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Yorkshire Regional Audience Council


Yorkshire Regional Audience Council

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									                  Yorkshire Regional Audience Council

                        Wednesday 18th April 2007
                 BBC Leeds Building, St Peter’s square, Leeds

Present:                          Elizabeth Peacock (Chairman)
                                  Darryl Lomas
                                  Beverley Marshall
                                  Sharon Pinder
                                  Sandra Hilton
                                  Sheila Howarth
                                  David Wilson
                                  Keith Ruffles
                                  Diana Brodowska
                                  Terry McNamara
                                  Kevin Hickson
                                  Sioned-Mair Richards

Apologies:                        Kathryn Schofield
                                  Brenda Plant

BBC Representatives:              Helen Thomas (Head of BBC Yorkshire)
                                  Maggie McCarthy (Public Accountability
                                  Manager, BBC Yorkshire and North West)


Elizabeth Peacock welcomed everyone to the meeting.


Maggie McCarthy responded that following the discussion on the Ipswich murders
and the footage leading up to the execution of Sadam Hussein she would contact the
Editorial Policy Unit and ask a representative to attend a future RAC meeting.


The Abolition of Slavery season

The council felt that it had been a worthwhile series with some very pertinent
programmes and excellent presentation by Moira Stewart, Rageh Omaar and Miss
Dynamite, among others. There was some discussion about the scheduling of the
programmes and the use of BBC Two and Four. It was felt by some members that
this had been a missed opportunity and that the impact of the series could have even
greater had it been a central part of BBC One viewing.

One member felt that the contribution of black people themselves had not been
sufficiently highlighted across the output.
School News Day

The council noted that this had been an excellent initiative. Members noted the
Newsnight strand following two schools in Bradford and broadcasting a debate. Such
partnerships were a very useful public service.

Elizabeth Peacock noted the coverage the project had achieved in the Bradford
Telegraph and Argus. Two members, who worked as teachers, noted that they had
not been aware of the project, even though the BBC had aimed to leaflet every
school. More targeted marketing might be needed.

Action point: Maggie McCarthy to check the marketing process employed

Comic Relief

•   By far the best Comic Relief in years
•   Some powerful stories, well presented
•   Fame Academy had been too drawn out


The council had enjoyed the programme and felt that it had been the best one for
many years. In comparison to Children in Need, Comic Relief was more lively and

BBC Local Radio had supported the charity with some imaginative programming and

BBC Response

Helen Thomas noted that this had been the first year that BBC Local Radio had
supported Comic Relief with a series of events. It was gratifying to know that council
members had registered the campaign.

Look North

•   The chemistry between the presenters worked very well
•   One member had noted the increase in items from South Yorkshire and that to
    some viewers in Halifax, the programme seemed Sheffield-dominated.
•   Some items had stood out recently as being particularly well researched and
    imaginatively presented.
•   One member, who worked at a school where a report had taken place, felt that
    the facts presented had been inaccurate.

Action point: Helen Thomas to check on the story

•   Some members felt that Calendar had a ‘fresh’ feel to its presentation and might
    appeal to a slightly younger audience.
•   Members felt that Look North was a ‘trustworthy source of regional news.’
•   The inclusion of more sport had been noticeable as had the efforts to get
    presenters ‘out and about’ far more.
BBC Response

Helen Thomas noted that Look North had recovered its audience figures and was
now beating Calendar.


Elizabeth Peacock noted the reference made at the recent Audience Council
England meeting to the value of BBC Open Centres. It was clear that BBC Centres
with these facilities were, by definition, more accessible to the public.

More widely, there was no doubt that the BBC was in a time of transition with some
tough decisions to be made given the scope of licence fee settlement.

Elizabeth Peacock had recently attended a DCMS select committee hearing on
public service broadcasting attended by BBC Director-General, Mark Thompson.

A video conference would take place shortly linking up the Audience Council England
members from across England.


The council discussed outreach activity and noted a number of forthcoming events
including the Great Yorkshire Show, The Rotherham Show and the Leeds West
Indian Carnival in September.


Helen Thomas reported that Look North had received four nominations in the BBC’s
RUBY Awards – an internal awards event for excellence in regional journalism.

Jane Coulson would be the new ‘face’ of Inside Out following Morland Sanders’
departure. Jane would be moving across from Look North. To develop home-grown
talent in this way was very gratifying.

The region had been commissioned to produce a daytime programme on the
Yorkshire Air Ambulance Service. BBC Daytime rarely commissioned programmes
from the regions and this was a significant achievement.

A new series of Inside Out would start in September on Wednesdays at 7.30pm.
The Politics Show was achieving strong audience figures of 21,000. The team were
preparing for the local elections.

Yorkshire would play host to the Bollywood Film Awards in June. This exciting event
would be covered across BBC Regional TV and Local Radio. Coverage would also
include a Bollywood Look North special which would see Christa Ackroyd make a
Bollywood-style short film. This special would be broadcast on BBC One at 7.30pm,
Wednesday 6th June.


The council engaged in an in-depth discussion on the quality of Local Radio
presentation across BBC Yorkshire.
Elizabeth Peacock concluded the conversation by thanking members for their
comments. Helen Thomas noted that BBC Local Radio was responding to the
challenge of attracting audiences in a busy market place.


Date: June 2007
Main Business: tbc

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