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Monday 14 July 2014, 16:03
In the first of two posts Director of Public Policy James Heath sets out thinking around and ideas about some of the key public policy questions facing the BBC.
Tuesday 29 July 2014, 13:05
In recent weeks there have been a few articles about Radio 1’s playlist selection process - some well-informed and some hopelessly wide of the mark. So I thought it would be useful to tell you how it actually works.
The Radio 1 playlist is one of the most famous and influential radio playlists in the world, respected globally by artists, the music industry and the public. So how are the 45 contemporary songs selected each week?
First, it’s worth clearing one thing up; while Radio 1 concentrates on appealing to a young audience, the age of the artist is not an issue. Whether they are 18 or 80 makes no difference to us, as long as their music is relevant to our listeners. And we certainly don’t ever ban artists.
But obviously in a competitive environment and with a limited number of playlist songs, we have to make tough decisions. This means we can’t avoid upsetting people sometimes. But just because an artist is famous or previously playlisted does not guarantee them a spot on the list; we judge each song on its merits and have an obligation to constantly seek out hot new UK acts too.
At the heart of the decision making process is a team of passionate and knowledgeable...
Monday 28 July 2014, 12:05
Since Tony Hall’s speech last autumn we’ve been thinking further about what Radio 1 on BBC iPlayer means and we now want to share that with you.
If you are reading this on the bus or the train, look around you and see how many people are staring at a screen. Welcome to the HD generation – that’s the ‘Head Down’ generation.
As the Controller of one of our key ‘youth’ brands, whose job it is to engage the next generation with the BBC, I have to answer a rather important question: what does Radio 1 look like on a phone, tablet or laptop?
Radio is far from dead. Indeed, radio listening remains remarkably healthy - each week for example, over 40% of all 15-24 year olds in the UK tune into Radio 1. But they’re not listening for as long; instead spending a lot of their time on their favourite device with YouTube and social media - a challenge shared across the music and radio industries. So, my challenge is to make sure that they ‘bump’ into Radio 1 in those spaces.
Since I became Controller of Radio 1 and 1Xtra in October 2011, our strategy has been summarised by the line ‘Listen, Watch, Share’. Our core focus will always be about making great radio programmes...
Friday 25 July 2014, 15:16
Having come to radio comparatively late in life, I’m feeling slightly nervous as my interview slot with Tony Blackburn slowly ticks around. This is the man, after all, whose words, "... And, good morning everyone. Welcome to the exciting new sound of Radio 1" ushered in a new era of BBC radio 47 years ago – and whose knowledge of the medium is (I’m convinced) quickly going to leave my smattering of trivia, internet print-outs, and scribbled marginalia far behind.Tony Blackburn on the opening of Radio 1 on Saturday 30th September 1967 (credit BBC)
“I joined on July 25th 1964 – Radio Caroline South,” Tony says after introductions and my first question about his early days in pirate radio. “I read an advert for DJs in the paper, went up to Caroline House in London, 6 Chesterfield Gardens, and just did an audition. That was on the Friday, and I was broadcasting on the Wednesday.”
Those familiar with the history of UK pirate radio will know a thing or two about Caroline House – the address in Mayfair that became the base of operations for the foremost station of the pirate radio mythos. It was here, and subsequently the Mi Amigo – a three-masted schooner anchored...
Friday 25 July 2014, 11:24
There's only one thing on our minds this week on Red Button, with full coverage of all the action from the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Judo player Euan Burton flies the flag for Scotland
We've got live coverage throughout the day and the evening all this week, as sporting stars from across the Commonwealth take part in events including gymnastics, boxing, rugby 7s, hockey, bowls, netball and squash. We'll also have rolling highlights through the night, as well as a review of each day's action in Tonight at the Games.
Find out more about additional Red Button streams during...
Friday 25 July 2014, 08:50
Pipa Doubtfire, head of revenue management at the BBC, leads the TV Licensing Management Unit – a team responsible for collection of the Licence Fee. Here she shares some surprising facts about TV Licensing on today’s publication of its Annual Review.
The TV Licensing team at the BBC is a small group of experts with a big responsibility – the efficient collection of £3.7bn for the BBC. Whether it’s thrilling sports coverage, cutting-edge documentaries or side-splittingly funny comedy, income from the licence fee helps fund the BBC programmes we know and love.
Our Annual Review is a chance...
Thursday 24 July 2014, 12:57
Reading Ryan Bourne's article I was reminded of Procrustes, in Greek mythology, and his habit of altering travellers' limbs so they would fit perfectly into his bed. The critique of the licence fee that is put forward makes the error of forcing the world to fit a particular narrative arc, and is long on assertion but short on evidence.
My argument was that the policy goals (of social value and universality, great programmes at an affordable price, creative sector investment and independence) are best met via the licence fee. Ryan’s starting-point seems to be that the market will deliver an...
Wednesday 23 July 2014, 08:57
Digital technology is continuing to change the world of learning and nowhere is this more apparent than in the huge range of massive open online courses (MOOCS).This new breed of global online courses emerged from the United States and are proving to be hugely popular with platforms including Coursera and edX providing access to hundreds of courses to students across the world.
In BBC Learning, we have been following the progress of this revolution in online learning very closely and today we are revealing details of an exciting pilot project looking at opportunities for the BBC to work...
Friday 18 July 2014, 15:58
After he spent a week on the About the BBC website, we thought it only polite that we pass the Round Up torch to BBC Trainee Sam Buckett.
The World Cup drew to a close on Sunday and brought to an end the most entertaining football tournament of my own recollection. As such, the come down this week has been fairly intense, but as they say “all good things must come to an end”.
The BBC covered every moment of the football fiesta from Brazil across television, radio, mobile and online- as a football fan it was near impossible to miss any of the action without perhaps falling asleep on a train...
Friday 18 July 2014, 12:20
On Saturday 19 July, a major new exhibition opens at The Lowry in Salford; Here’s One We Made Earlier is the biggest ever celebration of the heritage and continuing importance of BBC Children’s programmes.We all remember the programmes and characters that shaped our childhoods, many of those made by the BBC. Blue Peter to Muffin the Mule, Humpty and Big Ted to CBeebies Bedtime Stories. This exhibition will pull the nostalgic heartstrings of many visitors, and will be just as relevant to the children who visit as it will to their parents and grandparents.
Friday 18 July 2014, 11:44
It’s a big week on BBC Red Button with build-up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games as Glasgow gears up to host athletes from across the globe.
BBC hosts for Commonwealth Games 2014
Golf fans can press red to see extra coverage and highlights of The Open Championship as the action at Hoylake wraps up.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games kick off in Glasgow this week. Red Button is showing previews ahead of the opening ceremony, followed by coverage and highlights of sports such as cycling, boxing and table tennis when the event gets into full swing.
If Formula 1 is more your thing, we...