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March 03, 2010

Comments

Luis Enrique

"mistakenly" popular? the people don't know what's good for them?

I'm not so sure the goal of retaining what's popular, in a service funded by compulsory contributions from the populace, is such a bad idea, although I agree that putting weight on "doing what commercial broadcasters can't" makes sense.

On a related note, a large strand of literature looks at "program capture" ( see http://ideas.repec.org/p/wbk/wbrwps/1956.html ) meaning that the well connected, educated etc. play the system better, and direct public spending in their direction. I think we're seeing that in the reaction to the idea of closing 6 Music - that's hitting the educated urbanite right where it hurts, and the backlash (from people like me) is loud. If he is a bully, he'll cave in on 6 Music.

Jackart

"could be the bastard model for government spending cuts. These too might be determined not by genuine efficiency, but by what bullying bosses feel they can get away with most easily."

Which is why you need a Tory party idealogicaly driven to cut, who have a chance of beating the bureaucratic self-interest, where Labour, in hoc to the producers will simply take the advice they're given. Front-line services get cut, the Bureaucracy doesn't.

Luis Enrique

how do "bottom up" organizations make cuts?

Tim Almond

"Secondly, the areas of the BBC that are most vulnerable to cuts are often those with smaller audiences, as these have less public support. But in many cases, a small audience is evidence that the BBC is fulfilling its public service remit, because it’s doing something that the private sector - motivated by the desire for large audiences - wouldn’t. "

I'm not sure I buy the thing about large audiences. There are always niches which businesses will fill, and that's the same with radio. There were Asian radio stations around long before the BBC Asian Network, and XFM was an indie station before 6music.

I really struggle to buy into "public goods" argument about the BBC any longer, especially when so much of the best drama and comedy comes from the United States.

The Great Simpleton

The BBC can't sell any radio or TV station. They use spectrum which is publicly owned and licensed to them. What they can do is put that spectrum back in the pot for Ofcom to do with as it pleases, within its remit.

This is why giving up 6 and the Asian network may be the most efficient thing to do, they are wasting spectrum which could be used for for a higher (better?) purpose - maybe a commercial one!

Paul Sagar

Woah woah woah.

What happened to Marxian structural analysis? If capitalists aren't bastards, than why is Mark Thompson?

Alternative reading: Thompson is forced to cut BBC6 because the BBC competes in an a quasi-market environment. Propose to pay all their crap big-name celebrities less, and they all fuck off to Sky and ITV. BBC ratings fall, the license fee gets called into question...compelte the boxes.

Radio 1 and 2 stay on the basis they pull in punters. BBC 1 and 3 because they likewise please the crowds.

Radio 3 and BBC 4 stay because the license fee dictates that provision can't just be lowest-common-Murdoch shite.

Which leaves notta-lotta room for cutting.

Thompson is constrained by structural circumstance.

Shame on you - of all people! - for making the personal conclusion.

Go hang out with Stoke City in the naughty corner.

Metatone

Have to agree with Paul and Luis, a sustainable public remit involves pulling in the crowds...

Also, even the populist channels (e.g. Radio 1) tend to maintain commercially unviable high standards of production and content - the private competitors to Radio 1 are mostly cruder, uglier and generally less witty than Chris Moyles (which is rather scary if you think about it...)

Grumpy Optimist - Andrew Richardson

Exactly - well put. Which is why a big Tory selling point should be that they can cut better than Labour. Labour will keep their power sources sweet and cut the weak. The Tories by contrast, will genuinely support the front line.
Can someone tell me why Cameron does not hammer this time and time again?

John Terry's Mum

The BBC news website is utter sh*te and I would gladly see it cut back on the idiotic non-stories on their front page.

They seem obsessed with putting video of a cat stuck in a shoe or a man in Pakistan with a hat made of cheese ("oddbox" etc).

ortega

I remember Sir Humphrey, you know, from Yes, Minister, when proposed to subsidize football in the same way that he wants to give money to Covent Garden Opera House.
'No, he says, they like football. They pay it for themselves.'

Daniel

Luis: "I'm not so sure the goal of retaining what's popular, in a service funded by compulsory contributions from the populace, is such a bad idea, although I agree that putting weight on "doing what commercial broadcasters can't" makes sense."

This is incongruous: Whatever isn't commercial cannot -by hypothesis- be made by anyone but the BBC. Otherwise, what would be the point of such compulsory contribution?

Paul: "Woah woah woah. What happened to Marxian structural analysis? If capitalists aren't bastards, than why is Mark Thompson?"

The point isn't that character, i.e the property of being a bastard, is relavant, but that the way systems are organized explains why they allow the bastards in. Explaining the latter isn't the same thing as exculpating the bastards (see http://centerfornaturalism.blogspot.com).

P.S. The "privitize" link seems to be broken.

Abdullah

I admire Jackass. He's a troll on his own blog.

Richard Gadsden

XFM:6Music::ClassicFM:R3

Radio 3 is sacrosanct because it does classical music seriously and no commercial station can, so Classic FM does classical music unseriously (Katherine Jenkins, et al - see http://welovekatherinejenkins.blogspot.com/ for how much looking down nose the Classic FM music gets).

And that's exactly the problem that 6Music fans have with XFM - it's trying to sell their music to people who aren't fans of it already, instead of preaching to the converted.

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