Correspondence with BBC and Campaign ideas

J

jimscrivener

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#1
If you live outside the UK and enjoy the BBC radio services, please consider writing (today?) to some of the addresses below in order to

(1) Make a last plea not to switch off BBC radio from Astra 2A (switch off due at the end of the week).

(NB Radio has been / is freely accessible in Europe - no Digibox needed, except for 5Live; it seems almost an oversight that it should be cut off along with the TV move)

(2) Ask the BBC to consider how they can better exploit the massive demand for quality English language TV and radio across Europe. This must be one of the most extraordinary cases of a massive market begging to buy a product that is easily technically available – and yet no-one will exploit it.

(3) (Failing success with 1 and 2) - Beg for a better, less soggy service from BBC Prime – which desperately needs some life-saving attention. It appears to be run by sleep-walkers.

I'm sending one email a day at the moment in the desperate hope that some common sense could still prevail. UK BBC TV seems a lost cause – but maybe it's possible to save the radio.

The more messages ... maybe someone will take notice. "Reception" has hinted that they are getting some idea of the size of the backlash.

Director General: greg.dyke@bbc.co.uk
Reception: RECEPTION@bbc.co.uk
Feedback: feedback@bbc.co.uk
BBC Commercial arm responsible for BBC Prime: worldwidetv.letters@bbc.co.uk

Jim
 

Dougpol

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#2
Absoloutely right Jim, and well done! I am writing to BBC RECEPTION once a day and will keep it up - no reply yet.......


Come on you others - please do your bit! Jim's started the ball rolling. Everybody likes the radio too - commercial crap ain't no subsitute.

Keep up the good work Jim - much appreciated by all of us I'm sure!

JD
 

rolfw

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#4
Just E-mailed the department of culture, but guess that I will probably receive a similar automated response, the place is probably full of jobsworths toeing the party line.

I have made the point that at a time when we need all of the overseas influence and understanding we can get, removing our airwaves ambassador is not a particularly shrewd move.
 
J

jimscrivener

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#6
... I keep wondering how a group of people ... across Europe ... who have no MP ... who no-one in the BBC or SKY seems to care much about ... can get together some more concentrated concerted action. Petitions are a waste of time. I send a lot of emails but ...

Any ideas for where we could get a real campaign going?

Jim
 
J

jimscrivener

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#7
Reply from Greg Dyke's office:



Thank you for your e-mail to Greg Dyke. As I am sure you will appreciate, the Director-General receives more correspondence than he can deal with personally, so once e-mails have been read they are forwarded by his office to BBC Information. This department has a wealth of knowledge about BBC programmes and policies and is experienced in the workings of the Corporation. The Director-General has therefore authorised us to reply on his behalf.

I was sorry to note that you were upset with the decision to migrate to the Astra 2D satellite which has stopped you receiving BBC radio. Please be assured that I have registered your comments and added them to the daily Duty Log. This in turn will be made available to senior management within the BBC.

Although I am aware of your concerns with regards to accessing the BBC's National Radio stations via the internet, it may be the only option currently available to you. For more information, the following link will take you to the BBC radio homepage:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/

Thank you for taking the time to contact the BBC.

Regards

Nathan Johnston
BBC Information
 

rolfw

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#8
Split this off into it's own thread Jim, anyone who has written to, or received a response from the BBC or the government, please post in this thread.
 
J

jimscrivener

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#9
The danger with posting up relies from the BBC is that they are all going to look remarkably similar ... however the rumour that Radio 2 and 4 will be put back on satellite across Europe suggests that someone is reacting to the noise we are starting to make. Maybe it's worth writing and writing.

Anyway - for the record - this (yawn) is a reply from Reception at BBC (about a week ago).



Thank you for your email.

As you are aware the BBC is in the process of moving its domestic satellite television and radio services to Astra 2D from Astra 2A. The new satellite has a much smaller coverage area (often called "footprint") and as a result, we will be able to cease encrypting our services.

The contact for the encryption was coming up for renewal and the cost for continuation was very substantial. As the BBC is funded by the UK television licence, we are bound to seek the best value for the intended audience; UK viewers and listeners. The resultant savings will be used to fund programmes.

We rent the space on the satellite as complete transponders, not a per service basis. As a result, we have to move everything together. Rental on a per service basis only makes economic sense for one or two services and thus the whole of the BBC's services need to move.

The BBC cannot offer its radio services as a subscription service as the charter does not allow such activity. The BBC does have a commercial arm, BBC Worldwide which could in theory engage in such an activity, but such a service would be very expensive and thus not a profitable one. BBC Worldwide exists to make money for the BBC and receives no funding from it.

