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Kirsty Wark chairs panel featuring BBC and C4 heads on future of broadcasting

Monday 14 November 2016

Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark will chair a panel featuring the BBC’s new Director of Nations and Regions and Channel 4’s head of factual for a debate on the future of broadcasting.

The debate, taking place at the University of Salford’s MediaCityUK campus on Tuesday November 15, will see distinguished broadcast journalist Kirsty Wark and a panel of leading media industry figures discussing a range of broadcasting and production issues affecting the nations and regions.

The panel features:

* Ken MacQuarrie, in his first public speaking role since being appointed as the BBC Director of Nations and Regions in September

* Ralph Lee, Deputy Chief Creative Officer, Channel 4

* Rebecca Hodgson, Head of Drama at  Liverpool-based Lime Pictures

* Rebecca Root, actor and star of Britain's first transgender comedy Boy Meets Girl which was set in Newcastle

* Marverine Cole, former Sky News presenter, journalist and Midlands-based TV and radio producer

* Elin Rhys, Creative Director / Managing Director of Wales-based radio and TV production company Telesgop

The discussion will be recorded in front of an invited audience of leading industry professionals for broadcast on BBC Radio 5 Live later in the week.

Beth Hewitt, Festival Director for the University of Salford said: "The changes facing the broadcast industry, particularly in the wake of Brexit, are the subject of much debate and so it’s very exciting that this Nations and Regions Media debate is taking place here at The University of Salford with Kirsty Wark at the helm.”

The debate is being held ahead of the 23rd Nations and Regions Media Conference (NARM), which will take place in spring 2017 and will tackle some of the key issues that are vexing broadcasters and producers across the UK.

Nations and Regions Media Conference 2017, is hosted by University of Salford and supported by newly appointed steering committee chair Ruth Pitt, will take place at The Lowry arts centre in Salford on March 28-29.

Plans are also underway for an event to showcase the high quality work being produced outside the capital and to encourage high-level talent to re-locate to other parts of the UK.

NARM steering committee chair Ruth Pitt said: “In the early years the Nations and Regions Media Conference was the go-to event for anyone in our industry working outside London.

“You could say the conference has since been the victim of its own success because many of the changes that were fought for in those early days have been achieved – today we have MediaCityUK, far better engagement between broadcasters and regional indies all over the country, much better diversity and some massive global players operating across the nations and regions.

“So what we need now is a conference that acknowledges and anticipates contemporary challenges affecting the media landscape.”

Festival director, Beth Hewitt continues: “Our MediaCityUK campus sits in the heart of the largest  media hub outside of London, with the BBC, ITV and a wealth of independent production companies and producers right on our doorstep, and so it is absolutely fitting that both this debate and the conference should be held here. We look forward to announcing other exciting speakers, both national and international, who will be involved in both events.

“We are delighted that Ruth Pit has joined us. This is an exciting time for the Nations and Regions Media Conference and Ruth's experience and understanding of the current media landscape is exemplary, with particular emphasis on the indie sector and its relationship with the broadcasters.

“The Nations and Regions Media Conference will celebrate and promote regional and national talent as well as exploring and embracing the global media markets. The conference will continue to give indies the opportunity to talk to controllers and commissioners from across the media industry through the renowned ‘Meet the Commissioners’ sessions.”

Visit and follow @Salford_Media on Twitter for all of the latest programme announcements.