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We are saddened to have to announce that a long-serving member of the RIG Board, Gethin Wyn Thomas, recently died suddenly and his funeral has now taken place.  

Gethin Thomas

BBC Radio Cymru has posted an appreciation of Gethin on its website here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/cymrufyw/40938564.  For those not fluent in Welsh, it translates as follows:

"At 49 the comedian and television and radio producer Gethin Thomas has died.

Born in Bridgend, he was one of a number of leading comedians who started developing stand-up comedy in Welsh during the 1990's, and was a familiar name at comedy evenings throughout Wales.

He started his comedy career in 1991 by holding evenings in Cardiff, and was responsible for writing comedy scripts for radio and television.

Gary Slaymaker was a friend of his. He told BBC Wales: "His influence is great on Welsh comedy. I first met him in the old Dempseys in Cardiff when he said he was beginning to hold Welsh comedy nights.
We went out on our first trip as a crew at the beginning of the 90's in a place – a bit like Welsh comedy Musketeers. Geth’s crusade was to create a new form of Welsh comedy. At that time comedy was old-fashioned and stand-up was breaking through in America and England.  We went on two tours and as a result we got our first series on S4C, 'Make it stand up.' Although we all went to different directions in the end, Geth’s was the voice that kept the stand-up going, and since then we've seen a new wave of comedians breaking through.  We have a debt to pay Geth for his perseverance ... he was one of the best comedy editors I've seen - he understood better than anyone the climate and structure of a joke. He was able to give a better joke structure than the one I already had. "

He had been working recently with a number of comedians on their new material, including the comedian Elis James. As a director of the television company Zeitgeist Entertainment, he was a member of the Independent Television Producers (TAC) council since 2009.

In tribute, Iestyn Garlick, the chairman of TAC, said: "We as a body, and the wider independent production sector, extend intense sympathy to family, colleagues and friends of Gethin on hearing this terrible sadness.  His contribution to the world of comedy in Wales, and his portrayal on radio and television, is a valuable one that we will recall about with affection.  Gethin was an enthusiastic and lively man, and he will be greatly missed."

Gethin Thomas had been a director with the Radio Independents Group, a body that represents independent radio companies, for many years.  RIG founder, Mike Hally, said: "Gethin's death is a huge shock for us all. It was a strong voice on behalf of independent producers in Wales for many years, as a member of the RIG.  He was honored as a comedy performer and producer and also in producing a range of radio and television programs. He did a lot to develop the way in which BBC Wales and Radio Cymru work with independent companies, and there will be many that are grateful for that. "

Recalling his contribution, Elen Rhys, S4C's S4C Entertainment Content Commissioner said: "Gethin's contribution to the world of Welsh comedy was key and innovative, giving a platform to develop talents in the Welsh language for many years. He was passionate and innovative for comedy. We thank him for his valuable contribution and we sympathise with the family."


 

Tim Blackmore with award

all pictures in this article are copyright Dan Vo 2017

At our party on 29th June, to mark 25 years of independent radio production in the UK, we were delighted to present a Lifetime Achievement Award to Tim Blackmore (above).  We were also pleased to have Gemma Cairney (below) as the enthusiastic host of the proceedings.

Gemma Cairney

We particularly welcomed the Director of BBC Radio, Bob Shennan, who gave the following address:

"… I've been a Controller of a number of the BBC's national stations over the years. In fact I spent 15 or 16 years working with many of the people in this room at 5 live and Radio 2 and 6Music and the Asian Network and I know that their success owed a huge amount to the programmes, to the people in independent production and they will continue to owe their success to all the work that you do.

Bob Shennan 
 
And so we are at a really interesting time for indies, for in-house BBC radio programme makers, and for the BBC as a whole. You all know about the trials and tribulations that we've gone through as we get to a completely different and new commissioning framework at the BBC, which is underway. I know it has been fraught for everybody frankly but I feel that it is fair, it's transparent, it's ambitious and it's a testament to what we know this sector can do for the BBC that we are embracing it fully. And the reason we're doing it is because we want to make the best possible offer to the audience. We want to give them the greatest ideas. And we want to give them best possible service for their licence fee. And just so far in the early days of this process, everybody who has been involved in it is telling me that the creative bar that we thought was very high, just got a little bit higher. They've been hugely impressed with what everybody has been offering us.
 
And I think it feels like a coming of age time for all of us. We are massively expanding our competitive window because we all believe in BBC Radio and indeed in radio as a whole. Because one thing I would hope for as we go through this change process it is that we all remember that we're all in the same business. That in the UK we make the best radio and audio in the world. We do it because we're an amazing broad church - a fantastic partnership. And in spite of all of the technological and sociological challenges and changes in our way, it will continue to be that. I genuinely believe that with all of you, we will move into a new golden age of radio at the BBC. That is absolutely my intention. We want to reinvent what we offer, we want to grow the impact of radio and experience a new golden age… "
 

UK independent audio production companies continued their spectacular run of annual successes at the New York International Radio Festival Awards on 19th June.

