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A bit of a week

28 February 2011

20 February ‘11

A bit of week

4.30 am start on Monday to get to London ahead of the Government’s announcement on music education. At 9am the Government finally announced their much waited for recommendations. Unbelievably, there are to be no cuts to the Music Grant and many of the FMS’s key recommendations that were submitted to the Henley Review have been adopted. It would appear that the lobbying, PR and messaging over the last 6 – 9 months have got through to ministers and policy makers at the Department of Education.

Handling the media over this period has been an exacting task in not alienating the Government yet getting our messages across on the importance of music in whole child development. It was frustrating to have been offered a seat on the BBC TV Breakfast couch to have to turn it down as we would have been ahead of Michael Gove’s announcement. So good was the eventual news that the ‘cuts story’ that BBC Newsnight had been hounding me all week for turned down their planned interview  with the FMS Chief executive as there was no longer a story!  However, Sky TV did a live link with a school in Brentford and the well informed Tom Service did some interviewing with three members of the National Executive  for Radio 3’s Music Matters programme.

The  long planned ‘Burning Issues’ conference that was held on the Monday morning at RIBA was a cliff hanger as the agenda was not agreed until late Sunday as the Government were still dithering on whether it was to be Monday or Tuesday for the announcement. The sell out conference with nearly 200 music service heads and senior managers sat in stunned silence when Virginia Haworth-Galt, the FMS’s Chief Executive, announced the no cut message. The disbelief and the relief was palpable, Music Services were not going to be decimated with a major cut in budget.  A good press followed although the BBC still managed to run a mischievous 10% cuts story on their web site which was wholly inaccurate – the budget is the same but it will be distributed more fairly to local authorities – some getting more, others less. They just communicated the less part!

Wednesday was the start of the New Lights Art Prize sell in to the media. This new art prize for aspiring young painters in the north of England offers the winners £10000 in cash, an exhibition to show their work and business mentoring to help them turn professional. Radio York did an interview with the prize’s organiser and we are hoping to get some TV next week. Regional and local press are picking up the story but the national press are as usual rather metro-centred. The Guardian, who’s northern correspondent is on holiday, have yet to bite as has the BBC’s Front Row but there is time yet.

Thursday: London again this time to persuade a niche headhunting recruitment company they need their brand refreshing, a greater web presence in the overseas markets that they operate in and a higher PR profile in some of the key markets in which they operate.


Recovery time: searching back emails makes me realise that I am behind time with other clients – two brochures and a regional strategy to work out for a green energy client and now not enough time to blog………

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