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Northern Ireland Screen and BBC Radio Ulster launch commissioning round to drive new audiences to Ulster-Scots radio programming

Date Posted: November 10, 2023

As part of its commitment to promoting and curating an Ulster-Scots heritage, culture and language production sector in Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Screen’s Ulster-Scots Broadcast Fund (USBF) has partnered with BBC Radio Ulster to call for programme proposals for an innovative series of eight half-hour radio programmes.

BBC Radio Ulster and the USBF seek proposals from local production companies that exhibit substantial digital potential, with a creative use of music as a storytelling medium. Proposals should tell untold or relatively unknown stories of Ulster-Scots connections to music and the arts, by connecting with a contemporary music and arts scene or artist or shedding new light on an established genre. To ensure the authenticity and accuracy of the Ulster-Scots narrative within proposals, applicants should collaborate with an Ulster-Scots consultant.

The USBF was set up to ensure that Ulster-Scots heritage, culture and language is expressed through moving image and audio, and aims to foster the Ulster-Scots independent production sector in Northern Ireland by funding high quality Ulster-Scots cultural TV and radio programmes.

Heidi McAlpin, Ulster-Scots Broadcast Fund Executive at Northern Ireland Screen said:

“This is the most ambitious Ulster-Scots radio call we’ve ever issued, and it is a great opportunity to bring the Ulster-Scots story to BBC Radio Ulster listeners in a unique and engaging way. Ulster-Scots has a long association with music and arts and this series of eight half hours should seek to reflect that vibrant heritage and culture.”

Fiona Keane, commissioning executive for Ulster-Scots, BBC Northern Ireland, said:

“This is a real opportunity to present audiences with a vibrant and contemporary take on Ulster-Scots culture that will work both on radio and the BBC’s digital landscape. It’s great to work with Northern Ireland Screen on this innovative commissioning project, which is made possible through the Ulster-Scots Broadcast Fund.”

More details, including information on submitting applications to BBC Radio Ulster, can be found here. The submission deadline for proposals is Friday 1st December 2023 at 13:00.

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