Sky News breakfast presenter Stephen Dixon is joining GB News next month (December).
He joins after 21 years at Sky and said: “I’m inspired by the energy, fun, and absolute passion at GB News to shed light on the real concerns of the Great British public, wherever they live in the UK. It’s many years since I felt this excited to get to work.”
The move follows major changes at GB News since launch, including the introduction of half-hourly bulletins to supplement its main menu of comment.
The channel responded to feedback from viewers who wanted its presenter personality-led broadcasting style to be balanced with traditional news bulletins.
The change was planned as early as July when head of digital Rebecca Hutson said responses to viewer feedback would include morning news bulletins and refreshing the sets which had been criticised for being too dark.
The subject drew a slight from News UK on the announcement of its own upcoming channel TalkTV last month, when it said it would broadcast “proper hourly news bulletins”.
The shake-up comes after Andrew Neil stepped down as chairman and host of his own primetime three months after the GB News launch.
He had only presented his own show for two weeks after the channel’s launch before going on a summer break to his home in France. Ex-Sky News journalist Colin Brazier, who had hosted the 8pm show in Neil’s absence, will now officially take it on as his own.
Brazier said it will be “nice to have my name above the door” but that Neil had “been an inspiration to all of us at GB News”.
Neil, 72, said on Monday 13 September: “I am sorry to go but I have concluded it’s time to reduce my commitments on a number of fronts.”
But he since vowed to never appear on the channel again and on 24 September the Daily Mail published an interview in which he launched a blistering attack against his former bosses.
Neil revealed that he was wooed to the channel on a £4m four-year-deal, after being offered more money to join News UK’s planned TV expansion. He said getting the job of chairman as well as lead presenter clinched the deal for him.
He said technical glitches and lack of budget made him come close to quitting after his first week. In the end he lasted just two weeks at the channel but spent two months on paid leave. He said: “This would have killed me if I had carried on.” And added that working for GB News was worse than being on IRA and jihadi hit-lists.
Having been assured GB News would not be a UK version of Fox, Neil is now concerned about the direction of the channel: “Look at the direction of travel. They bring in these shock jocks in the morning and evening – Mark Dolan and this Patrick Christys. You’ve already got Dan Wootton.”
GB News launch
GB News launched on Sunday 13 June with a pledge from ex-BBC presenter Andrew Neil to cover “the stories that matter to you and those that have been neglected”.
It also revealed plans to launch similar stations in Spain and Eastern Europe and to launch a radio station.
But within four days of the launch at least 11 advertisers had already suspended their marketing with the channel, or at least paused it to review its content. See the full list of brands to have done so here.
Within about a month of launch, presenter Guto Harri had been suspended and director of news and programming John McAndrew, a 25-year industry veteran who has worked for the BBC, Sky News, ITN and NBC, had quit as the channel descended into culture wars.
Press Gazette editor-in-chief Dominic Ponsford said the reaction to Harri taking the knee on air in a discussion about the anti-racism gesture showed the channel had “lost the plot”.
Sources told the Guardian McAndrew had been pressured to focus on controversial culture war topics over regional reporting and free debate.
Scroll down or click on the headings below for our full GB News briefing:
- Regional news team
- Founders and investors
- Will GB News be right-wing?
- How to watch
- Will GB News make money?
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage was brought in as an addition to the evening line-up to host an hourly 7pm show on Mondays to Thursdays, cutting down the size of Michelle Dewberry’s slot.
On 5 August GB News announced it was revitalising its 9am to 12pm slot with Talkradio’s Patrick Christys joining Mercy Muroki to co-host To The Point.
And five days later the broadcaster said it planned to “supercharge” its political coverage with the appointment of more political journalists and four dedicated weekday programmes: a 9am briefing with Tom Harwood, a 12pm edition with Gloria De Piero and a 3.30pm show with Darren McCaffrey.
A weekly Prime Minister’s Questions special edition will also launch once Parliament returns in September. Each show will feature interviews, analysis and debate and extend to regional mayors and devolved parliaments as well as Westminster.
