Thursday. 14/10/2021

The Monocle Minute

Opinion / Tom Edwards

Perfect 10

Monocle 24 is 10 years old this week. As well as a special Monocle Media Summit (and knees-up) in London later today, we are marking the first decade on air with a suite of special programmes, highlights and documentaries looking back at the story of how it all started, the early days and the blossoming of the station. So how did we get here?

Ten years ago, the media conversation was dominated by the challenge and opportunity posed by digital formats to established print brands. Monocle’s editors were more interested in truly amplifying their voice, rather than the compromise of manipulating a magazine until it fitted a screen but lost some of its lustre. Since they had already been producing a whip-smart weekly podcast for the previous couple of years, they reasoned, why not go right ahead and launch a full-service, seven-days-a-week, 24-hours-a-day radio station before the year is out?

Mission Monocle 24 was accomplished on 17 October 2011, albeit with some hair-raising moments, many sleepless nights and a litany of nerve-jangling technical leaps of faith along the way. Central to its success over the ensuing years, along with the unparalleled editorial offering and steady stream of innovations, has been the relationships that the station has built with its partners: a family of premium brands that recognised the importance of great storytelling, setting the right tone and the relentless pursuit of opportunity.

The final piece of the puzzle is the most important of all: our listeners, worldwide, many of whom have been with us from the very first second on air. Where are we taking them next? Well, tune in to Monocle 24 now and join us for the next stage in an amazing journey. Here’s to the next 10 years.

Tom Edwards is Monocle’s head of radio. Tune in to a special broadcast of today’s edition of ‘The Monocle Daily’ from The Monocle Media Summit (tickets still available here) and further coverage on tomorrow’s edition of ‘The Globalist’ on Monocle 24.

Image: Alamy

Diplomacy / EU & UK

Eire pressure

It was on Christmas Eve last year that David Frost, the UK’s Brexit minister, took to social media to celebrate his “excellent deal with the EU”. And yet, it wasn’t long before Boris Johnson was complaining about the “excessively burdensome” enforcement of checks on Northern Ireland’s trade. This week, Frost insisted that a new protocol was needed to replace his once supposedly excellent deal – indeed, not to rip it up would be a “historic misjudgement”. And though the UK’s threats to unilaterally override parts of the agreement have tested the patience of the EU, Brussels yesterday promised “far-reaching proposals” to end the row, announcing an offer of a major reduction in checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea. Johnson’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings suggested on Tuesday that the UK had always negotiated in bad faith, intending to “ditch bits we didn’t like”. And yet an olive branch from the EU means that the ball is once again in the UK’s court.

For more on the future of the Northern Ireland Protocol, tune in to the latest editions of ‘The Monocle Daily’ and ‘The Globalist’.

Image: Getty Images

Economy / USA

Labour pains

A record 4.3 million Americans – 2.9 per cent of all employed workers – quit their jobs in August, according to the US Labor Department. Though such an exodus would ordinarily signal confidence in the job market, this summer’s figures are likely to have been affected by fears about the Delta variant. Almost 900,000 of those handing in their notice worked in customer-facing hospitality jobs, up more than 20 per cent from the previous month.

Other contributing factors have been a delay in school reopenings and a lack of childcare options, as well as one-off stimulus payments that allowed some to take a break from work. To stem the tide, a record 42 per cent of US small business owners increased wages in September. But with 22 million people voluntarily leaving their jobs in the US last year, employers and legislators alike must do more to reassure, reward and recruit workers, especially those in hospitality.

Image: Getty Images

Tourism / Japan

Right track

The Japanese government is eyeing the reintroduction of Go To Travel, a programme to subsidise transportation, hotels and tourism attractions for Japanese nationals. More and more people have been travelling domestically since a state of emergency was lifted in the country about two weeks ago.

The well-intentioned strategy to boost the economy received bittersweet feedback when it was first put in place last year, in part due to constantly changing policies in many prefectures due to the realities of the pandemic. Yoshiharu Hoshino, who runs Hoshino Resorts, perhaps the most successful hotel management company in Japan, yesterday urged the government to make the campaign more user-friendly for both travellers and businesses. Japan’s prime minister Fumio Kishida is working on a complete overhaul to get it right this time around – but he shouldn’t wait too long. Hoshino noted that people are understandably reluctant to book holidays until the perks are officially unveiled.

Image: Hugo Toro

F&B / UK

Station to station

The arrival of a new Eurostar terminal might have been a catalyst in the revitalisation of London’s King’s Cross neighbourhood but much of it is also down to property developer Harry Handelsman. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the opening of the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, overseen by Handelsman, in a neighborhood that is now home to tenants such as Google and the upmarket Coal Drops Yard shopping destination. In the coming weeks, Handelsman’s Manhattan Loft Corporation will open Booking Office 1869, a revamp of the hotel’s bar and restaurant designed by Parisian architect and designer Hugo Toro, in the 19th-century space once used as the St Pancras ticket hall. Just as he does with all of his projects, Handelsman says that he hopes to create another destination where people can feel a part of the city. “My attraction is London,” says Handelsman. “What I’ve been doing for the past 20 years is to, in a small way, offer something that isn’t done for commercial reasons but out of care for the city.”

Tune in to the latest episode of Monocle 24’s ‘The Entrepreneurs’ to hear our conversation with Harry Handelsman about his career and latest projects.

M24 / Meet the Writers

Agnes Poirier

Agnes Poirier is a journalist, author and political commentator. Georgina Godwin speaks to her about her latest book, Notre-Dame: The Soul of France, which explores the magnificent history and uncertain future of one of the world’s most iconic buildings. Containing personal accounts of the day when it went up in flames, and the cultural war over its future, it explains why Notre-Dame is so important to the nation – and the world.

Monocle Films / Finland

The home of the Finnish art scene

We tour the breathtaking studios of artists’ residence Lallukka in Helsinki, which hasn’t changed its purpose since it was completed in 1933. The landmark functionalist building offers spaces at low rents so that its tenants can focus on one thing: making art.

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