by Richard Lutz
Banished to Scotland for a while, and thoughts turn to tv once I tire of haggis flavoured crisps, ‘interesting’ weather patterns and monomanic Old Firm sport coverage
ITV’s local franchise STV, out of Glasgow, is an intriguing offer. Whenever I come north of the border, I notice it still produces a noticeable amount of its own content.
Considering it has less people in its remit than the West Midlands alone, it is good- whatever you think of the actual content- that producers, editors and reporters are still hands-on and putting out news and factual material for the viewer.
Unlike, say Central or BBC in Birmimgham both of which are hitting the invisibility line in terms of actual production.
For instance, if you grow weary of Paxman playing the public school bully, STV has Scotnight. OK, it can lack the punch of the London based heavyweight, but this week as Britain mulled over whether it was good or bad that cameras were allowed in an Edinburgh court for a murder sentencing, Scotnight, on at 10.30 and encapsulating the local news, spent a good deal of time munching over whether it is valuable to see court proceedings in your own home.
It makes for good material late at night rather than no debate at all or a truncated one crammed into a local new slot at 6.00pm when many are still on their way home, taking care of the kids or just too distracted to watch a content driven show.
On other nights, I have dipped into STV’s sofa chat show The Hour. It is intermittent but it is on for its self advertising 60 minutes from 5pm to 6pm so joins up quite nicely with the regional news- and gives a viewer a 90 minute chunk of what is happening in their own patch.
Contrast this to the Midlands which now gets scant, if non existent, coverage as opposed to years ago when either channel boasted news, political shows, business programmes, solid documentaries, debate shows and motoring slots.
Hyper-local tv channels. such as the nascent City TV, take notice of Scotland.
Yes, the content may not be to your taste (but maybe very tasty for others) but at least it is serving its customers…and that’s the people that soak up tv coverage in their homes.