Isabel Oakeshott will host the Friday edition of the daily political programme The Briefing PM. She is already a regular commentator for GB News.
Chief executive Angelos Frangopoulos said: “Politics really matters to the
communities we serve and our viewers tell us they like our fresh approach, especially the way we genuinely listen to all sides.
“As a start-up we set out to shake things up and that’s exactly what we’re doing. After just eight weeks on air, we’re evolving rapidly, learning from our audience, and growing fast. There’s a lot more to come.”
Sky News’ home affairs correspondent Mark White and Rhiannon Jones, who will host new weekend sports shows Sports Saturday and Sports Sunday, are among the latest hires.
The channel plans to air 6,500 hours a year of “original news, opinion and debate”, eschewing rolling news for appointment-to-view programming.
There was a pre-launch backlash against the channel after reports in The Guardian, Evening Standard and City AM that it will adopt a Fox News style approach. McAndrew noted on his Twitter account that it will be “free, fair, impartial” and “Ofcom regulated”. Ofcom has a requirement that news channels show due impartiality when covering political issues.
[Read more: First reaction after GB News launch]
Interviewed by Press Gazette three days ahead of the channel’s launch, McAndrew said: “My view of our channel, and certainly how it’s going to be, is that it will be a very warm, inclusive channel where disagreements will be had, tough subjects will absolutely be taken on, but they’ll be taken on in a classy and courteous fashion.
“What this won’t be is a hate-filled divisive shout-fest that some people seem to have characterised it as, which is 180 degrees away from where we want to be.”
Speaking to the FT Future of News conference Neil revealed that GB News plans to launch in other countries after the UK and has been looking at Spain and Eastern Europe. He said: “They will be distinctive news channels for distinctive markets. We still believe news is national.”
We’ve rounded up everything you need to know and will keep this page updated.
GB News start date
GB News launched at 8pm on Sunday 13 June with a special programme entitled “Welcome to GB News”.
Neil had originally said last year the aim was for a March 2021 launch.
GB News DAB radio station launch
GB News said it is in the final stages of completing a long-term deal to secure spectrum on the Digital One national DAB multiplex, paving the way to broadcast GB News Radio across the United Kingdom as early next month.
Chief executive officer Angelos Frangopoulos said it was rare for spectrum capacity to become available on the D1 national radio multiplex. “It was a highly competitive selection process so we’re really delighted,” he said.
Where will GB News be based?
The GB News headquarters are in Paddington, London.
GB News final logo
GB News programming
- Andrew Neil: The veteran journalist leads the evening line-up with a primetime news and interview programme
- Dewbs & Co: Hosted by former Apprentice winner Michelle Dewberry each weeknight
- Tonight Live with Dan Wootton: The ex-Sun showbiz editor hosts five nights a week
- Alastair Stewart & Friends: A “warm conversation and analysis of current affairs through the lens of his 45 years’ experience at the sharp end of Britain’s biggest news events”
- The Great British Breakfast: Hosted by Nana Akua, Kirsty Gallacher, Rebecca Hutson, Inaya Folarin Iman, Darren McCaffrey and Rosie Wright (all of whom will also work across other programmes)
Other programmes revealed so far include Tonight Live with Nana Akua, Neil Oliver Live, and Free Speech Nation, described as a “fearless filleting of the country’s thorniest debates with his wry take on current affairs” hosted by Andrew Doyle.
Nana Akua’s Tonight Live on Fridays to Sundays was handed over to new hire and former Talkradio drivetime host Mark Dolan on 19 July. Akua will now present a new eponymous programme on 3pm at weekends.
Ex-Sky News presenter Colin Brazier will host a show with Mercy Muroki while former Labour MP Gloria De Piero and economist Liam Halligan, and ex-BBC Afternoon Live presenter Simon McCoy and Alex Phillips have also paired up.
