Friday, March 23, 2018

It doesn't add up

As we await the unveiling of the BBC's first Podcast Commissioner, we also look forward to an understanding of the funding strategy behind this re-invention of radio.

In the old days, you could only make podcasts by cutting up bits of things that had been already broadcast. Then came the days of announcing a new podcast, and finding odd slots to broadcast them later - like Christmas holidays, or overnight on Radio 1. Now we seem to have BBC podcasts that exist only only to download - but on whose budget ?   Remember BBC Radio used to be run so close to the bone that it threatened to close 6Music; Radio 2 is so strapped it can't afford to be 'live' overnight. The old BBC Trust used to set 'service licences' with an agreed sum of money against each network; has this latest re-invention been run past the new BBC Board ?

Clearly there's not much money in podcasting; one critically-acclaimed offering from the Radio 4 stable offers no fees to contributors, which surely isn't a stable way of moving forward. The Podcast Commissioner will apparently have "a budget for podcast innovation"; licence-fee payers should be told how much it is, and what's being cut from radio to raise the money.

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