This week, we chat to Arise’s Global Executive Studio Director, Neil Stainsby, about dealing with deadlines in New York, setting up studios in Johannesburg and making time to see Norwich City play at home.
How did you get into your first role at the BBC?
After 4 years at art college, I gained a BTEC Diploma in Audio Visual Studies and an HND in Visual Communications. My first job was at a small production company in Norwich, where I worked as a Camera Operator/VT Editor. After a couple of years experience, I got my first break at the BBC as a Regional Station Assistant in Plymouth. A great job which gave me an excellent grounding in live TV news production. Two years later, I trained to become a Studio Director at the BBC in Manchester.
You’ve worked within television and media for over 25 years – what has been your greatest achievement in your career so far?
I’ve been lucky to work on a number of channel launches but the most satisfying for me personally were the launches of Wizja Sport and Arise News.
What are your key responsibilities as Global Executive Studio Director?
Developing the look and feel of Arise News i.e. graphics, studio look and use of music – not just in London but in New York as well. Also sourcing, employing and managing technical staff.
Is there a typical day for you?
Absolutely not – no two days are the same. The very nature of a 24 hour, 7 day a week channel can throw up unexpected surprises which can be challenging. I enjoy this kind of problem solving, ensuring the smooth running of the channel.
How would you say the industry has changed since you first started out?
I remember newsrooms with typewriters and journalists who smoked at their desks. In my first BBC job, I had to run sound effects off vinyl discs to accompany mute telecine. Now with newsroom computer systems and so much automation, we take many things for granted. But the buzz of a busy working newsroom and studio is the same today as it was 25 years ago.
Arise is a global media network specialising in cultural news. To date, what has been your favourite new story covered?
Arise have covered some major stories in the first 12 months but the death of Nelson Mandela was probably the most fulfilling. I may be biased but our coverage of the funeral was particularly good and polished.
With broadcast hubs in London, New York, Johannesburg and Lagos, how much time do you spend in your overseas offices?
I spent a lot of the last 12 months working with graphic designers and composers in New York especially in the channel’s infancy. I helped launch all the shows in New York from our studios on Fifth Avenue. Then I set up our breakfast show “This Day Live” at a studio in Johannesburg at very short notice.
What do you enjoy most about working at Arise?
Having been involved at Arise since its inception, I’ve enjoyed the responsibility of turning a blank canvas into reality. It’s been great meeting and working with so many different people in three continents.
How does your role at Arise differ to previous roles at Meridian and Granada?
At Meridian & Granada and whilst at BBC News, I was a studio director 100% of my time. Now the majority of my time is spent looking for fresh solutions to programme-making styles and approaches, and ensuring the smooth running of the 7 day a week operations of Arise News.
You’ve spent a lot of time within your career focusing on News and Sports, are these things that you enjoy in your spare time also?
I’m a spectator rather than a participant. I’ve supported Norwich City from a very early age, so I do try to get to a few matches each season. I also do a lot of cycling in the Summer around my home in Kent.
Neil Stainsby is Global Executive Studio Director at Arise Media Networks.