Know Comment

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Know Comment is part of Ten Alps the media business of Bob Geldof. In 1999 Know comment was set up to provide commentators to television and other events. It appears not to have taken off as it currently (Nov 2007) has less of a web presence than previously.. Here is an account of it from the Ten alps website from July 2003:

Know Comment specialises in the representation of political commentators, many of whom are household names on radio & TV, including Charlie Whelan, Steve Norris, Amanda Platell and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. Launched in 1999, Know Comment is the brainchild of Jo Phillips, award winning radio producer and former spin doctor to Paddy Ashdown.
As well as providing guests and presenters for radio and TV, speakers for conferences and corporate events, Know Comment also provides public affairs consultancy, crisis management training and bespoke media training for a range of clients, from individual politicians to public sector industries and major international companies. Know Comment can provide training ranging from one-to-one intensive sessions, with key people preparing for major presentations and media appearances, to workshops for small groups covering all aspects of press & media relations.
Know Comment draws on its own base of media experts and brings in others to guarantee a fully comprehensive media training programme to suit all levels of experience within any organisation. Training days can be organised to suit the needs of clients, either by using studio facilities or taking technicians and equipment to them.[1]

From this it appears that Know Comment is a kind of speakers bureau with a media training function, though it is acknowledged that it also acts as a lobbying consultancy. Amongst its lobbying clients (from September 2002) were the Professional Contractors Group.

Contents

People

...from the Web Archive, circa 2003
  • Jo Phillips, Managing Director. Jo Phillips has more than 20 years experience in broadcast news & current affairs and is the Editor of Sunday Service, the highly acclaimed political programme made by Ten Alps for BBC Radio 5 Live. Jo has worked for BBC TV & Radio, IRN, Channel 4, ITN, Sky TV and Talk Radio and was the editor of the Michael Parkinson show for LBC. She has also collected Sony and New York radio awards and was press & policy advisor to Paddy Ashdown. Jo lectures on political broadcasting, is a governor of the University of East London Streaming Association and is a regular columnist for Tribune and BBC politics online.
  • Brian Walden, Chairman. Born in 1932, Brian won a major open scholarship to Queen's College Oxford and in 1957 was elected President of the Oxford Union. From 1957 to 1960, he completed a postgraduate course at Nuffield College Oxford, before becoming a University Lecturer. In 1964, he was elected Member Of Parliament for Birmingham All Saints and was re-elected in the subsequent General Election of 1966, 1970 and 1974 (February and October). In 1977, he left the House of Commons to present various television programmes such as 'Weekend World', 'The Walden Interview' and 'Walden' and was a member of the board of Central Television between 1981 and 1984. Between 1983 and 1990 Brian was a columnist with the London Evening Standard, Thompson Regional Newspapers and The Sunday Times. He has won numerous awards for journalistic work including, in 1982, the Shell International Award, in 1985 the BAFTA Richard Dimbleby Award and in 1990 The Aims Of Industry Special Free Enterprise Award. He is a frequent speaker at international financial conferences and he became a permanent resident in Guernsey in 1986
  • Nitil Patel, Finance Director. A Chartered Accountant with a degree in Money, Banking, and Finance from Birmingham University, Nitil has worked in private accountancy practice and moved into the media industry by joining Planet 24 Productions as a Financial Accountant. He has been the accountant for Ten Alps for the past 3 years, and has an in-depth knowledge of the economics and financial needs of all aspects of the events, radio and TV businesses. He became Financial Director for Ten Alps in June 2000.[2]

History

In the year to 31 March 2003 Know Comment 'increased turnover tenfold'. It 'expanded its representation of commentators to around 40 people across the political spectrum... During the year the company added several clients to its list, including former Arab League ambassador Ghayth Armanazi, David Seymour, Roy Greenslade and ex-Downing Street supremo James Humphreys. Know Comment also grew its media training and public affairs portfolio with clients from both private & public sector. Know Comment was active in government communications and worked for the Home Office, Department of Work and Pensions and the Greater London Authority. And in the Summer of 2003 we will be launching Know Comment Scotland.'[3]


