Tag Archives: BBC

Can Leeds’ creative industries flourish with local TV?

All six bidders are subject to a beauty parade for DCMS and Ofcom although not all their indenties are known. Photo: ©knowyourleeds

Timi Korus’s musical career is on hold. The executive director at online TV station Leeds TV told knowyourleeds he has to concentrate on one thing: local television.

As one of 20 “pioneer” cities, the government’s next ‘big society’ project will come to Leeds later this year when licences for local TV stations are awarded in the summer.

“The government proposals will take local TV to the next level,” said Timi, “we’ve got lots of companies producing documentaries, dramas, all types of shows in Leeds, but this type of industry will create opportunities around the community it serves.

“So many people don’t know about what’s going on in Leeds, so want to give it exposure and tell people what this city is all about.”

But television is expensive. And it’s been widely commented on that local TV won’t be technically or financially viable.

To help get the scheme going, the BBC will hand over £40m from the Licence Fee towards the project. Up to £25m will pay for infrastructure and hardware. The rest will go towards buying stories from the local stations.

Timi said his proposal to the Department of Culture and Media and Sport is based under the message of “one Leeds, one city”.

“I want all the creative industries in Leeds working together so content will come from lots of organisations. If we just run repeats, people will tire of local TV. We won’t just be covering local news and maybe one other show because it’ll sink,” said Timi.

Timi wants all creative industries to contribute towards a local station.

“If Yorkshire Post and YEP are already covering local news, it makes no sense for Leeds TV to start doing the same thing and be a rival does it? It’ll be a waste of resources and a waste of money we could have invested somewhere else. So why don’t we try to do something different and make this work?”

He hopes by giving students opportunities and pooling Leeds’ creative industries together will offset the concerns that local TV alone cannot compete with the ITV/BBC.

What’s more of a concern is how much local advertising a local station can pick up when revenues are sharply down for the regional newspapers and commercial radio.

As Leeds Citizen blogged, Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post receive a bulk of their advertising revenue from the £250,000 which LCC uses to advertise council notices. He’s quick to counter that the Leeds station will also cover Dewsbury, Halifax, Huddersfield and Wakefield too.

“It’s quite expensive for businesses to advertise on mainstream television,” said Timi, “but on a local level it’s going to be far cheaper. Google can’t take every advertiser away from the media.

“There’s lots of opportunities to advertise directly to the community to the people who actually need it.”

Would be broadcasters for Leeds’ TV station are on a ‘beauty contest’, where they showcase themselves to DCMS and Ofcom who will only grant one licence per location.

As one of six bidders, Timi’s not alone. And as the decision time gets closer there will be questions about who should receive local TV licences and how equipped they’ll be to play a positive democratic role.

Although media companies have expressed interest in collaborating with other bidders, Timi said while he’s spoken with the Yorkshire Post, nothing is decided.

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Is it time for Leeds to have its own elected mayor?

The return of Jimmy Savile

Local legend, Jimmy Savile will be hugely missed. Image by dullhunk via Flickr

It’s been a busy week for political news this week for Leeds but the papers started the week with the obituaries to Jimmy Savile. His philanthropy and eccentricity will be hugely missed.

In the national news this week was the surprising news that Leeds could be one of the 12 cities who could have their very own Boris Johnson.

A new consultation put forward by the coalition government could bring democratic change to Leeds with our very own elected city mayor. The report, titled ‘What can a mayor do for your city?’ said:

“The Government is committed to creating directly elected mayors in the 12 largest English cities, subject to confirmatory referendums and full scrutiny by elected councillors. This consultation paper seeks your views on our proposed approach for giving powers to any mayors elected in the 12 cities following the referendums to be held in May 2012.”

While we’re all for change that enhances democracy at knowyourleeds, we’re unsure who we’d put up for it.

And would this mean the end of the mainly ceremonial Lord Mayor? Do you even care? Consultation ends January 2nd. Please let us know your thoughts.

One story the potential mayor would have to deal with immediately is the future of Kirkgate Market. The council has approved an £400,000 fund for Kirkgate Market reports the BBC. The money will be used for maintenance and repairs. Knowyourleeds will keep an eye on developments.

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Housing scheme shines light on PFIs.

House

Image by phill.d via Flickr

Leeds’ addiction to Private Finance Initiative‘s are a major topic we’ll be covering on knowyourleeds but for the meantime here’s a flavour of what to expect.

If you subscribe to Leeds Council‘s news RSS feed, by you’ll have noticed the several updates on the new Private Finance Initiative (PFI) projects appearing in your reader this week. To save you the trouble of Council PR paff, the good news is that the multi-million pound housing schemes for Holbeck, Beeston and Little London have been given the go-ahead by the Government.

Here’s a summary of the latest developments.

  • The consortium, Sustainable Communities for Leeds (sc4L) bid to on this major housing regeneration project has been approved.
  • The Council says it will now work with sc4L to finalise proposal details.
  • Up to 388 new council homes will be built, with 1200 existing council properties being refurbished.
  • A three-year construction phase is due to start around spring next year.
  • The contract also includes ‘some environmental improvements’ provisions. Firms under the umbrella Keepmoat Limited have been contracted to provide this.
  • They will also be responsible for maintenance services throughout the 20 year contract period.

While this is undoubtedly good news for the areas involved, the Leeds Citizen blog has the news which wasn’t updated on the news feed. Delays and inflation have led to a £12m increase in costs before the 20-year contract has even been signed. It’s yet to be confirmed whether this is for the duration of the contract or for the building phase.

“The council will need to meet additional costs in the contract that amount to about £1million a month,” Cllr Peter Gruen said a statement given to the Leeds citizen.

In other PFI news, which Cllr Gruen (executive member for housing) may want to note, the BBC reports that lighting costs have soared under a 25-year Private Finance Initiative contract from 2006.

Lamppost
Image by George M. Groutas via Flickr

 

  • A consortium provided £100m to replace most of Leeds’s street lamps.
  • When the contract was signed, Leeds’ lighting system cost £5.8m per year to run, it now

    costs £14.4m.

  • The majority of the rise in costs is, according to the BBC, repayment of the overall cost of 80,000 lights which have been since replaced.

Because PFI deals can be bracketed under ‘commercial confidentially’ agreements, little is now about the financial impacts or specific arrangements of the deals.

As always, if anyone has any information to share, then please leave a comment or email: knowyourleeds@gmail.com

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