YOU may not have noticed but this week I detected a real buzz about the new BBC Scotland television channel. Admittedly, I speak from inside the bubble of the industry and from the vantage point of a home in central Glasgow, but something is definitely stirring.

Presenters are already sprucing up their show-reels; news staff are clearing their desks at STV for horizons new; independent production companies are queuing up for meetings with Steve Carson, who leads commissioning at the new channel; and vacancies are swirling around across social media.

It may just be the hope of new opportunities, but that is one of the many benefits of launching a channel, and not one that should be too eagerly dismissed.

Let me also admit that a dark heart lurks in Scotland’s body politic, a kind of national schadenfreude that takes delight in bad news and will want the new venture to fail. I have set aside a Rowntree’s selection box for the first jaded journalist that writes a line like: “Only half the population of Montrose watched last night’s show on the beleaguered BBC channel.” Trust me, it will come, and with a depth-charge of cynicism that will dishearten even the most robust channel manager.

Newspapers tend to be conflicted about television, happy to feed off the celebrity carcass and yet desperate to excoriate any show that has not yet settled into its run. Cue: mumbling actors, lame formats, derivative storylines and over-exposed presenters. Mocking television is the media equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel and the press will queue up to slaughter the new channel, irrespective of its achievements.

The first inevitable signs of cynicism will come when the overnights are published. The unwritten rules would shame Judge Dredd: take the smallest statistic you can find, rip it out of context and use it to elaborate a theory of failure.

Overnights are an essential part of the demographics of television but it is widely accepted that they are flawed and out-of-step with modern media consumption. More attention is now given to what are known as the consolidated figures, the viewings over time on plus-one services, on-demand platforms like BBC’s iPlayer and the various mobile devices on which many people now watch television.

Technology is improving the search for better data but, like opinion polls, this is far from perfect, and it’s on the basis of flawed data that many new shows have been crucified. That tendency is multiplied when a channel is launched. To be judged fairly, the new BBC Scotland channel deserves an informed hearing and a more sophisticated culture of measurement, not one based on rushed statistics.

There is a powerful argument that the BBC should take the initiative and lay out its own targets in advance, giving us a more reasonable basis on which success or failure might be measured.

My own instincts suggest that the bosses at Pacific Quay should set out six key success criteria: consolidated viewing figures; the democratic deficit; on-screen self-confidence; talent identification; innovation; and finally the provision of a clear alternative to existing services.

Let’s take each of those in turn:

Firstly, consolidated viewing figures can only really be measured when all the different opportunities to view a show are aggregated, and that cannot be overnight. Nor can it be rushed to satisfy the next day’s headlines.

Although the BBC are reluctant to share the figures, Scotland has the highest proportion of licence fee refuseniks in the UK. The new channel is an opportunity to attract disillusioned viewers back into the fold. That will be a tough task but one that cannot be ducked.

The centre-piece news hour will be a barrier to building audiences across prime time but it has the potential to modernise BBC Scotland’s often stuffy, status-quo values and offer Scotland a greater diversity of opinion, freed from the strait-jacket of party politics.

One of the underlying reasons for launching the new channel was to address a democratic deficit. Much has changed in the last 20 years – a devolved Scottish Parliament, the disaggregation of the two-party system, the rise of the SNP and the emergence of a new kind of Scottish establishment. Alongside that are evolving public institutions, the merged Police Scotland, a distinct civil service, a vibrant arts and cultural community and a university sector facing global shifts in the delivery of education.

IT may suit many people in the BBC, and within the traditional political parties, to believe that the current constitutional debate will abate and normal service will resume, but that is a forlorn hope. Independence may not yet be the dominant force in Scotland, it may not even be the majority view, but there is no doubt it is mainstream within Scottish society, and, however uncomfortable that may be for London-led institutions such as the BBC, this fundamental shift in public thinking needs to be better represented and more fairly interrogated.

Innovation is not a primary objective, but it is a consideration and arguably the business of all creative endeavours. The new channel will be judged by its difference, not its similarities, and many will want to see clear points-of-difference from existing BBC Scotland output. That means finding new shows, new on-screen talent and new ways of telling stories. If the channel simply “rolls-out” or “amplifies” existing output it will be a missed opportunity, a channel anchored to a mothership rather than cast free to be its own thing.

On-screen self-confidence is mission critical to success. It has to hit the ground running and cannot afford to make elementary mistakes by lacking self-belief and launching shows that are either poorly made or lame derivatives of already existing BBC Scotland output. Audiences smell fear and a rudderless first month will set perceptions that will be difficult to reverse.

One of the main reasons I’m excited by the new channel is the opportunities it will open up for young people and independent producers in the creative industries. It should set bold and future-facing targets to energise Scotland’s talent pool for years to come. This is not an ambition that can be measured in the short-term – careers evolve over time, and the ingénue student who is given a break now can become a major contributor in 10 years.

In 1990 I worked on the pioneering Channel 4 show Halfway To Paradise, which proved to be an academy of new talent. Among its many successes was a young trainee production manager, Andrea Calderwood, who went on to produce The Last King Of Scotland; insert-director Jim Gillespie who moved to Hollywood and directed the era-defining horror film I Know What You Did Last Summer; Paul Murton, another trainee director who is now the producer-presenter of the Grand Tour of Scotland’s Lochs; and a then talented stills photographer Paul McGuigan, the multi-award winning director of Sherlock.

Talent does not simply spring up ready-made, it has to be nurtured, and the best fertiliser is opportunity.

BBC Scotland’s new channel is an investment in our future, it deserves to be judged over time. If we rush to instant judgement – a sad by-product of the social media times we live in – we may suffocate a great idea at birth.

I hope we have more patience and more perseverance.

The final book in Stuart Cosgrove’s Soul Trilogy, Harlem 69: the Future of Soul, is published this week by Polygon.