Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rant 3: TV or not TV?

Well, I’m on a roll so why not.

If a country gets the TV it deserves then we are a very bad bunch here in Scotland.

Let's leave BBC Scotland out of this for just now (although a lot could be said, right Chick?) and concentrate on the excuse for a modern broadcaster that is STV.

With terrible programmes and terrible presenters (I wouldn't wish an hour with Stephen Jardine on my worst enemy) the channel has long been in the doldrums.

But last night's inability to show the Rangers game was insulting to Scottish football and, once more, displayed STV's inability to provide a service for their viewers.

I’m sure not everyone will agree but I think the Scottish representatives in Europe’s top tournament should be shown on terrestrial TV. And I speak as someone who has laughed long and hard at some of the drubbings handed out to the Ibrox side over the years. This year we'll not get one Rangers group match. Not a single one.

Instead we get Liverpool. It was definitely Scottish though and we had a Scottish presenter (backed with an English pundit) to prove it.

STV are blaming ITV for failing to negotiate the correct deal with UEFA. This is a bit rich as STV are currently falling over themselves to not show anything from ITV and are instead devoted to an output seemingly designed to appeal to nobody apart from a few sheep on Skye.

Apart from some highlights of rugby’s Magner’s League STV have shown themselves to have absolutely no commitment to Scottish sport. At the same time they are denying Scottish viewers the right to watch programmes that are freely available in Berwick, Leeds, Belfast and Cardiff.

If they can't provide the service that viewers want, if they are financially incapable of showing live football with Scottish teams then they should stand aside and let another broadcaster take over. Because right now the fabled potter's wheel would beat anything that STV can make.

Perhaps we’re on the road to independence and perhaps not. If we are then Alex Salmond should be stepping in. If STV is going to be the national broadcaster of an independent Scotland then the time to run for the (English) hills has already arrived.