Monday, 25 October 2010

BBC you later...

The BBC has, for a long time, been something of a concern to me, as I'm sure it is to many other hacks around the UK and beyond.

Coming from a commercial standpoint - I have never worked for Aunty - it is easy to be angry at those who work within the vast estate that is the Beeb.

They don't have to 'earn' their money, as such, have lost no staff due to 'diminishing advertising revenue' (I can honestly recite that phrase verbatim having heard and read it so much in recent years) and, if perceptions are to be believed, seem to enjoy greater resources for even the smallest of assignments when compared to others.

A colleague of mine informed me, as we here at Hapless Times were putting together the newsroom plan for General Election coverage, that the count she was attending did not have 'wifi'.

I had been briefed, so understood that many reporters were expected to write and send stories throughout the night via the internet to give our readers a blinding, live insight into events, as they happened.

"But we could do what the BBC has done," she said, somewhat sheepishly. "And pay to have broadband installed at the count."

Imagine my consternation. Taking her - and the press officer who told her - word at face value, I am still somewhat pissed off by this.

The BBC - and as it later emerged from said press officer, Sky News - had teamed up to have broadband installed so that their coverage wouldn't be affected.

Fuck me, but that is not what I pay my license fee for I'm afraid.

Ground-breaking television, yes. Hell, I'll even cough up for those wildlife programs my mum likes, but broadband for one night? Feck off.

The BBC, for me, is not there to compete with the likes of Sky News, CNN, ITV, hell, even local or regional newspapers.

It is there to be the national broadcaster. To present news, television and the likes in an impartial, unbiased fashion.

Does it matter if it breaks the news first? Not really. So long as it gets there in the end with the facts and figures all stacked up, they shouldn't give a shit.

So why are they using my money to have broadband installed?

Anyway, all of this is really a ranting way of getting round the news that the BBC is facing a 16% cut as part of the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review - or as it has been labelled, the CSR (which sounds like a motorcycle to me but there you go).

My response? Why the fuck shouldn't they?

Is there anyone, working in local, regional, even on most national papers, that has not felt the pinch? That has not sweated over whether they will be among those facing the chop when the MD calls the editorial staff together for another "announcement"?

Quite frankly, it's about time the BBC took a share of the pain.

Here's a suggestion to the BBC: Sell that heap of shit Strictly Come Dancing to ITV, along with anything which could be sold for a lot of money, and actually cut my license fee.

Brucie could be sold too. And Graham Norton. And Chris Moyles.

Because what is the BBC doing paying these people ludicrous salaries when that is not what they're there for?

You could get someone to present Strictly, if they kept it, that would cost half Brucie's salary (me, for example). Yeah, I'd be rubbish, but what does it matter?

Hell, I'd even make my own way there and back for £500 a show.

As usual, my point could have been made so much more succinctly were I not to whitter on, so a cursory glance at a breakdown of the BBC figures reveals some interesting facts (granted, these are for 2005-2006, I couldn't get a similar chart any more up to date).

Of our monthly license fee, the spend is broken down thus:

BBC One: £3.52
BBC Two: £1.52
Transmission and collection costs: £1.08
Nations and English regions TV: £1.04
BBC Radio 1,2,3,4 & Five Live: £1.02
Digital: £1
Nations' and local radio: 68p
BBC Online: 36p
BBC Jam: 14p
Digital radio stations: 10p
Interactive TV: 8p

Forgive me, but what the fuck is BBC Jam (strike from my costs)? And I know lots of people who can't get digital TV or radio (strike interactive and digital radio).

Already I've saved 32p. No, it's not a lot, but of the £10.54, it's more than 3%, so it's a start eh?

Get rid of Chris Moyles' salary and I think my work here is almost done...

Oh, and don't forget, you can follow me nowadays on Twitter - I'm still on an enormously pleasing seven followers - via @HaplessHack

I will return with my first experience just as soon as I can find the conversation and work out how to display it here. As I've said, I'm new to all that tweeting business.

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