GB News channel presenters and journalists
Journalist and broadcaster Nana Akua, who trained with the BBC, will host a primetime Friday and Saturday evening news and talk show. She will also be a “key member” of the morning team.
She said GB News was a “fantastic opportunity to change the narrative for news and debate in this country”.
Akua, a former gymnast, has spent 28 years as a TV and radio presenter, writer and producer including appearances as a panellist on Good Morning Britain and the Jeremy Vine Show. She has been working at the BBC for the past eight years across local radio and BBC Look East, but will leave all her other roles to join GB News.
Sky News journalist Colin Brazier is leaving the broadcaster after 23 years to anchor a daytime news, interview and debate programme on GB News.
“I’m delighted to be joining GB News,” he said. “It will be an important punctuation mark in the evolving story of news broadcasting in Britain and I’m thrilled to be there at the start.
“GB News will lend an ear to some of Britain’s marginalised and overlooked voices, an audience I have always cared about.
“I will treasure my time at Sky, working alongside some brilliant journalists but GB News is an irresistible new challenge, a chance to build an innovative news channel alongside some of British journalism’s most trusted names.”
GB News director of news John McAndrew, who worked with Brazier at Sky for more than a decade, said: “Hiring someone of Colin’s calibre clearly demonstrates our ambition for GB News and our commitment to journalism.”
Christys has left his gig as Talkradio drivetime presenter to co-host the 9am to 12pm slot on GB News with Mercy Muroki, starting on 9 August.
To The Point “will not be afraid to tackle the punchy issues that Britons really care about but that are, too often, ignored by others,” Christys said. “We’ll dare to stand up and say what people are thinking.”
Christys was Talkradio’s youngest-ever presenter and was previously overnight editor of the Daily Express and Daily Star online.
Gloria De Piero
The ex-Labour MP and current Times Radio presenter will host a weekday afternoon programme on GB News.
She said: “My time as a constituency MP opened my eyes to the issues facing Britons today. I’m passionate about bringing their stories to life at GB News, making sure every community is heard and reflecting Britain as it really is through grassroots journalism.”
De Piero’s journalism career before entering politics included seven years as GMTV political editor and time working on BBC Sunday political programme On the Record.
Michelle Dewberry, who won The Apprentice in 2006 and stood as an independent pro-Brexit candidate and for The Brexit Party in her hometown of Hull in 2017 and 2019 respectively, will anchor a weekday evening primetime show.
Dewberry said: “I’m proud of my northern heritage and passionate about representing the voices of the working class.
“I want to stop people being left behind. We need a levelling up across the country – there’s more to the UK than London, and definitely more than two sides to every story. To me, that’s what GB News is all about.”
Dewberry has regularly appeared as a guest on news and current affairs programmes for the past decade including Question Time and The Pledge on Sky News, and is known for starting a number of businesses. She is also an ambassador for the likes of Women’s Aid and The Prince’s Trust.
McAndrew said: “Her plain-talking, no-nonsense approach, coupled with her fairness and openness to different views is exactly what our service aims to achieve.
“Michelle has the warmth but also the authority and the life experience to relate to many Britons who feel left out of our national conversation. She’s dynamic and utterly authentic.”
Talkradio’s Dolan, who made headlines last year after he cut up a face mask live on air, was announced to be joining GB News on 19 July.
He will host Tonight Live with Mark Dolan at 9pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and will also appear across other GB News programmes.
He said: “I’ve had a wonderful time at Talkradio but the opportunity to shake up current affairs broadcasting with GB News is just too good to miss.
“My show will tackle the issues that really matter to people across the United Kingdom in a stimulating, informative but entertaining way. My one promise is that it won’t be boring!”
Writer and comedian Andrew Doyle will host a weekly show called Free Speech Nation billed as featuring a “variety of guests and a lively, light-hearted look at current affairs”.
He is well-known for his satirical alter ego Titania McGrath, which parodies cultural issues on Twitter and he has written two books under this name. He has also just published a book called Free Speech and Why it Matters.
