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Founding MD of regional publisher’s TV channel leaves company

Mustard TV team. Fiona Ryder.Photo by Simon Finlay.The founding managing director of a regional publisher’s TV channel has left the company.

Fiona Ryder, pictured left, served as MD of Archant’s Mustard TV after it launched online in 2013 and on digital terrestrial television the following year.

Her departure came just six days before the second anniversary of the channel’s first broadcast on Freeview Channel 8 in the Norwich area.

Prior to taking on the MD role in September 2012, she had served as the project director who led Archant’s bid to win the local TV licence for Norwich.

In December 2014 the channel expanded its reach to almost 200,000 homes in Norwich and the surrounding area after it became available to Virgin TV subscribers.

However, Fiona’s tenure also saw the station hit with controversy after it accidentally broadcast footage of journalist Helen McDermott calling her fellow presenter, former footballer Darren Eadie, a “c***” while recording a link.

Fiona later apologised for the gaffe on behalf of the channel.

Confirming Fiona’s departure, an Archant spokeswoman told HTFP: “We can confirm Fiona Ryder left Mustard TV on March 18. Archant remains fully committed to the local TV franchise and the provision of quality TV content to the community it serves.

“Mustard TV is an important part of Archant’s content offering going forward, led by chief content officer Matt Kelly.”


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  • March 24, 2016 at 7:16 am

    Point one: Don’t say “going forward” as it’s implicit in the sentence that the future is referenced – it’s a trite, pointless, and clumsy formulation. Point two: Glad to see she was in it for the long haul. Point three: Didn’t Fiona have anything to say… about anything? I’m sure the usual Archant suspects will have their penny’s worth on this one. Let’s be ‘avin’ yer, to quote another Norwich superstar.

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  • March 24, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    We can’t get any sales, revenues or viewing figures @archantlifer so you’ve got no chance of getting that answer.
    Im just amazed she clung on this long
    How long before the plug is pulled I wonder?

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  • March 24, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    The fun and games will begin now, now that the chief content officer has got hold of the station. Monkey tennis anyone?

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  • March 24, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    More talent lost. Did a great job with pitiful resources whilst sales and finance head counts are in mutiple 100’s.

    Going to miss the enthusiasm.

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  • March 25, 2016 at 1:25 am

    A terrible loss. Fiona was a great and did a lot for Archant.

    For all the editorial grumps out there who can’t wait to spin any Archant story to a tale of Mustard TV woe – shut up, get off this site and write some words. With any luck you will be next!

    Best of luck to the outgoing MD and Mustard.

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  • March 25, 2016 at 8:43 am

    So the MD ‘leaves the company’ a few weeks ahead of the shareholders meeting? Timely eh

    Jeffs presumably hoping to head off the obvious shareholders questions about what’s being done about the Musturd Tv shambles and the fact that £657,000 was lost by it last year
    Good luck!

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  • March 25, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    A great loss indeed, sackalltheeditorialgrumps.
    She was handsomely rewarded for runing a failing local TV station that bled cash for two years and failed to engage the Norwich and Norfolk public. Quite rightly she carried the can. Face the facts.

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  • March 27, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    Not sure who posted at 1.25am with a silly name but there is a reasonably intelligent standard of debate on HTFP whether or not we agree with each other, so please post your “thoughts” elsewhere.

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  • March 29, 2016 at 7:49 am

    Some interesting points from SackAllThe… However, I’m willing to bet your esteemed editorial colleagues would:

    a) Spell ‘editorial’ correctly in their username.
    b) Realise that this story is entirely about Mustard and its failings so does not need to be spun in any way.

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  • March 29, 2016 at 8:56 am

    Sackallthe blahblahborebore bore
    How could she remain in charge of a business that lost over £650k in its first year and is a laughing stock around the county?

    As MD she was responsible for the station and its has beens and wannabes so she has to carry the can for the shambles that’s happened over the past two years.

    Maybe she was the scapegoat for this whole embarrassing vanity project but if you are happy to wear the MD hat you have to face the consequences and with a shareholders meeting on the horizon where questions about this drain on the company’s coffers will be asked it’s no surprise she ‘left the business’ at this time.
    I reckon she’s best off out of it in fact I’ll bet it’s a relief.

    Anyone got any viewing figures or ad revenues by any chance?

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  • March 29, 2016 at 11:44 am

    Someone’s hit a nerve with old @sackalltheitshalfpastonesndihavehadafewsherriessoillgoonhtfpandrant

    I’m guessing he or she is directly involved with mustard tv to sound so frustrated that the person heading up this vanity project has had to carry the can for the shambles it’s been in the last two years. However please could he or she complete the half finished first statement : ‘ Fiona was a great..” What?
    Also @resident I doubt the bean counters would see losing £657,000 in one year as doing a ” great job”
    Now that really is ‘ a great loss’

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  • April 3, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    Yes, Mustard lost £657k in its first year, but as a start up it was hardly likely to make money. All the setup costs would pile up before you had any proven audience to sell advertising to.
    Its budget is tiny in TV terms and yes the content is parochial – but that’s the point of local TV. Archant didn’t get in to it to make money or for some belief in the medium but simply from a desire to prevent anyone else rivalling its take of Norfolk ad revenue.
    Jeff Henry has also taken about the same amount in salary out of the business in a year – up about 10% on his first year – simply by dumping a few loss making titles and not being quite as arrogant as the previous chief exec.
    There’s arguably more benefit to show for Mustard’s costs than his.

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  • April 4, 2016 at 9:15 am

    – Dick Minim

    “whether or not we agree with each other, so please post your “thoughts” elsewhere”

    Ey Up, Look lively troops, management about.

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