UK indie TBI Media won no fewer than 17 awards, including ‘Production Company of the Year’ for the fifth year running. The company has now won over 60 New York Festivals awards.

TBI’s production ‘World Cup ‘66 - Live’, celebrating the 50th anniversary of England winning the World Cup, alone won three gold and four silver awards as well as the Grand Award.

TBI’s BBC Radio 4 documentary series, ‘The Boy Who Gave His Heart Away’ won three Gold awards.

Other UK indie Gold awards included: David Bowie: Verbatim by Des Shaw for BBC Radio 4 and Thelma & Michael. Elsewhere B7 Productions’ I, Robot won both a Gold and Silver trophy for Best Director and Best Drama Special respectively, and a further two Silvers for a total of 4 awards - particularly impressive for a small company. 

Out-of-London companies also registered notable successes, with a Gold for Love in the Cutting Room by Trevor Dann's Company for BBC Radio 4, and in the Audiobooks category, Bafflegab Productions won a Gold for Baker's End: Gobbleknoll Hall.

RIG Managing Director Will Jackson said: “Whilst this level of UK success on the world stage has now become routine, it should never be taken for granted – these awards show just how hard our sector works, year in and year out, to produce original high-quality programmes that capture the imagination across a whole range of genres. With more opportunities to pitch ideas to the BBC and hopefully commercial radio on the way, we look forward to continuing and growing this level of achievement”.

 


 

The DCMS has been consulting on regulating local and national commercial radio, in some cases proposing a lighter-touch approach. RIG has suggested provisions to encourage commercial radio to work more with indies, in terms of a wider range of PSB content being required rather than just a pure focus on news.  The full RIG response can be downloaded from our Policy Papers page.

 


 
 
The 23rd Nations and Regions Media Conference, supported by Channel 4 Nations and Regions, will take place from 6pm on Tuesday 28 March, with keynote speaker and networking, followed by the full day Conference on Wednesday 29 March 2017.

RIG is pleased to support this event and urges all members to attend.  The organisers describe it as follows:
 
"This year’s conference is themed Working Futures: Our Brilliant Careers and celebrates excellence in the current climate of creative opportunity that exists across the UK. We’ll discuss the incredible success of UK-wide British drama today, find out what makes a big returning factual hit, ask what the government’s proposed industrial strategy might mean for us all, tap into Children’s programming, assess the impact of BBC Studios and debate how the recent explosion of online content is rocking our world in more ways than one.
 
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Karen Bradley, Bourne Supremacy director Paul Greengrass, and Ofcom chief executive Sharon White will all address the conference as keynote speakers. Sharon White will be speaking about the future of broadcasting regulation across the UK, with a focus on the BBC as Ofcom prepares to take over regulating the broadcaster just days after the conference, on April 3rd.
 
Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark, ITV head of factual entertainment Sue Murphy, Happy Valley supremo and RED Production founder Nicola Shindler, broadcaster Hardeep Singh Kohli and Cheryl Taylor, Controller of CBBC, all join the line-up to provide an outstanding and diverse list of speakers and panellists with many more to be announced.
 
The BBC’s new Director of Radio, Bob Shennan, leads the radio content. He’ll be sharing his vision of BBC Radio in the 21st Century as he takes part in a keynote Q&A with 5 Live’s Rachel Burden. The Archers editor Huw Kennair-Jones will take part in a session about the recent success of the BBC’s long running radio soap. He’ll be joined by Jessica Dromgoole, who will explain how Radio 4’s epic four-year long World War One drama Home Front is produced.
 
Steve Titherington, senior Commissioning Editor at the BBC World Service will talk about fresh approaches to programme making, while comedy from Wales is celebrated as we meet the stars of the hit Radio Wales comedy The Unexplainers.
 
Exciting radio sessions, a brand new Production Showcase and bookable Meet the Commissioners slots make this a great chance for people working outside London to connect – and for anyone London-based to explore opportunities and trends across the UK.
 
Follow @Salford_Media on Twitter for all of the latest programme announcements."
 
DELEGATE PASSES
£90 Early Bird rate, rising to £120 from Friday 10 March 2017
Ticket includes:
Tuesday 28 March, 18.00: Evening drinks and networking reception with welcome address and keynote speaker.
Wednesday 29 March, 09.00 – 17.00: Full day, with refreshments and lunch included in the ticket price.

Buy tickets on Eventbrite
 

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RIG and Diversity

RIG supports broad approach to the definition of diversity, to include age, social class and location within the UK, as well as other important elements such as gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and disability.

RIG is pleased to work with the BBC on the implementation of its Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. Find out more about the BBC's strategy by clicking here

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