We launch tonight.
Three little words from an email which dropped in my inbox a short time ago. And I’m shamelessly excited by them.
For those of you who may have missed the cause of my breathlessness, I fully understand that you might not entirely share my heightened sense of anticipation.
But to a man whose life has been spent in the media (and a great deal of it embedded right here in Edinburgh), the launch of a new TV station for Scotland’s capital city is something to get worked up about.
Chances are that STV Edinburgh may well turn out to exhibit all the flaws and failings we expect from tinpot local TV stations, wherever they are to found elsewhere in the world. Cos the simple fact is that in the UK we’re spoiled by the expectations set for us by the imperious professionalism of a phenomenally well-funded BBC.
The reality is that doing telly properly is hard and takes huge resources. So, shoestring-budget STV Edinburgh is likely to feature more than it’s fair share of dead air, couthy bloopers, so-what stories and wobbly sets. But I don’t care.
Even before watching a single second of this, I hope the folk of Edinburgh take it to their hearts – warts and all – and that it is a resounding success story. Here’s why:
EMOTIONALLY – My entire adult life has been spent in the media, first as a newspaper journalist, a calling which I loved. Those journalistic roots run deep. The disruption being wrought on the news and media sector in the past decade has been difficult to watch, featuring proud old titles being relentlessly ground down. In media land we’re geared for the imminent death of a traditional media title. So the birth of a new player is something rare that should be cherished. Even if it turns out be less pleasing on the eye than we might hope.
PRACTICALLY – Over at my business, the Edinburgh public relations agency Holyrood PR, one of our longest-standing and favourite clients has a dog in this particular fight. Warners Solicitors and Estate Agents will be sponsoring the Fountainbridge Show, the flagship programme on the new channel. Since we raised this opportunity with Warners and helped broker the deal, we are now hoping it proves to be a towering triumph :-).
PROFESSIONALLY – On a similar note, an entire new TV channel will prove to be one voraciously hungry monster when it comes to the devouring of content. The people behind STV Edinburgh will be on never-ending hamster mill of trying to find interesting stories and interviews. Which should yield plentiful opportunities for those businesses represented by the best PR agency in town (that’ll be mine, in case the shameless self-promotion passed you by).
GEOGRAPHICALLY – Sorry to those fine cities of Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and Dundee, but Edinburgh is just totally magic. So magic in fact that, even if we took the best parts from the rest of you, sprinkled the whole shebang with magic fairy dust and internet kitten juice, you’d still not be as magic as Edinburgh. And for that reason we should really have had a dedicated Edinburgh TV channel donkey’s years ago.
PERSONALLY – There are many fine people on STV local whose paths have crossed mine over the years, like the producers Michael MacLeod and Angus Simpson. I know the energy, commitment and sheer hard graft that will have gone on for months in the run up to this launch – and that will be required for months to come. It would be nice if, a year from now, they could all stop, take stock and realise they have a success on their hands and find out that all the hard work was really worth it.
HISTORICALLY – This is my favourite reason of all. When main presenter Ewen Cameron (pictured, right, in the STV team photo) takes to the air tonight, I’ll be rooting for him more than most. That’s because we have shared heritage, growing up on one of Scotland’s toughest estates in the dark economic days of the 1980s – and here’s a post I wrote about that seven years ago. The boy done good.
So there you have it. I hope you’ll regularly check out what’s happening on Edinburgh’s dedicated new TV channel. From tonight you’ll be able to find it on Freeview channel 23, Sky channel 117 and Virgin channel 159.
Who knows, I might even tune in myself.