Doyle, also a stand-up comedian, was part of the writing duo behind spoof politics reporter Jonathan Pie until 2019 and has written for the likes of Spiked, The Spectator, The Telegraph, The Sun, The Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday.
GB News announced in mid-July former UKIP leader Nigel Farage was joining to host an hourly show at 7pm on Mondays to Thursdays. He already co-hosted The Political Correction on Sunday mornings.
Writing that his new show would follow a similar format to his ex-LBC offering, Farage wrote in The Telegraph: “I will look at the key issue or issues of the day, give an opinion on them, and invite expert guests and members of the public to challenge that view. The aim is to have a sensible, open debate. Often, I will put subjects under scrutiny that other broadcasters choose to shy away from.”
Inaya Folarin Iman
Freelance journalist Inaya Folarin Iman will join the morning presenting team five days a week.
She is involved in a number of initiatives to promote freedom of speech, including having founded Free Speech Champions and, which is focused on race, culture and politics. She will hand over her role at the former project before joining GB News.
She said: “Journalism is at its best when it’s committed to a diverse range of viewpoints and asking challenging questions, and I see this reflected in the ideals of GB News.”
McAndrew said: “Inaya has a refreshing take on stories and the warmth and intellect to bring out the best in interviews. Her youthful perspective will be a breath of fresh air in our national debate.”
Telegraph columnist and former Channel 4 News economics correspondent Liam Halligan is joining GB News as its economics and business editor and will co-host a daily lunchtime show on the channel.
Halligan said: “In an increasingly complex world, the community is hungry for analysis, explanation and a range of viewpoints – and that’s what we will deliver.”
Halligan will continue his Sunday Telegraph Economics Agenda column, which he has written for 18 years. He spent eight years leading Channel 4’s business coverage and was also a founding panellist of the discussion show CNN Talk.
Harri, a former BBC journalist of 18 years and communications chief to Boris Johnson when he was Mayor of London, will co-host a weekly news and discussion programme.
He will continue to present the current affairs television programme Y Byd yn ei Le on the Welsh language television channel S4C. He is also contributing political editor at GQ.
Harri said: “GB News is pioneering a new way in television news and debate with an energy and feistiness that really appeals to me.”
Guido Fawkes senior reporter Tom Harwood, who has spent almost three years with the political blog, has been named political correspondent.
Harwood (pictured, right) has also written for the likes of the Daily Telegraph and The Spectator and often appears as a commentator on broadcast news.
McAndrew said of Harwood: “Tom is an incredibly bright and exciting young journalist with a hunger for finding new stories. He’s made a huge impact so far and has a very promising broadcast career ahead.”
Former Reach head of video Rebecca Hutson has been appointed as head of digital and will also appear as part of the GB News on-air team.
Former Sky Sports and Sky Sports News presenter of more than 20 years Kirsty Gallacher is joining as part of GB News’ breakfast presenting team.
Director of news McAndrew said: “Kirsty’s warmth, openness and welcoming style is what GB News is all about. She’s a hugely skilled broadcaster and a fantastic addition to the GB News family.”
Euronews political editor Darren McCaffrey has been appointed to the same role at GB News.
He currently presents the flagship Raw Politics show on Euronews and previously spent almost ten years at Sky News.
He said: “Journalism is at its best when it reflects the widest range of views rather than just the loudest ones,
“I know only too well that local voices are sometimes left out and GB News’ mission to change that is something I’m incredibly excited to be part of.”
Director of news John McAndrew described McCaffrey as “without doubt one of the best political journalists in the country with an exceptional ability to challenge convention, seek out fresh angles and tell us what’s really going on.
“He’s a fearless interviewer with a boundless enthusiasm that’s compelling on air.”
Simon McCoy has been at the BBC for 17 years as an anchor, reporter and newsreader and currently presents the Afternoon Live programme.
He will join GB News to present a rival afternoon show.
McAndrew said: “Simon’s journalistic integrity, warmth and personality is a perfect fit for what we’re doing at GB News.
