Good Broadcast Delivers...Channel 5 News

It's one of the UK's premier TV News programmes, attracting millions of viewers every week. Channel 5 News tackles the big issues of the day by focusing on the human stories behind the headlines, so come and meet the show's planning editor, George Bleakley - find out what it takes to get your story on air. We'll discuss a range of topics including...

* What makes a national TV news story  

* What makes a good spokesperson

* How to approach journalists with a branded story 

* Making the most out of a live TV interview  

Venue: King Street Townhouse, 10 Booth St, Manchester M2 4AW. 

Date and Time; Wednesday 9th January, 16.30-18.00

'Astronauts or Astronomers? Every voice has equal weight’

Today Good Broadcast had the pleasure of hosting an audience with the BBC Radio 2 legend, Jeremy Vine. The morning was full of wonderfully witty anecdotes and tales of famous, rib-tickling Radio 2 phone-ins, but beneath this light-hearted presentation there was deep consideration of one important question: astronaut or astronomer? Which simply translates to: expertise or expert?

The TBCLC effect (Trump, Brexit, Corbyn, Leicester City) is slowly taking over as society seems to be taking a defiant step away from the authorities and subsequently, the experts. As Jeremy phrased it, “we are entering a world of surprises” and it is the uncertainty that is keeping journalists and the media busy. Jeremy emphasised the power of the smallest voice and the coincidental; demonstrating that brands and PRs have to be ever more responsive and adaptive in a world that is seeing the elite upended and the listeners honoured. 

We have distilled Jeremy’s rich and vibrant stories from this session into three big changes we are seeing in broadcast PR, and how brands should maximise the opportunities in this new world: 

1.  Lead with your experience, not your expertise

Experience reigns supreme over expertise in media. Case in point was when the little known Gillian Duffy, managed to derail Gordon Brown’s election campaign when Brown was caught out calling her a ‘bigoted woman’. Seven years on, Jeremy comments that this trend has only exponentially grown, with participation from his listeners who talk about visceral first hand experiences winning every time over expert opinion. Jeremy discussed that the growing power of the smallest voice is resulting in a shift in the power balance of media voices. People are pulling away from authoritative voices, and are increasingly seeing experts as peripheral and unnecessary; one listener telling Jeremy that “the experts built the Titanic”.

For brands, the listeners are now in charge. We have entered a world of surprise where traditional hierarchies and top down communications are defunct. Brands must give every voice equal weight, and relinquish control of their brand.


2.  A Good interview is in the alchemy

Jeremy told us, as an interviewer, that “you cut your cloth according to who is coming in.” Whether that be starting with an excerpt to fire off discussions, or easing in with a gentler approach, he highlighted that the key to giving a good interview is to remain open-minded and pay attention to the person in front of you. His warning against this approach included a chocolate gateaux, a general election, a David Bowie record, and Tony Blair…

For brands in live interviews, this means acting within the parameters of your brand but having the confidence to improvise in order to truly exhibit brand values, and avoid becoming an over-rehearsed mouthpiece on a mission.


3.  Good Stories are all about you

The biggest shift in broadcast is from journalists making listeners feel that they are covering ‘other’ peoples’ stories, to covering ‘our’ own stories. Brands must behave like journalists, whose task it is to a place a viewer where they can’t go; speak to a person they can’t meet; and bring back stories that they can’t even fathom.

Consumers don’t want to talk about other lives; they want to talk about their own lives, and brands must tap into their ‘true north’ in order to discover what narrative they should be building.


To conclude today’s talk, in the changing and opportunistic broadcast landscape, brands must be brave in taking that step beyond their comfort zone and forward into new territory. Be an astronaut, not an astronomer.  


Jeremy’s top tips for PRs when pitching a story:

·        Choose a real voice over that of an expert when selecting spokespeople for his show, as people want to hear real voices.

·        Connect with a producer of a particular show to find out exactly what stories are wanted.

·        Offer a good guest and a good story. The combination of the two is key.

·        Tip: Do not offer stories based around unknown awareness days. 

Gorkana Webinar - Broadcast Masterclass With BBC Radio 2's Tim Johns

Tim Johns, producer at BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show, and Good Broadcast director Phil Caplin joined Gorkana for a webinar to discuss why broadcast media should not be ‘the forgotten media channel’ and how to best pitch to journalists on radio and TV.

During the webinar Caplin questioned why more PRs and communicators are not taking advantage of the broadcast opportunity. While it takes more effort to get measurable results, unlike with social media for example, TV and radio exert great influence on audiences  and often – for consumers as well as other media – set the agenda for the day, according to the experts.

