With STV Cuts Set to Bite, What Does the Future Hold for Broadcasting in Scotland?

By McCall, Chris | The Scotsman, June 1, 2018 | Go to article overview

With STV Cuts Set to Bite, What Does the Future Hold for Broadcasting in Scotland?


McCall, Chris, The Scotsman


I t has been a busy few weeks for observers of the broadcasting industry in Scotland. STV announced a restructure of its news operation, with more than 50 jobs at risk, while BBC Scotland revealed that its new channel will not begin broadcasting until February next year.

Then there was the announcement that Glasgow was among 13 cities and regions selected to participate in the second stage of the pitch process for Channel 4's new national HQ and creative hub.

Scotland's TV production sector, which makes a variety of wellknown shows, is already expected to grow in the coming years. The addition of a new channel base would be a further shot in the arm.

BBC Scotland is currently hiring journalists and researchers for its planned hour-long news show which will be the cornerstone of the channel launching next year.

But the optimistic mood does not stretch to STV's headquarters on the banks of the Clyde.

Staff this week reaffirmed their intention to ballot for industrial action after rejecting a request from bosses at the broadcaster to delay the process for two weeks.

The action follows the broadcaster's announcement that it would close its loss-making STV2 channel and carry out a restructure of its news division.

Simon Pitts, who took charge at the station last year, claimed it would ensure STV remained the best news service in Scotland while delivering significant cost savings.

But one STV staffer, who asked not to be named, said the restructure could negatively impact on the station's news output.

"It's been said more reporters will film and then edit their own interviews with no support on the ground," they said. "It's a model that's being used already on ITV's regional networks.

"The thinking seems to be, take money off news and invest it into productions.

"At a time when our competitors are scaling up, we are cutting back. …

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