& Lincs; Radio
Some of the most local broadcasting anywhere in Britain has been launched
in Hull over the past three years, the Director-General Mark
Thompson told a celebration event in the city on Thursday (21
Mr Thompson was visiting Hull to mark the official opening of the city's
new state-of-the-art BBC building and view the region's new, more localised
news programme, Look North.
He told an audience of MPs, civic dignitaries and business people that
the corporation was making history in the city.
He said: "There aren't many projects that really deserve to be called
pioneering but this truly is one. The people of Hull have seen the future
ahead of the rest of Britain as we've explored innovative ways of connecting
local communities to the BBC and of making the BBC more relevant to
the lives of local communities.
"But we're still learning. Opening this new building isn't the end
- it's the beginning. The beginning of a new chapter in what I want
to see as a developing and ever closer relationship between the people
of Hull and this region and the BBC."
Central to the BBC's strategy launched in 2001 was the plan to create
a new television region which would better serve the needs of local
Now three years on, viewers have a service which is much more localised
and relevant to their daily lives.
The region has its very own 6.30pm news programme, fronted by well-known
BBC Look North newsreader, Peter Levy, and Helen
Fospero, a former US correspondent with GMTV.
Viewers can also now see news bulletins specific to the area throughout
the day - seven days a week.
New forms of educational content for schools have also been pioneered
The LearnXpress project, initially called Headstart, provides educational
material through online clips based on the National Curriculum.
The BBC's new home in Hull at Queen's Court also houses BBC Radio Humberside
and the corporation's most successful Open Centre - a place where people
can enjoy free access to the internet.
BBC buses are taking the corporation's resources and know-how out into
Equipped with IT facilities and audio and video equipment, the buses
offer viewers and listeners the chance to make their own television
and radio content, some of which is then broadcast on the BBC.
And for the past three years, Hull has also been home to a pioneering
joint trial initiative between the BBC and Kingston Communications.
Viewers who use Kingston Communications' broadband platform can access
locally focussed BBC television programmes on demand, and are able to
fast forward, rewind and pause content as though using a video.
Mr Thompson said: "We can have two kinds of BBC. One is locked in
the metropolis, out of touch with the lives of ordinary people, believes
that Auntie knows best and makes programmes that fewer and fewer people
are watching and listening to.
"There is another road, of course. A BBC that is reshaping itself
to be far less London-centric, less bureaucratic, that listens to its
audiences and explores what works for them, that's more actively in
touch and on the ground across the whole of the UK than any broadcaster
has ever been before.
"That way I see a secure and thriving BBC - valued by the people
of this country for the way it genuinely enriches their lives."