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Ideas and technique to help you promote and image radio

The truth: a great place to start

Sometimes you don’t need a high production value number to convey your promotional message. Look at this video posted to Facebook earlier today by Ros Atkins, presenter of the BBC’s World Have Your Say interactive news show.

It’s a rough and ready single take on a handheld video camera. Ros goes wildly off-mic at one point, has no tv make-up and the opening is clipped. But the message is clear: there’s a big show coming and you can be part of it.

I’ve been lucky enough to work with the World Have Your Say team in Ghana and Sierra Leone and it’s truly a class act. Ros epitomises the energy, enthusiasm and authentic openness that make the programme what it is and, as you’d expect, WHYS is rooted in the core values of impartial, independent journalism that distinguish the BBC and reflect so well on Britain around the world.

So doesn’t this quick, cheap video compromise all that? I believe not. It’s describing the set-up of a live global tv and radio show, in Cairo, by the pyramids, with a lighting rig, plasma screens, a sound desk, a camera on a gib and a rig that’s happening more than 24 hours before the programme.

The story is powerful enough to transcend the compromises of the medium and, after all, this is a fitting approach to a video from someone you’ve personally befriended on Facebook. Already you feel involved.

It’s simply the truth, with no synthetic gloss or production finesse getting in the way.

You can see World Have Your Say on the BBC World News channel and hear it on the BBC World Service. Disclosure: I am contracted to the BBC to represent its public services in Africa.


  1. Steve- I’d be interested in your thoughts on the prominence of the Mercure Hotel in this off-the-cuff piece. Because while it’s Ros on Facebook, and therefore not a BBC product, it still about the BBC by a BBC person. It alerted my producer guideline sinapses.

  2. I would defend it, like I had to defend your work so many times John 🙂

    It’s hardly endorsement of any kind, although I accept it’s prominent for a few frames. Rather, it’s simply part of the authenticity of the location.

    You’ll notice that the pyramids are in shot and, unlike any hotel I know, they charge a commercial rate for visitors.

    I suspect this is the kind of debate that would only exercise minds and consume resource in a place like the BBC. Whether you feel that’s healthy or not, the thinking’s clearly been done regarding the other big commercial brand prominent here – Facebook – with a pragmatic and mature outcome.