Notts TV … a first …

Last Friday Notts TV had a ‘first’. They had four people on the sofa for the 6.30pm show!


I was one of them. The 6.30 show is the Nottingham equivalent of the ‘One Show’. Topical, fast-moving and relatively light-hearted. I really enjoyed the experience. Becky Shearan was the presenter. We had a dad and son who collected Panini stickers – if only I could find my 1970 Mexico set – they are probably worth £5,000! Then there was a Michelle Obama lookalike – she really was a doppelgänger!

The time flew by – 30 minutes isn’t long!

I was fascinated by the whole process. I have done lots of radio in the past and have had my teeny bit of fame on the Six O’Clock news when the Mayoral debate was going on. But this was different – this was live TV in a new studio – based at Nottingham Trent University. The tech-toys are amazing!

I came away with a number of observations..

1. You need quite a bit of kit – the studio is filled with cameras. auto-cues, wiring and technology…
2. There are lots of people involved in a single show!
3. Presenting is not easy – I always found it hard when someone is talking in your ear! But there are visual cues too…Becky was cool under a lot of pressure!

I thought that the production really was professional and this is a great thing for Nottingham.

I don’t know the viewing figures – most of my friends remind me that I have a face for Radio – and that the figures would have dropped through the floor when I was on. They are just jealous…

Notts TV is on Channel 8 or Virgin 159 – in this neck of the woods.

The dawn of a new era in broadcasting – Notts TV is born…

I can remember being in a meeting at Antenna some time ago when Confetti Media Group were thinking about bidding for a Nottinghamshire based TV franchise. It all seemed really exciting.


Notts TV was then won, not once but twice, by Confetti in conjunction with NTU and the Nottingham Post. In the last 198 months a lot of hard work has gone into the planning of the new station. And today it launches on Channel 8.

This is brilliant opportunity for Nottingham. It gives us a local TV station which will be driven purely by local stories. Being independent it doesn’t have the shackles of the BBC. It also gives many young people the opportunity to work in TV – something that has traditionally been hard to achieve unless you can get into the mainstream broadcasters – and those opportunities are few and far between.

This TV franchise sits cleverly with the Nottingham Post (who gather news) and with the broadcasting course of NTU. In addition is is seated firmly in the heart of the Creative Quarter where Confetti’s headquarters are. Many young people will get an opportunity to work in a real life TV station.

I think this is brilliant and fits so many local agenda’s. Local stories and local talent will make this a success.

I’m off tonight to the launch party and can’t wait to see what the new station has in store for us…

Royalty and Creativity …

My good friends at Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies are bracing themselves for a right Royal treat. Prince Harry will be visiting them next week as part of a tour of a number of places in Nottingham.


The Prince’s last call of his day in town will be to Confetti, which offers world-class training in music technology, gaming, film, television, radio and live events production. It is a part of Antenna – where a great number of Nottingham’s creatives live and breathe their stuff.

The block they occupy – at the bottom of Parliament Street – really forms the heart of the Nottingham Creative Quarter. I spend time in the cafe at Antenna and it is clear from those around me that this is a great place if you have talent in the creative industries – there are more macbooks than chairs sometimes!

The real reason behind the Prince’s visit is to launch a course which will for am key part of Notts TV ahead of the channel being broadcast next year. Notts TV is perhaps one of the most exciting projects for Nottingham – with unique opportunities to see local content – but also offer training in a demanding technical environment for youngsters.

This should rightly be a great day of celebration for the City.

Sadly I can’t be at the visit (I have had a number of requests for my invite!) – I shall be in Lyon, France – but more about that later!

Nottingham – new apprenticeship scheme

I was at Antenna in the week for the launch of Nottingham’s Apprenticeship Hub. The evening was introduced by Sir John Peace – he’s a busy man. He chairs three FTSE 100 companies: Standard Chartered, fashion house Burberry and local credit-checking firm Experian. In July of this year he became Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire. A giant in the local community.

