Local TV no more?

This week’s launch of STV’s new television service STV2 is, I feel, a disappointing missed opportunity.
STV2 has been created by STV by weaving together several local TV franchises it successfully bid for covering Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee and Ayr into one single output.    The idea behind the local franchises had been separate, local TV output at each one and that STV has undermined the spirit of the local TV franchise deals by creating just one TV service spread across all 5 areas.
Katie Martin of STV’s public relations and communications team advised me :
“STV2 will deliver a single schedule across Scotland that includes local material from all five local licence areas in line with individual licence commitments; all programming will air across the channel with no local opt-outs.  Content will come from all areas with production bases and staff in all five licence areas and will be clearly marked as such, covering Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee and Ayr.” 
This is not the local TV output that STV originally promised.   Whilst some additional local output from Dundee on STV2 is a step forward, the station will be, as is usually the case with both STV and the BBC, dominated by Glasgow and Edinburgh.    STV has fallen well short of what it originally promised and I am doubtful that what it is proposing truly meets the local and regional commitments of the Ofcom franchises covering Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee and Ayr that it won.
STV has attempted to create a second STV national service by the back door.     I am sure that there will be some good content on STV2 and I wish STV well with its venture, but for the many people who thought that, in winning in separate local franchises, we would see truly local and regional services in different parts of Scotland, STV has fallen short.
Bobby Hain, director of channels at STV, had confirmed “STV2 is the new channel for Scotland.”   
A new national channel has been created at the expense of local television and it is surprising that Ofcom, the regulator, has allowed this to happen.

On STV News at Six and on Wave 102 News – rejection of the West End Park and Ride proposal

Further to my update last night about the rejection of the West End Park and Ride proposal, I spoke on STV News at Six tonight and on Wave 102 News this afternoon about the issue.   You can hear the Wave 102 interview by clicking ‘play’ below:

West End Community Clean-Up!

This afternoon, along with my councillor ward colleague Cllr Richard McCready, Environment Convener Cllr Craig Melville, Trudy Cunningham, Environment and Sustainability Officer at the University of Dundee, community representatives, members of the Bonnie Dundee group and others, we took part in a clean-up of the area around Greenmarket and collected bags (and bags!) of rubbish.    A couple of photos below!
Part of the litter pick team in action!
Alistair Gibb of Community Spirit Action Group and me at Greenmarket
Leaving aside the “keeping our environment clean” message that Trudy got across on tonight’s STV news, it was really good to see the community spirit that is such a feature of the West End coming to the fore again today.
I was interviewed about the clean-up on Wave 102 news earlier today – click ‘play’  below to listen:

Parking consultation : Council must act on residents’ views

As the consultation period on the proposed West End parking proposals ended, I spoke on the STV news last Friday evening about the issue.
It is vital that Dundee City Council actually listens to the views of the hundred of residents and businesses who have responded to the parking consultation.    I’ll eat my hat if the council’s proposal for a £80 parking permit finds favour in the responses the council has received.   I have spoken with dozens of residents who were critical of the council’s flawed proposal but absolutely nobody who thought the council got the parking scheme proposal right.    However, the parking problems for many residents will remain and it is therefore vital that the council looks carefully at the ideas put forward by residents.
The detail of the scheme proposed by the council wasn’t properly thought through and was a dead duck the day it was announced because it failed in three key aspects:
a)    Charging West End residents 16 times as much for their permits as Menzieshill residents – totally inequitable and unfair.
b)    Charging West End residents for their visitors’ parking when the Menzieshill scheme allows free visitor parking, albeit for a limited period.
c)    Failure to provide new car parking provision at the University of Dundee campus to ease parking congestion on West End streets – as I have previously highlighted.
I have heard some very sensible suggestions from residents that could be taken forward in the areas of parking difficulty even in the council’s flawed £80 permit parking scheme is rejected – these include addition parking provision near the university campus and a review of waiting restrictions at several locations.    
The vitally important thing now is that Dundee City Council actually listens to the views expressed in consultation responses.

Grampian Television’s 50th!

Had it not been ‘rebranded’ as STV North, Grampian Television, the regional TV service for the north and north-east of Scotland, would have been celebrating its 50th anniversary today.

Some of us campaigned against the removal of the Grampian brand back in 2006 and regret the passing of a great regional television service – immortalised by TV greats such as Ron Thomson, Jimmy Spankie and Alan Saunders.

STV North has, to its credit, produced an excellent Dundee and Tayside segment in the STV News at Six each evening, but I regret the passing of Grampian, a genuine regional and much-loved television station :

Bring back Grampian!

On STV news – campaigning against graffiti vandalism

I took part tonight in the STV news, highlighting the concerns of West End residents about graffiti vandalism.

I have reported the graffiti highlighted to the City Council, Scottish and Southern Energy and Scottish Water for action to get it removed.

There’s another community initiative to tackle the graffiti issue in the West End this June, following the super effort by residents and others last year.   If you wish more details, please contact me at fraser@frasermacpherson.org.uk