The latest speaker in our long running series of Small Talks was Scott Beasley, Assistant Editor for Sky News’ “Ian King Live” programme. The FTSE 100, macro economics, interest rates, smaller companies, technology and interesting characters are just some of the topics that float the “Ian King Live” boat.
It’s a small team, just Scott and a couple of other producers. Half the week they’re in Osterley, in West London, the rest of the time down at London Bridge where the programme goes out. If you’ve ever watched the programme you’ll know it’s mainly interview based.
That said, if budget and resources allow, the team love an on location Outside Broadcast, and if they can get out of London even better. Most of the national broadcasters are criticised for being too London centric but to film outside the capital does cost.
The programme tends to stay clear of politics and even a Brexit story needs a business angle. They’re a show that enjoys a theme: housing, women in science, female apprentices are the sorts of issues that might get attention. Yes, you’ve spotted the diversity theme. Like every other broadcaster in the UK, Sky News has been tasked with evening out the numbers of on-air guests, so that there is a better balance of male and female spokespeople.
Scott says, without doubt, the death of the high street has been the biggest business story of 2018. There has been a lot about automation and even more on artificial intelligence; in fact, Scott claims there have been so many stories about AI the programme has AI fatigue and they may have missed some really good ones as a result!
Every now and then they’ll be open to something different, so you can take your chances and pitch an idea. Recently they ran a story about farming, which involved filming on a small farm in Surrey. The production team like the idea of Ian King in wellingtons – they must do because they’re returning to the same location for a follow up.
So, who is all this aimed at, or at least attracting? Scott says the “Ian King Live” audience is older, more male and wealthier, in comparison to people watching other UK national TV channels.
And it’s not just attracting a UK audience: the brand is well known across Europe and making an impact in the Middle East, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the US. The recent purchase of Sky News by Comcast – which guarantees funding for Sky News for the next 10 years – will support the broadcasters plans to boost global coverage.
Obviously we in the PR industry have a love-hate, on-off relationship with many of our journalistic contacts – and that feeling goes two ways.
Scott’s 3 top PR hates include:
- Pitching a story for a Friday, the only day in the working week when the programme doesn’t air! Really???? We just look stupid when we do that!
- Spokespeople who are allegedly available for interview but on request are not. We’ve all been there. Some wise-guy has nominated the spokesperson but not cleared their diary first. Let’s stop doing this. Ditto – we just look stupid.
- People who pitch a story when they clearly have never watched the programme. If you have some knowledge of the programme you stand a much better chance of making your story appeal to the team.
If you’d like to know more about broadcast PR come to some of our free broadcast PR workshops. To receive the invitations to workshops and events like Small Talks, sign up to our email list, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.