“He’s a brilliant journalist with an exceptional ability to relate to people in an upbeat way so we’re keen to get him out from behind a desk and talking to people from all parts of the United Kingdom.”
Some of McCoy’s moments of “dry wit” on air have gone viral, as has his weariness at reporting royal news including the time he said “the news is, there’s no news” while waiting for the Duchess of Cambridge to give birth.
As @BBCSimonMcCoy has said he is leaving BBC News, here is a thread of his best bits.
Starting with this iconic Royal Baby announcement: pic.twitter.com/GKb4nQOp7J
— Scott Bryan (@scottygb) March 25, 2021
Mercy Muroki, a social policy researcher who has written for The Times and The Sun, will co-host a daytime programme ” that tackles many of the everyday issues affecting people across the United Kingdom”.
Muroki said she is passionate about including perspectives of more Britons, particularly those from outside London, in TV news and debate.
“Too many people with common-sense views are dismissed when in fact they’ve got something really valuable to add to our national conversation,” she said.
“We need to be much bolder in allowing sensible people to speak their minds without being ridiculed or shut down. I’m excited that GB News will be a welcoming place to challenge stereotypes in a non-judgemental way.”
As well as his role as chairman, Andrew Neil will host a flagship evening programme between 8pm and 9pm four nights a week.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Media Show it will be “pretty segmented so it can be replayed in digital format” with a monologue to begin, main story, Wokewatch, main interview, Mediawatch, and regular guests like Michael Portillo and Diane Abbott on his former BBC show This Week.
He said the Mediawatch segment would hold GB News to account as well as other media.
Isabel Oakeshott will host the soon-to-launch Friday edition of the daily political programme The Briefing PM. She is already a regular commentator for GB News.
Oakeshott has worked as political editor-at-large for the Daily Mail
and political editor of the Sunday Times. Her scoops have included revealing leaked diplomatic memos from Kim Darroch, the UK ambassador to the US, about Donald Trump which forced Darroch to resign.
Archaeologist and TV presenter Oliver, whose career started as a local reporter on the Annandale Observer before he moved into broadcasting, will host a weekly current affairs and interview programme centred on “the
people from all walks of life who make Britain great”.
Oliver is best known for presenting BBC documentary series including A History of Scotland, A History of Ancient Britain, A History of Celtic Britain, Vikings and Coast.
He said: “My career has always been driven by my fascination about people, whether it’s trying to understand ancient people through archaeology or living ones through journalism.
“Debate in this country has been stifled for so long that GB News feels like opening a window and letting in some fresh air, fresh perspectives and fresh voices. I never imagined my career would take this turn but I’m hugely excited that it has.”
Phillips, a former Brexit Party MEP who contributes to the Telegraph and hosts a twice-weekly show on Talkradio, will co-host a weekday afternoon programme on GB News.
She started her career in journalism at ITV Wales, ITV Tyne Tees and BBC Wales and has reported from India, China and Ghana. She worked as UKIP’s head of media for three years before being elected to European Parliament for the six months before Britain left the EU, and then decided to return to journalism.
McAndrew described her as a “hugely talented journalist who deeply understands the issues and stories that nonmetropolitan Britons want to talk about”.
“She has a fantastic energy that comes across on air and an infectious enthusiasm for what we are doing at GB News,” she said.
Alastair Stewart is joining GB News to host a weekend news and current affairs programme.
He left ITV News, produced by ITN, 14 months ago after 45 years as a local and national TV news anchor. He is a former RTS news presenter of the year and received the OBE for his charity work.
He said: “GB News is a unique opportunity to broaden the spectrum, challenge the groupthink and shift away from a predictable agenda in news and debate. I can’t wait to get stuck in and tackle issues that really matter to people across the United Kingdom.”
White is joining GB News from Sky News where he spent 22 years, most recently as home affairs correspondent.
He said: “When GB News first launched, it reported for a whole day from my home town in the Scottish Borders. I knew then that it was my kind of journalism, genuinely committed to listening to the voices and concerns of people right across the nation.”
