10/17/2007

I'm a fan of the BBC but ...


I have made no secret of the fact that I am a massive fan of the BBC. Many people who are perhaps happy with ITV Play or Sky One argue that the market can produce the same quality of TV that the BBC offers, although that is patently not the case from the several hundred channels on Sky Digital, and that the license fee should be abolished. Again, I disagree. However, I do think the BBC is bloated, duplicates its effort too much and needs to become much more streamlined. So it is in this context that I think the announcement of 1800 job losses is required, despite the inevitable hardship this will cause.


ITV News pointed out earlier today that for the launch of Chris Huhne's Lib Dem leadership campaign the BBC sent four different camera crews (presumably one from BBC South, one from BBC News, one from News 24 and another from Newsnight) and also three different correspondents for TV alone. This does not count the inevitable radio reporters from Five Live, Radio One Newsbeat, Radio Four, BBC Radio Hampshire, and however many others I have missed. When you realise that Sky News sent one camera and ITV News One Camera, you start to see just why the BBC spends so much money.


It is a great shame that money is to be cut from the new programming department of the BBC, which might cause an increase in repeats and give succour to those people who want to axe the license fee. But I do feel the BBC has to me much more careful in the way it spends its money. One example for me recently was when BBC Radio Five asked me for an interview about Tesco, the problems I had faced with them when they wanted to build a store in my council ward and my concerns about them sponsoring an event at the Lib Dem conference, the BBC offered to pay for a taxi to the studio and back in order for me to speak to them for five minutes. I personally considered this an extravagance.


Then there is BBC sport. Do they need a reporter at every Championship football match when the local BBC regional news station have a reporter there ? Couldn't this reporter double up ?


So sad as the job losses are for the people concerned, the BBC is doing the right thing. If they want to retain the license they must show they are spending it wisely.


Whilst Bectu, the broadcasting union, might object, a strike would serve nobody's interests, and the only real loser would be UKTV Gold, because the BBC will just show old repeats of Only Fools and Horses and Men Behaving Badly robbing UKTV Gold of viewers.

11 comments:

Charlie Marks said...

You are a typical liberal.

Don't you think that sending four news crews to Huhne's launch on the day the Trust approved job cuts was probably planned by management to allow rival news organisations to point out the excesses of the BBC?

Brown's plans for the Beeb are to sell it to Rupert Murdoch. Don't doubt it. His plans for the Royal Mail? It strikes me that if kids do paper-rounds, Royal Mail and its rivals can probably get kids to deliver mail. No pensions necessary, no unions either...

Matt W said...

Excellent post.

Will you be writing about the Post Office next ?

Norfolk Blogger said...

I wrote about the Post Office some weeks ago.

http://norfolkblogger.blogspot.com/2007/09/post-strikes-will-not-help-post-office.html

And also last weekend.

Charlie, I've been to events and seen multiple BBC crews turn up and film the same thing from three or four angles with multiple reporters present. You can see conspiracies in everything if you want, but I know this is typical.

You didn't address myn point about BBC sport.

headless said...

Nich, a great post.

I don't often agree with you but do enjoy reading (most) of your posts and just wish I could get my thoughts across so clearly.

Keep it up!

dave said...

No more gravy train for their totally biased journalists, big thumbs up from me for sacking them.

Charlie Marks said...

Nich, you didn't mention the ridiculous salaries paid to the so-called "stars" at the beeb, what about the bloated pay of top management? You said a strike would do more harm than good -- but a lot of people are going to lose their jobs anyway, what's to lose?

As for conspiracies, do I think the managment would conspire to make employees about to be sacked look less deserving of sympathy and solidarity - yes, I do think they would. Look at Royal Mail and their racist comments about their employees.

This is part of retrenchment across the public sector and only benefits the capitalist class -- the BBC will eventually be flogged to Rupert Murdoch unless it is saved.

I believe your wife is a teacher. If teachers vote to strike over low pay there will be a lot of propaganda about long holidays, etc.

Workers in the public and private sectors must stand together to defend their working conditions, especially in a time of rising inflation and possible instability in the housing market.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Charlie, you seem to think that examples I have seen of BBC duplication are figments of my inegination. Did the BBC management send duplicate reporters to things 2, 3, 10 years ago when I have seen examples of this in order to discredit them now ?

Actually, my wife is not a teacher. I am.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Charlie, you seem to think that examples I have seen of BBC duplication are figments of my inegination. Did the BBC management send duplicate reporters to things 2, 3, 10 years ago when I have seen examples of this in order to discredit them now ?

Actually, my wife is not a teacher. I am.

Charlie Marks said...

Nich, I'm sorry I've been misreading a lot recently, vision problems (specs need upgrading).

Anyhow, my point about duplication is perhaps ill-directed.

What I should have said is that you shouldn't be reproducing the arguments for sacking people coming from the people doing the sacking -- especially as these people are on fucking ridiculous wages and contribute little to the BBC's output, as compared to journalists in the newsrooms across the UK.

ITV is also cutting back on news journalism. This is unfortunate. Most people get their news of the world from TV or the internet. If there are less people working at getting stories out, more will go unreported.

Nich, as you are a teacher I hope you will not reproduce, on this blog, propaganda against your profession if there is industrial action...

I will certainly be using my blog (not that it's as well written or well read as yours) to back public sector workers who are taking action against job cuts and pay cuts

Norfolk Blogger said...

Charlie, I am a vociferous supporter of the BBC, but like you, I am aware of the fact that there are some who want to sell off the BBC. Whilst it remains overstaffed or where there is duplication (for example, do we need reporters in New York from BBC America, BBC TV News, BBC Radio Four and the BBC World Service (Radio and TV), those who oppose the BBC will continue to use this as a justification for selling the BBC off.

I personally think the BBC will be safer from the likes of Murdoch after the changes.

We will have to agree to differ about the method of getting there, although I think our aims are the same.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Charlie, I am a vociferous supporter of the BBC, but like you, I am aware of the fact that there are some who want to sell off the BBC. Whilst it remains overstaffed or where there is duplication (for example, do we need reporters in New York from BBC America, BBC TV News, BBC Radio Four and the BBC World Service (Radio and TV), those who oppose the BBC will continue to use this as a justification for selling the BBC off.

I personally think the BBC will be safer from the likes of Murdoch after the changes.

We will have to agree to differ about the method of getting there, although I think our aims are the same.

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