BBC One NI and BBC Two NI are run by one person each per shift!
The role involves schedule prep and previewing, technical playout of the schedule (trails, programmes, idents, stills, credit squeezes, subtitles, etc), editorial control of the schedule (deciding what to drop/add often at the last second to cope with programme overrun/underruns), scripting and live announcing, recording of lines/outside sources for shifting to later in the day or week, routing of sources, lines recording of as-live trails, ingesting late arriving programmes to server for TX, media management of network trails for local playout, giving on air and off air times to studios and OBs, and talking to members of the public on tours of the building.
And therein lies the rub. I don't promote cuts for the sake of it (My name isn't George Osborne) but why is all of this not automated?! TV in the UK appears to be years behind radio. Most radio stations take network output with localised content including links, ads and local news and it is all automated at non-peak times.
Pretty much all of the examples denton gives need some sort of human intervention - you could automate bits of it, or do most of the prep during office hours, but you'd still need a person around to tweak the schedule in the event of live programmes overrunning or late changes.
if network doesn't respond quickly (for whatever reason) then the Nations are likely to respond with their own holding routines.
indeed, there are examples of the nations responding quicker to a breakdown of a live program than network.
I'm assuming then that the hundreds of digital channels we have are all fully staffed by live CAs
, as this is essential?
STV isn't even staffed by TX or CA people out of peak time nowadays.
I assume you're being sarcastic with your response?
I did not say it was 'essential', I said I preferred it. There is no denying that when faults do occur, it is better to have a human being there to react to the situation quicker, and to inform the viewer of the situation. That is far better than a blank screen.
Sky 1 resumed live announcers a few years ago. There was obviously a sound reason for them to move from recorded announcements, to live announcements.
As you said, STV doesn't have live announcements through the night, not so sure about transmission staff though. Meaning that when issues arose, nobody was available to fix the issue.
3 issues I can remember is part 1 of Champions League highlights being transmitted twice; an ad break during a film falling off air and a still image of the next part being on screen for 3 mins, and the same thing happening again during an episode of Murder She Wrote. Having human intervention in these scenarios is most definitely a 'necessity'.