His pre-amble to the launch of the new apprenticeship scheme was inspiring; he is great public speaker. No notes. No ‘ers’. He spoke passionately about how we get people back into work – especially young people. He was joined by Councillor Nick McDonald from the City and by Craig Chettle – CEO of the Antenna Media Group.

It was a big audience – of businesses folks and representatives from the FE and HE sectors.

The intention is to create a simple ‘hub’ where both potential employers and employees (apprentices) can ‘meet’ and be matched. It’s a good plan as the current arrangements are a little disparate – as I found out a few years ago when I tried to employ an apprentice. The arrangements are really quite confusing.

The other good news is that Craig Chettle launched the Confetti Media Group’s Creative and Digital Media Apprenticeship programme. This will be a first for Nottingham – and sounds really exciting. If I were starting out this is exactly the sort of thing I would do.

You can read about the hub here. It is good to see that there are already jobs advertised on the NottinghamJobs website.

We do have a duty to get our young people into work – and any initiative to do so should be saluted and celebrated. It was a good evening!

Nottingham TV

There was great news this week for Nottingham. An initiative was launched 18 months ago by the then Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt and aimed to award 21 cities with their own Freeview channel, providing locally relevant TV content to local audiences.

Antenna- the Dolby Suite – at the heart of Notts TV

And so a consortium was formed – made up of Antenna, Nottingham Trent University, Inclusive Digital and the Nottingham Post Media Group to make a bid for the franchise. There were a number of other bids too, but I understand that two were finally shortlisted.

Two days ago it was announced that the consortium had been given a Licence to broadcast for the 12 years – on Freeview Channel 8. It is anticipated that the first programmes will be broadcast from April 2014.

Nottingham is one of the first cities to be awarded the licence and the process has now begun in developing the programme content.

The bid team are all experienced in the media – particularly the emerging digital content.

What I’m really excited about is the opportunity this might present for the next generation of students – Confetti Studios already have a reputation for producing exceptional talent in the digital world. Nottingham Trent University have a world class course in broadcast journalism. The Post Group have the infrastructure to report news daily. Inclusive Digital is run by a former editor of ITV news, Nigel Dacre. The Managing Editor of the channel will be former BBC News Correspondent Rob Pittam.

I think that this is a fantastic story for Nottingham. The model has been proven in the USA and I can see a place for some localised content. And knowing the people involved, this won’t be half-hearted – it will be professional quality and a serious contender for your viewing!

Nottingham – City Deal

Nottingham had some great news yesterday. I have long since believed that one of the things the city out to celebrate is the creative sector. It is something we are good at. We have Nottingham Contemporary, good cinemas and theatres and, crucially, the centre of the creative heart of the place – Confetti and Antenna.

Yesterday Eric Pickles (Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government) came to town and fittingly announced the details of City Deal at Antenna. The Core Cities are set to receive a Government City Deal – an initiative which gives cities outside of London more powers to make decisions and spend money on transport and regeneration schemes locally.

The press release suggest that Nottingham’s City Deal has £50m to be spent on:

* Developing the Nottingham Creative Quarter – an area which encompasses Nottingham’s three key emerging sectors – the creative and digital media sector, health and life sciences and green technologies.
* The Quarter, an ‘incubator without walls’, includes Antenna plus BioCity, Broadway, Broadmarsh East and the Island site and will be the focus of a package of concerted business development activity to enable entrepreneurship to flourish within the heart of Nottingham’s city centre.
* The Government, as part of the Deal, has committed up to £1m to help create more apprenticeships, by creating a Skills and Apprenticeships Hub and a new grants scheme will enable businesses to apply to a Nottingham-based fund manager for loans of anything between £100k and £1m, and in exceptional cases up to £5m.
* An £8m fund for transport and infrastructure improvements in the area and the creation of a ‘Youth Hub’ to tackle youth unemployment and pilot adult and community learning schemes.

So Nottingham has a unique opportunity to tap into money to deliver some of these schemes – in a period of financial difficulty. These sectors do give us a great story.

We must make sure we deliver on the deal!

