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Salmon launches indie fund

BBC North Director Peter Salmon has announced details of a new commissioning fund for producers in the North of England to work with 5 live, with a starting 12-month budget of £40,000.

The funds will be available for the development of content for the station made by independent production companies in the North of England alone.

It's part of the BBC @North plan when in 2011 at least half of staff at BBC Radio 5 live will make the move to Media City UK at Salford Quays.

Peter was speaking at the Radio Production in the North conference being held in Salford Quays today, overlooking the future home of BBC Radio 5 live and Radio Manchester.

Radio 5 Live Controller, Adrian Van Klaveren, said: "Indies make some of the most creative and successful shows on 5 Live and I'm excited that this fund can help us work with them to develop some of the best ideas in the industry."

The event was focussed on independent production companies highlighting their ability to provide comedy, drama, imaging, documentaries, to the BBC and commercial radio sector.

Organiser Ashley Byrne is hoping more indies will experiment by pitching alternative ideas to a wider network of stations.

GMG Radio's North West Managing Director Andy Carter also encouraged producers to come to his programme directors with ideas to create more special programmes for his trio of stations in the area, Smooth, Real and Rock Radio.

Metro Radio's Programme Director Chris Pegg also spoke out on behalf of commercial radio, saying how open his stations are to using independent production companies for anything from imaging to travel news.

Simon Cole, Chief Executive of UBC Media Group, when asked about the building site just outside the window (Media City UK), replied with his enthusiasm for the project, and confirmed his company was looking at taking office and studio space.

MP and Shadow Minister Ed Vaizey also addressed the audience, mostly explaining how much lack of confidence he has in the 2015 digital radio switch-over taking place in the proposed timescale.

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