In order to succeed in broadcast PR, successful media relations is key and Caplin and Johns gave their top tips on pitching for TV and radio. Here is just some of their pointers:

Understand the landscape

Johns said: “Remember every single programme is hugely different. One of the biggest mistakes any PR company can make is to the send same press release to 100 different journalists. You have to look at each network – Radio 2 and Radio 4 have massively different agendas, for example. Just understand how large and varied the landscape is; it’s really important.”

Personalised approaches are best

Caplin said: “Every approach needs to be bespoke. You need to ask your audiences are and where you find them.”

Quick wins are important

Broadcast PR is not always about forward planning, according to Caplin. He said: “It’s about quick wins and strategically ‘slotting’. Turn opportunity around quickly by reacting to the news agenda and thinking about an interesting voice from your clients to continue the conversation.”

Spokespeople need to sound relaxed

To get spokespeople to relax and deliver core messages both experts offered advice. Johns said: “Don’t overload them with bullet points, don’t make them think about anything other than a key message that they already should know as experts.”

Caplin said: “Tell them to enjoy themselves and forget they’re on radio. They are the expert and know there stuff, just enjoy it!”

The webinar took place on 26 April 2017. View the entire recording here:

Talking Business Broadcast Event

We were delighted to play host this morning to Siobhan Kennedy, Business Editor at Channel 4 News, and Sarah Fountain, Planning Editor at the BBC’s Business and Economics Unit, for the latest in our broadcast events, Talking Business. They gave us top tips for getting business stories on TV and radio – here are the highlights…

 1.       A good case study always brings a business story to life. Brands aren’t thinking enough about humanising the messages they’re trying to get across

2.       It’s all about pictures. To stand a good chance of getting on TV, businesses have to provide interesting filming opportunities – too often it’s an after-thought.

3.       Setting up filming opportunities for TV can be a pain, so always plan as far ahead as possible. It’s no good having the best story in the world if you get on the phone to broadcasters the day before it’s due to go out.

4.       The big themes for the BBC and Channel 4 News at the moment are Brexit, employment rights, women in business, technology and the gig economy.

5.       Be straight when it comes to pitching a story. Focus on the facts, what the filming opportunities are and who you’re putting up as spokespeople and case studies.           

6.       Don’t always think big picture or hard news lines. Sometimes the micro approach works – a case study with a quirky filming opportunity can do the trick.    

Achieving Cut-through on Social with Instagram

At the latest Good Broadcast Digital Academy, Gord Ray, Instagram’s top European strategist, joined us to present the inside track on the platform as a gateway to the world’s millennials (90 percent of Instagram users are younger than 35).

Gord also officially opened our brand new Insta- Studio, our onsite photo studio which is professionally equipped so we can produce bespoke social content in-house..

So why is Instagram great for brands?

•    500m monthly active users, 17m in the UK

•    1/3 of all users follow brands or businesses

•    50% conduct product research via Instagram

•    Over 1/3 of Instagram users have used their mobile to buy a product online – making them 70% more likely to do so than non-users

All of which means there’s huge potential but how can brands make the most of the platform?

On the horizon is Instagram’s testing of product tags, which brands can use to label products featured in the image, including link to purchase. At the moment, only a few US-based fashion brands have been able to trial the feature but there are plans to roll it out more broadly. Watch this space.

Another key shift that brands should pay attention to is the shift away from Instagram’s traditional square video format towards vertical video – used in Instagram’s Live and Stories (the only other social platform to use it is Snapchat). Vertical video, which uses up a user’s entire smartphone screen when they watch, feels more immersive, making it the perfect medium for storytelling. This might explain why 80% of Instagram users turn the sound ON when they’re watching video – a higher proportion than any other platform.

Gord’s top tips for Live and Stories?

•    Instagram Stories work best if they’re not over-engineered. Rough and ready is totally fine, which is why many brands, such as Mercedes Benz have used it effectively to take their community behind the scenes.

•    Maintaining the playful spirit of Instagram is also a good idea. Taco Bell’s use of the writing feature to bring colour and excitement to their Instagram stories is one of the best recent examples.

•    If you are going to use it for promotions just keep it snappy and fun like TGI Fridays. Big, bold graphics also help.

•    Instagram Live, like Snapchat, is completely ephemeral, meaning once the broadcast ends, the video disappears. It’s not saved on a device and there are no replays. This means that for anyone watching, the experience is made even more special – the downside is you won’t be able to play it back at a later date.

The ultimate take out? Be bold and get experimenting. Don’t get tied up in knots planning the perfect Instagram Story or Live broadcast. Get stuck in and you’ll be rewarded with getting your message out on probably the most exciting, dynamic social platform in the world right now.

