Archives for October 2010

Could advertisements fund the World Service?

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Cathy Packe | 16:01 UK time, Friday, 29 October 2010

This week our inbox has been overflowing with emails about the recently-announced changes to the way the World Service is to be funded from 2014, when, like the rest of the BBC, it will be paid for from the UK TV licence.


BBC Director General Mark Thompson outside Television Centre, London.
Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC, outside Television Centre last week. Picture: Getty Images


Interestingly, quite a number of listeners outside the UK want to be able to make financial contribution – although as Alice Choyke from Hungary points out, “it is clearly not possible to make this mandatory”. 

So it’s a topic that Rajan raises on this week’s programme with Professor Stephen Barnett, from the University of Westminster.  He rules out the idea of listeners’ contributions – you can hear why on the programme.

Rajan asked him whether advertising might be a better option.

Professor Barnett’s view is that “there’ll be a lot of people against that because there is a problem with contaminating the BBC brand, and I think both the BBC corporately and its listeners and viewers would worry about that”.

So we’re interested to know what you think about that. 

Would listening to adverts between programmes drive you mad? Would you feel it was contaminating the brand?  Or would you be happy if it meant there was more money available for programmes? 

We also hear from a regular listener, Dipak Bhandari from Kathmandu in Nepal, who tells Rajan how valuable the World Service is in his country. 

And to reinforce his point, we also hear from Narayan Shrestha, who presents a discussion programme made by the World Service Trust and broadcast on 130 radio stations across Nepal.

The idea is to let listeners speak directly to politicians, something they don’t have the opportunity to do elsewhere.

Cathy Packe is the Producer, Over To You

Over To You is your chance to have your say about the BBC World Service and its programmes. It airs at 00:40, 03:40 and 12:40 every Sunday (GMT).


All change: BBC Trust head Michael Lyons discusses World Service future

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Cathy Packe | 19:27 UK time, Friday, 22 October 2010

For listeners to the World Service – and those of us who work for it – this has been a pretty dramatic week

The British government has announced a reduction in the budget of 16% in real terms; and it has also decided that from 2014 the World Service will be funded entirely by the licence fee paid by everyone in the UK who owns a TV set.

So we’ve devoted most of this week’s programme to looking at how all this will affect you, the listeners.

You can hear Rajan talking to Sir Michael Lyons, chairman of the BBC Trust, which is the body that governs the corporation. 

Several listeners have already expressed their concerns that British licence payers might not want their money to go towards the World Service, and Rajan put this point to Sir Michael.  As you’ll hear on the programme, the reply was optimistic. 

We’ll look forward to hearing whether you share this optimism.

Rajan also talks to Torin Douglas, the BBC’s media correspondent, to find out more about which programmes and services might be cut, and what the World Service will look like in the future.  His view is that it will retain its distinctive tone – but that things are certainly going to be very different.

And there’s an interview with the former head of the British Army, Sir Richard Dannatt, who shares with us his views on the importance of the network’s presence in conflict zones around the world as a source of factual news.

Cathy Packe is the Producer, Over To You


Over To You is your chance to have your say about the BBC World Service and its programmes. It airs at 00:40, 03:40 and 12:40 every Sunday (GMT).




Chile miners: Too much coverage on the BBC?

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Rajan Datar | 11:49 UK time, Friday, 15 October 2010

Many of you have followed the media story of the week – perhaps even of the century so far – the rescue of 33 Chilean miners.

Chilean Mining Minister Laurence Golborne faces the media pack. Picture: Getty Images

BBC head of Global News Peter Horrocks hailed the coverage as "the most remarkable display of vibrant journalism across the BBC’s services".

To find out more about the scale of the media operation, I spoke to Eva Salinas, who reported on the events at Camp Hope, for her newspaper, the Santiago Times, who told me that the media coverage of the story was almost as much of an event as the story itself.

Please let us know whether the coverage was overkill or just right, and whether the media should leave the miners alone now.

Future of the World Service

It’s clear from the Over To You in-box that many of you care passionately about the future shape of the World Service.

With the UK’s public spending cuts about to be announced, and savings already underway at the World Service, you have been offering us some interesting ideas about how to fund your favourite radio station.

From Kenya, Dr Unyime Nseyo described the BBC as ‘the UK’s cultural link to its old and new worlds’,

From Finland, Neil Smee said the World Service "has always been my companion".

In the UK, listener Jonathan Meldrum describes the World Service as "an iridescent jewel among radio stations".

So if the UK government’s money for the World Service is going to be reduced, are there other funding models which might apply?

Some people suggest listeners might pay for a service which they value so highly, so this week on Over To You we asked Michael Goldfarb, a former London correspondent for National Public Radio in the USA, whether the NPR model might work? He had a pretty direct answer – and it wasn’t positive!

Rajan Datar is the presenter of Over To You.

Over To You is your chance to have your say about the BBC World Service and its programmes. It airs at 00:40, 03:40 and 12:40 every Sunday (GMT).

Commonwealth Games (finally) kicks off

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Cathy Packe | 17:20 UK time, Friday, 1 October 2010

Given the amount of news coverage there’s been from Delhi in the past couple of weeks about the preparations – or lack of them – for the Commonwealth Games, it’s easy to forget they don’t actually start until this weekend.

There will be live commentary on the opening ceremony in Sportsworld on Sunday, and the main commentators – Russell Fuller and Mukesh Sharma, sports editor of BBC Hindi – both make an appearance on Over To You this week.

Mukesh tells Rajan about a new twitter service that he’ll be providing for the BBC Sport website – the quickest way, he believes, of getting the headline developments out to as wide an audience as possible.  He has some interesting thoughts on the importance of twitter, rather than more conventional forms of news broadcasting, as you can hear on this week’s programme. 

And Russell Fuller tells Rajan some of the secrets of being a sports commentator – what he does when things go wrong, for example, or when a match or tournament just goes on and on and he needs to liven up the dull bits.

Korea comparison

And we also hear from the BBC’s China Editor, Shirong Chen, about how the recent party conference in North Korea has been reported in that country – a place where the media is more restricted than almost anywhere else in the world. He makes an interesting comparison between North Korea in 2010 and China in the 1970s, as you can hear in this week’s Over To You.

We also hear from a listener in Barbados, Julius Gittens, who got in touch after hearing about some of the cuts to the World Service that were announced last week. 

If you haven’t heard all the details you can find out more on Over To You this week... and do let us know what you think about what’s already been announced – and about what else should or shouldn’t be cut.

Cathy Packe is the Producer, Over To You

Over To You is your chance to have your say about the BBC World Service and its programmes. It airs at 00:40, 03:40 and 12:40 every Sunday (GMT).

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