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Audio Content Fund and new BBC DG…

The radiated a program with broadcast bionics creators of The Bionic studio the smarter way to make radio hello, I'm Stuart Clarkson coming up this week.

We're going to find out about how the government money has been being spent on public services programming in radio after the first 12-months of the content fund and later in David Lloyd radio moments memories of Bob and Doug on LBC The Commons goes an hour for the first time Tony Blackburn Jones radio London and the story of another for Kenny Everett music was composed so no chat with Friday this week.

We've both been busy with work and family stuff at hopefully.

He will turn next time but we're going to check in this week instead on the audio content fund a year on from the first grants being distributed Sam Bailey is with its managing director of the audio content.

Angel abode and chair of the funding panel hello both hello so this morning your first annual report Sammy's out covering April last year to March this year.

You've spent £650,000.

Is that what you're aiming for and to give us some of the facts and figures yeah, that was that was a budget for you one.

We've we've got more to to play with in year 2 and year 3 which is Which is great with that over budget the government kind enough to give us a tiny bit extra over the 650 Mark that we had budgeted and from that we find out 25 projects which were from 21 different production companies in total 35 radio stations taking that content 160 162 hours of content that our estimate is that should reach 5 1/2 million listeners around the country, so we think quite a decent bit of impact.

In the first year of the project which is constantly developing and changing as we've seen in the last few months of the start of technical financial year 2020 where we've given going out of 400000 in the coronavirus round to another 28 project so it's been a very busy here and I'm sure most people have heard of the audio content fund and we've done today about it.

Talk about it on This podcast as well, but essentially it's government funding to pay for public service output on commercial radio stations commercial and community radio stations as well and it's actually there to finance the creation of high quality crafted speech based content that such stations would find difficult to fund on a on a commercial basis, so it's part of the government's wider contestable fund pilot scheme which has a television element to it as well, and I think the government seems there are to understand what contestable funding would mean.

Indeed commercial marketplace and how it would increase the plurality of public service content supplementing with the BBC and and commercial stations already do and I think that we come to the end of the first year that it's been able to have quite quite good impact and Helen you've been sharing these panels to make the decisions about which programs get the funding I can imagine it's almost like a Tony award panel.

Wherever is champion in different ones because you have quite a lot of applications.

We have not done a lot of Sony judging panel ideas to use their imagination and it comes down often the clarity with which people put together their bids to let you know the extent that we can really understand what they're aiming for a learning experience for all sides have learn to speak very closely with the stations of agreed to take the

So over the year we've noticed a real sharpening of Focus you know what the idea is who it's aimed at what the public service nosov.

It is and deliver within that there's been an amazing richness of ideas and offers a break your heart because they're really good ideas, but such a low audience threshold.

We can't in terms of spending public money really take them on board, but what we can say this is often Community Radio should expect to find some Community Radio partners, because it's a great idea.

Just needs to reach more people and more and more commercial players the B Company because obviously no, not yet and some of the specialist stations the Independent stations really beginning to see the potential.

The Grinch their regions of things they would otherwise have been able to afford and that's been very cheering.

I think you know we had a very difficult inaugural speeches after a first-round one of our key.

Can you list John Mayer literally a few days after I drop dead of a heart attack and John was such a big figure on our panel and a bit on the radio that was incredibly difficult personally and professionally for all of us, but David Lloyd has come on the panel.

He's absolutely tremendous and we really strongly agree on everything but actually would want us to agree on everything you know ideas need to provoke Debate and obviously you're all creative people you've all got radio background.

How easy is it to get a page in imagine WhatsApp is going to sound like an hour having heard some of them have they turn out as you expected so which was?

Wasn't an amorphous idea, but it because it was it was the wife of a Man Who Stole a long sentence for fraud to do for prison radio version of the blogs you've been doing for some time to didn't need to be just a red thing and it's actually become an incredibly compelling piece of audio Radio Pro podcast which put front and centre her and her children's experience but does it in a variety of ways you love huge amount of the prison system and they are reading her own blogs that use what might be called dramatizations that they're not quite that they use interviews.

