- I started by looking at the Proms web site, where I couldn't find anything about the dates and times of the broadcasts, though I did find a press release about the broadcast. If you read the press release, you'll see that there are no dates or locations listed.
- I looked for a Contact Us page with press contact information, but never found it.
- I did find a Contact Us page with a form on it, which I filled out with my query. I identified myself as an Oakland-based music journalist and blogger.
- A member of the Proms press office responded on their next business day. This was fine; I sent my query long after London closing hours.
- However, she told me the Proms press office didn't know anything about the scheduling of the broadcast - BBC Worldwide handles such events, you see. Her email included a list of the U.S. and London offices for BBC Worldwide, with phone numbers and street addresses for each.
- In reply, I asked if there were email addresses for any of the offices.
- She was able to provide one email address.
- I phoned the Hollywood, CA office of BBC Worldwide. The person answering the phone didn't know what the Proms were. She transferred me to someone she thought might know. That person sounded like a deer in the headlights and suggested I try the NYC office.
- I phoned the NYC office, where the person I spoke to knew what the Proms were, but didn't know anything about U.S. broadcasts. She suggested I talk to someone else.
- I phoned the other person and left a phone message asking her to call me back. This was on Thursday, September 2. I haven't heard back yet, but that's okay; very possibly she stretched her three-day weekend to four days.
- Simultaneously, I phoned the Elmwood Theater in CA, where a very nice person in the business office suggested I send email, which the right person would respond to.
- I did this and got a timely response from the right person. She told me she knew of the Berkeley and Santa Rosa Rialto Theaters showings, plus one in Los Angeles. She knew who the U.S. distributor was and told me that name. She also knew that there are many Canadian venues, which I had discovered independently. (I can't recall exactly when I tried using Google, finding nothing useful about the United State, but turning up the Canadian list.)
- This morning I found email from my original contact at the Proms press office, confirming that there are only three U.S. venues this year. (The third is Mann Chinese Theater in Hollywood.) Evidently, there was interest from other theaters and chains, but scheduling issues....very likely the Last Night will be more widely broadcast in the states next year.
The BBC has had sundry notorious failures in the past. There was the year they had to ask the fan base for home copies of some episodes of Dr. Who, the wildly popular TV series. The Beeb had somehow lost or erased those episodes. There are the many opera and other musical broadcasts recorded and then trashed - I know of a famous collector who swooped down on the BBC office when one of these purges was taking place, rescuing a few priceless items from oblivion.
I can't think of any publicity principle more central than "Make it easy for people to find out when and where your events are happening." The Proms press office should not be the last to have accurate information about where their most famous single event is being telecast worldwide, and it should be easy to find that information with a simple web search. Instead...well, see the above.