Posts Tagged ‘uk’

I’ll Be Hosting Overnight General Election Results Coverage

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

When the snap General Election was called in May, I wrote at the time that my first thought was about the result. Or at least how to cover the result. It was this.

I need to get behind a microphone to do the results show from 10pm on June 8th.

Since then I’ve been working on how to do just that, from finding studio facilities, co-hosts, guests, statisticians, the odd politician or two, and some broadcast partners. I’m delighted to announce that I will be hosting a General Election Results show on Thursday night… not only will you be able to listen in on lie, you’ll be able to watch as well.

Broadcast Details

Radio Six International ( will handle the radio and audio side of things, offering seven hours of coverage to stations across the UK and further afield (get in touch if you are interested in picking up the coverage). You’ll be able to listen to the stream direct from the Radio Six International website, and we go on air at 10pm UK time (2100 GMT).

The National newspaper is providing studio facilities through the night in their Glasgow newsroom, which will allow us to stay on top of the results as they come in through the night. We’ll also be talking to The National’s reporters who will be at the Glasgow and Edinburgh counts for immediate reactions and interviews. Our studio is going to be wired up not just for audio, but also for video, so you can watch the Facebook Live stream which will be shared from its Facebook Page.

During The Show

There’s no way to fully script out seven hours of live broadcasting in such a fluid environment as the results of a General Election. What we do have are a number of elements that we can call on through the night to keep the show going along. It is a UK Election and the first Scottish seat isn’t due up till around 2am, so while our primary story will be about Scotland, it’s not the only story and we will be looking across all of the UK.

Like any good election show we have our spreadsheets, swingometers, fancy graphics and maps to make predictions and help us try to make sense of what is going on. Once more Steve Griffin is dealing with the numbers through the night. The livestream also means we need something visual to show off.

What’s an election show without lots of voices and opinions? Leading our ‘Pundits Corner’ will be Benjamin Howarth bringing different viewpoints and discussion points from all corners of the political spectrum from a hopefully packed sofa of guests through the night.

The National’s Stephen Paton will be watching social media for reactions from the public, and by the nature of Facebook Live, we’ll be able to ask questions of our audience around the world.

The key thing for me in all of this is that we tell the story of the night, and through that we re-tell the story running up to the vote, and where the story is going. After previous overnight Election shows and various Edinburgh Fringe broadcasts, Dan Lentell will be in the co-host chair to keep the focus on the story, with Ross Middleton floor managing all of the different elements.

Get In Touch

It’s still not too late if you want to get involved as part of the show, and of course you can drop me a line (mail me at

And now, back to reading lots of background material….

The BBC’s delightfully decisive and subversive entry to Eurovision 2015

Sunday, March 8th, 2015

I have many thoughts on the UK entry, and could talk a lot about it (I have a website for that) but I’m going to boil it down to this. The BBC’s Guy Freeman realised what ‘Contest’ means. Only the result on the night matters. Not chart success, not YouTube views, not fan opinion or if it works down the Euroclub. It’s a Contest, and finding a way to score is the only mark that counts.

Freeman (who heads the BBC’s delegation) could have played it safe, found a nice middle of the road song, dug up a manic pixie dream girl singer from BBC Introducing, went through the motions, and probably managed 10-15th place.

Instead Freeman has got ballsy. It’s a contra-strategy song, It literally is all or nothing. “Still In Love WIth You” will either fly high and smash into the Top Ten with a cinematic presentation mixing emotional distance, parallax moves, cross fades, and Charlestons… or it becomes a hot mess of poor camera angles, no visual story telling, and static performers in front of generic audience sweeping shots.

Everyone expected Freeman to zig (as did I). Instead he’s zagged, trusting his team to put on the show of a lifetime, trusting that something different and mould-breaking has more chance in a flanking manoeuvre than a direct assault against the likes of Sweden, Italy, and Estonia,, and building up the momentum of publicity and recognition. He’s treated it not as a ‘how to get a number one song’ but ‘how to win a competition’, The BBC has little musical resources, the industry won’t supply him any heavy guns, so he goes guerrilla in his musical war against the other 39 countries.

Loving the strategy. Loving the risk taking. Loving the courage.

One surprise for every day of the year

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

XKCD once joked about setting up a script to buy a $1 + free postage item from the internet and run it once a day for a year. Now Bobcat In A Box has done that in real life.

Can we have a £1 free UK shipping next?

Eurovision songs reach the Top 40, Radio One holds its nose and has to play them. Win!

Monday, May 19th, 2014

I’ve been quiet about my Eurovision activities on this blog over the last two or three weeks (on the assumption that you all know where to find me, or saw the Twitter action), but I want to highlight this little fact.

Four Eurovision songs reached the Top 40 yesterday, and 12 tracks made the Top 100.

The power of social media and the ability to instantly buy digital music online has once more been able to show that the music does have an impact. The old-school gatekeepers might not hand tracks like ‘Undo’ or ‘Calm After The Storm’ a physical release, but that is no longer a barrier to getting on the hit parade.

Chromecast arrives in the UK

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Chromecast is a little HDMI dongle with built in Wifi connectivity to allow you TV to be part of your network and play videos and media from other devices on your home network. Of course you’ll need to buy into Google’s ecosystem with the Chrome browser or an Android device to make the connection, but for many people there’s enough value in being able to use a large screen TV that offsets the elements of privacy you give up to Google.