It's a really powerful experience.

I was listening in the kitchen the other day and it was great so sometimes what's on the page gives you a sense and then when you hear it you think well.

I'm really glad that genuinely public service and innovative.

He has had a long career in the BBC clearly a lot of these programs are things that traditionally only the BBC would have done so it's good to hear those on other types of broadcasters.

Yeah, that's true, but it's also started in commercial radio and I will have a huge regard for commercial radio and it's really good to see ideas coming for that use the kind of that very tight commercial disappear after a 20 minutes or half hour program unless it's in a part of the schedule where that would work station where it would work they offer very tightly formatted ideas with incredibly enormous scale around the subject male mental health or infertility the years ago and I think people are growing in confidence and ambition and as a panel that can only be a good thing.

I think some of the most interesting ones have mixed that those formats together as well as recognising that they can get bums on Sea

Daytime, but perhaps only 2 minutes bands of packages of content but they're pushing towards evening and weekend for longer form and you'll get The Best of Both Worlds and it's been a subset of patients to understand.

How they can do more of this high quality crafted stuff, but also reach larger audience is on in a breakfast drive with morning shows like that and sometimes.

It's not you but you do something different with it.

So you know we've got a program called kick-off.

Which is at football phone.

It's not my specialist subjects and it Focuses on minority groups a very broad range of issues and then very broad range of minority groups actually football people together and explores them in an incredibly lively way, and that's a real impact on the station has yes, we've seen talk sports lineup change over the last year and they've done a lot of work on the diversity of the presenting lineup and I think what.

Kick off time that the segment which is a 1 hours.

I was 7 Days of discussion that they do but by focusing on bringing in contributors and experts from underrepresented backgrounds then massively increase the diversity of the rolodex if you like as well, so it's a lot of those contributors appearing around the station and and generally making sure that the issues are more widely representative football fans cross-country.

That's very big deal because you can't do a football phone in that doesn't last that so what's a chunk of money a significant chunk of money within our terms as a panel.

We talked about it a lot, but I think we're all delighted that we did it and it had this kind of that's perfect it's seeded a lot about the good public service things within the whole station and the overall impact of the fund obviously one of the aims was about matching.

Production companies with radio stations are broadcasting at the way that this works is that the money goes to the the production company to make the program so you've seen a kind of a lot of new relationships form.

That sense as well 23 new partnerships.

I think 25 and as mentioned before the growth of community stations connecting with each other coming and offering something that would work 6 or 13 of them is really because we feel we are starting conversations that wouldn't creative conversations that wouldn't otherwise have happened.

Yeah absolutely and it says it's a snowball that gathers the more we continue and I think you know this report is about the year 1 which pretty much predates the coronavirus crisis, but a lot of those relationships that were developed in year one continue to develop further and quickly and because people know each other a lot more effectively and efficiently around the coronavirus round and not this complete.

Working together again and building in confidence by pulling on more broadcasters and we saw Productions which organically reached 40511 of the Productions of the coronavirus and reach more than 200 stations with bit of help to Radio today, so we are seeing those partnerships growing and growing in confidence as well.

There's a funny ground going on at the moment and then the next one is open in the summer if there a programme makers who are listening or stations were going to be talking to Indies what are you looking for mainly as a as a panel.

Are you looking for a variety of types of things that we don't hear a 60% of the applications in this first year were actually factual programme so perhaps a bit more Sport comedy drama affairs that kind of wide range of genres as possible, but we're not prescriptive.

I think what we're looking for is a something that feels really fresh and have to be something.

They couldn't and wouldn't have done otherwise this public funding.

I said before you need to the gnd and the radio station really need to understand what they're trying to do for their audience in this.

You know this isn't about selling advertising.

This is about audience with really worthwhile material does not mean serious.

I mean we had some great comedy ideas and interesting probably where the division the to BBC background people me and Roxy and the two commercial radio people David and Kate is most evident because there are things that we couldn't find that funny and David says this will work really well, and he's always right and is very good at that.

That's one of the things about debating as a panel these ideas clear sense of purpose.

