By Amy Cutler

Peter Salmon, Director, England at the BBC, and Ian Haythornthwaite, Director of Finance at the BBC, gave an insightful guest lecture to UCFB Burnley students.

Peter Salmon heads up the development of Europe’s most advanced broadcasting centre in Salford; playing a lead role in the expansion of network production in the North of England. As Director, England at the BBC, Peter leads the formation of strong external networks and partnerships across England; building deeper relationships with audiences and fostering better ways of working between the BBC’s bases outside of London. Ian Haythornthwaite, Director of Finance for the BBC, is another extremely integral member of the BBC team.  Ian leads the BBC’s financial planning, investment, control and reporting activities for the BBC Group, providing a clear understanding of the BBC’s financial performance and position.

UCFB were delighted to host the two highly influential guest speakers, who gave an extremely interesting and engaging lecture to our Burnley students this week. The lecture focused on all things digital at Media City in Salford, demonstrating to the students how the BBC aimed to stay competitive in the fierce media industry. Peter described to the students how the BBC aimed to make sports programmes accessible to all licence fee payers; putting sporting events on a big platform for all people, irrespective of whether or not they live or breathe sport.

The duo shared a number of videos with the students on apprenticeships and work experience available to UCFB students and graduates at the BBC; as well as a video made for the BBC’s own production team to ensure their staff knew what they needed to do in order to stay competitive. The talk concluded with the BBC’s vision to ultimately create a ‘connected audience’ and encourage them to essentially become ‘co-producers’ of all the programmes that currently exist under the BBC umbrella. The talk was inspirational, thought-provoking and very forward thinking.

We caught up with Peter and Ian after the talk to find out what they thought about UCFB and our students.

Peter, Ian, thank you very much for joining us at UCFB today. What are your impressions of the UCFB students today?

Peter: They’re lively, motivated, interested; good audience. It’s been a pleasure seeing them and we’ve had a really good time.

Ian: Yes, I thought it was really good. Their enthusiasm came through. I think they were a little bit daunted in terms of; do we talk to the big bad BBC executives, but I was very impressed, especially with the ones who came up to speak to us afterwards and tried to engage. It shows great initiative.

What are your thoughts on the UCFB Burnley setting within Turf Moor?

Peter: Well this is my club so it’s great but let’s see what Ian thinks about it tonight because Burnley are playing his team, Newcastle. I love the facilities though because it feels like it’s got some roots in a real place and a real community. So yes, I think it’s a great place to be, and there are some good real life examples of how you run a business in sport.

Ian: Just being around the people in the business can help you enormously. You wouldn’t get that sat on a college campus somewhere off site and the day to day interaction and feeding off people who are in the business and exchanging experiences, is just as valuable, if not more, as people talking to them from a lecturing point of view.

As a Burnley fan, it’s useful for the club as well isn’t it, in terms of utilisation of the stadium and the collateral of the stadium on a non-match day and in the hours just before a match, as we are tonight?

Peter: Yes. I go to lots of clubs all over England and they’re mainly cold, empty and unwelcoming places. It doesn’t feel like that today; it feels like Turf Moor has got a sense of purpose. It’s ridiculous if you think about Premier League matches only being on once a fortnight or once every ten days in this ground. There’s a huge space in the middle of a town, with all the challenges that the town’s got with engagement and motivating people to be more aspirational. I think football clubs can play really big roles in that and this club clearly is.