60 Years of QLD TV

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Saturday, August 1, 2009

BTQ-7's role in a growing Brisbane area: Part 1-2010 and beyond

The mood in the Rivercity is turning, like a westerly prior to the EKKA.

This is a "What If" situation, i.e what does Seven need to do to change the current view in people's minds of what was once "Brisbane's own Channel 7". But how to achieve the change in perception? This is what this post will explain in detail, along with the twelve steps to achieve it.

Seven Brisbane can claim all they like that their news is successful, but it was only done by abandoning what brought them to the dance in the eighties, localism, in favor of a network approach. I don't want to see dancing current affairs hosts, but I as a viewer want to see a major commitment to more local content (talking in the value of millions of dollars), and returning national production to 7 Brisbane's legendary studios. What I am suggesting simply is 7 steps up to the wicket and hits a six to really win people over like me and other viewers alike.

How it can be done, you may ask? Simply by:
-Launching a local product, at 5:30pm weekdays.
-Returning a 7 branded local news bulletin to the Gold Coast at 5:30pm weekdays.
-Returning Brisbane it's own Today Tonight, that does not have the reputation the current networked program has, and with a defined focus on Queensland issues.
-And curtailing the advertorials to one per week, with Queensland Weekender becoming BTQ's advertorial to retain.

The job losses from this reduction (which is due to the new products coming online) can be re-absorbed into QW, and the new 5:30 products, with few if any redundancies. But there has to be also major investment, by 7 on the Brisbane facilities to bounce back from a restructuring, including:
-New studios, to handle large amounts of national production.
-Plan for a "downtown" move for 7 Brisbane's newsroom, with space for a streetside interactive studio facility.
-Building a major playout facility in Brisbane, to handle both 7 Queensland and 7 Brisbane's playout, either as part of a refurbished station on Mt Coot-tha or a stand alone facility.
-And investing in a Gold Coast TV production facility, capable of producing it's own content for local use, something no Brisbane or Northern NSW station's GC facilities currently have.

And with any major investment in Queensland jobs, there has to be rewards for for the viewers, both old and new. With the new products, and possibly national production, it would mean that events like Riverfire could be done, with say a personality from a Brisbane-made national production and a large local crew, instead of relying on the newsroom, or Queensland Weekender presenters and outsourcing production. It also means:
-Renewing Seven's love for Brisbane, that it had in the past, with the well timed revival of the 1980's iconic campaign "Love You Brisbane" to re-emphisise what 7 still means to Brisbane with the massive investments labeled previously.
-Seven sponsoring more local events, as they would have the local talent to provide, and again would no longer need news presenters/QW presenters appearing as "token invitees" to local events.
-Seven developing a marketable presence on the Gold Coast, which it is lacking currently.
-And finally, Seven Brisbane developing a "legends" program, to keep in people's memories, some of our icons, from the first and second golden ages, and acquiring footage for preservation, for future generations.

These twelve steps (if implemented) are what will bring Seven Brisbane into the 21st century, while returning the "magic" that Seven Brisbane once had, as well as a defined focus, that Brisbane is not a second rate station, compared to the rest of the network, that has had new facilities built/improvements made in the last decade, but can still hold it's own, as a independent, yet a strong O&O part of the Seven Network, while providing for the future needs of Queensland and Brisbane viewers, like Seven committed to in 1987, where they went out and said that Seven would put always Brisbane and Queensland first.

This is albeit one vision, there has to be many people who are walking around everyday, thinking what they watched on "their Channel 7" from their childhood, has gone, so leave a comment.


  1. Your passion for local television is admirable, but you're asking one TV station in a market that is less than half the size of Melbourne, to invest millions of dollars in local programming and infrastucture when the reality is (whether we like it or not) is that the revenue may not be around to justify it. Especially when you're suggesting programming that is only going to be of relevance to that one city. Free-to-air TV is not the same mass medium as it used to be, and it is also not the same licence to print money as it once was. Revenue is drying up, what with a sluggish economy and increased competition from pay-TV and the internet for example. An investment of the amount you're suggesting is just not going to happen for one channel in one city. And, really, if such investment was to be made why should it be in Brisbane? Why shouldn't Melbourne, or Adelaide, or Perth get that level of investment? Those cities have all had very active levels of local production and would love to have that sort of investment in local content I'm sure. If a network does it for Brisbane then they have to commit to doing the same elsewhere too and there aren't that many millions to go around.

  2. Another problem with a downtown move for BTQ would be such that the Mt Cootha studios are zoned as such - unless the playout would use the entire studio, there will be some wasted space which can't be used for much else without the help of the government changing some of the zoning.

  3. @Trisreed: Incidently, as we speak, there is a 20-year master plan being developed for Mt Coot-tha by the Brisbane City Council.

    It is due to be unveiled in 2010.

    The two main growth areas close to the CBD, if BTQ intended to move are a former wharf area at Hamilton (near our cruise ship terminal), and inner-city Bowen Hills, near the RNA Showgrounds,which both come with strong future plans for urban renewal.

    It will take the upcoming ABC Queensland relocation, to South Bank, and the Mt Coot-tha master-plan for the commercials to "seriously" think of leaving the "nest", as any master plan could constrict station expansion/reconstruction plans, in favor of a move closer to the city, as part of a "mixed use development".