Five Secrets to Broadcasting Events

Thank you to Claire Popplewell, editor of Ceremonial events at the BBC for speaking at our Good Stories event yesterday morning. Claire offered many great insights on the secrets behind good broadcasting. Here are a few of the Good Broadcast team’s favourites: 

  1. The key to a great piece of broadcast is great content to start with. So, when broadcasting an event - work closely with the event organisers to ensure the event strikes the right note with attendees themselves. Trying to patch the content up afterwards won’t work. 
  2. It is important to constantly look back to ‘why?’ – why is your audience watching? For example, if they have tuned into a broadcast which is commemorating The Battle of the Somme, they don’t necessarily want to watch a 10 minute orchestral performance. That is where an editor needs to break up the broadcast by playing images on the screen for example.
  3.  When building a broadcast, follow this thought process:
  • Why? What are you producing broadcast content for? What’s the purpose? What are you trying to get out of it?
  • What’s the content? What is the content of the event, what are the key moments?
  • What’s the narrative? Once you have the purpose and content locked down, you can layer the editorial narrative over the top.

    4.  The secret truly is capturing the emotion of the event. Your content doesn’t necessarily need to bring a tear to people’s eye, but fundamentally it has to make people care.

     5. The narrative for all communications platforms needs to be fully integrated and controlled out of the same team. Larger BBC shows like Top Gear and Strictly Come Dancing are fully integrated across TV, radio and digital. The BBC ceremonial events team are turning their focus onto integrating digital with TV and Radio for the first time to target a younger audience – we can expected to see their most integrated communications offering ever when they commemorate the Battle of the Somme this year.

Jeremy Vine on why video hasn't killed the radio star

This morning we were delighted to host Jeremy Vine, presenter of radio’s No.1 News show here at Good Broadcast and hear him share some of his favourite broadcast moments and his insight into the power of radio.

Here are a few of our favourite insights from the talk:

Power of personality

Radio is the perfect medium to connect an audience with the personality of the presenter. It’s this connection with the personalities of the greatest broadcasters of our times which makes radio successful, so old fashioned yet so resilient.

Jeremy Vine’s favourite radio personalities of all time are: 

  1. Kenny Everett (a childhood inspiration who sparked his love for radio)
  2. John Peel
  3. Terry Wogan
  4. Chris Evans
  5. Steve Wright


Power of what’s real

Radio also connects audiences directly with callers and gives them an authentic experience with quick access to real life people with real life stories: it’s the power of what’s real.

Power of location

Without the need for big cameras and crews, radio has the power to locate the listener right at the heart of the action whether it be in a war zone or outside Downing street. It is also an evocative medium which helps listeners imagine what it is like to be there and not feel like they are looking in from the outside.

Power to the listener

Radio can shift power to the listener in the most joyful way, allowing the smallest voice to be heard and opinions to be formed by the listeners themselves.

Power of the platform

Jeremy indicated that the platform BBC Radio 2 gives his show, with Ken Bruce before him and Steve Wright after, is one of the secrets to its success. The range of different shows helps encourage the listener to engage with a variety of genres.

… and finally Jeremy credited the success of his show with the mix of content they broadcast. It is a mix of news, entertainment, tragedy and comedy. Just like life.

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How To Pitch to Broadcast Media

Today Good Broadcast is delighted to welcome Jack Baine into the business. Jack is a senior journalist/editor with more than twenty years’ experience at the BBC working in a range of departments including BBC World News TV, BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat, BBC Radio 5 Live Drive, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio Leicester. He created programmes on TV, Radio and digital platforms that have reached millions of people in the UK and around the world. 

As someone who has spent over 20 years having PR professionals pitch stories to him, here are his top tips on how to handle journalists and selling stories into broadcast media….


Over the last 20 years at the BBC I like to think I’ve picked up a few pointers on what makes journalists tick. They’re a strange bunch - passionate, arrogant, clever (mostly), argumentative and downright rude (sometimes). If you’ve ever had the pleasure of pitching a story to a stressed out producer, or a self important reporter, then I’m sure you’ve come across most, if not all, of those traits. People who work at the BBC like to think they’re immune to ‘PR Spin’, as they would put it, but if you follow a few golden rules then you'll up your chances of getting your message across.  

