatedly, so why should it


work now that people have a choice of 500 television channels?


Birmingham is a very dynamic city and deserves a dynamic TV station.


City TV broadcasting says it wants a terrestrial licence. This could


be their penthouse studio. They will take on 50 people. They would


choose civic journalists. City TV will have the very best people.


This is not amateur night. Birmingham needs it. What impact


can you Service have on the market place? I would be worried if I was


a local newspaper, but we can work with them. ITV and BBC, they


deliver local news, and not in the style but we will. So, what would


you like to see on your local TV service? We came to Stoke on Trent


so people here could put us in the picture. I'd go out a lot and it


would be a lot easier than having to look upon social networks when


there would be gigs. I would like to see more children's football.


Articles regarding the area itself. The government will give more


detail this month, but we know that the BBC will contribute �40 million


towards its development. The voice of the Listener is very concerned


about licence fee payer's money going to this project. This project


is far from guaranteed to succeed. Whilst there could be very valuable,


we don't think it is economic viable.


In 2005 the BBC piloted a local television service and I was a


video journalist there looking for unusual stories in Coventry. But


the service was not taken on. The BBC Trust said it could not invest


- - justify the investment. So, a political weather forecast. There


are local TV services working their way up getting licences by 2012.


They may come to rely on product placement and strong advertising.


They will also have fewer staff. That is because the next generation


of journalists are told the job of three people. We can edit, film, do


interviews. Having more channels has always a good thing in terms of


media students because it is very difficult at the moment to get into


the big companies. It is the appetite of viewers that will be


critical and will decide whether advertisers will follow and if


local television will ultimately succeed.


Since he completed their report, the BBC have issued a statement


confirming their support for Iraq - The BBC have said that they will


support this. Some people have is the very against BBC money going to


support this project. I do to some extent agreed. We don't know how


the money will be spent. We, as a company, have never asked for


public subsidy. We don't think we need support. If the money has been


used to support community training and enable licensee - - licence-fee


payers to make local programmes, I would support that. Are you


comfortable at this? We want local TV to be about local interest and


reader wanted a car than copy of the other channels already on TV.


If that money can go towards securing good local content, it


would be money well spent. support what Gavin is saying. We


want to see diversity. So, a local station in Shropshire made you can


feel very different to a station elsewhere. People watch TV


different Lea now. People don't sit down necessarily and watch a whole


range of programmes. They perhaps draw them up on video devices and


watch them in a different way. People watch to be differently.


last time we had some local cable channels like Coventry Cable, when


people had five TV channels to choose from, it didn't work. Now


with the choice of 500 for many people, how can it work? This will


not be 24 hour rolling local news. It will be hide local interest


content, but with high quality programmes backing that up.


thought the BBC pilot a few years ago was really good. You could tune


in at the set time in an hour and watch a segment in local news that


is very relevant to your area. would you tailor it to the local


demands of the viewing public? think it failed in the past because


it was not on the number one TV platform, technically it was very


bad. We do think that local news as a very high demand and that there


would be blocks of local news in the morning and evening wear we


will have local news and information. We have got plans for


local politics discussions, arts programmes, and we are working with


other local programmes in other regions so we can work with them.


If you don't have big ambitions she never achieve anything. I think


this could be a really positive contribution to local democracy. It


does give the public an opportunity to pierced - - put us on the spot.


You have a lot to do if you went to have the sudden running in the year.


The government appointed have a slightly longer than that, but, I


agree, there are companies like us and others who are now raring to go.


Well, to be continued. We will watch with a great deal of interest.


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