Commentators, circa 2003

  • Yasmin Alibhai-Brown Ugandan born writer and broadcaster Yasmin Alibhai-Brown has lived in Britain since 1972, making a name for herself as an articulate and well informed spokesperson on race and gender issues...
  • Ghayth Armanazi For 10 years Ghayth Aramanzi was the Arab League's representative in London. He has extensive experience and knowledge of Middle Eastern politics and current affairs and is actively involved in promoting better Arab/Western business and media links...
  • Rime Allaf is a highly respected commentator on Middle Eastern affairs & former UK correspondent of the Daily Star (Lebanon) . Fluent in six languages and educated in the USA & Switzerland...
  • Michael Brown Former Tory MP " outed " by the tabloids and force to resign as a Whip. Michael has successfully forged a new career as a writer and broadcaster with a regular column in the Independent...
  • David Clark Former special adviser to the ex Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, David Clark has a Masters degree in war Studies from Kings College, London. With extensive experience of writing and advising on policy options, press briefing and speechwriting at the highest levels in government...
  • Viki Cooke co-founded Opinion Leader Research in 1992 with Deborah Mattinson. She began her career in advertising, working for the leading international agency, McCann Erickson. During her 11-year career at McCanns she was an Associate Director and worked on a wide cross section of consumer and business-to-business accounts both in the UK and internationally...
  • Iain Dale After a career as a parliamentary researcher, journalist and lobbyist, Iain Dale opened Politico's Bookstore in February 1997. Since then Politico's has established itself as Britain's leading political bookshop and publisher, gaining a nationwide reputation and Iain Dale has followed suit...
  • Nick de Scossa has over 20 years experience in the Leisure & Entertainment Industry and is something of a trouble-shooter. He was instrumental in the complete restructuring of the RFU's business, which turned a �7 million a year loss into a £14 million annual profit and the rescue of Bristol Rugby Club from receivership in 1998...
  • Michael Dobbs is most famous for his novels including the House of Cards trilogy, Winston's War and the Tom Goodefellow MP stories. An accomplished speaker and broadcaster, Michael is in great demand on the lecture and after dinner circuit and is a regular contributor to....
  • Simon Fanshawe Writer and broadcaster, Simon Fanshawe has a telling and unique combination of skills. He has almost twenty years experience with the voluntary sector and local government. He has been successful in business and for an equivalent length of time, he has been a broadcaster, entertainer and writer...
  • Julie Fernandez
  • Shelagh Fogarty is the co-presenter of BBC Radio 5 Live's weekend breakfast show. She cut her broadcasting teeth on radio & TV in Manchester and her native Merseyside. Shelagh has covered most of the major stories of the last few years including the James Bulger murder...
  • Ivor Gaber Journalist and consultant specialising in politics, Ivor recently published a study of political communications in the UK - "The Westminster Tales: the 21st century crisis in political journalism". Ivor Gaber is Professor of Broadcast Journalism (Emeritus) at London University's Goldsmiths College....
  • Roy Greenslade Roy left school in Dagenham, Essex, at 17 for an apprenticeship with the local weekly and by the time he was 22 he'd moved to Fleet Street as a sub editor on The Sun, but left in 1973 to write a book, 'Goodbye To The Working Class'...
  • James Hardy Political editor of The Mirror, former Royal Correspondent and Political Editor for the Press Association and Home Affairs editor of the Daily Telegraph. Wide ranging experience in and outside of Westminster for major newspapers and Press Association...
  • James Humphreys Former head of Downing Street communications, James Humphreys left Number 10 earlier this year to run a unique MA course at Kingston University - the first in the UK to address the skills gap between organisations that can influence government...
  • Donald Macintyre - chief political columnist for the Independent and author of the highly acclaimed Peter Mandelson biography, is one of Westminster's most respected political commentators. Donald Macintyre is a regular broadcaster on BBC, Sky...
  • Peter MacMahon is a writer, broadcaster & former spin doctor who's been at the heart of politics in England & Scotland. A political correspondent and editor for a range of papers including the Scotsman, the Mirror, Scotland on Sunday and the Sunday Mirror...
  • Iain Macwhirter is the face and voice of BBC Scotland's political programmes - "Holyrood Live" and "Politics Scotland". He is also the award-winning chief political commentator for the Sunday Herald and Herald columnist. He is a compelling speaker on all aspects of politics and culture...
  • Kevin Maguire's impeccable Old Labour credentials have made him something of a thorn in New Labour's side. The witty and irreverent Maguire is best known as chief reporter for the Guardian...
  • Deborah Mattinson Deborah is one of Britain's leading practitioners of issue-based research and consultation. She has unparalleled expertise in accessing and understanding opinion formers. She is also renowned for developing innovative leading edge solutions...
  • Scarlett McGwire Writer, broadcaster and former adviser to the Labour party, Scarlett McGwire is a former broadcast journalist with IRN who has made her mark in political circles. A trustee of Oxfam, she is also heavily involved in media training...
  • Jo-Anne Nadler - from Radio 1 via BBC political programmes and Conservative Central Office Jo Anne Nadler's not exactly the blue rinse Tory woman. More at home in leather than twin set and pearls she's the author of William Hague's biography...