Sun executive editor and Talkradio drivetime presenter Dan Wootton has become GB News’ first big on-air signing despite his employer News UK working on plans of their own for a TV service aimed at Brits who feel disillusioned with the BBC.
Wootton has been at The Sun for seven years and broke some major showbiz scoops, including Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s departure to the US branded “Megxit”.
Wootton said the chance to join GB News was “just too good to pass up”.
“I feel passionately about GB News’ bold vision to bring a fresh approach to television news and debate that embraces all voices and opinions across Britain,” he said.
Wootton is simultaneously joining Mail Online to write a twice-weekly column in which he said he will continue to break stories.
Mail Online publisher Martin Clarke said: “We have long been admirers of his work at the Sun. “It will be a privilege to work with the man who broke Megxit and we look forward to him sharing his unique insights and brilliant exclusives with Mail Online’s millions of readers.”
Euronews breakfast anchor Rosie Wright, who has hosted Good
Morning Europe for two years, will join GB News as part of its breakfast presenting line-up.
Wright started her journalism career at LBC and has hosted programmes for BBC Radio 4, Premier Christian Radio, Love Sport Radio and BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.
At Euronews she has also worked as social media correspondent for The Cube, its fact-checking news desk that debunks online misinformation.
Webster will co-host a two-hour weekly news review programme on Sundays, looking back at the week’s highlights on GB News and offering insight into media coverage across the UK.
She grew up in Surrey and started her career in regional television and radio in the West Country before becoming a correspondent for the BBC.
Webster joins GB News from Sky News, where she was an anchor for ten years and previously co-presented morning programme Sunrise with Eamonn Holmes.
“GB News is an exciting new voice in the media landscape at what feels like an historic moment for our country,” she said.
GB News regional reporting network
GB News said it wanted to find “new voices from every part of the country… to help us shake things up”.
The first member of its regional reporting team to be announced was Rachel Sweeney from County Durham who has spent 13 years at ITV Tyne Tees and presented the North East headlines for Good Morning Britain for nine years. She will be a North East reporter.
Second was BBC Radio Wales journalist of two years Lily Hewitson, who has also worked at Cardiff TV and was said to be “passionate about including Wales in the national conversation”.
In Northern Ireland Conchur Dowds will join GB News from UTV. He was said to be “passionate about holding those in power to account, listening to people from across NI and telling the stories that really matter to them”.
Former BBC and Sky journalist Paul Hawkins will be GB News’ reporter for the capital. The broadcaster said he will be “will be seeking out people in all of London’s communities to tell their stories in a fresh, GB News way”.
Anna Riley has joined GB News from Hull Live to be Yorkshire reporter. She “believes Yorkshire’s voices deserve more space in the national conversation”.
In the South East Ellie Costello is joining from the BBC, while freelance journalist David Donaldson will cover Scotland for GB News. Former Sky News reporter and RT correspondent Hanisha Sethi, who hails from Nottingham, will cover the East Midlands.
Amelia Harper will cover the East of England, joining from LBC’s East newsroom. She said: “I can’t wait to break stories across the region and to bring under-represented voices on air with me.”
GB News executive producers
McAndrew described the first three executive producers to be hired as “exceptional journalists and programme makers with the experience and ambition to do news differently.
“They also share our vision to reach out to non-metropolitan audiences beyond London and engage them in our national conversation.”
Former BBC Question Time editor and CNN director of news programming Gill Penlington has been named senior executive producer.
Alex Farrell, the executive producer behind Talkradio’s breakfast show, and Sky News assistant editor Amanda Hall have both joined as executive producers.
LBC’s Christian Mitchell has since signed on as another executive producer. At LBC he has produced programmes for political figures including Alastair Campbell, Ken Livingstone, Tom Watson, and David Lammy.
He was executive producer of LBC’s breakfast show with Nick Ferrari for five years and helped establish programmes including Ask Boris with Boris
Johnson as London Mayor and Phone Farage with Nigel Farage.
