I love the BBC, but let’s grow up together…

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I love the BBC.

But just because you love something, doesn’t mean that you don’t think it should change.

One of the things I love about the BBC is the radio podcasts. I like the Friday night comedy podcast. Invariably I get around to listening to it on the train the following week and I am exactly that man on the train who randomly bursts into unrestrained laughter as a result.

But I have no idea why that’s one of  few podcasts that Radio 4 offers. It broadcasts (mostly) high quality programs 24 hours a day, free to listen to from anywhere in the world and yet I can choose from just over 100 (great) podcasts going back several years. I can understand, for example, wanting to make a little bit of money out of say, the Mitchell and Webb tapes, but really, why isn’t *everything else* online.  It’s effectively free in terms of infrastructure (If you start with an infrastructure that can support the iPlayer, podcast distribution is not going to strain you). Indeed, there’s not much stopping you making many of your shorter and more topical TV programs into video podcasts – I’d like to be able to watch the news on the train. I understand that I won’t get Have I Got News for You because they want the DVD sales, but surely nobody is suggesting that Saturday Kitchen should be protected in the same way?

More importantly for the world, I’d think journalists should show their sources. I think that when the BBC news website quotes a scientist about their breakthrough they should a) reference the paper, and b) provide links to the audio for the quotes they’ve used. If you tell me someone tweeted something awful, give me a link so that I can see what they said before and after. Build trust in journalists by showing your work. It’s harder for the print services (although I think it should be done) because their online stuff is a carbon copy of their printed stuff, but as BBC news is web based then you should use it. If you quoted four people, then I’d like at least a link to their homepages or twitter feeds because then they get an unfiltered right of reply.

Slightly more controversially. I have no idea why the BBC bids for the rights to show sports. By definition, if there is a bidding process, then the sport is definitely going to be shown on some channel, so why is the BBC driving up the price for other outlets, or worse, spending public money providing a service that the private sector was going to provide anyway? Let ITV have the football, let channel four have the cricket. Sports people are not saying to themselves, ‘I did want to win this competition and validate my life’s training, but now it’s on 5 I don’t think it’s worth it’. Sports fans are not saying ‘Well I was going to watch my childhood team attempt to win the FA cup, but I’m not watching it on the same network that is willing to show an early James Bond film in the mid-afternoon’.

Anyway… bit of a Monday Morning rant that one…

To play us out, here’s Mitch Benn…




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