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British Broadcasting

British Broadcasting: Radio and Television in the United Kingdom

Copyright Date: 1956
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 472
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  • Book Info
    British Broadcasting
    Book Description:

    British Broadcasting was first published in 1956. Those interested in the uses and abuses of the airwaves frequently indulge in lively debates over the merits of British broadcasting policies and practices as compared to their American counterparts. Most such arguments, however, are based on scanty knowledge of actual facts about British broadcasting. Now this gap of information is remedied by the comprehensive survey which Dr. Paulu presents in this book. He traces the development of both radio an television broadcasting from their inception in Britain to the present and assays the results. Dr. Paulu did the basic research for this volume as a Fulbright scholar in London in 1953-54, when the new Independent Television Authority was being debated in Parliament and the British Broadcasting Corporation was laying its plans to meet competition. While he frequently compares British and American practices, the author believes that broadcasting must be studied in its own national setting. He treats the subject, therefore, in the British context rather than the American. He describes the development of the BBC as a noncommercial public corporation with a monopoly of British broadcasting and reviews the factors that led to the emergence of the commercially supported ITA. He places major emphasis on program descriptions but also discusses audience reactions, staff and technical facilities, and finances. The book offers valuable data for students and teachers in communications courses as well as for those engaged in radio or television on either side of the Atlantic.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6395-8
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-2)
  3. CHAPTER 1 Broadcasting in the United Kingdom
    (pp. 3-7)

    BRITISH broadcasting is often discussed in the United States — as is American broadcasting in the United Kingdom. These discussions, however, spring more from a desire to prove that one or the other system is good or bad by comparison, than from the view that broadcasting in itself is important and interesting. From debates on the merits of the two systems, unfortunately, neither country learns much about the broadcasting of the other.

    In the United States, British broadcasting is cited in support of two conflicting points of view. One is taken by those segments of the broadcasting industry which assume that...

  4. CHAPTER 2 The Constitution of the British Broadcasting Corporation
    (pp. 8-42)

    OF THE two organizations licensed by the British Government to do broadcasting in the United Kingdom, the British Broadcasting Corporation must still be considered the basic one. It still has a monopoly on all radio broadcasting, and antedating the Independent Television Authority by three decades, it has a history to review and a record to appraise. The Independent Television Authority, on the other hand, is only in its formative stages: its basic legal structure has been established, but its long-range program policies and operating plans remain to be developed.

    Radio broadcasting in Great Britain began in February 1920 with experimental...

  5. CHAPTER 3 The Structure of the Independent Television Authority
    (pp. 43-74)

    WITH the creation of the Independent Television Authority in 1954, the British Broadcasting Corporation for the first time faced competition. The ITA, therefore, is important not only in itself, but also for its potential influence on the policies and programs of the BBC.

    Such a revolution, in what was widely regarded as the world’s principal stronghold of noncommercial monopoly broadcasting, took place only after extensive activity behind the scenes and nationwide public discussion. The Beveridge Committee in January 1951 had recommended the extension of the corporation’s Charter and Licence on the same basis as before. The Labour government concurred, and...

  6. CHAPTER 4 The Financial Operations of the British Broadcasting Corporation
    (pp. 75-92)

    FINANCIAL data are seldom exciting, although often very revealing. Those of the British Broadcasting Corporation show the extent of its operations; they indicate the relative importance of its major program divisions; and they contribute to an understanding of its close relationship with the British government.

    In 1954-1955 the BBC’s total income was £25,828,482 ($72,319,749), of which £20,804,987 ($58,253,963) was for domestic radio and television broadcasting, and £5,023,495 ($14,065,786) for External Broadcasting (broadcasting for overseas audiences).* Total expenditures for the year amounted to £24,426,572 ($68,394,401). Of these £19,366,601 ($54,-226,482) were for the domestic services and £5,059,971 ($14,167,918) for the External Services....

  7. CHAPTER 5 The Staff of the British Broadcasting Corporation
    (pp. 93-122)

    THE British Broadcasting Corporation has more full-time employees than any other broadcasting organization in the world — more than any government-operated national system, more than any American network. Taken together the stations on one of America’s networks have more employees than does the BBC; but since most such stations are independently owned, their employees cannot properly be considered part of the network’s staff. The NBC radio and television staffs, and the people employed by the several NBC-owned stations, for example, totaled about 4,000 in 1955; and the figure for CBS was 5,000; but the BBC topped either of these by a...

  8. CHAPTER 6 The Technical Facilities of British Broadcasting
    (pp. 123-142)

    ENGINEERING is basic to broadcasting. Without transmitters, there can be no broadcasts. Without studios and other origination facilities, there can be no programs. Unless there is an orderly allocation of radio frequencies and television channels, the best broadcasts may become meaningless jumbles of interfering sounds and pictures.¹

    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which covers 93,857 square miles, is about equal in size to the two American states of New York and Pennsylvania, which together total 94,909 square miles. But the United Kingdom is far more populous than these two American states, having 50,212,000 people to their...

