Wednesday 15 July 2015

Are You Sitting Comfortably?

A posse of film stars are said to be riding to the rescue of the BBC which is said be at risk of being on the wrong end of a "massacree" being planned by the backwoods tribes of the Tory Party led by Chief Getridofem.

Because of what the BBC is, what it has been and what people of wildly differing views say it ought to be there is no shortage of opinions as to the future, if any.  From my own view what it is now is not what it was intended to be and cannot be sustained for the future in its present form.

In effect it is a state sponsored body that has shape shifted in the near century since its origins, see Wikipedia for a brief outline.  It is now a Statutory Corporation under a Royal Charter.  The charter is now up for grabs raising the question of what corporate status might be coming next.

There is also the said to be the four billion pound budget and how it is paid for, the licence fee, in effect a state media tax, is a major part but it earns money in other ways.  Inevitably, being a state body it attracts close attention to the salaries etc. it pays and how it decides on this or that and what it seems to be saying.  This is not always clear.

Personally, my first hearing of the radio was in the late 1930's and from the 1950's onwards I have been at umpteen live and recorded events and performances in a number of venues including ones at Broadcasting House and Maida Vale.  Doing screen tests for a couple of stints on TV was an intriguing caper.

In its work in the past there is a good deal to thank the BBC for and to recognise as both valuable and necessary in broadcasting.  But just as they cannot be 100% wrong they cannot be 100% right.  My view is that in the last decade or two it has been slipping slowly but surely from more right to more wrong and it is getting worse.

Bluntly, the structure of services does not meet needs.  What it is doing within those services often is out of key with the present day.  It has an overblown management and administration which has now become an obstacle to progressive change.  It is too often using hundreds for work that could be done by tens.

Also, because it at times has had to be in some respects a propaganda element in the media, it is becoming clear that this is not so much something in the system, it has now become one of the major management objectives.  It is trying to force the making of opinion as opposed to recording and discussing it.

In the 1920's it might have been entering a Brave New World but in the 2020's it will be a terrified and chaotic new world in which if anything it could be adding to the disruption and problems on its present form.  Just what it might become and in what form we cannot know.

Some say it should be left to the market, but it is not a free and open market, it could fall into the hands of one group of oligarchs or another.  Some say it might be a scaled down basic state service picking up the disregarded bits and pieces, like the Arts and local services.

Some say get rid of it altogether, but there is a lot to lose.  What is ironic is that the BBC has been so cavalier and thoughtless of its archive what might have been its greatest treasure is to all intents and purposes lost.

What is most likely is major cuts leaving a lopsided leaderless quango cum cut down collection of services that will gradually fade away into history.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. Poor management, bloated bureaucracy, obsession with celebrity culture and an inability to make the best use of its archive have ruined the BBC.

    It is too late to fix it, the damage is done.