First, an apology for a distinct lack of blogs in the last few weeks. If you watch AJE with any regularity, you will have seen me on news bulletins more often in recent weeks which has stretched me a little thin! Plus Samah hosted last week's show from our London broadcast centre, and thanks to her for doing that.
And so we come to our final show of 2010, and still there is a lot of variety in the rundown:
• Estonia joins the Eurozone as of January 1, 2010. All EU members have to do it at some stage ... it is just a matter of timing. And to that end, what a time to be adopting the Euro currency! It dominated our broadcasts this year, and the thing which kept jumping out at me was how smaller countries seemed to be dragging the whole thing down. So what happens when the newest adopter will also be the poorest? We will explore that with Andres Kasekamp from the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute.
• Sudan is voting on whether the South breaks away from the North in a few weeks, and it is really messing with the currency. Uncertainty is one of economics' biggest enemies, and they have got it in bucketfuls at the moment in Africa's biggest country. We will report from Khartoum on the basics of life which are now out of reach.
• And closer to home (for us at least) we catch up with the CEO of Qatar Airways, Akbar al-Baker. Doha has just opened a new arrivals terminal, and we were invited along for the opening. It is really quite impressive, especially when you think that it will be obsolete in a year when the New Doha International Airport opens just a few kilometres away! If it seems absurd, watch the interview and all will be explained.
So that is what is on the show. It has been a busy year for us, and in traditional end-of-year style I do want to take the time to thank a few people:
• Abid Ali is our business editor, and much more of a constant in our business coverage than I am! We are the first to admit that business news was not particularly high on the news agenda at AJE, but since Abid came along he has made huge strides in making sure it has the prominence it deserves. Plus he puts up with me and my crazy ideas! You can follow Abid on twitter here.
• Bethan Howe was our producer for much of the year. Beth and I have worked together for a long time and to say she has been committed to her job is an understatement. There have been a few occasions when, for whatever reason, things have gone slightly awry just hours before recording the show ... and Beth has managed to pull a rabbit out of a hat to make it all work again. She has been a star but is now moving on to other projects within the AJE Programmes department. (I will probably snub her in the corridor for a while because, frankly, I would be much happier if she was staying!)
• Samah El-Shahat is our resident economist in London and has brought her style and knowledge to a number of our broadcasts this year. We must thank her for her contributions, especially her unique ways of explaining often complicated economic matters – some of which include fencing, football matches and world wars! Watch back some of our previous episodes and you will see.
And of course I must thank the technical team who put together our show every week. Due to schedule changes since the start of October, we have had to record the show at 10pm on a Thursday night - rather than our usual 9am Friday slot - which is not the easiest for the control room staff, who have been putting the news out all day. To their credit they do the job without complaining (too much!) and remain professional to the end.
Also Matt Gunner and the team in Promotions who helped me develop our weekly promo this year (that is the one with me perched on the edge of the desk, which I will have you know can get quite uncomfortable!). It is simple and effective and makes sure viewers know what is happening - which is everything we could ask for!
Right better get this posted before we record the show. Thanks to all of your for watching, reading and interacting this year ... it has been a pleasure bringing you the show, and even more of a pleasure getting your feedback - keep it coming in 2011.
Happy New Year!
Kamahl Santamaria (and the CTC team)
Counting the Cost can be seen from Friday, December 31, 2010 at the following times GMT: Friday: 1430, 2130; Saturday: 0300, 1230; Sunday: 0630, 1930; Monday: 0030, 0730.