Media Profile: Beating the boredom factor - Christine Boar, head of programming and production, MTV UK

When the history of the media comes to be written, the 1980s will be seen as the time of America Calling. US TV giants such as MTV, CNN and NBC worked towards a dream of one world, one people, one TV signal.

When the history of the media comes to be written, the 1980s will

be seen as the time of America Calling. US TV giants such as MTV, CNN

and NBC worked towards a dream of one world, one people, one TV

signal.



As the decade drew to a close, however, it became clear that the people

preferred a regional view.



Recently MTV and CNN have moved to more localised outputs. Thus the

mighty MTV Europe became three MTVs: Northern, Central and Southern. Now

added to that is MTV UK, launched on 1 July by Christine Boar, head of

programming and production for the channel.



In the 1980s, Boar pursued her dream of working for Radio 1. Once she

achieved that, she had to find a new ambition.



’When I was a kid, my dad and I would race to the breakfast table

because the one who got there first got to choose the station we

listened to.



He chose Radio 4 - which I thought was the dullest thing in the world -

and I chose Radio 1. Sitting in the tiny village I grew up in, I decided

I had to work for that station.’



She bombarded the BBC with letters throughout her O and A-level years

and finally got a job as a secretary. She worked her way up to

researcher level before meeting the glass ceiling. ’There were no female

BBC producers so, after being turned down for a trainee post twice, I

had to go and work outside the BBC as a producer for a few years until

the climate changed and I was able to come back in as a trainee at the

beginning of the 1990s,’ she explains.



Having been there and done that at the BBC she moved to MTV looking for

a new challenge. The new UK channel is offering an afternoon programme

called Up For It - a cut and paste job of interviews, videos, live

performances and archive clips put together to counter the zapping

tendency so strong in cable and satellite viewers. There’s also So 90s,

presented by rising comics Armstrong and Miller, featuring videos cut

with comedy. Boar says it’s the first time MTV has used comedy in this

way and it’s the new programme that excites her the most.



Others include Banned At Bedtime - a late night showing of the saucier

pop videos - and Collection where the channel plays out all the video

from an album cut with footage of the band. Boar also hopes to develop a

breakfast show, an Audience With programme with bands and a sort of

Saturday Night At The Palladium mix of live music and comedy.



She hasn’t thrown the baby out with the bathwater, however. The channel

keeps most of the chart programmes, Singled Out, the Grind, MTV

Unplugged and fashion show Stylissimo which all work well with UK

audiences. Stylissimo will have regional opt outs, so that UK designers

with no continental sales can still get covered.



’It’s really exciting,’ Boar says. ’But then it needs to be to keep me

interested. I’m a bit of a workaholic, I’m always looking for something

new to do and, as a result, I have no life.’



HIGHLIGHTS

1990

Trainee producer, Radio 1

1993

Producer, Radio 1

1996

Head of talent and artist relations, MTV

1997

Head of programming and production, MTV UK



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