Train of thought

Published Tuesday, 12 August 2014
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Just so you know, I usually write this blog on the train. The Enterprise between Belfast and Dublin - and occasionally travelling to the Waterside, Cork, Limerick or Galway - gives me a chance to gather my thoughts. A rare luxury during these busy months.

This one is no exception. It's just gone 9.30pm and this blog is brought to you by Jameson's and Tayto. Who said travel wasn't fun?

I received a really pleasant surprise late last week: I'm delighted to say that this blog is on the "long-list" for The Blog Awards Ireland 2014. Thank you.

The team at UTV Ireland are busy right now, preparing for our major agency and media launch next week. The invites are out, there has already been some coverage in the papers, and right now we're working on videos, scripts and putting some va-va-voom into the day itself.

Of course, I don't plan on telling you any of the secrets right now but, needless to say, next Tuesday there will be a new blog with far more details. Chaffinch was announced in November of last year. There's been so much going on quietly since then ... but we really will "fly" on Tuesday. I'm told even Katy Perry might get a run out in the build up to the announcement ... Let it Roar indeed (if that's lost on you, have a look at the earlier blogs).

So what's going on apart from that ...

Well, tomorrow we'll take the UTV Ireland Board around our new home for the first time. The last blog had pictures, but progress is fast and already more has been done.

Recruitment is powering ahead. Online interviews took place today for senior jobs, we're currently shortlisting more than 1000 CVs to interview for editorial jobs, and shortly we'll advertise for Political, Business and Sport Editors.

Of the 120 or so new jobs, I think we've recruited about a third of them. Our sales team is well advanced, scheduling is progressing and transmission, news and editorial are beginning to take shape. Oh and on the subject of transmission, our TX Suites are almost complete. One major investment done and sorted, with five months to go before we're on air.

On top of that, Rowan, our Acquisitions head, is going around the major international distributors ensuring the best content available is being bought for UTV Ireland. Another major coup was secured today, but sorry that will be announced in a few weeks' time.

And finally, our own programming - our news and current affairs plans are developing, we met independent producers - almost 300 of them - at Croke Park recently, and for UTV in Northern Ireland, 2015 is commissioned - with some content running on UTV and UTV Ireland. So even in January, we'll have Irish commissioned content running on the channel. Not bad for a start-up project.

Although already putting in the hours, Mary Curtis, our Head of Channel, formally joins us at the start of September. She is really looking to grow content and make it relevant to a modern Ireland, just as UTV in NI is relevant to the audience it serves.

Oh and I almost forgot, we're still talking to the platforms and distribution providers. All looking positive for universal coverage across Ireland.

Just arrived in Dublin ... off to the hotel ... taxi!

blog awards ireland


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Comments Comments
Ed in Letterkenny wrote (166 days ago):
Nice Save!
MW in Corner Office wrote (167 days ago):
Thanks Ed. I have no idea. To please everyone I should say Southern Jamesons and Northern Tayto. And if I drink Northern Bushmills, it'll be Southern Tayto. MW
Ed in Letterkenny wrote (168 days ago):
Enjoying the Blog. The Question everyone is asking were they Northern or Southern Tayto?
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Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson

Michael Wilson is the Managing Director of UTV's Television Division.

Overseeing everything from the day to day running of UTV in Northern Ireland to the launch of UTV Ireland. His brief covers business development, online channels, regulatory affairs and the Contract and Licence commitments of the two channels.

Away from his job, he enjoys travel, current affairs, food - both eating out and cooking (he tells us he's pretty good in the kitchen) and his guilty pleasure is bad early Hollywood movies esp. horror and sci fi - think Bella Lugosi and Buster Crabbe!

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