Should we remove the BBC License Fee?

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November 16, 2014 by johnnyseifertradio

The BBC was set up as a PSB in 1922 by the government owned Post Office in order to deal with the various broadcasters giving unity to Britain.  In 1921, the BBC (British Broadcasting Company) started off as a commercial enterprise, building radios sets. The Post Office saw an opportunity for broadcasting and the BBC monopolised the radio industry forming themselves as a PSB. The BBC as a PSB was seen after WW1, as helping to “entertain, inform and educate the nation” to help integrate people back into society. It has been reported that the BBC Licence fee that costs £145 should be replaced by an opt-in subscription. In the past year the BBC gained £3.7 Million through the license fee which is £2.80 a week per a household. If you think about how much you use the BBC,  £2.80 is nothing. With big dramas such as The Missing, Happy Valley, Eastenders and the variety of commercial free radio stations we get from the BBC is £2.80 that extortionate to pay? In recent times there has been an increase in using internet led services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV at an average cost of £7.00. But, how often do you use them if you subscribe?

In 2012 BBC faced a challenge when DQF (Deliver Quality First) effected local radio stations with a20% cut to their budgets. For example, BBC Radio1 Newsbeat when from fifty two reporters to thirty seven.  Furthermore, it led to the closure of BBC 6 Music which due to a big peititon was allowed to say. Interesting enough, according to the latest RAJAR’s of Q3 2014, BBC 6 Music has had audiences over 2 Million, double that of Capital FM and Heart Fm in London. In addition, in 2014 it was announced that BBC 3 would be moving online to save the BBC £80 Million which could be invested into various dramas which can be then sold worldwide through the BBC Commercial arm BBC Worldwide to increase the overall revenue of the BBC as a business.  I would predict the next move would then be for BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio1 Xtra to merge their stations together.  Could you imagine Twin B and Yasmin on the BBC Radio1 Xtra Breakfast show talking up the new One Direction single? The problem here lies that the BBC has always had their remit of catering for very specific audiences based on their class, age, race and to an extent religion. With commercial radio we accept the need for it to run like a business and therefore it will be based on age and lifestyle. A Breakfast show will have three sets of commercial breaks, a competition will be sponsored, a segment will be sponsored and the money will roll in.  Therefore, as a listener you will listen to the station that tries to reflect your needs through the music played. For example, fifteen year olds will go to Capital Fm and hear a six song sweep whilst fifty years old will go to Classic Fm and hear a straight sixteen minute Mozart music score. However, with the BBC wrongly or rightly there are blurred lines with audiences as they seek the radio for entertainment and personality led DJs and that costs! Chris Moyles on BBC Radio1 was paid £670,000 whilst Chris Evans was paid over £1Million back in 2012 for their respective shows which were bringing in over 18 million listeners combined.  Moreover,  last night Christopher Biggins was on BBC Radio 2 hosting the Saturday evening show. I love Biggins and therefore I was more than happy to listen to a station that caters for fourty five years olds plus. If the BBC was to go subscription led would these stations having budget cuts with these personalities playing more music with less links leading to a loss of listeners. We already have a problem in radio that the younger generation are turning to podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, Youtube and Itunes for pleasure. If the BBC does not keep hiring personality led presenters for entertainment the listeners will leave.

Therefore, I would argue to keep the license fee and keep the BBC safe as in turn it keeps me safe in knowing I still have a radio routine to follow!


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