What are we going to here as much as you can sometimes people have the detail in their heads, but they don't put it in the offer and all we have.

so you have to flush it out and also need to tell us what you hope this will deliver to the audience and obviously if you're dealing with something like male mental health information is shared experiences and it's very often in a comedy saying we commissioned the lovely very local comedy idea up in Scotland and that was just getting great Talent on here for local people we commissioned tiny exquisite little pieces about the West Country that sort of about a few of them relatively recently and again in their offer they giving sense of both why was public service to hear about the land we live in and what you might hear the kinds of things you might hear so all of us need to have our imaginations tickled by the offers and I think there are about 100 beds that were putting the

Funding some of those just didn't meet the eligibility criteria, but clearly some of them were you know outdone by better applications.

Do they get feedback and they resubmit them for future.

We will give you manage that is actually encouraging people that are not getting funding this time round doesn't mean it can't happen again and people understandably sometimes take it very personally ideas and things and I know how painful it can be really professionally you need to hear the feedback and lunch because things have returned them.

I mean how easy is it to do that feedback is the toughest part of the job? I think I don't get out of tiny violin, but it's it's it's never fun.

You know telling you know if you've ever interview.

Tell people that they haven't got the job.

It's it's it's that sort of thing and it's something that I'd have to be seen as a commissioner there as well and it's your the hardest when you're saying that was a really good idea.

It just missed a couple of little points here and if you're changing out and thinking about this element you could you could come back at next time then somebody might say that doesn't take that timelines are that's Mr moment so whatever I'm quite quite heartbreaking and is easy to tell somebody that something was really bad, but it's not easy to tell them that somebody was almost there now.

It's the fourth place.

You can get a medal and it's always tough because in the end of the limited Potter money and a limited time so always some good ideas.

Just won't make it because they were a bit better or you know we we kind of jigsaw puzzles panel in the sensory try to make sure that we going to large numbers of people with quality content.

Nursery new images as well as established in these that were touching community stations and others so that were also remembering the nature of the UK we were very pleased to get some offers that were done in indigenous languages from different minority groups etc.


We don't do it like a terrible civil service great, but we are in mind that this is public money and we want to make sure it goes to a wide range of good projects and obviously the funding goes to the Independent production company but ultimately the radio that are on benefit by getting a program that they haven't had to pay for in the cases of the bigger companies Bower and use UK I think it's about £150,000 each went to project that were airing on stations owned by Barry news now.

Probably might say well.

They're multi-billion pound organisations.

They could quite easily spend their own money making this program and paying the Indians to do.

Wanted to so why is it right that taxpayers money is used to fund programs on stations owned by multi-billion pound corporations.

We didn't make that decision CMS made that decision but I suspect they made it because they observed that over several decades commercial radio stations were not delivering Public Service Broadcasting of the type that we can and this is the way I sort of seed called money to show them it can work and at some point some of them might decide to embed some of those ideas as talkSPORT did with kick off at the industry has changed from when I start in commercial radio when there was quite a lot of almost BBC type public service output, but the schedules that now work for audiences in an incredibly commercial and competitive way clearly do not alive from much flexibility in the mainstream and

Time time that the dcms is keen to get good stuff into which is why the Indian understand how to do incredibly polished short public service programs and elements have done well with us because we know that's one of the things that the dcms was keen for us to do.

I think realistically the kind of recession.

We may be facing postcode.

I don't think anyone is going to be able to say that even the biggest radio groups going to find life easy and whilst this money is absolutely not aware of subsidising for commercial income radio station.

It will be a way of ensuring that great public service content continues to be offered to the audiences that the government test ACF with reaching significant audiences.

It was interested in seeing how public service content on large commercial considerations would play out.

With audiences whether they listen at weather stations and the market would have an appetite for more so there's no apology for placing the content on the larger station.

It's quite what we were asked to do and as you point out.

It's not the station to get the money.

