After the successful debut year of the BBC Radio Indie Development Fund, the BBC has officially announced the next group of recipients.
The £250,000 fund is designated to support talented independent producers in specific areas of their work, aligning with the BBC’s priorities such as promoting diversity and content from all regions of the UK. This initiative aims to enhance the BBC’s ability to accurately reflect, represent, and serve diverse audiences.
Production companies from each of the four UK nations have been selected, with the majority securing funding for the first time. Successful applicants will receive a one-year investment ranging from £10,000 to £25,000. The funding will be utilized across various areas, including expanding and diversifying talent pools, enhancing production capabilities, and providing training. Recipients will also be paired with a mentor to establish objectives and receive regular support and guidance.
In the realm of music radio, three independent producers based in the Midlands, including True Thought and Glenvale (receiving funding for the second consecutive year), are among the recipients. As the presence of BBC Asian Network and BBC Radio 1Xtra grows in Birmingham, Glenvale plans to build on its successful first year by using the fund to establish a talent pool of assistant producers. True Thought, having partnered with BBC Sounds last year, will collaborate with Midlands universities to recruit trainee production talent and work with Radio 1Xtra to generate ideas reflecting the Midlands music scene.
Moving Water Media has secured funding to employ a local assistant producer for developing fresh editorial ideas and investing in production equipment.
Kully Ghataore of Moving Water Media expresses gratitude, stating, “The Midlands is a thriving hub of talent, and as a production company based in the region, we are grateful to have secured funding that will fuel our growth as an independent entity. This support will undoubtedly contribute to our journey in bringing creative visions to life.”
Lorna Clarke, BBC Director of Music, comments, “As more of our content comes from Birmingham, Cardiff, and Salford, it’s great to be working with these brilliant local indies to boost the production capabilities in the areas, and at the same time supporting the BBC’s key priorities around diversity and our Across the UK plans.”
The recipients for music include:
- Glenvale Media – Birmingham
- True Thought Production – Birmingham
- Moving Water Media – Wolverhampton
- Unedited – London
- Overcoat Media – Cardiff
- Reform Radio – Manchester
In the realm of speech audio, all recipients are newcomers to the fund, representing each of the four UK nations. They will collaborate with BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 5 Live.
Bespoken Media, based in Edinburgh, will use the funding to hire a trainee producer for 12 months, focusing on building and servicing a talent pipeline from Scotland.
Dave Howard of Bespoken Media remarks, “Bespoken Media is committed to helping to build a strong, inclusive and flourishing audio production community in Scotland. This support, financially but more importantly in terms of creative mentorship from Radio 4’s commissioning team, will go a long way to helping us to do that. We look forward to getting started!”
Mohit Bakaya, BBC Director of Speech, adds, “We specifically wanted ideas that would help us build up the pool of diverse new talent to bring us great stories from all corners of the UK. We had an impressive set of submissions, and we are looking forward to working with this year’s recipients as part of our plans to make BBC’s speech radio more representative of the country as a whole.”
The speech recipients are:
- Bespoken Media – Edinburgh
- The Foghorn Productions – Belfast
- Little Wander – Brecon
- Hill 5.14 Media – Bedfordshire
- Essential Radio – London
- Bite Your Tongue Productions – Bristol
- Bengo Media – Cardiff
The BBC’s Across the UK strategy aims to distribute creative spending and decision-making across the UK to better reflect and serve all parts of the country. For radio, this entails increasing network and music spending outside London to 50%, relocating teams and programs.
Various BBC networks will have bases in different locations, such as the BBC Asian Network in Birmingham, and BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 6 Music in Salford. BBC Radio 1Xtra will broadcast entirely from outside London between 10 am – 4 pm every weekday starting January 2024, and BBC Radio 2 launched its first daily weekday programme outside London earlier this year.
BBC Radio 5 Live launched its new Sunday evening show with Gordon Smart from Glasgow, and Patrick Kielty’s show now comes live from Belfast.
BBC Audio established a new production hub in Wales and Bristol last year, and from April 2024, a new network production hub in Scotland and Northern Ireland will produce a range of content for BBC Radio, including 50 episodes of Radio 4’s flagship arts programme Front Row from Scotland, and Radio 4’s Pick of the Week from Belfast.