Who is behind GB News?
The broadcaster has been founded by media executives Andrew Cole and Mark Schneider, both of whom have had associations with Virgin Media owner Liberty Global which is run by John Malone, a major shareholder of GB News investor Discovery.
Cole has written on his Linkedin page of his quest for the “truth in news”, to provide viewers with something “very different” and “challenge the BBC and other incumbent news channels”.
Former Sky News executive editor John McAndrew is director of news and programming and ex-Sky News Australia chief executive Angelos Frangopoulos is CEO.
Experienced media and entertainment executive Marc Schipper, formerly head of strategy at Liberty, is chief operating officer.
GB News investors, led by Discovery
Discovery Inc, the US-based network which has a documentary partnership with the BBC in the UK, was the first major investor with reports of it investing around £20m.
Dubai-based investment group Legatum, known for its funding of think tank the Legatum Institute which launched in 2007, has also come on board.
The third major investor announced so far is Sir Paul Marshall, the prominent co-founder of UK hedge fund Marshall Wace who was a donor to the Vote Leave campaign. His stake in GB News is in a personal capacity.
The full amount of investment raised has not been revealed but is understood to be in the region of £60m.
Will GB News be right-wing?
CEO Frangopoulos has said GB News is “committed to impartial journalism” and looking for a “range of voices and perspectives”.
In a letter complaining about a Guardian column Frangopoulos said: “GB News will be staunchly independent. That is our point. Our investors know this, our journalists will know it and so will our viewers. We aim to serve British communities who feel poorly represented by mainstream television media, especially outside London.
“We are proud to be adding plurality to UK media by investing in journalism that will be as diverse and broad-minded as the British people themselves.
“We are absolutely committed to our mission to report news in the most accurate and balanced way we can.”
Nevertheless it has frequently been tipped as the UK’s answer to US right-wing channel Fox News, with journalists approached to get involved telling the Telegraph it was pitched to them as a right-wing alternative to the BBC.
Broadcast TV channels in the UK face stricter regulation than the US, with Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code stating they must adhere to “due impartiality” across their programming.
But due impartiality is less restrictive than viewers may think, meaning GB News is likely to be able to have a right-leaning stance balanced out by guests, for example, sharing the other side of the argument.
Ofcom’s rules state it “does not mean an equal division of time has to be given to every view, or that every argument and every facet of every argument has to be represented.
“The approach to due impartiality may vary according to the nature of the subject, the type of programme and channel, the likely expectation of the audience as to content, and the extent to which the content and approach is signalled to the audience.”
Neil has described his expectation that GB News anchors will have a “bit of edge, a bit of attitude, personality”.
He later told the BBC’s Media Show the UK’s current broadcast news media “all come from various shades of left” and called the BBC “moderate centre left” with a “metropolitan outlook”.
Asked about the fact some of GB News’ presenters have former associations with the Brexit Party and UKIP, Neil added: “Brexit’s over, it’s done. If a number of our presenters were on the Brexit side of the argument so what?
“90% of the BBC’s presenters were on the Remain side of the argument so what’s the point? They still did their jobs properly. The main presenters of the BBC still covered the referendum in the proper way they did and I would expect our journalists to do the same.”
GB News studio sneak peek and meet-the-team
GB News jobs
GB News launched a recruitment drive for 140 jobs, including 120 journalists.
It revealed on 19 February that more than 2,000 people had applied for the editorial roles.
Roles included producers of all levels, video journalists and reporters, technical production journalists, creative journalists and executive assistants.
The job adverts called for staff who can “tap into what the country is talking about” and do “not want to make traditional news or follow what everyone else is doing”.
They went on: “We’re looking for brilliant journalists from all backgrounds to help us shake things up.
“You’ll be bursting with ideas and determined to find original stories and new voices from every part of the country.
“You’ll be a disruptor and an innovator who approaches the news in a provocative and entertaining way.
