Adrian Scott, broadcast tech giant, passes

Adrian Scott
Neal Romanek
Report
July 26th 2017 at 3:41PM : By Neal Romanek

Adrian Scott was a key figure in promoting newsroom computer systems and asset management...and may have been the godfather of Linux

The global broadcast technology industry is saddened by the death of Adrian Scott.

John Adrian Douglas Scott died last Tuesday, 18 July at the intensive care unit at Yeovil Hospital, UK, following a stroke.

Winner of the TVBEurope Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015, Scott was involved in almost every element of the broadcast technology industry and had a worldwide presence. Scott was especially notable for opening broadcaster's eyes to newsroom systems and the opportunities in non-linear editing.

Scott's broadcasting career had its roots at the University of North Carolina, to which he had received a scholarship.

"I did a degree in journalism," he told TVBEurope in a 2015 interview, "which involved working in both radio and television…my start in the industry.”

When Scott returned to the UK, he began to work in local radio: “I managed to get myself a job in the newsroom at Radio Clyde in Glasgow, not easy when your hometown is Edinburgh. After a couple of years, I moved to London to work as a presenter and producer at Independent Radio News and LBC, from where I went to TV-am as one of the launch team."

TV-am was one of the UK's first all-ENG news operations and one of the first to adopt the new BASYS Newsroom Computer System.

“For reasons I still cannot explain," Scott told TVBEurope. "in addition to being news editor and head of forward planning, I became the in-house newsroom system super-user, and was largely responsible for figuring out how to do three hours of live television starting at six in the morning every day on a system which nobody knew how to use and which had no manual anyway. Fun!”

Realising that these new computer systems were the future of newscasting, he went on the road with the BASYS system, which had been bought by ITN: "I started travelling the continent with about a quarter of a ton of rather unwieldy demo equipment, trying to persuade a generation of journalists that learning how to type and then using an unwieldy green screen terminal would make their lives a lot easier."

Scott was also responsible for promoting the earliest commerically available UNIX-based systems to broadcasters - which may have had auspicious consequences for the entire computing world.

“Perhaps one of my most far-reaching career achievements was to go to Helsinki with my demo kit, to show it to YLE and MTV, whose editor-in-chief, Jan Torvalds, asked if I minded if his teenaged son came to have a look at the demo. This was, of course, the young Linus Torvalds, so I suppose you can call me the Godfather of LINUX!”

Coaxing Avid into buying BASYS, Scott then become essential in the budding non-linear editing company's move to asset management and newsroom systems. 

“A small group of us at Avid...ended up drafting our thoughts into a paper for internal discussion. This ended up being the basis for a successful Avid US patent application describing a ‘Digital Multimedia Editing and Data Management System’ which allowed users to create, browse and catalogue multimedia assets. This was awarded in 1998, and was, I’m almost certain, one of the first mentions of the words digital, assets and management in the same sentence.”

In later years, Scott became an essential part of the IBC conference committee and represented Avid on both the IABM management committee and IBC exhibitors committee and continued consulting for a variety of firms.

Scott suffered a serious stroke in 2009, which he said “knocked me off my feet for a while, and has left me with some lingering mobility issues. Thankfully, I have no mental or cognitive problems, and can still think and talk - to the great regret of those of my friends who think I talk too much.”

In addition to a private family cremation, the family will hold a funeral in Somerset in late summer and a memorial service in London later on.

TVTechGlobal will remember Adrian Scott with great fondness and respect. We extend our condolences to all his familiy and friends.

 

Read a celebration of Adrian Scott's life at our sister site TVBEurope.