In search of equal air time

Tony Tysome and Harriet Swain go in search of the Midlands, a region that is busy bridging an east-west divide, increasing participation rates and developing links

Academics at Warwick University were fed up with seeing their London colleagues appear on television just because they are handy for national journalists. So they built their own studio - believed to be the first of its kind in Europe.

The Pounds 250,000 studio, in the Warwick Arts Centre on the university campus, is linked by a fibre-optic video circuit to BT's national network. It also has an ISDN line for radio interviews.

It has sent out about 70 broadcasts since being set up just over two months ago. Warwick academics have been interviewed on prime-time news broadcasts on the BBC, ITV and BSkyB. One has discussed Japan's economic difficulties with a Tokyo station.

The studio, which is linked to the concert halls in the arts centre, is also open to politicians, industrialists and anyone else in the West Midlands who needs it. It has already been used by the Association of Estate Agents and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

The university has produced a booklet of media-friendly academics available for interviews.

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