Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Kent TV What's Going On? SHOCK! as contract extension revealed! No Press Release on this one! or public consultation!

I recently wrote to Tanya Oliver the KCC “Officer”, who as “Head of Strategic Development Unit KCC” is tasked with matters relating to Kent TV and some of Kent’s other more er …. unusual services like film?

Not stuff normally associated with local authorities, core services but under the enlightened administration, headed up by Peter Gilroy Chief Exec and directed by the charismatic Tory leader Paul Carter, we in Kent, are blessed with more media, than we probably care for.

Any how to cut to the chase, I asked Tanya Olivier, if there was a future for Kent TV in my email of 18th June       “I recently contacted your office, initially as no minutes were available for Kent TV's Board meeting for March. I now understand that this was cancelled as I understand nobody could be bothered, which poses the questions is there a future for Kent TV since clearly optimistic and some would say unrealistic ambitions of substantial sponsorship have not materialised as far as one can see.”

The reply (same day!, thank you, other KCC officers, please note) included this, in answer to my inquisition, “The Kent TV Board met last week and the minutes for that meeting will be available online shortly.” which didn’t really answer my question “is there a future for Kent TV”. I checked yesterday and the minutes for Kent TV were still not available (meeting held 2 weeks earlier), however it appears they have been placed on KCC’s website sometime after five in the afternoon.

For me I cannot understand why Tanya Oliver did not think it worth mentioning that the contract for Kent TV was to be extended, still just as astonishing, no mention of costing is included in the minutes, why not, one wonders? Kent TV now extended till March 2010 ! (I’d like to say by popular demand)

An excerpt from the minutes worth mentioning “John McGhie said that there had been an issue with morale among some of his staff who had felt unfairly victimised by some publicity and press releases”

I know John McGhie is an occasional reader of Bignews Margate, so I would like to empathise with him and his staff, having been on the rough end of a less than complimentary letter from Ten Alps myself. I also consider myself to have had been unfairly treated uncomfortable as it is I still  have sympathy for his colleagues.

thanks bob Its also noted that Geoff Miles will be sending a thank you letter to staff, its a pity that such courtesy, doesn’t also extend to sending to apologies to offended Kent taxpayers, something which I am sure the Board of Kent TV are aware and yet according to their collective minutes have seemingly ignored. See ECR’s concise report

As you may know I alerted KCC and the Electoral Commission to a serious error in Kent TV’s first time voting video, this features as Item 5 of the minutes, there version reports that they withdrew the film within four minutes of being alerted, however what they do not mention is that I informed KCC around mid-day who did nothing despite, my pointing out that they were responsible for Kent TV’s output(as confirmed previously by KCC legal expert).

When KCC refused to act I contacted Chris Wells , Peter Gilroy (Board Member) should have been aware of all this since I had emailed him on the matter, still no mention I wonder why. Before anyone unleashes their legal dogs, Kent TV acted professionally in this matter and withdraw the video immediately, however KCC’s refusal to even discuss the matter is questionable.

My post are a commentary and should be taken as such but it would be handy if KCC were more efficient in publishing information perhaps KCC could get their corporate a*se into gear and let us know what’s going on in more detail more often.

As you know KCC are ruthless where image is concerned and recently threatened the Audit Commission with heavy handed legal moves over their use of the word “negligent” to describe its role in the Icelandic banking debacle, according to KOS Michael O’Higgins chairman of the Audit Commission stated “It would be an inexplicable waste of public money to seek a judicial review of a dispute about the meaning of a single word” (but not I guess for Paul Carter or Peter Gilroy who demanded the removal, presumably at any cost)

Anyway I will be adding I hope a bit more to the debate on Kent’s unique media experiments, with or without a response from KCC’s press office.

Quote of the day KCC press office “someone will ring you back”  Yeah Righto!  last Thursday, Friday and Monday!

Having briefly read through the minutes, I feel there is much to worry about in terms of what’s hinted at and what’s not stated.

It would be nice KCC actually put some meat on to the bone of their sometimes vague assertions like this one “Whilst you may not support Kent TV, it is contributing to savings on publications of £1 million in the current year” yes but precisely how much is that “contributing to” how about seeing the calculations!

This has been a long winded post but “finally” (thank god) may I invite you to take the “pepsi taste test” as far as community TV is concerned firstly click on a low budget model (which didn’t require 1.2 million pounds) Your Thurrock and then Kent TV I think you will agree both look professional.

KCC Kent TV minutes, six months since the last Click Here

I always think it prudent to remind KCC and others that postings on this blog are subject to Human rights laws to protect the freedom of speech something which took KCC a while to acknowledge in relation to KCC’s Kent TV.


  1. From the Kent TV Board minutes it is clear that there is a lot of appathy among the board members. Why else would many of them just not turn up to most of the meetings? (unless of course short notice family meetings cropped up). How can the board members be asked if thay have any mates that would like to be on the board? Whats happened to the 2 members of the public that were to be on board?
    And how can some members of the board write to Trudy Dean (now leader of KCC opposition) just because she critises Kent TV. Surely the board collectively has to do this? Since you have communications maybe T. Oliver can explain this to you Tony.

  2. I had a look at kent tv and yourthanet and they are both OK although - i know its heresy tony - i actually liked kent tv better. there's more variety and the films are better made . And what clinches it is that the site actually works ie the films play when they appear whereas they take ages to buffer on yourthanet so you never get to wqatch more than a few seconds at a time. i also really liked that online battle of the bands thing they did which is not something you usually get from kcc; ie somethng that connects positively with young people. To be honest i like having them both around - in fact tony shouldnt there be a yourmargate tv as well? i dont mean your sub-porn hand held camera malarky tony - i mean a proper one.
    ps i am covered by the human rites act.

