Looking Ahead to 2017

The start of a New Year always seems an appropriate moment to catch up on the main events of the previous 12 months and cast ahead to plans afoot for those to come. So, here we go…

Since the election of David John to the freshly-reinstated Audio Seat on Council, he has been working hard to represent members working in Audio at Council meetings and to communicate back to members both online and in person at different studio locations – and, indeed, on this blog. For more from David, please see below. **

The Radio Commercials Working Party was formed and met for the first time in the summer. One aim was to negotiate a rate rise for 2017 with a number of Radio groups. A modest rise was agreed with each group involved. For the first time, Working Party members took part in some of the negotiations, which allowed an opportunity to discuss the other chief aim of reviewing the entire system, and hopefully have something more manageable and less complex in place for 2018. Meetings continue and the work will be ongoing throughout the year.

In September, several members of the Committee met with the BBC Director-General, Lord Tony Hall, in which he insisted that Radio remains “phenomenally important” to the BBC and that there is “a global opportunity to lead the world in audio”. This was echoed publicly in November when Lord Hall spoke to the media about his vision for a Netflix-style service for BBC radio content. We have remained in contact with the DG’s office and are currently exploring ideas to work with the BBC to help raise the profile of Radio.

Finally, many months of work have gone into the planning, writing, layout and production of a brand new Equity publication. We are very excited about The Equity Guide to Audio Work, which will, we hope, answer lots of questions and provide plenty of relevant information for members old and new. Look out for a Spring launch!

Happy New Year to everyone and I hope 2017 brings plenty of work. I’ve found sitting on the Equity Council as the Audio representative both enlightening and interesting. I can report that the Council and the Equity Staff Members work extremely hard in this difficult climate to forward the interests of all Equity members. One of my main priorities is to raise the profile of Audio work in general and report to Council on all the hard work done by the Audio Committee. I feel that this is going well and I’ve spoken at Council several times and had many conversations with my fellow Council members many of whom don’t work in Audio. They all seem to be gaining an understanding of our world and are generally very supportive.

I’m delighted with the setting up of the Radio Commercials Working Party and the hard work that they’re doing. Also the sterling work from the Chair of the Audio Committee Sheila Mitchell on our push for raising the profile of and proper funding for Radio Drama, a jewel in the BBC crown. We plan more meetings with DG Tony Hall and the new head of radio at the BBC James Purnell.

In Spring we have the launch of our Guide to Audio Work and elections for the next term of the Audio Committee so please consider standing if you feel you have something to offer. I particularly would like to see some younger members stand for the committee as well as members from different ethnic backgrounds. Diversity is very important to me and Equity and as things stand the Committee is far from diverse.

In May we have the Annual Representative’s Conference and I will be there banging the drum for Audio so if any members want issues raised please do get in touch with me or the Audio Committee and we will do our best for you.