Media and marketing industries publisher The Drum is holding its annual trip up North to host The Drum Roses Awards in Manchester this evening.
For an organisation dedicated to shouting about marketing, however, it’s been strangely quiet about one of this year’s official partners – none other than the UK’s newest news channel GB News.
The right-leaning channel was founded by Andrew Cole and Mark Schneider in 2020, and boasted former BBC stalwart Andrew Neil as its flagship launch host, and board member.
Neil launched the channel on June 13, 2021, with the immortal words: “We are proud to be British – the clue is in the name.”
Alas, while Neil may remain proud to British, his pride to be on GB News was seemingly less set in stone, and he took a “break” from the teething-trouble-beset channel less than two weeks after launch before officially announcing he was stepping down for good on September 13.
Later that month Neil told BBC Question Time he had become a “minority of one” on the channel’s board, due to disputes over its approach to journalism. Neil took a somewhat more direct approach in November when he told The Times that his decision to lead the channel was the “single biggest mistake” of his career.
GB News replaced Neil with Colin Brazier – a move that even that bastion of liberal sensibilities The Telegraph described as a swing “to the right.”
Plenty more departures would follow in Neil’s wake including former Sky News executive editor John McAndrew and CNN vet and Sky’s Kay Burley@Breakfast launch editor Gill Penlington.
The channel was quick to rearrange, however, and now boasts an all-star line up of presenters including Nigel Farage, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Dan Wooton.
GB News may not be to everyone’s taste, but it did top a May 2023 Savanta poll of “most loved news brand,” while its two most popular hosts, Wooton and Farage, can generally expect to pull in in around 90,000 viewers apiece according to latest figures.
Perhaps GB News is hoping to tap into key Northern Brexit voting demographics with its sponsorship of the event, although we fear it may not find too many of them among the North’s tofu-eating, woke, liberal media elite at Manchester’s Yes this evening.
Googling “The Drum Roses Awards GB News” is, strangely, a surprisingly fruitless task, although they do at least warrant a subtle carousel placement on the awards website, as pictured above.
Thankfully, at least social media has helped GB News to gain some publicity from their sponsorship:
Just discovered that the Roses Awards event tomorrow evening is “in partnership with GB News”.
I also noticed that they’ve kept very quiet about it.
If they think I’m turning up at an event with GB News logos all over it they are wrong, wrong, wrongety wrong.
— Joe Coleman (@JOETHECOLEMAN) June 28, 2023
The Roses Awards website proudly proclaims that “The Drum’s Roses Awards celebrate the fact that the UK’s best creative work need not come from its biggest city.” Evidently they don’t need to be sponsored by its biggest TV channel either.
Prolific North has contacted The Drum and GB News for comment.