It's the Indies that do and most of them are in fact all of them in the Samuel Paul small businesses, St Austell partnerships or AutoTrader send the money has supplemented the market which for many of these companies is just the BBC until the AC came along so I think it's working on a number of levels in an accident and on the future funding is is that guaranteed now for the next couple of years or is there a chance that some of that might drop because of the global financial system wherein the A2 now and here to is guaranteed that money in the bank and as I said earlier.

We started handing it out.

We work very closely with the CMS a year 3 is not Gary

And for the whole contestable fund pilot was always a kind of a break clause if you like between here and 3 at the things looking positive there will have to continue working with dcms that case the Treasury and see what happens next time.

I hope is that it's a relatively small sum of money in the bigger scheme of things and the Treasury has to deal with and ultimately a good news story for supporting small businesses and for supporting audiences that can benefit from the variety of extra public service interior so hopefully will continue to make that case yeah absolutely I've got a favourite programme that you've heard obviously probably can't pick favourites, but it's a standout one that you actually heard the finished product and thought that was fantastic, but I was very taken with prisonbag but in all honesty.

I haven't heard all of all of them that would be unfair and Innocence this is it's always intensely personal but you know they'll be other panel members who will absolutely have a completely different favourite for me and I think.

Great thing by the way the panel works.

We do bring are you know are very different experiences and are very different tastes, but we try to focus on what the ideas are offering the specific.

It's not what we want to learn about commissioning.

You're not listening to yourself.

Look for the audiences if you can find a funded project staging is what's the samples on their butt and links on on to hear that things and I think I was brilliant.

I think we'll be seeing a lot of that in the next next year.

I think that's one of our earlier funny project success Manchester music tour was a couple of doing doing this sort of container commercial radio format.

They took Cambridge drive time show on the road for 10 weeks from a different location.

I remember to go out without do things different location each other.

Manchester not a big crowd show like a Roadshow it was Clint and an engineer and a producer in a in an interesting place so Salford lads' club or Old Trafford Cricket Ground and talk about the musical history of that venue and the area.

I went along to one of those I want to go to the Trafford Cricket Ground and that was fantastic to see to see that working also just on the scale is a protocol on the land or in Welsh that it's here which is made by splash for radio Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire which is again really short form small pieces and lots and lots of them and just really short vignettes of people's lives in West Wales place close to my heart.

I really enjoyed that one is what you really realise we all three of us know this and most people listening the Range and flexibility of is quite extraordinary comes through time and time again when we looked through the offers absolutely fantastic well.

Good luck with the next round and your next virtual judging as well with let's change the way that we do.

Different when you're not in the room are they actually what was really interesting was because we were meeting the panel is meeting weekly with Sam during the height of the coronavirus emergency and even on zoom we managed to get to understand each other shorthand which is what you do all the time when you meet people in face-to-face meetings.

I think it would be really useful when we go into the next big round in July and I think it was David said it's interesting.

How usually you reach you can send really top drawer ideas for specific audiences do kind of band through a new when you're reading those offers is great fun actually hard work the great fun, but we've got a new director-general of the BBC appointed in the last week.

It's something we all know quite well here in the radio industry Tim Davie you worked alongside term.

I think you were director of news and he was running marketing initially and then.

Play music is it a good higher for BBC I'm really genuinely delighted that has got a roll from hell, but I think he's got the resilience for it is a marathon runner who does marathons the Arctic and desert so he knows about things being punished.

He's a man who genuinely loves radio.

He came to running radio from running marketing where he got his editorial pedigree.

I took over from him as director of radio and the affection and respect he had from the radio teams was very real, but they recognise how far did work to understand something he didn't know when you came into it.

I think he'll be clear headed.

I think he'll be calm he has great enthusiasm and passion for the organisation will be very realistic on the executive board for a long while so the things that have happened to Radio

Some point must have been approved as stated so I don't think anyone should think they are necessarily be a great change of strategy under Tim radio think she's part of which will be useful for the working there and you're not at all jealous.

You want to be doing that job especially with the negotiation to come up.

It is honestly a job genuinely I would not want a price and I actually find it very interesting.