  3. Anon 3:02
    Its a complete scandal how can a firm threaten legal proceeding because I criticised my local authority

    The Board of Governors I would hope would not be politicised, so its a good question just why are they writing to Trudy Dean?

    Anon 3:38 The link on my posting is Your THURROCK not Yourthanet similar but different try link from my post.

    "sub-porn" "hand held marlarky" I think you'll find the output of Tony Flaig's Kent TV is highly thought of, amongst some circles

  4. Anon 3.38 it seems that you did not actally view yourthurrock! ent TV maybe of a better quality but is Kent TV worth spending £1.2 million in the first two years just to promote the local band scene when youtube does it for FREE. Only 1000 people signed up to vote for 84 acts on Kent TV so if you take out about 400 family and friend thats not a large audience in internet terms. There are also other Kent based sites and video channels like VisitKent that are free to us tax payers. The selling point of Kent TV was that it would be self financing, something that just has not happened. I have not noticed any reduction in other KCC publicity and printed publication which was one of the other aims and claims by the KCC crew.
    In these difficult times other media oganisations have to live by commercial decisions and scale back so why is KCC not being prudent with our money?
    Why should KCC be competing with local medial companies and indirectly putting peo[ple out of work?

  5. Hello Tony and assorted brave 'anonymous' posters.
    Delighted and flattered that your corner of Kent is still discussinig
    Kent TV - and grateful for the audience spikes when you all write about us!
    Seriously, while it is all right and proper to discuss our existence and constantly stress how much we cost(on a yearly basis roughly half of a half of a per cent of KCC's annual budget?) I do think some facts are missing from the debate.
    Anon 3.38 says "only 1,000 people" signed up for the Soundclash battle of the bands. The figure for regisrtations was actually 12,000 ( I know he sourced it from the minutes - now corrected -but there was a clerical error - it happens) and this is only the number who voted compared to the number who watched the films. That figure runs into more than thirty thousand. (And by the way, you can't vote on youtube nor did they have a special page to showcase Kentish talents so it is not a fair comparison.)
    The most serious point that I take issue with is that Kent TV competes with other media and thus somehow 'idirectly puts people out of work.'
    It is simply not true. We actually create jobs and we are not in direct competition to the established media - I think we complement them. The point about the internet is that co- operating and interacting with other groups is always going to be a better way forward - something that is new to the media game and which not all local players fully understand yet. Also we deliberately do not do hard news as we believe that is something that is already being done (to a greater or lesser extent) and we have absolutely no wish to distort the market. Thus we use KOS Media to provide news headlines on our home page with a direct link to their news site.
    Most of our content is community based - factual information about services and jobs, tourism, business, sport (the ones that are ignored by the mainstream media)local history, charities, festivals and art. These are sometimes covered by others but no one does it as much as we do and so we try to provide a 'digital canopy' into which people can come and look at the great things that are going on in Kent. yourthurrock does this btw and I personally think what they do is fantastic and it would be even better if there were loads more.
    And it is nonsense to suggest we cut jobs in the Kent media - on the contrary, we create and sustain them. Quite apart from employing 10 local Kent people to run Kent TV (compared to what - 400 still on the KM group?) you should know that by the end of the second year (this sept)we will have spent over £250,000 on more than 20 independent media comapnies in Kent. These have produced masses of content for Kent TV. Who else does this in the county?
    I know that 600k running costs seems a lot but actually compared to the established media we are incredibly productive and efficient. When I worked at the BBC you might have been able to make a dozen half hour films for that - and yet we now have more than two thousand films up on our site!
    In terms of how much money we save KCC - you will have to ask them. But surely it must make sense in the digital era for an authority to upgrade its communications and interact with its community in a modern and effective manner?
    I know its a big ask of this particular part of the blogosphere but might it not now be time to talk about how we could co operate and improve Kent TV and take it to the next level? Criticise us of course; hold us to account absolutely; but perhaps on the basis of fact not fiction.
    Sorry about the length of reply but I have not written to you before and as I know you are a fair bloke Tony I thought you wouldn't mind if corrected a few myths and showed why I think this is such an exciting project.

    John McGhie: Editor Kent TV.

  6. Its good of John to reply on your blog, KCC are not very forthcomming regarding the actual saving being made in other publication areas because of Kent TV. There is a distinct lack of up todate viewing data so that us taxpayers of Kent can see if its value for money. Until then he can expect poor publicity in the current ecomonic climate when TV is low on the list of peoples expectations from a county council. One of the functions of the Kent TV board is to ensure that KCC is being given value for money. KCC must prove this. I dont need to remind John of the other objectives of the board but they seem to go outside of the remit at the last meeting. I guess thats down to the chairperson. Maybe he can comment on the poor members attendances at all of the board meeting.

    As to alterning the 1,200 registered voters to 12,000, John must know that you cant just change business minutes once published as KCC have just done. They have to be read and corrected at the next meeting.

    I know its not John fault but its not just Kent TV that is put under scutiny by the tax payers of Kent on this blog and others, its also Kent Health Watch, the £16 million reorgnisation of the Highways and poor state of the roads and footpaths and I wont mention the obvious. So John its not personal but your paymasters are not always as open as they should be and the episode with Tony earlier which reached the national press did you no favours.

  7. Whatever. I don't want to pay for it. The money would be better spent somewhere else.