Archive for the ‘BBC World Service’ Category

Windrush the Musical

I’ve written about Big Life before, but now that Windrush is in the news I have to talk about it in the hope someone sees this and decides to produce it.Big Life

You can hear the play here at rthe BBC. The script is available it’s ISBN 978-1840024418.

I never saw this on stage, but there is an archived version of the radio production of the musical. It combines Shakespeare’s Love’s Labours Lost with the story of the Windrush immigrants, which is now something in the news. I heard that this was a popular musical, yet it didn’t have the long run of something by Cameron Mackintosh or Andrew Lloyd Weber. Maybe because it’s about Windrush.

It opened in 2004 at the Theatre Royal Stratford East and then moved to West End’s Apollo Theatre in 2005.

Anyway, I hope someone sees this copy of the script (the book is a copy of the script) and decides to publicise this play. It is a play which should have had more exposure. I think it really needs the exposure now that Windrush is in the news.


I added the BBC to the Categories in the hope someone in programming sees this (Hint. Hint, Maybe this needs to be produced on TV).

YES! LiveStation!

BBC Televised World News is available through LiveStation’s Premium Service!

I’m in heaven!

No Joke

Somehow. my stats have jumped up from the UK–and a certain IP address block at that.

I’m dead serious–I’ll apply for the job of D-G if I stand a chance.

Job Opening for me out there?

No sooner do I post my pieces on the BBC then this job opens up: British Broadcasting Corporation  Director-General.

Now, I would be happy to give them my CV if I knew I stood a ghost of a chance.

I wonder how many of my Old School Chums are higher ups at the Beeb?

Break out old School ties!

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

Once again, to recap, Three of the BBC’s public purposes as set out in its Royal Charter are:

In the first of these two posts, we discuss how the BBC is truly public broadcasting on a global scale supported by public funding. In the Second, we deal with the official attitude of BBC management to this reality, which is to try and deny it.  In this one, we are going to talk about a more positive method to try to get public support.

So, while the BBC says it is cash strapped, they have a far larger budget than US Public Broadcasting.  In fact, I believe that the percentage of people who support the BBC through licence fees is far better than support US Public Broadcasting through the extort-a-thon pledge drives.  Despite this, the BBC believes it makes sense to have the TV licence system brow beat the British Public into paying for the service.

Maybe she would get more respect if we just started calling her "Auntie"!

I could get into the TV detector vans, but I will leave that to Peter.  In fact, Peter’s blog does a pretty good job of getting into the excesses and silliness of the TV licensing system.

BUT, I support the licensing system, not the method by which it tries to get people to support it.

The BBC is a British institution.  I would say it is probably more important than the monarchy, which–given that I am a Royalist–is saying a lot about how important the BBC is to British Culture.  As I said in another post, the fact that “Captain UKIP” is not an ardent supporter of the Beeb makes me truly question how much he supports the UK and its culture.  But, I have my opinions about the UKIP as well and they are not good, but that’s not germane to this post.

The BBC should emphasise how much of a British Institution it is and was intended to be.  It is the public face of Britain, which is one of the many problems it has when it tries to block its material from anyone, or seem authoritiarian in getting people to pay their licence fees..

Of course, I think the BBC should be willing to follow one point in the US Public Broadcasting paradigm, which is to accept the support of its public.  And since that public is worldwide, they should accept it from the world–Not just Britain.  But, they also shouldn’t have to resort to extort-a-thons either.

Of course, there are other ways that the BBC could get more funds besides solely relying upon licence fees.  One of the categories of these posts is the BBC archives.  This is for good reason, how much material isn’t released on DVD for various reasons?  For example, the BBC has this institutional hate for the Goodies and have been pretty bad about releasing their material on DVD.  That’s a topic I’ve covered before.

Of course, BBC archival policies have led to the loss of some classic TV.  I’ve mentioned how the BBC destroyed some classic programmes, which can be researched at these sites:

Fortunately, not everyone was as short sited about this material, but it didn’t survive through the efforts of the BBC.  Can the BBC release things such as “Take Three Girls”, “The Reivers”, and so on, or are they lost forever? Is that a lost revenue stream for them?

The licence resister's nightmare, after a few visits from the TV Detector van, these chappies blow their door down and arrest them for not having a TV licence!

If the major problem to this is that there are right’s holders in other countries which would block the iPlayer downloads, then these other rights holders should start trying to make the material more widely available.  Direct TV in the US has “ethnic” packages, why not ptovide British TV to US audiences (other than some of the other digital rights issues involved)?  Isn’t it the remit of the BBC to make sure this material is as widely seen as is possible? I know that the BBC has satellite coverage for most of the world.

The problem with making people pay for iPlayer material is that some of them have already paid the licence fee, but what about paying for accessing some of the archival material (e.g., the BBC 4 Talk Collection)?  Also, why not try to get the material (such as the Goodies) out officially, rather than the bootleg versions one can find on the internet?

Also, what about the people who use iPlayer material, but don’t jhave a licence?  I know that BBC management would like to get them to pay their fair share, which is the topic of the next post.

Does the BBC need the money or not?  What is the best way to try and collect it?

See also:

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,, 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:

Happy Birthday, BBC World Service

The BBC World Service turned 80 Today.  In celebration here is a video of the World Service Idents through the years.

