Demus – my visit to an established production company

21 Mar

Last week I was lucky enough to meet Nick Lowe, the founder and director of Glasgow based Demus Media, a well established production company in Glasgow with 18 years of independent radio production. Nick was kind enough to give me some advice and help about pitching radio feature ideas to the BBC, and about some of the challenges involved.

Nick’s advice probably came down to six main points.

1. It’s all about the idea. If you have a great idea, and are passionate about it, it won’t matter if you’re not a big established production company, because there is such a demand for good original ideas.

2. Try to find something – a story, a character, or a presenter – that they want, and that only you can deliver.

3. It’s intensely competitive. And Radio 4 is the toughest nut to crack.

4. Personal relationships matter. You need to be known, or become known, to the commissioning editors. (Although refer back to point 1.)

5. Persistence pays off. Nick has sometimes spent years pitching a story before he has got it commissioned.

6. Collaboration is important.

I have to say that I came out of Demus feeling more optimistic, mainly because of points 1 and 5. They suggest that if you keep coming up with strong, original stories, and are persistent, you can get commissioned. That said, it’s pretty clear to me that you have to get your first pitch spot on, but that’s something I’ve been aware of since the start.

Nick also gave me a very useful lead by suggesting I join the Radio Independents Group, a non-profit trade body for independent radio production companies in the UK. Not everyone is eligible to join, and I’m not quite sure whether they would consider me a freelancer or an indie, but even if you aren’t a paid up member, their website is extremely useful – with links to a recommended media law firm, a media insurance  broker, and listings of freelance executive editors, composers and sound designers. Check it out.

I also found a link to a podcast featuring Nick from 2011 in which talks about getting your ideas on the air, and if you follow this link you can hear an extract from his latest Radio 2 program about American R&B and Soul legend Wilson Pickett.

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One Response to “Demus – my visit to an established production company”

  1. Rena April 22, 2013 at 6:33 am #

    I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but
    your blogs really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back in the future. Many thanks

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