Thursday, 4 November 2010
Who wants to run a tv station?
Now for the action replay. A new Government is elected with a new minister. He is encouraged by his civil servants to cut the budget, and just as night follows day, a row breaks out. There is a knee jerk reaction and a new method of funding is found using the TV licence to pay for the channel . No, not directly but with a tranche of cash from the BBC.
Welsh politicians have now pitched in on S4Cs behalf wanting David Cameron to launch an independent inquiry into the channel. Their fear is that the future of S4C as an independent television channel is very much up in the air.
Now in good financial times everyone was happy to let S4C to plough its own furrow. But now that the proverbial, has hit the fans they are all trying desperately hard to find a way out. A way out, that is, that prevents the future of the channel becoming a political football just before the Assembly election.
A cynic might contrast the inaction by the Assembly government on S4C over the years and the frenetic activity now as a direct response to the source of the money.. Could it be down to the fact that there is money floating about that is not coming from the Assembly’s own pockets but from us as licence fee payers?
For years the mediocre performance of the channel has scarcely raised an eyebrow but now it seems that everyone has a view.
Indeed yesterday the Minister for Heritage, Alun Ffred Jones, and Deputy First Minister, Ieuan Wyn Jones, held frank discussions at a special forum in Cardiff with the movers and shakers of the industry to discuss concerns over the future governance and funding of the channel.
And what came out of the meeting ‘the need to maintain and protect the independence of S4C. The channel should continue as an independent broadcaster with its own budget and be able to make its own editorial and governance decisions’. Well, no surprises there then.
The truth of the matter is that no matter what structure is adopted, how much money is thrown at the channel and how many politicians interfere, unless the channel starts making programmes that ordinary people want to watch – it will all end in tears.
So let them stop making programmes for the Pontcanna and eisteddfod elite, and start making programmes that the rest of us, the great unwashed, can enjoy. So lets scrap Crachach TV and set up the Werin TV.