Party time excellent.
You know you’re getting old when your cultural frame of reference for your headline and strap are one or two decades past their sell by date. I wanted to run a riff off something the kids will be down with – something with “amazeballs” or Rizzle Kicks in. But for my blog on licensing for local TV channels, I am better served by a pun on a comedy program that’s over ten years old and Wayne’s World the film. But you’ll be amazeballs when you shizzle my nizzle.
Last week, Ofcom revealed details of 57 bids for licences to local TV channels in 21 towns and cities. The culture and media secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has been stress testing the service on a trial basis and now it’s ready to be rolled out nationwide. A roll call of media giants are bidding for the licences, from the Evening Standard, ex-Beeb Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons, and ex-Channel 4 honcho, Luke Johnson. And, oh, Esther Rantzen – that’s life.
While ‘meeja’ experts like the Guardian’s excellent Roy Greenslade have already covered the far weightier questions regarding the local TV scheme, I was more interested at an entirely base level. The only yardstick I have is how bad local and public access TV is in the States – hence Wayne’s World, which took the pee out of cheaply made budget local TV stations. And aside from TV stuck together with homemade sets, the only other programs seemed to be perpetual re-runs of terrible UK exports like Are You Being Served, Benny Hill and Keeping Up Appearances.
But there’s no reason we have to follow the US model on local TV engagement. We don’t have the negative connotations of public access TV in the UK yet and local TV for local people doesn’t have to be a circus parade of freaks. In fact, I’d say local TV could be more relevant now than any other form of communication – especially from a PR perspective. You don’t need our broadcast clients to tell you that viewing habits are fractured through a myriad of connected devices serving endless multi-channel content; making it hard to keep audiences switched on. So, with a done properly caveat, grass roots engagement at a local level could be the best communications platform for any PR campaign.