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“Given the growth of the commercial sector, the funding of BBC radio from the licence fee is no longer necessary” Discuss.

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Donna Staton 9916626 Radio Production Adam Briggs "Given the growth of the commercial sector, the funding of BBC radio from the licence fee is no longer necessary" Discuss. What is the difference between commercial and BBC radio? The main difference between commercial and BBC radio is their sources of funding, Commercial radio is so called because it relies on the income that advertisers pay to air their commercial on the radio station. This method of funding can be good to encourage competition between stations to provide the best radio show so that people tune in. The higher the number of listeners, the more an advertiser will pay to reach the audience. BBC radio is funded by a licence fee, which everyone must pay who owns a television. The focus on the television side of the BBC means that the financial pressure to produce a good radio station is less and therefore many people question whether or not there is any need to keep funding radio in this way. What is the licence fee? The licence fee was first introduced in November 1922 and was set at 10 shillings. ...read more.


The BBC is currently fighting a battle with the government and the public over a proposed 3 pound increase in the licence fee to fund digital development. The BBC has sufficient money to support it's current television and radio interest and through BBC worldwide Limited they distribute their programmes to other channels and also publish books, CD's, audiotapes, books and magazines. They have a good brand image for quality and relative to other commercial stations they are considered impartial. The original Reithian policy has left remnants of the BBC's image of educating while entertaining. The success of their multimedia exam revision guide, GCSE Bitesize has shown that the brand still holds factual credibility. Why should we want to stop using the licence fee to fund an industry which 50% of all radio listeners listen to? The money, which would be saved by stopping funding the BBC radio stations, could be used to help advance the BBC in fields that will ensure it's long term success. Audio and visual communication systems are becoming digital and many of the BBC's current services are analogue. The equipment and time needed to bring it's output up to the technical standards of digital providers like BskyB and safeguard it's future will ...read more.


However, BBC radio accounts for 40% of the BBC's audience. To leave this vast number of receivers at the hands of a commercially funded venture could spell disaster for the BBC. In the 2000 Broadcasting Press Guild Awards for Television and Radio all the nominations for the categories of Radio factual, Radio entertainment/music and Radio drama were from the BBC. This shows that BBC radio is considered to be of the highest quality in Britain, second to none. Coupled with it's 51.3% audience share this shows that BBC radio is a valuable asset for the corporation and an end to funding from the licence fee would put this in jeopardy. Conclusion From the evidence for and against the funding of BBC radio from the licence fee it seems clear that it is an important part of the BBC with large listening figures, quality output and a credible reputation. It appears that the solution to the BBC's funding problems would not be to rid itself of one of it's more successful ventures. I would say that it would be wiser to have a separate digital branch of the BBC with separate funding. I feel that the growth in radios commercial sector, while substantial, is not enough to threaten the BBC. ...read more.

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