Thousands of Northern Ireland viewers tune into an Omagh businessman’s vision every day when they switch on BBC’s popular Newsline television news programmes.
The ultra-modern studio, which is the home to BBC Northern Ireland’s news team, was designed and the sophisticated audio and video equipment and circuitry assembled and installed by Omagh-based Broadcast and Electronic Solutions (BES).
BES, now an Invest Northern Ireland client company, was formed by Michael Bradley, who made a career change, leaving his job as an electronics engineer with UTV in 1999, to set up his own business with his wife, Millie. Advice and assistance has been provided by Invest NI’s Western Local Office in Omagh.
“I had been exploring opportunities to work as a self-employed engineer and soon realised that there was scope to use my experience of over 20 years in broadcasting to offer a much more comprehensive service that covered all aspects of the broadcast TV and radio industry,” Mr Bradley said.
“In the past, local broadcasters and programme makers were dependent upon suppliers from outside Northern Ireland. I used my contacts to test the market by offering them a locally-based expert service and found them to be generally receptive to my approach. BBC Northern Ireland was particularly keen to encourage local expertise in this area.
“We were the first to offer this service in Northern Ireland and one of a very small group in Ireland with such a broad range of technical skills,” he added.
He described the business start-up assistance and ongoing support from the team at the Invest NI Western Local Office as “excellent”. “The Small Business Development Programme was first class because it helped me with all I needed to know about getting started in business. I am also building my marketing skills through participation in the Marketing Awareness Programme.”
BES currently employs eight people including experienced electronics engineers and has completed several major projects in addition to the development of BBC Northern Ireland’s Newsline Studio B at Broadcasting House in Belfast.
“The BBC contract required us to design and equip a completely new facility in close consultation with the corporation’s technical team, a project covering some four months,” Mr Bradley said.
Mary Gormley, Invest NI Client Executive in Omagh, said: “BES is an ambitious and very enterprising company which has used the broad range of services we provide to grow its business, particularly in the Republic of Ireland.”
BES, which is based at Gortin Road, Omagh, has also carried out projects for TV3, Kairos Communications and for local facilities companies such as MGTV based in Holywood. The company is currently completing the first High Definition editing facility in Ireland for The Farm Media Group in Dublin, which will now be Ireland’s largest digital post production house.