The BBC and CBC weigh in…

Paul Brannan, the Deputy Editor of BBC News Interactive, offers a candid assessment of the state of public broadcasting here in the US – and back home in London. It seems the BBC’s way ahead of us, as Paul, who spoke at the 2007 Integrated Media Association Conference here, explains. He’s an evangelist for “integrated media” and knows from hard experience what that abstract phrase actually means.
Click here: to listen to the interview (8.5 minutes).

Across the pond in Canada, Sue Gardner is the Senior Director of CBC.CA, the website of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She shared the podium with Paul at the conference, and offers her views on ThoughtCast about how to remain “relevant” in today’s evolving media marketplace — in other words, how to broaden the appeal of public broadcasting without “dumbing down”!
Click here: to listen to the interview (6 minutes).

To listen to a discussion on “Open Content and Public Broadcasting” on the WGBH Forum Network, click here.

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5 Responses to The BBC and CBC weigh in…

  1. Allan March 15, 2007 at 3:02 pm #

    Ms. Gardner is in charge of a web site, not of programming.
    To my ears, she seemed to be saying that her employer is in general not reaching a specific age group effectively.
    To do so the CBC needs to, and can, embrace popular culture in an intelligent way in order to be relevant to that age group.
    I think she had in mind a more general audience when she suggests increasing sports coverage.
    She’s certainly on the right track about using the net for dialogue between broadcaster and audience.
    In the last twelve years I’ve seen the web go from basic html to full-blown multi-media presentations and even original commercial television programming.
    Will the next twelve see the internet become the dominant broadcaster to the world?

  2. Joe March 13, 2007 at 2:57 pm #

    It not being within my purview to assign a mission to public radio, I checked NPR’s own mission statement.
    They’ve certainly been following through on maintaining the satellite interconnection. And to a great extent they continue to inform the public. At times, though, they appear to be following Sue Gardner’s lead toward softer, “popular” programming of dubious value. I’m unimpressed by the proliferation of phone-in talk shows. While it may on occasion be mildly interesting to know what the man in the street thinks about a given issue, it’s far more informative to hear from an expert, and an experienced journalist can be expected to be more skilled at eliciting that information than an average radio listener would be.

    NPR’s Mission Statement:
    The mission of NPR is to work in partnership with member stations to create a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures. To accomplish our mission, we produce, acquire, and distribute programming that meets the highest standards of public service in journalism and cultural expression; we represent our members in matters of their mutual interest; and we provide satellite interconnection for the entire public radio system.


  3. Jenny March 13, 2007 at 10:56 am #

    Hi Joe,
    What IS public radio’s mission do you think? And has it changed of late?

  4. Joe March 13, 2007 at 8:56 am #

    Sue Gardner states that she’s “never had that concern about dumbing down”. Perhaps she should. She asserts that the BBC has been producing “some very interesting reality television” — but she doesn’t fill us in on what that might be. It’s hard to believe that 18-to-35 year-olds are suffering from a dearth of sports coverage and social networking sites.
    If ‘Car Talk’ is the most highly rated program on NPR, what does that say about the dumbing down of public media? Sure, I enjoy the Magliozzis–I listen to the show, and I don’t even own a car–but if it’s the de facto flagship of NPR I wonder if public radio has strayed from its mission.

  5. David Tames March 6, 2007 at 2:54 pm #

    Thanks for the brief yet insightful discussion of issues facing public broadcast on both sides of the pond as the audience splinters.

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