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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Swimming Upstream?

Peter Salmon, Director of BBC North -- and therefore in charge of the relocation of CBBC to Salford Quays -- submitted to Q&A from radio host Richard Bacon and the audience, as the opening keynote to Showcomotion 2009.

The interviewer and audience were in a challenging mood, particularly after Salmon said "the values and insights, the collective experience of the storytelling and talent" in British-made children's content was one of the "three or four most important things the BBC does."

Bacon questioned whether that assertion was belied by changes in scheduling, cutting back or shifting children's content on the primary broadcast channels, that have damaged audiences for long-running CBBC programs (or, in honor of my hosts, programmes).

Salmon replied that "no one is happy with those losses, but the importance of children’s programing is revealed in the proportion of the license fee it receives, and in the central nature of CBBC" in plans for the Manchester (Salford) relocation. Starting with children’s television, Salmon hopes to place the BBC at the center of a community in the North that includes independents from all kinds of media, and that gives audiences a place to come to connect with their favorite content.

Still, Showcomotion producer and Save Kids' TV Board Member pointed out that the BBC had rejected SKTV's requests as part of the BBC charter review, that children’s programming be named the “Third Leg” of public service – identified as a priority along with news and regional content -- and that a fixed proportion of funding be ring-fenced for children. "We don’t want to create a situation where some genres 'travel in first class'," Salmon answered, while others are left behind.


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