Notes from PPC Scotland Meeting:
NOTES FROM PPC / PUBLISHING SCOTLAND MEETING 4/9/18
PAULINE LAW – HEAD OF MULTI PLATFORM PRODUCTION AND INVOLVED WITH THE NEW CHANNEL LAUNCHING EARLY 2018 – DETAILS TO BE ANNOUNCED THIS MONTH
Pauline joins the dots between the various in house departments in BBC Scotland: These are: Music, Ents and Events; Speech and Topical (includes all non news/sport/music Radio content for BBC Radio Scotland such as The Afternoon Show and Call Kaye as well as Features and Radio Drama for network); Gaelic; Digital (including brands like The Social, Loop and Give Me a Voice on BBC Three); Sport and the BBC SSO. If she isn’t the right person she will know who is and happy to point you in the right direction.
The new channel name and content will be revealed later in September and will broadcast early 2019. We pitch new ideas in all these in-house genres via our Development team so we are dependent on commissioners to green light these. In terms of our continuous content on Radio the programme producers or editors decide what content will be included eg The Afternoon Show or Off the Ball.
SPEECH AND TOPICAL
The Afternoon Show is our regular cultural programme which includes book reviews and author interviews (more from Esme on this below). The religious and ethics team produce a Sunday morning radio programme which has to have a moral compass, not necessarily religious but could tie into books on this theme. The senior producer is email@example.com. Daily programmes like Call Kaye might also feature books if tie into topical news agenda. Our Features team also pitch single docs to both Radio Scotland and network and these could tie into major book releases or author anniversaries for example.
Bruce Young leads BBC Radio Drama in Scotland and is one of the main suppliers to Book of the Week and Book at Bedtime. Book of the Week goes out at 9.45am and is repeated at 12.30pm. It usually ties in with pub dateBook at Bedtime currently goes out at 10.45pm but will soon be originating at midday (presumably with a change of name!). They can be more flexible regarding pub date and work anything from 6 weeks to a year ahead. The team have also dramatized books for network radio including Alexander McCall Smith, Rebus, Kidnapped etc. The producers are: Bruce Young, Editor; Gaynor Macfarlane, Senior Producer; Kirsty Williams, Producer; Eilidh McCreadie, Producer and David Ian Neville, Producer.
SPORT / MUSIC, ENTS AND EVENTS
We don’t currently have any regular shows that feature books but if you have music or sports books coming out around a major topic, biography, genre it’s possible we might consider pitching a documentary or related programme
We have a number of Digital/Social strands including The Social; Loop (Arts) and also pitch ideas to BBC Ideas (network digital strand). These are primarily short films for Social Media skewing younger. It’s possible we could consider book content/authors within these. The Arts Digital network team is also based in BBC Scotland and does a lot of campaign work eg Get Reading, they also produce content from the Hay and Edinburgh Book Festivals and might also consider features or short films on books/authors if topical relevance. Allan Campbell is the Editor.
We do also make content for the network but we usually think BBC Scotland first – for example we are currently making a film on the Iolaire disaster which will transmit on BBC Scotland but we are also pitching it to BBC Four.
BBC Studios is a separate commercial arm of the BBC and can pitch to other broadcasters like Sky and Channel Four. In Scotland they are called Pacific Quay Productions and focus on Factual – in particular, History, Science and Arts genres. They also make Front Row for television which is produced by Mark Crossan.
ESME KENNEDY – THE AFTERNOON SHOW WITH JANICE FORSYTH & GRANT STOTT (MON-THURS)
It’s the 2 hour flagship programme within Arts and Entertainment covering film premieres and live music as well as theatre, comedy, art and books
The average BBC Radio Scotland listener is 55 and male but they like to pitch slightly younger and appeal to a female audience
There are three options for coverage:
Monthly book group on first Wednesday of each month which can also include authors in discussion
Tuesday review which can include authors as reviewers – 3 contributors reviewing different things. Can pitch books worthy of a good chat for this slot.
They also cover major book prizes and major festivals
As a programme they love discovering new Scottish authors and taking ownership of them
Pitch the authors story as well as the story itself eg. Alison Belsham a great story having been discovered at Bloody Scotland and published by Trapeze
Crime hugely attractive to their audience. Listeners love it and Scottish crime writers are celebs in their own right.
