Culture Secretary who will decide S4C’s fate says she ‘knows how popular it is in Wales’
The Culture Secretary who will decide the fate of the Welsh language television channel S4C, has said that she “knows how popular it is in Wales”.
Giving evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Nadine Dorries she said that she also knew that Welsh MPs “love it”.
The UK Government is currently in the process of deciding how much money S4C should have for the 2022-27 period. Since 2010, S4C’s budget has been cut every year by 36% in real terms.
“I do appreciate how important S4C is and I know how popular it is in Wales,” Nadine Dorries said.
“And I know how much the Welsh MPs love it. And so I don’t want you to think that I don’t.
“You know, it’s a small station but it’s very important in terms of its Welsh language speaking, and I’m aware of that.”
She added that she could not discuss “ongoing discussions” about the license fee, on which S4C now partly depends.
She was responding to a question by Pontypridd MP Alex Davies-Jones who asked about the impact of changes to the license fee on regional broadcasting.
“I’m obviously specifically concerned about Wales and the impact it will have there, especially as S4C is being included in the negotiations for the first ever time,” she said.
“What steps are you taking to ensure that regional content is protected going forward?”
Last week S4C has announced that it has appointed a former Managing Director of telecoms giant TalkTalk as its new Chief Executive.
Siân Doyle, who will head up the Welsh language broadcaster from 1 January 2022, has also worked for EE, where she was Director of Retail.
There she was responsible for leading and developing a team of 3,500 staff across the UK. She has also been Senior Vice President of Comcast Cable in Philadelphia.
Rhodri Williams, Chair of S4C’s Shadow Unitary Board, said: “We are delighted to be able to appoint a leader with a wealth of experience in formulating and implementing ambitious and successful strategies and in understanding and meeting the needs of consumers.
“We need to be bold in order to ensure that S4C re-defines itself as a provider of creative and bold content that audiences want to engage with across a variety of platforms.
“The Board has complete confidence in Siân’s ability to address this and to take advantage of the opportunities that the digital world offers. Siân’s extensive experience in telecommunications and retail in the UK, Canada and the United States and, of course, her love for the Welsh language, will be a great asset to S4C in the coming years.”
Siân Doyle said: “Throughout my career I have had the privilege of working with special people and companies and I have learnt and benefited so much from these valuable experiences. My passion for my colleagues and the needs of consumers has been integral to my experience over the years.
“Now that I have returned to Wales I look forward to working with the team at S4C and leading the organisation as it responds energetically to the changes in the media landscape, ensuring that it makes the most of every opportunity.
“I am joining S4C at the beginning of this transformation and I will be focused on working to empower the talent we have in Wales to innovate further in this exciting digital world.”
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