  9. CHAPTER 7 BBC Radio Programs: News, Talks, Education, and Religion
    (pp. 143-202)

    THE British Broadcasting Corporation is chartered “to provide . . . broadcasting services . . . for general reception” because of “the great value of such services as means of disseminating information, education and entertainment.” Its license requires it to “send efficiently on every day,” and specifically to “broadcast an impartial account day by day . . . of the proceedings in both Houses of the United Kingdom Parliament.”¹ This is the extent, however, of the exact program requirements imposed upon the domestic services of the corporation by either Charter or Licence.*

    A high conception of public service responsibility has...

  10. CHAPTER 8 BBC Radio Programs: Entertainment and Music
    (pp. 203-234)

    PROGRAMS of news, talks, and education may be most important in terms of policy, but those broadcasts under the jurisdiction the controllers of Entertainment and Music have the largest audiences, and hence provide the main point of contact between the BBC and most British listeners. Included here are drama, features, children’s programs, outside broadcasts, and variety, which are subject to the Controller of Entertainment, and musical programs under the Controller Music.

    One expects — and gets — good drama from the BBC. The basic reasons for this far antedate the invention of broadcasting. The British theater has flourished from the times of...

  11. CHAPTER 9 The Development of Television in the United Kingdom
    (pp. 235-255)

    THE British are proud of their world leadership in television. A Scot working in London was the first person to transmit by radio a picture that moved. Later he was the first man to send a television image across the Atlantic Ocean. But British television’s most distinguished “first” was in the program field: in 1936 the BBC went on the air with the world’s first regular television program service.¹

    Basic experiments in television were conducted in several countries following the discovery of the light-sensitive properties of selenium in 1873. Dr. Paul Nipkow, a German, invented the scanning disc in 1884,...

  12. CHAPTER 10 BBC Television Programs: Outside Broadcasts, Drama, Films, and Entertainment
    (pp. 256-290)

    TELEVISION broadcasting in all countries grew out of a background of radio broadcasting. Television’s legal structure, financial basis, programing policies, operating standards, and key personnel were derived mainly from sound broadcasting, although the film industry also contributed heavily. The objectives of the BBC in television programing followed the principles established for British radio. Much of what has been said previously about BBC radio, therefore, applies to television too.

    It already has been pointed out that British radio programing may divided into four periods: the formative years (1922 to 1939); the war years (1939 to 1945); the period of postwar expansion...

  13. CHAPTER 11 BBC Television Programs: Information and Education
    (pp. 291-324)

    THE phrase in the BBC’s Charter that most nearly approaches American broadcasting’s “interest, convenience and necessity” clause, is that referring to the value of broadcasting services “as means of disseminating information, education and entertainment.” The BBC, while always providing “entertainment,” has, as a result of its status as a noncommercial public corporation, placed particular emphasis on its programs of “information” and “education.” These include news, talks, and documentaries. A consideration of programs for children, of music, and of international exchange programs will conclude this survey of BBC television.

    BBC television has had an excellent newsreel since 1948, but made no...

  14. CHAPTER 12 The Program Operations of the Independent Television Authority
    (pp. 325-341)

    BOTH its friends and its foes agree that the Independent Television Authority performed miracles in getting on the air by September 1955. It is true that political considerations stimulated this haste. Because there was the chance that the Labour party might repeal the Television Act if it were returned to office, the ITA wanted to begin broadcasting before the threat of a change of government was posed by the general election, which was originally expected to take place in October but later moved up to May. But whatever its motives, the ITA performed magnificently in getting on the air when...

  15. CHAPTER 13 The Audience for British Broadcasting
    (pp. 342-381)

    IN MAY 1953 readers of America’sBusiness Weekmagazine were amused at a story linking water consumption to the popularity of television programs: consumption was down during interesting telecasts, but when less attractive programs or commercials came on, there was a great increase, indicating there were fewer people before their sets.¹ But this method of audience measurement was not new, however startling it may have seemed to readers ofBusiness Week.Lord Reith in his autobiography² tells how back in 1935 he informed King Edward VIII “that water engineers could provide a pretty clear indication of the popularity of broadcast...

  16. CHAPTER 14 External Broadcasting
    (pp. 382-410)

    EXTERNAL Broadcasting is broadcasting for audiences outside the United Kingdom.* The External Broadcasting Division presents eighty hours a day of programs in over forty languages for listeners all over the world. It operates a transcription service which distributes recordings and scripts to stations in many countries. It maintains a monitoring service to report on important foreign broadcasts. It provides liaison in the United Kingdom between the corporation and foreign broadcasting organizations; maintains offices abroad for the same purpose; lends its studios and other facilities to foreign stations and networks originating programs in the United Kingdom; and arranges training courses and...

    (pp. 413-413)
    (pp. 414-415)
    (pp. 416-419)
    (pp. 420-421)
    (pp. 422-422)
    (pp. 423-423)
    (pp. 423-423)
    (pp. 424-425)
  25. NOTES
    (pp. 426-447)
    (pp. 448-452)
  27. INDEX
    (pp. 453-457)