They also love books about music because it gives them an opportunity to play music so pitch music biogs or books by musicians
The Afternoon Show also broadcast live from Book Festivals. They did a two parter with Edi Stark at the Edinburgh Book Festival this year in addition to the broadcast from the main Festival at the George Heriots site. They felt they were missing some authors so had Edi on the ground at the Book Festival which is something they would like to explore more with other Scottish festivals.
If you have an author appearing at a Scottish Festival and they haven’t already been on the programme give them a nudge as that could be a great time to get them on the programme.
The producers work four weeks ahead. Any longer and it can be missed.
They don’t have a lot of time for one to one meetings but if you can pitch correctly you could potentially get all your authors on in one 15 minute chat. It’s so appreciated if you know the programme, pitch well and cut the PR spiel claiming it’s a great book!
Book discussions on air can be more rewarding than straight interviews eg Far from the Tree, pre rec with the author then discussion in studio with people affected by the issues raised in the book
Anna Welander, another producer on the Afternoon Show, flagged opportunities for promoting kids’ books on the Afternoon Show and on social media. She does author interviews / Baby Book Group (where she reviews picture books with her 4 year old) It’s still in the early stages of development but she has a personal interest in kids’ books and is keen to give them space on Radio Scotland. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
PAULINE MCLEAN – ARTS CORRESPONDENT FOR BBC SCOTLAND NEWS PROGRAMMES
Pauline contributes to Reporting Scotland, Good Morning Scotland (the Sunday show is a good opportunity for author interviews), News Drive, Timeline, Social, Sunday Politics and BBC News Online covering TV, radio and digital
All have a constant appetite for news
Festivals can provide great content. Rose McGowan and Chelsea Clinton were both interviewed recently at the Edinburgh Book Festival
They also did a news item about Ambrose Parry – the Chris Brookmyre collaboration with his wife Marisa which they filmed at Surgeons Hall. Think visual as well as interview when you’re pitching.
MC Beaton has a half hour slot on Good Morning Sunday on Radio Scotland linked to her appearance at Bloody Scotland rather than hooked to a new book
As TV is visual great to connect books to a film audience eg. Irvine Welsh with Robert Carlyle
Let her have numbers of authors they could call for comments on news itemsShe doesn’t have time to go through whole catalogues but is happy to meet publishers if she has time and they have at least one or two targeted ideas to offer. In first instance email (Pauline.email@example.com) is more likely.
Pauline is active on Twitter @bbcpolliemac
JJ MACISAAC – LEAD CONTENT EDITOR, (Gaelic TV and Radio Production)
BBC ALBA – apart from the kids’ programmes – all TV content has English subtitles so it reaches a wider audience than purely Gaelic speakers.
BBC Gaelic Department is currently in production with the 5th series of Leugh Mi / The Book Show which will air on BBC ALBA in January. It is a simple format where two book enthusiasts chat about their 3 favourite books. The choices can include most genres including classical, Gaelic books, contemporary, fiction and non-fiction.
They have also just started production of new content aimed at children which will air on BBC ALBA this autumn. Included in this content is a strand called Bedtime stories where they take English language children’s books and translate into Gaelic. This slot will air each weekday evening at 5.55pm. BBC Gaelic aim to record over 70 stories before the end of March 2019. It’s a bit like Jackanory! Although on the lookout for new publications, the books are chosen in conjunction with the BBC CBeebies team in Manchester.
BBC ALBA broadcasts a series called Sàr Sgeoil / Amazing Tales which explores the setting, background and real life characters who inspired some of Scotland’s prominent stories such as Peter May’s Lewis Trilogy. Currently in production for BBC ALBA are programmes featuring As the Women Lay Dreaming by Donald S Murray and Memory and Straw by Angus Peter Campbell.
There is also a monthly radio programme which broadcasts on the first Friday of every month focusing on books. Leugh an Leabhar /Read a Book selects contemporary books for review and occasionally during the show, authors who write in Gaelic are interviewed to discuss their current works. Authors and the works of Kevin Macneil, Alison Lang and Ian Finlay Macleod are amongst the content featured in this series.
He is not particularly active on social media but their radio station is on twitter @BBCRnG
He likes one to one meetings but in the first instance contact on email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 07818 075210