IT’S been another bad week for the BBC in Scotland, culminating in an apology on social media by its Scotland editor, Sarah Smith. The Hon Ms Smith, to give her full title (her mother is Elizabeth Smith, Baroness Smith of Gilmorehill, and that status officially permits Smith to use “the Honourable” before her name), famously “misspoke” about the First Minister not once but twice, several hours apart. It does rather seem as if the BBC is at pains to confirm Drummond’s doctrine.

Readers will recall Drummond’s doctrine states that: “Even if every consumer in Scotland disapproved of its content, BBC Scotland could continue – because there is little democratic oversight of its conduct in this country.”

A YouGov poll last week showed just how poorly the UK media has been in covering the pandemic. To the question: “Do you think the quality of media coverage of the pandemic is good or bad or neither?”, responses showed the UK rating for good coverage has plummeted in six weeks from 40% to near 20%; and the rating for bad coverage has shot up from around 25% to almost 50% over the same short period.

It is likely that BBC Scotland can claim due credit for a full share in this disaster. It’s no surprise, therefore, that more and more Scots are shunning its news output and looking elsewhere for their news.

So, what do alternative news sources look like? Here I can talk from personal experience. Last week, I began hosting a new show on IndyLive. It is a challenge to move from the written word to live broadcasting. The same excitement is there, but the pressures are different. For example, a column like this gets written and sent to the editor. He decides what goes in the paper and readers see the end result. Live broadcasting is different. The new offering, called the TNT show, encourages audience questions, just as this column does, but the show is live. This calls for quick responses and a complete and often scary reliance on technology.

Thankfully, the show features interviews with remarkably gifted guests, and their quality helps mask the many inadequacies of the host. The first guest was Richard Walker, editor of the Sunday National. He talked about the challenges facing newspapers today, what his role involves and how editing the Sunday National today means overcoming greater additional demands caused by the pandemic.

READ MORE: BBC News Scotland editor Sarah Smith and her misspeaking

Our next guest was Ewan Hunter, a former professional snooker player turned businessman. He guided us through the transition between these roles and how his headhunting company works. Unsurprisingly, some of the live calls were from folks looking for advice on changing or starting careers. His latest venture is as producer of a new range of films entitled Scotland Calling, where he covers exciting developments in countries as far apart as Estonia and the Faroe Islands and, soon, New Zealand.

Martin Keatings was last week’s guest. He is convener of Forward As One and they are pursuing a case in the courts to test the ability of the Scottish Government to call a new independence referendum. It is Keatings’s contention that, since both the UK and Scottish parliaments have agreed the Scottish people are sovereign, then Scots have the power to call for a referendum. In short, he and his team are “stress testing” the UK’s uncodified constitution. This process is expensive because court time incurs very high legal costs. Happily, he has 1900 financial backers. And I expect he will need their continuing support.

What is the common theme that connects these good folks? As well as being innovative and visionary, they are all supporters of Scottish Independence. In any “normal” country, where broadly half the population supports this constitutional change, the national broadcaster would be hastening hot foot to their front doors begging for an interview, seeking to know their thoughts on the best way forward for the country.

Instead, an enormous amount of broadcasting time is given over to the “rinse and repeat” treatment of a story about a few score who went to a Nike meeting months ago, all the while largely ignoring the fate of many thousands who attended the Cheltenham Festival around the same time.

Let’s be clear, no-one is reproving all BBC Scotland staff. There are many good people working there. But the top management is poor and out of touch. As the saying goes, “a fish rots from the head down”. If unrectified, trust in BBC Scotland will further collapse, and those who caused the condition will decamp for pastures new, complaining that they were misunderstood.

I issue a challenge to BBC Scotland. Come on the TNT show and tell Scots why they should trust your coverage. Or you can cower in Pacific Quay, while telling yourselves everyone else is wrong. We are waiting.

This column welcomes questions from readers