The Nottingham Story – part three – The story

After my rant of yesterday I though we had better get back on track! I have suggested before that we tap into our history of being somewhat rebellious. I think the rebellion thing could provide a much needed theme.

After all it was here where King Charles I raised his standard here to start the English Civil War in 1642. So we’ve been causing trouble for over 350 years!

But part of that story is that we are also seen a fair people, the connection to Robin Hood is all-important here. He robbed from the rich to give to the poor. The beginning of the Social Service?

These can be fun things for us to latch on to. The do give us something of history. But it’s not quite enough?

I didn’t do History at School (actually I didn’t do much, but that’s another story!). I’m more of a ‘now’ person. And I think our story today is much more interesting.

Our connection with Science goes back to Jesse Boot – and we are a Science City. Stewart Adams invented Ibuprofen & Sir Peter Mansfield invented the MRI Scanner here in Nottingham. Our two Universities are brilliant and recognised the world over. But the City seems to have a disconnect with them. We need to embrace them and all that they do. They provide a weather of research and talent – which we need to keep inn the City. Lets make this place a Univercity.

In recent years we have also made great strides in the creative industries. We have the brilliant Nottingham Contemporary. We have a fantastic hot-bed of talent at Antenna and some creatives being trained next door at Confetti. Lets tap into that seam of people. Musicians, film makers and artists. Lets give them space to thrive and grow. Lets make this an Creaticity.

In a funny way the creatives and investors are rebels too – they are the new who dare to make a difference. Remember the Apple Poem?

Tomorrow – the business sector….

Nottingham – The Message

Over the last couple of weeks the issue of what Nottingham’s message is has cropped up a few times. The message I think is important – it gives us an opportunity to differentiate ourselves. No longer can we rely on the time-honoured and vague “open for business” as every other UK city is.

We need a story, it needs to be coherent and genuine. It needs to tell people what we stand for. And doing so isn’t easy. But that doesn’t mean we should shirk away from it.

Let’s face it, our reputation as a City has taken (and still takes) a battering from those who think we’re an easy target. Bad news is easier to deliver than good. We have tried variously to deny or ignore stories – especially those surrounding gun crime. Trying to use statistics to push the problem away doesn’t lose a reputation easily.

But the best way to change perception is to have positive stories. It’s about getting a new message out there. Nottingham has some great stories, which we need to shout from the rooftops. Boots, Robin Hood, Confetti and the creative industries, Bio City, the Contemporary and two world class Universities. This is the home of Sir Paul Smith, of Sir Peter Mansfield (inventor of the MRI scanner), and home to inventions such as Ibuprofen. We have lots to shout about. We do some of these in isolation.

But we still need a city-wide message. I don’t pretend to have the immediate answer, but a theme keeps coming up – that of Rebels. Sometimes this can be perceived as a bad thing, but the Apple Poem I blogged about at the weekend seems very apt?

Perhaps we need to revisit the City of Rebels idea…

Maybe one for the Mayoral debate?

Invest in Nottingham day 2010

Invest in Nottingham are preparing for the next PR assault on investors in the UK – as a follow up to MIPIM 2010 and the Invest in Nottingham Day – held in London last month.

Monaco - just like Nottingham

I went to the ‘arrangements’ meeting yesterday.

The object is simply to promote investment in the City. But this is not just in property; it is at all levels. The city are looking for the next end users. The growth of Nottingham companies is key.

It is suggested that investor confidence is re-emerging so the time is right to be starting an aggressive campaign. Nottingham is on the radar of many companies and in recent years the conversion rate has been good. Nottingham needs to keep ahead of the game.

News will be given about the future of Broad Marsh. This is an important development for Nottingham – we are slipping down the retail ranks

The meeting was held at Antennae, part of Confetti studios. This is a digital media hub and regarded as a huge success.

It has also emerged that the Boots site will start to come on stream- as they consolidate operations. An interesting fact – the Boots site in Beeston Nottingham is the same size Monaco!

Details of the days events in Nottingham can be found here. It will be held on 27th May.

The day should be good; sadly we can’t guarantee Cote D’Azur weather!