Interview with Bill Smith from Latest 7
1) Congratulation fist, as Latest TV has been awarded the licence for a new terrestrial TV channel in Brighton and Hove by Ofcom, broadcasting on channel 8. What are you plans for the channel and what type of content will you be covering?
Latest tv is a 24/7 television channel in Brighton & Hove so we’ll cover the whole Brighton&Hove and surrounding areas including Worthing. As regards what programming we’re going to do; it’s a 24/7 it’s on all the time like BBC, ITV, Channel 4 or 5. It will have significant content, we’ve actually putting into the bid a commitment to make 500 hours ourselves of local TV, we’re also going to acquire content from others especially from local producers, so if you make programme or want to make programme in Brighton&Hove you’ll be able to get them on our channel, you won’t have to go to London, you won’t have to pitch them in a Channel 4 or BBC, you don’t have to wait 6 month for a reply, you’ll be able whitin a couple of hours to know if we’re going to show it and frankly there will be very few occasion where we say it can’t go on. The only times Im really thinking it can’t go on if it’s illegal or doesn’t comply with the broadcasting, other than that we want to support Brighton Local Filmmaker, Brighton Television maker: if you make it we’ll show it.
2) Can you tell us more about how Latest TV started and it’s evolved?
It was born a few years ago. Obviously there isn’t any Television in Brighton, if you switch on the Tv in Brighton for the news, you’ll see a studio in Southampton, or Maidstone, that’s not good. You want to see a Brighton Studio. Our studios will be Brighton, and obviously in Brighton.
It was formed because almost everybody here doesn’t like what we are currently getting, we don’t get any Tv; we are the worst serviced city in Europe for local television so we want to put that right.
William Ranieri and I met in a pub one night, we were talking about making a film, which I still want to make, out of that discussion we thought we need a bit practice first so we started making little films and it organically grew from there lots more people got involved and from that I discovered we really need somewhere where everybody in Brighton who is a filmmaker can show their stuff. It was a bit of not beeing able to see on TV anything you want to see about Brighton, a little bit of me and Will wanting to make our own film and having nowhere to get it on TV and then lots of other people feeling the same as us, so it’s basically a movement. Out of a movement things happen.
3) Do you think TV is still the primary media through which we are connected to the world?
I think TV is the main media of today. Alhough the Internet and IP Tv are much talked on, they are the core end. If you look at where the money is, the advertising money is still massively on Terrestrial Television. IP TV is really cool, except from when you come to pay your staff. It’s not cool at all then, because you’ve got no money. All the advertising agencies plough all the money for Television into Terrestrial TV. And thats where we have to be if were going to be commercial. If we want to employ people and create real jobs in Brighton then we have to be on that TV.
4) What is your inspiration for the channel?
Val Aviv, who I work with all the time, is one of our presenters, she said to me, what we want to do Bill, is create Television that is never boring. So that is what Im seeking to do. Im trying to do everything with a bit of flare, originality, a bit of Only in Brighton Attitude. I want to do things with 12 inches of attitude. I like programmes that really don’t hold back. Im looking for great Televison makers who have something to say.
I love great TV. There are people in this city who make great Television, and have done for years. Those people are the sort of people we want to be like. People like Henry Morgan, Steve Coogan, Zoe Ball etc Nick Cave lives here in Brighton and makes great records, Im sure he could make great TV shows, he does soundtracks for movies. There is great talent in the city who have made or make things that I would like to have made myself. I aspire to finding a whole new gang of talented people. People who want to say something and say it in not a boring way.
5) Will you keep a connection with youtube and have an internet presence or will Latest TV now be solely broadcasting Television?
The new world of televison isn’t just old fashioned cameras and 5 people and lots of reporters and production assistants, and all that, that’s the OLD TV, the NEW TV is see something happening, film it on whatever, and edit it brilliantly. That’s what were aspiring to do, for our news, thats what we’re looking to do. There’s a thing on the Internet called Brighton Parkour, it’s a film about guys who jump from building to building, that film is like Bond on a shoestring. It’s an amazing 10 minute film on Brighton. It’s the best thing I’ve seen. It’s not boring. You will watch it the whole way through. It’s done for next to nothing, on a shoestring, great television. And people are making great television. The old differentiation between Television and You Tube..that’s nonsense. A lot of the best things are on You tube. And I think over the next few years you’ll see a real coming together of the 2. Cameras are everywhere. And whether you’ve got an iPhone or a professional camera, in the end, it’s not the technology that counts, it’s the person behind it. I aspire to finding lots of geniuses, and letting them loose on television.
5) Last quick question: will Matt Whistler have his own show on the channel?
Matt is amazing. Yes, I’m sure he will have his own programme. He’s a one off, a complete original. And everything what I’m saying, he’s not boring. I’m sure his show will be great. People will love it or hate it. If you aspire to be a great artist, a lot of people don’t like you.