May 26, 2006

Horse 555 - Sale of Radio 1 & 2?

http://www.7digital.com/content.aspx?id=2297
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/5003642.stm

I find these two articles really scary. Notwithstanding the fact that both were written by the Beeb.

The European Media Forum has suggested that the BBC sell Radios 1 & 2 to private concerns because they by their existance hamper competition. Radio 1 won best station in the UK for 2004, Radio 2 was beaten by Radio 4 in 2006. Surely this indicates that the BBC is currently offering the best radio coverage in the UK and everyone else is jealous and wants some of that pie.

So the BBC should sell off two of their best known brands to give the rest of the commercial stations a better chance at increasing their revenue? I don't think so.

I can understand the rationale behind the argument, but to say that Radio 1 and Radio 2 don't give the commercial broadcasters a fair chance is missing the point. Sure, some of their popularity does stem from the fact that they are funded to an extent that allows greater promotion, and they have nationwide FM reception, but this ignores one crucial point, that maybe people just prefer them. You may as well say that the BBC shouldn't broadcast anything that commercial channels offer.

And no-one should take Kelvin MacKenzie's views seriously. He moans a lot about the BBC being state-funded and therefore an inherently biased institution, but is standing on thin ice given that he worked for Rupert Murdoch for many years, not a man who was, or is, known for allowing his editors much editorial independence.

Technically the BBC have the best services in the world. You don't know how lucky you have it in the UK with 7 national networks. Radio and TV in Australia is a chaotic mess; it's no different in the USA.

Digital roll-out for radio was supposed to have begun in 2001. There are only 2 digital radio stations in Australia and these are owned by the ABC and SBS.You can't even buy DAB radios for the most part. The analogue switch-off deadline in 2008 is basically impossible. Even RDS is only a new thing for Australian radio; then they're only transmitting idents.

The BBC was the first company to offer decent digital broadcasting in the world. And it's only because the impetus is there with it being such a large organisation that this was even possible.
The BBC quite frankly is the best media outlet in the world bar none, and if Radio 1 & 2 gets sold, it's basically surrendering to commercial dendritis. The UK will be like Australia or even the USA in terms of programming and I for one would not wish that on the British public.

It would be like putting ITV or Channel 4 on the radio, maybe even Channel 5. Would you honestly want to live in a radio environment like that? I know I wouldn't and I wouldn't wish it on the good and fair people of the UK.

Selling Radio 1 & 2 is criminally stupid and whoever suggested it should be locked away for a very long time and be forced to listen to great slabs of Z100 or KHTR if they happen to like the idea so much. The reason why we can't do this is that there are Geneva Conventions on cruel and unusual punishment and also it would be totally inhumane - they'd go mad and die within 36 hours.

How does the Great British public feel about the sale of something which by means of the Licence Fee they have bought and owned for the past 84 years? If I was your landlord and suddenly came in and stole all of your doors and windows without your permission without compensation would you be happy about it?

I would argue that the Beeb is not the Government's to sell, but the people who have contributed to its upkeep. Selling it off is in principle as I see it nothing more than theft.

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