Ken Smith’s diary column in the Herald today picks up the story of my efforts to get video-conferencing equipment installed in the BBC’s Inverness offices. This, I was assured, would spare me from so many car and train journeys to and from Glasgow, but three years after moving Radio Scotland’s nerve centre to the Highlands, there was still no sign of the camera and screen. I stamped my feet, threw around terms like ‘carbon footprint’ and one day, the kit was installed in a meeting room. It was the same meeting room we used to store boxes of excess toilet rolls, but an angled sitting position and careful positioning of the camera made it look professional. All was not well, though, and it was only when we had tried and failed several times to make a link-up with colleagues in Pacific Quay that a technician explained that “you made such a fuss that we took the gear out of an office in Glasgow and gave it to you.”
At least I never suffered the embarrassment experienced by one of my radio chums who had been booked to make a video-conference appearance at a big management meeting in London. At the last minute, however, the Director General, Tony Hall, pulled rank and demanded use of that room to rehearse an important and ultra secret presentation about a big strategy shift for the corporation. Alas, someone forgot to cancel the video conference booking and Big Tony (I can call him that now) was well into his hush-hush spiel when my friend appeared on the massive screen, with his cheery face and Scottish voice booming out behind the D.G.’s head.
“Hallo London! Glasgow calling!”
Probably just as well that my friend couldn’t see the expression on the great man’s face.