Plans for a 'Tartan 10.30' are on hold

By Hamish Mackay

Plans for a Scottish edition of ITV’s 10.30pm news bulletin are on
the backburner – despite been given the goahead by broadcasting
regulator Ofcom.

However, both Scottish TV and Grampian TV have been give the green
light to forge ahead with split transmission of their teatime flagship
news programmes to provide more in-depth regional coverage.

The proposal for a “Tartan 10.30” news
bulletin came in January from Bobby Hain, managing director of Scottish
Television. It was part of a package of regional programming ideas
presented to Ofcom by Scottish Media Group, which owns both Scottish
and Grampian.

The Scottish 10.30pm news programme was to have the
same look and feel as the existing UK ITN bulletin, but with editorial
tailored to a local perspective.

The concept has been given
Ofcom’s backing, but Hain said that the broadcasting regulator has
failed to find an appropriate funding mechanism to allow the idea to be
pursued at present.

Hain pointed out: “The programme is not
viable on commercial terms. It would be an additional cost. Ofcom has
said it cannot fund it in the way we have suggested.”

Robin Foster, Ofcom’s strategy and development director, has batted the proposal back into the SMG camp.

“It is a matter for SMG to take forward.

We would look favourably on it if it was presented by SMG – we are only concerned about the quality of the programme.”

Ofcom has supported SMG’s submission to split the teatime news bulletins into micro-regions.

It
will mean Scottish Television viewers receiving east-west opt-outs,
while Grampian viewers will get a similar divide on a north-south
basis. The new programmes will be introduced within 18 months.

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