[Swprograms] Re: [dxld] Why is BBC World Service reducing its short wave provision?
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[Swprograms] Re: [dxld] Why is BBC World Service reducing its short wave provision?

Complete and utter b.s. IMHO.

The sales figure for shortwave radios in the US alone is UP each and 
every one of the past seven years.  The number being manufactured in 
and pumped out of China continues to go up almost exponentially.

The BBC would like everyone to believe that sw listening is down, so it 
uses (cleverly, but dishonestly) figures for *its* shortwave audience.  
Well, if you've eliminated both North America and Australasia from your 
shortwave coverage area (two primary English language regions of the 
globe) and reduced the hours you cover the other areas with shortwave, 
of course your audience figures for shortwave will go down. It's a 
self-serving and self-fulfilling prophecy.

Next week on "Write On", Dilly Barlow will read a raft of letters from 
irate listeners once again.  The BBC spokesman will intone (once again) 
that these are really a minority of listeners either too old, out of 
touch, unimportant or otherwise insignificant to matter.  (Of course, 
he'll say it all much nicer that.)

What the "official" BBC won't tell you is that, internally, management 
was surprised by the volume, level and depth of protest the BBC 
received the last time they did this.  But its management team is 
committed--in "non-crisis" regions--to reducing distribution costs by 
de-emphasizing high cost methods (like shortwave) and transferring an 
increasing amount of those costs to the listener.

The BBC claims that its audience accessing its broadcasts by means 
other than shortwave is increasing.  As far as it goes, that's 
true--but not to the extent claimed.  The BBC's figures don't 
differentiate between a listener who accesses its broadcasts for a few  
minutes a week and one who listens for hours a day.  It also tends to 
fudge figures reflecting availability by equating overnight broadcasts 
via local FM with prime time hours on local radio and an occasional 
five minute newscast with the broader info/entertainment service that 
characterizes (or characterized) its shortwave service.

It is interesting to observe that, as the BBC reduces global access to 
its broadcasts, China Radio International is dramatically increasing 
such access by actively embracing ALL distribution methods, including 
shortwave.  Shortwave hours and relays targeting NA by CRI are up just 
as dramatically as BBC hours are down.  And CRI's use of the internet, 
satellite (including WRN on Sirius Satellite Radio) and local (FM) 
placement also has increased.  There is even talk that CRI is planning 
to inaugurate a 24 hour English language news service in direct 
competition to the BBC.

I'm sure the rather smug management at Bush House will chuckle at all 
this and shrug it off.  But I wouldn't be surprised if, while the BBC 
is dithering and dicing up audiences, CRI begins to eat the BBC's lunch 
in North America.  Call it "Old Europe Makes Way for New Asia".  While 
the BBC steadily abandons and discards the public service broadcasting 
principles it historically created, perfected and nurtured, CRI seems 
to--more and more--be embracing those very principles.


John Figliozzi
Halfmoon, NY

On Saturday, March 19, 2005, at 01:47  AM, Mike Terry wrote:

> "Short wave listening around the world is declining.
> The downward trend is accelerating: the global short wave audience for 
> World Service has dropped from 122 million in 1996 to 97 million in 
> 2003.
> Like other international broadcasters, BBC World Service has been 
> adjusting
> its short wave provisions in line with global demand changes.
> Alternative ways to listen
> At the same time BBC World Service has been investing in new delivery
> methods, all with the improved audibility now preferred by audiences, 
> such
> as FM, cable, satellite and online.
> BBC World Service is committed to making the best use of the money it
> receives from the government and has had considerable success in 
> attracting
> audiences to these new methods of delivery; more than 50 million are 
> using
> these and the numbers are growing fast.
> Separately, online usage has grown from three million page impressions 
> every
> month in late 1998 to almost 300 million by 2004, which is equivalent 
> to 18
> million unique users.
> Alongside in-depth news and information, programmes are available 
> streamed
> both live and on demand at the convenience of the listener.
> There are now more ways to listen to BBC World Service broadcasts than 
> ever
> before. To check for availability in your region please click here."
> http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/us/050318_short_wave.shtml
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