Idents of the BBC Empire Service (up till 1948) followed by the General Overseas Service (till 1980s) including the short time ‘oranges and Lemons’ ident of the 70s. Afther that is Lilliburlero, the world famous ident of the BBC World Service as played from the 90s till 2008. Finally, the Brand New BBC World Service Theme by David Lowe.:

Actually, the BBC adopted Lillibulero during the Second World War and I remember it being used on shortwave during the 70s.

Of course, The Lillibullero opening is something that I remember from my years of living abroad.  Add in the bells which would signal that the BBC was going to be on that short wave frequency

The amusing bit is that the song Lillibullero is a satirical song about British control of Ireland in the Seventeenth Century.

Posted 29/02/2012 by lacithedog in BBC, BBC World Service, Lillibullero

Internet Radio

OK, my vie sans frontiers prefers to not have my information blocked by geographic and other details.  I was a real short wave fan when I was a teen.  Short Wave in those days was really entertaining since it was during the Cold War.  Radio Tirana in Albania was my fav back then for what I describe as news from a stereotypical authoritarian regime.  Now, Short Wave is just the dominion of the total crazies.  To some extent, so is the Internet, but there is also a lot of gems out there.  One of them being internet radio.

Internet radio features several thousand stations and can be accessed by web browsers.  But there are some units out there that allow one to receive internet radio directly via your wi-fi connection.  Unlike satellite radio, internet radio is free and comes through your internet connection.  That in and of itself is the benefit of internet radio since for the most part reception is crap where I live.  I have had to ditch my NAD Tuner since it couldn’t get anything worth listening to.  That means I listen to regular transistor radio receivers.

On the other hand, I can get anything I am truly interested in on the internet.  That means there are all classical music stations, or news stations, or…The list is pretty much limited by your imagination.  I could get NPR material, but realised that it is mostly crap.  Anyway, why listen to NPR when trusted news sources such as the BBC World Service or Radio Nederland Wereldomroep are available on the internet?

The real problem is the stand alone receivers for internet radio since they haven’t really come down in price since they were introduced.  Additionally, there are no wireless internet radio alarm clocks worth mentioning.  Most of them are not really alarm clocks, or they are not of proper quality: not to mention far more expensive than a regular alarm clock!  That means the radio needs to come from a PC connected to a stereo.  Some boffin needs to create an internet radio component that is both PC and AV unit at a decent price and then publicise the thing.

Then we can add in services such as BBC’s iPlayer and 4oD to the mix which makes it sound as if what is needed is some form of small computer that can be browser and AV unit in one.  The ultimate problem is how does one make this material playable throughout a home network?  I just added UPnP to this post.  Personally, I tend to be a user who listens to internet radio and TV as well as my music files on my home system.  I’ve tried various methods to broadcast the material (e.g., home radio transmitter units) with minimal success.

Anyway, the big part of this piece is that internet radio could be far more accessible if someone could come up with a better way to access this material.  Although, I do have to admit to wanting something which is a cheap stand alone internet radio unit to listen to that material throughout my house.

Short of wiring my house for sound.

The Fierce Urgency of Now!

I heard an interesting programme on The BBC World service called The Forum, where they were discussing the long term v. the short term which raised some very interesting issues regarding the US economy and capitalism. Not that many of the things they talked about were revelations, since I say them quite a bit, but they were something which needed to be said somewhere other than this blog. The problem is that USMSM is far too simplistic, even US Public Broadcasting which imagines that it is on par with the BBC.

Illustration by Emily Kasriel: short term thinking imprisoning capitalism and justice.

First off, the US media simplifies the issues, in particular, regarding the US budget. There is too much of an emphasis on making things black and white when the world exists in 256 greyscale. The same goes to US v. THEM in the myriad versions of that theme. Especially when one puts the US v. THEM in religious context. That makes it that WE are RIGHT and THEY are EVIL in a sense of religious fervour. This is why republican lawmakers can take an oath promising “no new taxes” even if it leads to economic Armageddon.

In this viewpoint, the enemy is weak and WE are strong. Compromise is a sign of weakness, not a virtue. So, the lawmakers left and right are obstinate in their positions and not dealing with the issues.  It’s easier to say something is “socialism” and not address the issue than deal with the complicated problems which face the United States.   US Politics has become soundbites:  Bumper Sticker solutions to complicated problems.  Simplistic solutions are meaningless.

You can’t have a sustainable economy when 5-10% of the people own 95% of the assets. The people who own most of the assets will topple the economy if they see it in their best interest.  They are not interested in the public at large.  That is part of the reason that “trickle-down”, “supply side economics”, or whatever you want to call it does not work.  That theory does not factor in greed and selfishness. Anything that addresses the inequality is labelled “Socialism”, or worse, which leads the low information voter to vote against their self-interest.

Michelle Alexander raises some interesting issues on the War on Drugs, in particular that this results in black men losing the civil rights that were gained forty years ago: voting, serving on juries, etcetera. Furthermore, drug crime is on the wain, yet this get tough on crime rhetoric works to channel the systemic racism in the US. This is because “crime” is a code word for “inner city blacks”. Even though Barack Obama is president, there is still systemic racism in the United States.

Next weeks Forum sounds pretty good as well—it’s about political elites!  Of course, that’s another topic that sets me off which is related to this post as well.  Although, the write up says that this programme is about dictators, whereas the US is an oligarchy posing as a democracy.  The masses have been dulled so far into a stupor that they don’t see this.

See also:
BBC World service’s The Forum: 23/07/2011
Wisconsin State AFL-CIO–The Right Wing Agenda