  • Cathy Newman is chief political correspondent of the Financial Times and a presenter for GMTV's The Sunday Programme. She has written about politics for the FT for three years, having joined the paper as media correspondent. Before that she was media business correspondent for the Independent...
  • Richard D North Writer & commentator, never afraid of controversy and positively relishes a good argument. Following spells at the Independent and the Sunday Times (86-92), Richard has freelanced. The author of Life On a Modern Planet...
  • Steven Norris is one of Britain's best known political figures. The flamboyant Conservative candidate for Mayor of London (2000 & 2003)is a writer, broadcaster, entrepreneur and after dinner speaker. The former MP & Transport Minister is Chairman of the National Cycling Strategy Board and President of the Motor Cycle Industry Association. He retired from Parliament at his own request in 1997...
  • openDemocracy.net The leading website for the debate of global issues, seeking to open a world of ideas and experience its rapidly growing readership of 40,000 people per month around the world. Contributors cross the political spectrum and include, amongst others, Marina Warner, David Elstein, Roger Scruton and Anthony Barnett.
  • Vivienne Parry is a writer and broadcaster with a unique mix of skills and a passion for communication. A scientist by training and an enthusiast to her bones, she has an extraordinarily wide range. At one point she found herself writing for both the News of the World...
  • Andrew Pierce Assistant Editor of The Times, Andrew belongs to that small category of journalists who are both feared and respected at Westminster and beyond. Witty and urbane but beneath the charming exterior lies a forensic mind and terrier tenacity...
  • Amanda Platell The Australian journalist brought a touch of glamour and controversy to the Tory party as William Hague's chief spin doctor but before that had an equally high profile career in Fleet St as deputy editor Today, managing editor Independent...
  • Michael Prescott is a former political editor of the Sunday Times, who now works for the Weber Shandwick PR agency, and as a freelance broadcaster and journalist. He has reviewed the Sunday newspapers with Michael Parkinson on the latter's Radio 2 programme every month for the past 8 years...
  • Steve Richards is one of Britain's most versatile and prolific commentators. He writes political columns for the Independent and the Independent on Sunday, presents GMTV's Sunday programme, which is also repeated on ITV2. On BBC Radio 4 he has presented A Week in Westimnster, various documentaries including the current series 'They Fought and Lost...
  • Yvonne Ridley Despite 25 years in journalism, Yvonne Ridley really came to prominence last September when she was captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan after sneaking in to the country in disguise....
  • Ziauddin Sardar Zia is best known as an out-spoken critic with a sharp tongue. Born in Pakistan, and living in London since 1961, he has acquired a reputation as a prolific writer, cultural commentator, broadcaster and public speaker. His expertise range from Islam to the politics of science...
  • Mark Seddon Tribune Editor Mark Seddon joined the Labour party when he was only 15 years old. Since then he has turned himself from Student Union President into one of Britain's top political commentators and campaigners....
  • David Seymour began his journalistic career on the John O'Groat Journal and worked on newspapers in Scotland and Hertfordshire before reaching Fleet Street. After a brief spell on the Daily Mail he went to the Daily Mirror...
  • Stefan Stern The Work Foundation recently voted Stefan website journalist of the year - just after the website he'd been editing was closed down! Former features editor of Management Today, he is a regular contributor to that magazine...
  • Ed Straw Ed is best known as chairman of Relate (1994-2000), now vice-president, and author of 'Relative Values' with its aim of improving the contentment and reducing the public cost of family life; also a writer and speaker on morals, change and government and political party organisation.
  • Peter Tatchell World renowned gay and human rights campaigners, Peter is one of the most controversial public figures of recent times. Articulate, passionate and tireless in his campaigning Peter is also a talented writer and broadcaster...
  • Ed Vaizey has been tipped by many as a future Tory frontbencher. He was the co-founder and co-editor of A Blue Tomorrow, a series of essays on the future of the Tory party, published just after the last election and now edits the highly successful Blue Books....
  • Tim Walker A British Press Awards winner, Tim has worked for three Fleet Street diaries - Pendennis on the Observer, the Mail's Dempster diary and currently he writes the Mandrake column on the Sunday Telegraph. He also wrote a biography of Norma Major and appeared in Faking It on Channel 4...
  • Matt Wells Since being appointed the Guardian�s media correspondent, Matt has become a prominent reporter and commentator on the industry�s affairs. He is also an enthusiastic participant, co-hosting a media programme every Sunday lunchtime with Brian Hayes on LBC 97.3 in London. He regularly appears on television...
  • Charlie Whelan Arguably the most famous former Labour spin doctor, Charlie resigned as Gordon Brown's right hand man over the Mandelson home loan affair. Since then he's become a successful writer and broadcaster...
  • Christian Wolmar Leading transport expert Christian Wolmar has 25 years of experience as a journalist and is in great demand as a writer and broadcaster. With a background in social policy, housing, social services, welfare and local government...[4]

Notes

  1. Know Comment Home, from the Web Archive cira 4 July 2003, accessed 12 November 2007.
  2. Directors, from the Web Archive cira 4 July 2003, accessed 12 November 2007.
  3. Ten Alps communications plc Annual results to 31 March 2003 p. 9, accessed 13 November 2007
  4. Ten alps Commentators, from the Web Archive, 4 July 2003, accessed 11 November 2007
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