That's a whole range of very senior women did not apply for it for you might have thought would have applied for it and I think because they also thought this is a job that correct your life and it's not worth it and I think because I've done 15 years at the BBC and understand the intricacies of the

The external attacks upon the organisation understands the things that he is weather going to be able to resilience through the ups and downs and my goodness there are likely to be but he's not be underestimated.

He's a real fighter and he does care about the organization the radiated a program with broadcast bionic bionic studio listening watching reacting to and learning from every spoken word Kolo sweet and SMS to a mix unlock and understand your content the bionic Steve transforms everything about radio except the way you make it from the audio content fund just out of David Lloyd I'll squeeze in another advert here for cleanfeed lots people getting in touch with us to tell us they been using it after hearing the plug hear on the radio Today programme.

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Is it where really and so so many people have.

Written to us so many members of the public have written to us and contacted by phone saying what is going to be the Old Fella and we have they go along and we have a course a great many contributors many of whom have managed to pop into the studio and say their goodbyes to Bob actually live of course one or two people just can't do that one of which this chat of who is a very familiar by am but the journey proved just too much even for bobs farewell a breakdown the least two occasions when it's 8 minutes.

Goodnight and thank you.

Thank you very much indeed and the Smashing the right across the water side of a long time and from time to time but obviously didn't think it was nicely done Bob Holness leaving LBC after 10 years with Douglas Cameron 45 years ago this week the start of an experiment in Elementary broadcasting this is BBC Radio 4.

We know during the BBC's political editor David Holmes for the Star Trek first Live Transmission destination for the proceedings of the commons, so it's a special day for us broadcasters in parliament and perhaps MPs feel that too but this chamber is its usual simple cool seeming self-catering day, although.

It's anything cool in this commentary box The Chambers beginning to fill up at the moment.

It is rather empty though.

Just a dozen or so and he's waiting for.

To begin on a 5 rows of green leather benches that run down either side of this chamber the trial of broadcast of proceedings in the House of Commons beginning on BBC and commercial radio this week in 1985 premier Christian Radio launched this week 25 years ago ok now with that great joy in our hearts and a great privilege where we have this was a battleship enough.

I guess they break a bottle of champagne over and we got something better than that what better opportunity.

We got to dedicate this station and all is going to do down through the many years to god where the Light Is Right Reverend Roy Williamson who's the bishop of Southwark and one of our patrons to come and join us now of Premier Radio the UK's first licensed Christian station this in 1995 Blackburn movies on their debut at Radio Caroline but it was on the pirate radio London where he really perfected his craft and learn of Top 40 radio.

This week in 1966 goodnight Tony Blackburn Radio London this week 54 years ago.

It was a very lovely place this week was really London because Kenny Everett was also returning there this week after sacking 7 months before for criticizing this program.

The world tomorrow 6 till 9 show in the evening and they to interrupted every night with this tape thing from America you get the program and he pays you like £50 a night to broadcasted and it's an evangelical thing and he tells you what Horrors are in store on this planet.

If you don't is magazine.

He said anything in the middle of my sure everybody is going to turn off is anyone here depressing things so I'm going to the end of the show I used to come into that one day he came to England on a little tourette's and I didn't know there and I said one of my funny little things at the end of the show and he rang Radio London

Turn off my sharp Kenny Everett Who return to Radio London this week in 1966, so it's Scott Mills moving to radio one evening Drive 16 years ago radio one that's on the back for the last ever one big Sunday the Queen opening new broadcasting house 7 years ago here in this new studio the Today programme Steel we've been joined by Her Majesty the Queen and the director of the BBC Lord hall of Birkenhead for the formal opening of this BBC transformed headquarters in the heart of London Kerrang loading in the West Midlands on fm16.

What does this mean Kerrang 1 and 5.2 have in common now? It is June tin 3 you're about Lord 2004 Channel 4 announced the launch of Channel 4 radio.

Teen years ago and never happened and BBC local radio beginning and experiments reducing broadcast hours to improve quality and take pressure off over work staff 41 years ago this week's radio moments.

Thank you David and I guess this week and Sam from the audio content fund next week.

What will have on but it should be interesting and all of her radio music for This podcast was composed by MiKasa

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