Your Noon Briefing: Channel 4, radio predictions for 2014, Owen Kelly, etc

NINE per cent of TV commissions from ‘out of England’ by 2020. That is what broadcasting regulators, Ofcom, are proposing, as it recommends a renewal of Channel 4’s broadcasting licence.

Channel 4 currently operates an out-of-England quota of three per cent and Ofcom’s proposal follows consultation last year, including ‘stakeholder events in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland’.

And Ofcom is looking for feedback on its nine per cent proposal by the fourth of next month.

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NOT a million miles from the position taken by Joyce McMillan – in her Scotsman column of last week – Visiting Professor of Education at Stirling University, Walter Humes, opines: “The rather hysterical reaction to the programme reveals the extent to which ‘acceptable’ public discourse is confined within very definite limits.”

Writing on the website, he was commenting on the uproar that greeted an edition last week of the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, guest-edited by the musician, artist and writer, PJ Harvey.

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THERE will be some regionalisation of BBC Radio stations 1, 2 and 4 should the referendum on Scotland’s constitutional future deliver a No result – according to a set of predictions for the radio industry during 2014.

And adds Ian Beaumont, BBC Radio Scotland “will also see some changes to allow for more local variations”.

Beaumont is a producer and presenter on community radio station, The Source FM, in Cornwall.

Also among his predictions: “The Global-GMG merger will finally complete, with some sales happening, as per the Competition Commission ruling. I predict those sales will be East Midlands: Smooth; South Wales: Capital; North Wales: Heart (so they can lose the Welsh language commitments); North West: Real XS and Smooth; North East: Smooth; Yorkshire: Capital; and Central Scotland: Real XS (doesn’t need to be sold, but will be) and Capital.”

He continues: “Bauer will pick up Real XS in both Manchester and Glasgow and convert them into relays of Absolute Radio, with necessary licence changes.”

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THIS year’s New Year’s Honours List might not have included any obvious mentions of Scots in the media (or media folk in Scotland), but it did include Owen Kelly, chief executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise, who was awarded an OBE.

Thanks to blogger, Bill Heaney, for pointing out that, before his appointment at SFE, Kelly headed up the communications directorate at the then Scottish Executive, now Scottish Government.

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A RE-DESIGNED The New York Times website was launched yesterday and the thinking behind the new look (the first since April 2006) is explained here.

And the use of paid content is reported here (‘Five things to know about The New York Times’ new native ads’) and here (criticism that the boundaries between editorial and marketing might have become blurred).

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THE pro-independence campaign, Yes Scotland, has a “more active and spontaneous” network of tweeters than their ‘No’ opponents, according to new research – reports the BBC, here.

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A DEPUTY editor is being sought by Ayrshire Weekly Press – as advertised here on the allmediascotland media jobs board.

Also on the jobs board – here – an advert for Audit Scotland, which is looking for a communications officer, on a 12-month maternity cover contract.

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NINETY people have already signed up for a free drinks networking event – taking place on the sixth of next month – for comms and media folk in Edinburgh.

Established by Stewart Argo, when he was media manager at The City of Edinburgh Council, it’s been a year since the initiative was last staged. Argo is now an associate director at PR giants, Weber Shandwick Scotland.

Full details here. And there are other dates scheduled, up until the Summer.

The event on February 6 is being supported by London-based Precise.

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THERE’S widespread sympathy for the Scots actor, Ford Kiernan, whose 12 year-old son has died suddenly. Kiernan is arguably best-known for his role in the BBC Scotland comedy, Still Game. The tragedy is reported, among other places, here (in the Scottish Daily Express) and here (in The Herald).

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IN July, reported the tale of a freelance journalist leaving Scotland for Greece and ending up writing a book about living through that country’s economic difficulties.

And Marjory McGinn’s Things Can Only Get Feta receives an honourable mention in a December 22 listing of books by journalists (to get you through Christmas) compiled by David Higgerson, digital publishing director, Trinity Mirror Regionals.

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TWO Scots filmmakers have been nominated in this year’s UK-wide BAFTA film awards. Writes Brian Ferguson, in The Scotsman, they are Fife-born director, Paul Wright, and Aberdeen-born writer-director, Scott Graham.

Both have been shortlisted in the Outstanding debut category of the awards, Wright for For Those in Peril and Graham for Shell.

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YESTERDAY’S Noon Briefing flagged up reports that Justice Secretary, Kenny McAskill, is considering anonymity being granted to some crime suspects, before they are charged, to avoid ‘trial by media’. Today, The Herald reports concerns being voiced by the Scottish Police Federation.

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