Wherever you are: you’re with the BBC (Part I)

The title from this post comes from the World Services int signal, but it seems quite appropriate.  Two of the BBC’s public purposes as set out in its Royal Charter are:

In Ye Olden Dayes, the BBC Motto was “Nation shall speak peace unto Nation”.  I don’t think it has changed.

NPR’s John Hackenbberry was a guest announcer on the BBC World Service recently and also pointed out that the BBC is indeed public broadcasting in its most pure sense.

In other words, the BBC is truly public radio, which is supported by the British Public through Television licences.

While I understand this, I want to say that I’ve added Peter’s blog, http://tv-licensing.blogspot.com, to my blogroll.  While I disagree with him about paying licence fees and the system of licence fees, I do agree with him about how the BBC tries to raise its funds.  I am of the impression that Peter would say their methods are coercive.  I think we are in agreement that they are misguided.

As regular readers will know, I frequently browse the internet looking for TV Licensing related articles and trivia. Every day someone has a new take on what the TV licence fee is, what it’s for and how it’s enforced.

Peter and I are in agreement that the TV detector van is one of the more idiotic things going…

The question is would people such as Peter prefer to have the BBC follow US public broadcasting’s model and start having “extort-a-thons”? That’s where they take a week or two from regularly scheduled programming to try and shame their viewers into coughing up the cash to run their show. They might show a few minutes of a programme to come on and say “we need x amount of pledges to make our goal”.

One PBS station actually harangued the people who weren’t supporting public broadcasting as a bunch of leeches.

But as the US public broadcasting model points out: “if you have our station on your preset, you are a user. That means you should be a member as well”.

Member being a more polite term than licence holder.

Or you can have commercials.

I would add that US cable not only makes you pay, but they add more commercials to an already over commercially saturated programme. Cable in the US also costs as much, if not far more, than a  Colour Television Licence with, in the words of Bruce Springsteen, “57 Channels (And Nothin’ On)”.

The ultimate point is that people who use the service should pay for it.  And while US public Broadcasting has a poor ratio of members to listeners, the BBC does not.

There is, of course, another aspect to all this, which is the BBC would like its material to be viewed within the UK due to licensing agreements with its partners (E.g., Discovery Channel and US Public Broadcasting). That is going to be the topic of Part II.

See also:

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