Filson Young: BBC pioneer

This is an account of some parts of Shall I Listen? of 1933. It was the penultimate book by Filson Young (1876-1936). He was a BBC pioneer with instincts about the future of broadcasting which foreshadow the podcast age. He was a snob who disparaged Reithian London-centricity. He was a Londoner who invented a new style of outside broadcasting from a Cornish village. Read more...


14 March 2023

de Botton & misreading “The News”

I have disagreed with most of what I have read of Alain de Botton's work over the years and am not likely to read his latest, The News: A user's manual. In case you do, here is my take on what I understand him to be saying, so you can judge for yourself. In other words, here's a user's manual to his book. Read more...


03 February 2014

How I saved the BBC from the right-wing

All right. My headline may be over-egging things a little. Still, I am pretty sure I helped save the BBC from making a fool of itself over climate change politics. (If I'm wrong, and someone in a position to know lets me know in confidence, I'll cheerfully take this blog down.) The issue is especially interesting to me since I want the BBC to be scrapped but I don't really share the right's horror of its supposed left-wing bias or even the current blogosphere outrage at the BBC's climate coverage. Read more...


15 November 2012

Tessa Jowell’s mutual BBC

Tessa Jowell has proposed that the BBC must be preserved and that it should be a mutual owned and controlled by the licence-fee holders. This is a socialist romantic's vision and it mirrors rather well my "right-wing" proposal for a National Media Trust. Read more...


13 November 2012

Dimbleby half right on BBC management

There was something quite blissful about David Dimbleby's contribution to today's BBC Today programme (12 November 2012). He said the BBC was over-managed, and that such organisations as the BBC and NHS spawned bureaucracies. The paradox here is that he doesn't grasp that one reason that the NHS and the BBC are alike is that they are both state-sponsored behemoths with monolithic tendencies. Read more...


12 November 2012

Reforming the BBC

We should hope all hope that BBC is well-managed. Why not give George Entwistle a nice contract to design an organisational and cultural shake-up, now he's free to concentrate on such a cerebral operation? After all, surely the problems which sank him were of others' making, and Lord Patten says Entwistle was appointed precisely on this ticket? Read more...


11 November 2012

BBC is nearly history now

The BBC won't survive the next five years without massive changes. It'll get (or keep) a lot less licence fee. It is much weaker than it ever has been. It is likely to be privatised. Read more...


20 September 2009

“BBC’s monopoly eroded.” Two cheers.

I told Radio 5's breakfast show that Lord Carter's proposal of a shift of a small, marginal BBC budget toward the ITV regional news operation at least had the merit of breaking the principle of BBC monopoly on state funding. Otherwise, it's not all that clever. Locals should pay for local journalism, and probably use cheaper dissemination than TV. Read more...


16 June 2009
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