Language, words, and meanings, within MLB and Eurovision

Monday, May 27th, 2013

There’s a nice article on the evolving English language between US English and UK English on BBC News today. The medium is Football (okay, and straight away I need to say ‘Soccer’ for US readers), and the language used by the commentators to describe different facets of the game, and how the US sports broadcasters have their own vocabulary which has no influence from the UK commentators.

It’s something I’ve seen directly around the Eurovision Song Contest. I have a bundle of spreadsheets I use to track country performance in the Contest, with variables such as SPA (Semi Final Placing Average), GPA (Grand Final Points Average), and QR (qualification ratio). There are rather a lot more, but this will be enough to make my point.

For example, pre 2013 Contest, Georgia was QR .800, SPA 7.20, GPA 106.5. That’s great for me when commentating, and its clear that Georgia under-performed this year (with a 2013 SP of 10, and a 2013 GP of 50), but if I hand the spreadsheet over to almost anyone in the Eurovision Press Room, they need a crib sheet to get the names and then a good few minutes of explanation as to the impact.

Show these to an American reporter though, especially one versed in sports such as Major League Baseball, where these look remarkably like batting statistics, and they get it instantly.

We might be one language in word, but in  meaning the continents are very far apart.

Lost in France, Last in Malmo, Bonnie Tyler is off to Eurovision

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Fair play to Bonnie Tyler’s management, they’ve landed her with one of the biggest musical stages in Europe, just as her new album is released in the UK and across the continent. My problem with today’a announcement of the UK’s singer to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2013 is more towards the BBC. There’s focusing on UK ratings as opposed to pushing for victory, but there needs to be a cultivation of Eurovision as a good place for artists… and that’s lacking.

I just wonder what lesson the BBC learned from last year’s adventure with ‘The Hump’ that has led them down a remarkably similar looking road? In a year when Macedonia are sending an honest to goodness ‘National Treasure’, when Spain are sending a group who easily wear the label ‘current’ and ‘successful’, and many countries are aiming for the younger demographic with their singers… the BBC have went for another ‘historical’ name.

Yes Bonnie Tyler is back out on tour, yes there’s a new album, and yes she has a fan base in Europe… but haven’t we heard these justifications before on a left field internal choice for the UK?

Eurovision, the United Kingdom Entry, and all these rumours

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

Lots of Eurovision rumours floating around just now, but I want to quote just one from the ESC Nation message board that sums many of them up:

The only Rumours worth listening to were recorded in 1976 by Fleetwood Mac.

Kickstarter to come to the UK “this autumn”

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Finally. Now, let’s see who’s smart enough to use it and make a big PR splash or their pet projects.

Will Netflix UK herald access fees on the UK networks?

Monday, January 9th, 2012

The problem with Netflix in the UK is hat there’s barely enough room for all that iPlayer streaming. The UK networks are already screaming at the BBC for a carriage charge, what’s going to happen when Netflix (which takes up some 30% of US internet traffic) gets some real traction on this side of the Atlantic?

Netflix is hardly likely to want to see operators charging more money to consumers to access it’s service. If anything, Netflix is likely to want a cut. But then, if Netflix 3G usage skyrockets over the next few months, it won’t be long before we see operator CEOs bleating about wanting Netflix to pay access fees to them.

Via t’other Ewan.

UK networks and the best data plans money can buy

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Ben Smith:

…the choice for users needing higher data allowances is Three or T-Mobile. I routinely use more than 1GB per month of file transfer (if you apply the wider definition as explained below) and without the option to buy more from T-Mobile, this rules them out . If you are a mobile data power user Three is the only network to offer a suitable tariff.

Never mind “who’s best”… there is no competition for power users. Amazing.

Which Android is the one for the Brits?

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

All the Android devices on sale in the UK, in a handy list you can filter to justify ordering the Galaxy S 3 over anything else.

The divine right of the Huffington Post to rule the UK

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

AOL’s Tim Armstong:

What Amazon is to commerce, and what Google is to search, AOL has to be to content. We’re going to keep investing in taking risks and changes, we’re not going to make incremental moves. Going forward we think there is a big opportunity here.

To me this sounds like a company believing it has a right to exist and therefore should be granted the biggest things just because they are there. That’s not how it works, iterate, iterate, iterate is how it works.

Facebook beats Microsoft in UK web popularity

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Facebook attracted a record 26.8 million visitors in Britain in May, up 7 percent year on year, beating the 26.2 million who visited Microsoft’s MSN/WindowsLive/Bing sites combined, the organization said on Monday. Google had 33.9 million.

Jools Holland for Eurovision? I think it could work.

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

How should the BBC handle the selection for next year’s Song Contest (and schedule a few more hours of music on BBC 1, something they rarely do nowadays?). That’s the question I’m discussing over on Eurovision Insight.

Now the national final season is under way, albeit slowly, enquiring Eurovision minds in the United Kingdom are turning to the BBC to ask when we can expect to see Eurovision: Your country needs you to be making your mind up to select a Song for Europe (douze points to Melodiman for that one)…

The BBC team needs some fresh blood, someone with musical inspiration; who knows a good tune when they hear one; who can sift through the choices and come up a good song (not a good Eurovision song, a good song in its own right); and someone who can balance the needs of live music, television, entertainment and integrity.

In short the Eurovision team at the BBC need Jools Holland.


More thoughts and discussion on this at ESC Insight.

Jools Holland