More backbone needed at BBC
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More backbone needed at BBC

Ashley Bryne writes: I’m a great believer in the BBC. It’s one of the things that makes me feel proud to be British but I’m sick to the back teeth of the corporation being on the defensive.

There is so much great programming to shout about but all we hear about is compliance, cuts and reviews.

My company, Made in Manchester, has been making programmes for the BBC now for the past 5 years and I can’t think of any time in that five years when there hasn’t been some sort of review going on within the BBC. It creates a climate of instability, worry and constant fear about the future both in-house and in the indie sector.

It’s pretty obvious to all that the BBC is worried about its future and is doing all it can to placate its critics in the political world and the commercial sector. But the constant talk of cuts, over bureaucratic compliance tweaks and reviews about reviews will in my view make things worse for the BBC.

Whatever your opinion about the closures of 6Music and the Asian Network, the news itself perpetuates a general perception that the BBC is in crisis. And it all does is play into the hands of the corporation’s enemies and critics.

BBC radio isn’t actually in crisis. In fact, its main national radio networks are enjoying something of a renaissance with stunning audience figures but, outside the confines of the radio industry, how many people actually know this?

Radio 2 and Radio 4 are unique networks which offer a variety of programming that can’t be found anywhere else in the world but how many people out there really appreciate what they offer?

Rather than spending time doing itself down, the BBC should be shouting its success stories from the rafters and marketing its gems much more widely.

Whilst I often struggle to find quality programming across of a plethora of TV channels offering very little choice, I never have that problem with BBC Radio.

In a culture where listening to audio is now easier than ever (virtually everyone I see in the street has an iPod or a radio stuck in their ear) the BBC press office should be spending its time shouting about what it has to offer.

BBC network documentaries, dramas and comedies are grossly under-promoted to the point that there are whole swathes of the population that don’t even know of their existence.

The BBC should be letting people know that there is far more to radio than music and news talk and use its huge marketing tools to help it, the commercial and indie sector to introduce new audiences to the joys of real quality radio.

Despite the internet and the obsession with having to visualise everything, radio is actually enjoying something of a renaissance.

Next week, I have the pleasure of welcoming a whole host of radio big wigs (BBC and commercial) to the 2nd Radio Production in the North Conference at the Imperial War Museum North opposite Media CityUK. And my message will be simple….’we have the chance to turn that renaissance into a radio revolution if only we stop naval gazing and start to shout about what it is we all so love again.’

[b]Ashley Byrne is Creative Director at [link=]Made in Manchester[/link][/b]

This article was originally published in eRADIO on March 17th. Click [link=]here[/link] to subscribe.

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0 0 481 07 April, 2010 Opinion 4:01 pm 20104 Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

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