“We are serious about changing things, so only apply if you genuinely want to make a difference and reflect the stories and issues that really matter to the people of the UK.”
As of 15 March GB News was still recruiting for several roles including video journalists from across the UK ” with a passion for on-the-ground reporting from a patch they truly know and understand” and producers of all levels.
How can I watch GB News?
GB News has signed a long-term deal with TV transmitter network Arqiva to reach 96% of UK households through all major UK platforms including Freeview, YouView, Sky, Virgin Media and Freesat, with HD available on the latter three services.
Its Freeview number will be 236, meaning it will come after (in order) BBC News, BBC Parliament, Sky News, RT and Al Jazeera. It will be channel 216 on Freesat.
It will be available in HD on Sky channel number 515 and Virgin Media 626.
CEO Frangopoulos said the Arqiva deal would give GB News the “reach to rival that of the major public service broadcasters”.
GB News will also have streaming, video-on-demand and audio services, more details of which have yet to be announced.
Will GB News make money?
Rob Keery, agency storyteller at media buying agency Anything Is Possible, has told Press Gazette that GB News’ timing “is pretty good”.
This is due to advances in technology resulting in a fall in the cost of producing TV adverts and TV ad placements dipping to their lowest price in 20 years during the Covid-19 crisis.
All these factors will be to the new channel’s advantage as “brands who wouldn’t normally think of themselves as TV advertisers” will start seeing it as an affordable option, said Keery.
Added to this is the emergence of programmatic ad buying technology for TV, brought over from digital, which will make it easier for brands to target their ads and measure their impact.
Matt Rhodes, head of brand engagement strategy at media agency Engine, added that the channel’s ad-funded model will need to “attract a more specific audience” that will be “of interest to some, but not all, brands and so can command a significant level of ad revenue”.
As off late April, GB News has been asking those interested in its offering to register.
According to i, GB News is hoping to recruit more than 100,000 superfans who pay £5 per month for extra content. This mimics Fox News which has started offering its most enthusiastic viewers access to extra programming via streaming for $5.99 per month.
What if there’s an advertising boycott?
Campaign group Stop Funding Hate, which has previously led campaigns calling on advertisers to boycott the Daily Express, Daily Mail and Sun, has launched a drive against GB News even before its launch.
The group is asking people to tweet their banks and other providers using the hashtag #DontFundGBNews urging them not to advertise with the channel to “help stop the ‘Foxification’ of British media”.
Neil described the “woke warriors” behind the advertising boycott as “hilarious”.
In his role as chairman of The Spectator he has previously threatened to ban Co-op from advertising with the magazine after the supermarket said it would no longer place ads over its coverage of transgender issues.
But newspapers on the receiving end of Stop Funding Hate campaigns have in the past been rattled enough by its impact on advertisers to meet with its representatives.
Interviewed on Good Morning Britain on 9 February, Neil said: “I’ve been broadcasting for 40 years on and off, I’ve never engaged in hate – there will be no hate on GB News. I find it rather hateful that they think I would go down that road of hate.
“There is a particular strand of opinion in this woke group that says ‘its not enough that I disagree with you, I want to stop what you are doing’.”
What newsroom technology is behind GB News?
GB News claims it will be Europe’s “most nimble and sophisticated multi-platform broadcast newsroom” after signing a deal with systems integrator Mediability.
Mediability’s DiNA system allows journalists to broadcast on several platforms at once, while automating aspects of story production.
GB News chief operating officer Marc Schipper said: “As a start-up, we need to innovate and do more with less, to punch above our weight against far larger and better-resourced news operations.
“GB News will be the only entirely cloud-based newsroom in the country. It means we’ll be lean but also that our journalists can deliver more features for viewers, more immediately and efficiently than ever.”
Mediability said the system allows journalists to collaborate on stories from any location.
“As well as broadcasting live to air, they can prepare material across other online platforms including Twitter or Facebook and use immediate tools such as graphics, almost real-time translations, captions and AI-recognition of stored broadcast clips.”
Picture: Press Gazette