Ross Sutherland

Supporting Talent and Diversity: BBC Radio Indie Development Fund Announces Second Round of Recipients

The BBC has announced the recipients of the second round of its BBC Radio Indie Development Fund. This fund, which amounts to £250,000, is aimed at supporting talented independent production companies in certain areas of their work. It aligns with the BBC’s priorities of increasing diversity and showcasing content from all parts of the UK in order to better serve its audience. The selected production companies come from different regions of the UK, with many of them receiving funding for the first time. The one-year investment, ranging from £10,000 to £25,000, will support various aspects such as talent development, production capabilities, and training. Each recipient will also be assigned a mentor to provide support and guidance.

In the field of music radio, three of the indies are from the Midlands, with Glenvale Media and True Thought Production receiving funding for the second year. Glenvale Media will continue its successful collaboration with the BBC Asian Network, establishing a talent pool of assistant producers with the help of the fund. True Thought Production, on the other hand, will be partnering with Midlands universities to recruit and train production talent and working with Radio 1Xtra to generate ideas that represent the Midlands music scene. Moving Water Media has secured funding to employ a local assistant producer and invest in production equipment to develop fresh editorial ideas.

Kully Ghataore, from Moving Water Media, expresses gratitude for the funding, which will contribute to their growth as an independent production company. Lorna Clarke, the BBC’s Director of Music, reiterates the importance of the partnership with these local indies in expanding production capabilities and fulfilling the BBC’s diversity goals.

In the field of speech audio, all recipients are new to the fund and based in the four nations of the UK. They will work closely with BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 5 Live to bring diverse stories from different parts of the UK. Bespoken Media, based in Edinburgh, will hire a trainee producer to build and nurture talent from Scotland. Other recipients include The Foghorn Productions in Belfast, Little Wander in Brecon, Hill 5.14 Media in Bedfordshire, Essential Radio in London, Bite Your Tongue Productions in Bristol, and Bengo Media in Cardiff.

Mohit Bakaya, the BBC’s Director of Speech, emphasizes the desire to discover new diverse talent and reflects on the impressive submissions received. The BBC is eager to collaborate with this year’s recipients to make its speech radio more representative of the nation as a whole.

The BBC’s strategy of Across the UK involves redistributing creative spending and decision-making throughout the country. This entails increasing network and music spend outside of London to 50% by relocating teams and programmes. There are plans to consolidate the BBC Asian Network in Birmingham, while BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 6 Music will be based in Salford. Starting in January 2024, BBC Radio 1Xtra will broadcast entirely from outside London between 10am and 4pm on weekdays. DJ Day Day will join the network with a new show from Birmingham. Other moves include Owain Wyn Evans’ new Early Breakfast Show for BBC Radio 2 in Cardiff, and Huw Stephens’ new BBC 6 Music show, also from Cardiff. BBC Radio 1 has been broadcasting from Salford seven days a week since 2022, and BBC Radio 5 Live now has a Sunday evening show based in Glasgow, with Patrick Kielty live from Belfast. BBC Audio has already established production hubs in Wales and Bristol and plans to open a new network production hub in Scotland and Northern Ireland from April 2024. This hub will produce a range of content for BBC Radio, including 50 episodes of Radio 4’s flagship arts program “Front Row” from Scotland and Radio 4’s “Pick of the Week” from Belfast.

My Encounter with a Clever Barclays Impersonation

I want to share an experience I had recently that might help someone in the future. It was a typical busy day at work when I received a phone call in the middle of a consultation. I was expecting a call from a client, but it turned out to be an automated message about Barclays banking. I quickly hung up.

About an hour later, during my lunch break, I received a text message from BARCLAYS asking me to verify recent unusual account activity. This wasn’t the first time something like this had happened. Barclays tends to flag accounts quite easily, and I’ve had my card blocked three times in the past for innocent and varied reasons.

The text instructed me to expect another text from a five-digit number, which I received shortly after. The message asked me to reply if I didn’t recognize a payment of ‘39.94 GBP’ to Catering and Leisure Supp in the UNITED KINGDOM. The text was very well written, polite, and free of errors. The payment mentioned was a significant amount, enough to make me concerned, but not enough to raise major red flags.

Without thinking too much, since I was lacking morning tea, I replied with a ‘no,’ stating that I didn’t recognize the transaction. This triggered a reply informing me that they would call me shortly, or I could call a legit Barclays number if I couldn’t receive calls.

With nothing better to do during my lunch break, I was determined to make sure no one would be able to use my money for catering without my knowledge. As I was about to dial the number that had been sent to me, I received a call from the same number that saved me the trouble.

I spoke to a Barclays advisor who confirmed my details for a few minutes before informing me that there had been no such transaction and my account hadn’t been flagged. It left me puzzled, and I thanked the person before hanging up, feeling a bit strange about the situation.

Only about 10 seconds after the call ended, it hit me. I realized that the number that had just called me was the same as the automated call I received earlier in the day. I decided to look it up on Google, and to my dread, I found negative reports about it here. It became clear to me that these scammers had called me using a local number, but had connected me directly to the actual Barclays hotline to avoid suspicion. They listened in as I provided my details to the representative, engaging in a classic man-in-the-middle attack. Now, they had a bunch of my personal information and were ready to exploit it.

Realizing what had happened, I was left stunned and frankly, a bit embarrassed. I usually take great care when it comes to my privacy and security, and I try to warn others about potential risks. But somehow, I had fallen for their trick and exposed myself as an unwitting victim.

I immediately called the genuine Barclays hotline within five minutes and spoke to the fraud department. The person on the other side told me that this has been happening a lot lately and there are other scams similar to this. The representative froze my account as we spoke, and I went through a more rigorous process of verification. Being someone who has a call recorder installed, I informed the representative of the specific details I had inadvertently leaked, such as my name, date of birth, town of birth, phone number, account number, sort code, and one recent transaction. Fortunately, none of these were critical pieces of information.

Some of the leaked details were already publicly available, and I had my account number replaced with a new card. The real danger lies in information like my mother’s maiden name or similar security questions, which are only required for the highest level of clearance, unlike the initial account check the first representative performed.

Unfortunately, some despicable individual had managed to create a profile of me, linking my name, date of birth, town of birth, phone number, and preferred bank. While I already live in the digital realm of Google, I despise these individuals having further access to my personal details beyond what is available on my Facebook profile.

Nevertheless, I have to manage this situation the best I can. It’s all relative at the end of the day; at least I wasn’t subjected to the massive data breach that occurred with Equifax.