The BBC’s strategic review

I’ve finally had the time to read, in full, the BBC’s Strategy Review. The one that caused so much furore in the (broadsheet) media about the closing of 6Music, and which also included plans to shut BBC Blast and BBC Switch, both targeted and teens and the first an admirable venture which was once seemingly at the centre of the corporation’s vision for learning. I haven’t seen the numbers on takeup, but this seems to be a decision to leave the teen learning space to Channel 4, who have been making the running for a little while now (if not as ambitiously as many, including me, might like). This is probably a fairly sensible admission of defeat, and is good politics, if a great shame for Blast, which was at least a very good idea (I never really investigated it fully).

The review never really addressess the perennial and fundamental issue. This is the BBC’s constant need to balance audience numbers with “distinctiveness” (which is impossible to define) and “public service” (which is an essentially elitist idea and therefore potentially horribly unpopular as well as unmeasureable and undefineable). And, of course, to fend off its (sometimes justified, sometimes not) commercial critics.

So, as usual, it’s a fudge. Does anyone who does believe in the idea of “public service” (like me) have a way of justifying it which doesn’t sound elitist when you try to write it down? I am trying – will post anything if it comes to me…

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