At a well-attended AGM held at the Harrow on 13 June Conor Dignam, editor of Broadcast, was elected to be the new chairman of the Broadcasting Press Guild.
He succeeds Kate Bulkley, whose two-year term in the chair has been marked by a number of major innovations, including the introduction of video clips at the 2006 Awards lunch and the setting up of the BPG website.
Also elected or re-elected were Torin Douglas (Lunch secretary), Richard Last (Membership secretary and treasurer), Nick Radlo (Awards secretary), and Kate Bulkley, Ciar Byrne, Julian Clover, Owen Gibson, Nicola Methven, Neil Midgley, James Tapper, and Jonathan Webdale (members of Committee).
Reviewing the past year, Kate Bulkley said the Guild had presented a star-studded Awards lunch with high Press coverage, including attendance by 13 agency photographers. Home Choice had proved to be an outstanding sponsor, not just in terms of their financial contribution) but in many other areas of support. Despite high costs, the event had ended with a credit balance of £7.72.
Reporting on the regular Guild lunches, Torin Douglas said that their status had now reached a stage where major industry figures were anxious to come and talk to us. In the past 18 months the BPG’s lunch guests had included Michael Grade, Charles Allen, Dawn Airey and Mark Thompson. His only problem was sorting out suitable dates.
Richard Last reported that the Guild had a bank balance of £3,396, achieved despite a loss on the 2005 Awards lunch of £386 and having kept the annual subscription of £15 unchanged for 19 years. Membership remained remarkably steady at 112. The Guild now earned a small amount of bank interest through having opened a savings account to run alongside the regular current account.
The meeting debated whether the number of Awards categories should be reduced, to ease pressure on time and space, but accepted Conor Dignam’s suggestion that this issue should be resolved at a later meeting. Members also discussed whether coverage of lunches was adversely affected by reporting available on the electronic media. No one had any serious concerns about this or the admission of Press Association representatives to lunches.
Three new members were proposed and Torin announced the dates of lunches for Paul Jackson (ITV) and Chris Cramer (CNN). Other suggestions for lunch guests included Nick Elliott, Peter Fincham and John Whittingdale.