  1. What the top line? All the journalists I’ve come across want to know what the story is in one simple sentence. If you don’t know what it is, then you’ve got no chance. When reporters come to me with scripts for TV and radio packages I insist they write the top line first because everything else should flow from there. It’s about clarity - headlines are important.  
  2. Don’t send emails. It may sound a bit silly, but in my experience I’ve never put a story or contributor on any of my programmes from someone I haven’t spoken to over the phone or actually met. Personal relationships matter, so if you get to know journalists then you’ve got a better chance of doing business with them. 
  3. Understand the programme. When you’re talking to a journalist you’ve got to know who they are trying to reach. Different programmes on different radio stations and TV channels have very different audiences. When I was Deputy Editor at Radio 1’s Newsbeat programme a PR kept sending me emails about classic music and art galleries. They didn’t have a clue about the people who actually listened to Radio 1 so the press releases went straight in the bin.  
  4. Timing. Journalists are under constant pressure to fill programmes and you need to understand the planning processes for different outlets. It’s no good pitching a story for the next day if it takes time to set up. You need to target the people in charge of planning desks and get to know when their big weekly meetings take place. Give them a bit of advance notice and it should make life a little easier.    
  5. Give them options. Journalists will always be grateful for interesting people to interview or good places to record material for broadcast. Always have options up your sleeve when pitching a story because it shows you’re thought about what it takes to produce a bit of compelling radio or television journalism.     
  6. Follow the news agenda. Sounds simple, but being on top of running stories gives you the edge when it comes to getting your message across. Why not craft your campaign around issues that keep on cropping in the news? Can you get your company to put up a contributor who becomes a recognised expert in their field? Journalists always need people to interview so getting your name in their contacts book is essential. 

RAJAR Q3 2016: Digital radio continues to grow

As new Rajar listening figures are released, who are the winners and losers in the radio industry.

RAJAR Q3 2016

89% of British people - or 48.2 million adults - listened to the radio at least once a week over the quarter, an increase of 320,000 on last year.

Chris Evans' BBC Radio Two breakfast show lost more than 400,000 listeners in the three months after he quit Top Gear, new figures show.  The show attracted 9.06 million listeners per week in the third quarter of 2016, compared with 9.47 million in the second quarter and 9.42 million in the same period last year.

Nick Grimshaw's morning offering on Radio One has also lost listeners but the once-doomed digital station Radio 6 Music has continued to grow its audience for a fifth consecutive quarter with 2.34m listeners each week – the biggest digital station

Radio 4's Today programme suffered a small drop, down to 7.1 million from 7.35 million the quarter before but an improvement on 6.76 million at the same time last year.

However, Radio 4 as a whole posted a weekly reach of 11.23 million during the period from June 27 to September 18, the station's second highest audience after a record second quarter.

Radio 1 also improved its reach, pulling in 9.87 million listeners in the third quarter, rising to 10.9 million when listeners aged 10 to 14 are included, compared with 9.46 million last quarter, and 10.56 million last year.

Second quarter for talkRADIO gives the station 80,000 extra listeners – now with 304,000 weekly, compared with 224,000 last quarter.  Julia Hartley-Brewer’s mid-morning slot has more than doubled its audience   

Overall digital listening to commercial stations is now at 45.9% (up from 41.2% in Q3 2015), ahead of digital listening to BBC stations which is at 44.9% (up from 42.4% in Q3 2015).

KISSTORY claims the biggest all digital commercial radio station spot with 1.6m listeners, overtaking Absolute 80s

Smooth Extra has more listeners than Planet Rock and BBC Radio 1Xtra – with over a million weekly reach

Radio X UK has increased to 1.265m to 1.189m, whilst London drops from 442,000 to 378,000

Absolute Radio Network celebrates record reach of 4.5m and Christian O’Connell has a record 1.9m listeners

The Capital brand has reached a record audience of 8.7m listeners nationwide, but drops in London by 253,000

Capital keeps the most commercial listeners in London, followed by Kiss then Magic

LBC UK gets a record 1.8m UK listeners each week, but loses 301,000 people in London taking it 991,000. It leads the way in market share with 5.1

In its first set of RAJAR results, Heart extra reaches 664,000 listeners every week

BBC News Uncovered

We were delighted to host our first event of year at Good Broadcast; BBC News Uncovered with Sam Taylor, Executive Editor of the BBC News Channel and the BBC News at One and Tom Bateman, BBC News correspondent. They explained what it takes to get a story on BBC News, and what journalists expect from PRs when they’re attempting to land coverage. Here are their top tips…                         

  • Organisations need to get on the ‘front foot’ when reacting to stories. They’re not quick enough to offer interesting spokespeople when a big story breaks.
  • The BBC is always looking for ‘genuine expertise’ from spokespeople. Not enough thought goes into finding key people within organisations that can offer real insight with a different perspective.
  • BBC News is increasingly looking for ‘real people with real stories’, especially in digital media. Case studies are vital and will help sell a story.
  • Businesses shouldn’t be scared of putting up their CEOs for interviews. The potential return usually outweighs the risk of appearing on high profile BBC networks.         
  • The title of the guest is not as important as how compelling they are on air. If the story is a good one and they can offer insight then they don’t need to be the boss
  • Press releases can be completely overwhelming for journalists. You have to question whether it’s the right approach, and keep it brief if you go down that route.
  • Weekends can be overlooked by PRs – there’s often an opportunity to get a spokesperson on the air on a Saturday and Sunday when there’s a substantial audience.