Will Birmingham’s creative talent pool, thriving business community and unrivalled accessibility be enough of an incentive to attract Channel 4 to the city?
That’s the question a panel of experts will be discussing at a city centre debate - just days before the broadcaster is expected to reveal whether Birmingham. Manchester or Leeds will be the focus of its relocation plans.
Llewela Bailey, chairman of Birmingham Press Club, which is co-hosting the event in conjunction with event management company 7LOCO, said: “Plans by Channel 4 to create a new national headquarters and creative hub outside of London present genuine opportunities for Birmingham to convince those who are about to make the relocation decision that our city must be the number one choice.
“Birmingham has the most diverse population, range of business and unique arts scene of any of the shortlisted cities – and the eventual arrival of HS2 will cement its position as the most accessible city in the country.
“We also know that there is a huge talent pool in the city, not just in broadcasting but right across the broad spectrum of media, the arts and the creative sector. But we want to find out from people just what they think about the potential relocation – and listen to their ideas, initiatives and what they think we can offer Channel 4 if it chooses Birmingham as its new base,” added Llewela.
The discussion will take place on 27 September (6 pm – 8.30pm) at Fazeley Studios, the Digbeth-based location for creative and digital companies positioned just a couple of minutes away from the Custard Factory.
Jo Jeffries, director of 7LOCO, said: “We are delighted that Lord Digby Jones (pictured), the former minister for UK Trade & Industry, has agreed to chair the discussion and that leading personalities from the city’s media sector will be on the panel.”
She added: “The debate will be a great opportunity to showcase just what Birmingham has to offer – not just for now but in terms of it being one of the UK’s most dynamic cities of the future.”
Those taking part will include Marc Reeves, editor of the Birmingham Mail and editor-in-chief of Reachplc’s publications in the West Midlands; Oli Hills, a social media guru and managing director of news website Birmingham Updates; Chris James, group head of news and production at MADE TV, Sarah Jones, former ITV Central journalist and now head of the School of Media at Birmingham City University and Indi Deol, advertising director of DESIblitz, the award-winning Birmingham-based web magazine aimed primarily at British Asians.
Entry to the debate is free but those wishing to attend are asked to register at Eventbrite to ensure their place.
In a special Birmingham Post supplement, outlining the case for Channel 4 to move to the city, West Midlands Mayor Andy Street says: “We are at a critical stage in the campaign. We’re at the point where the issues like sites and attracting staff to our region are becoming key.”