I would guess from the email address you are in Hungary and certainly the official footprint (coverage) of the satellite does not reach. However I would suggest you take local advise on whether it will be possible with a larger dish. I very much doubt you will be the first to ask.

regards Martyn Culling
BBC Reception Advice
 
J

jimscrivener

Guest
#10
I thought I might try and interest the newspapers - so I tried this letter to the Guardian Weekly first (I don't expect it will be published) as it's a paper specifically aimed at overseas listeners. I encourage anyone else to annoy as many letters page editors as possible.



Dear Guardian Weekly,

Radio silence

The EU constitution may be exercising the minds of European politicians, but for thousands of others across Europe another major change has already happened - with a huge impact on daily life.

On Thursday 29th May the BBC suddenly ceased broadcasting its radio stations on the Astra 2A satellite, moving them to a transponder with a much tighter focus around the UK (linked to the similar move made by BBC TV - also in an effort to prevent anyone outside the UK receiving its broadcasts). At one fell swoop this move deprives much of Europe of the chance to hear quality English language broadcasting. Although radio stations are broadcast on the internet, for many this is unlikely to be a viable alternative for years to come.

The BBC has a quality product. There is massive demand across Europe to receive its TV and radio; large numbers (by no means only expat) would willingly pay subscriptions. The technical facilities are all there already.

I can think of no comparable business case where a massive consumer base is asking for a product that already exists but the supplier seems to show no interest in supplying. The denying factor is always quoted as copyright agreements (Hollywood films, sport etc) - but surely it's clear that the old country-by-country system agreements are no longer logical or fair; some pan-European arrangement must be possible based not on country boundaries but on numbers of subscribers. The fact that a Budapest TV station has a copyright agreement to show a film (in Hungarian) seems a ludicrous reason to prevent me being able to pay for anyone else to broadcast it to me in my language.

Many European citizens now live and work in other countries across Europe -yet (if they are British) may only receive their national broadcaster if they reside in their homeland. Thousands of non-British listeners who regularly tuned into the BBC have now lost that contact - and the long-term impact will be deep, if unmeasurable.

English language rado in Europe has gone silent. We shall really miss Radio 4, BBC 7 etc. This change feels extraordinarily unkind and unnecessary.

Jim Scrivener
Budapest

noemijim@axelero.hu
 
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#11
Look what Martyn Culling writes.

What does it mean, in your opinion? It looks very italian, something like "That's the law, my friend, but if you are smart...".

I'm Italian, I know that habit very well and I'm very surprised to read something like that... from BBC.

If that's the law (the law won), how can he say "...on whether it will be possible with a larger dish."?

If it is like that, it will be quite easy to prove that, in this way, BBC breaks copyright...

Or, maybe, I did not understand very well?

danilo (roma)

Originally posted by jimscrivener

I would guess from the email address you are in Hungary and certainly the official footprint (coverage) of the satellite does not reach. However I would suggest you take local advise on whether it will be possible with a larger dish. I very much doubt you will be the first to ask.

regards Martyn Culling
BBC Reception Advice
 

2old4this

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#12
@ jimscrivener
keep wondering how a group of people ... across Europe ... who have no MP ...
:confused
Everyone in Europe has an MP or some equivalent form of paliamentary representation since all member states are democracies.


Incidentally, I agree whole-heartedly with the sentiment in your legtter above, but would point out that the policy now adopted for radio is no more and no less restrictive than that which has long existed for TV. Why are the UK and the ROI the only two European members whose residents can legally subscribe to Sky? Why can't UK residents subscribe to any of the many Canal+ packages used across the rest of Europe? And so on...

2old
 
J

jimscrivener

Guest
#13
quote from campax:

It looks very italian, something like "That's the law, my friend, but if you are smart...".



Yes, you're right - I hadn't noticed that. It is odd. It's actually saying "We have moved services to 2D so you can't pick it up ... but why don't you try and pick it up. We know that can / will do it."

Mmm
 
J

jimscrivener

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#14
2old4this said:

"Everyone in Europe has an MP or some equivalent form of paliamentary representation since all member states are democracies"


Well - that's news to me. I have no idea who represents me. I am a British citizen - resident in (but not a citizen of) Hungary (a democracy). There is nowhere I can register to vote (not UK / not Hungary). I can't even vote in Euro elections. Just who is representing me?

Jim
 

2old4this

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#15
Are you saying that in Hungary, foreign nationals are entitled to no paliamentary representation? You may not be able to vote, but surely you can call on the local & national authorities to represent your rights and interests...?

2old
 

2old4this

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#16
Some of the frustration felt at this situation seems to be founded in a perception that there has been a deliberate decision to restrict the markets reached by BBC radio. However, this was not the primary goal of the BBC.
Since the radio stations were unencrypted and indeed continue to be broadcast by internet, one can conclude that this is not a copyright issue.

My understanding is that the radio stations have been moved simply because the main content of the transponders they piggyback has been moved (to the tightly focussed beam). It would be uneconomic to have continued to reserve transponder capacity on the wider beam just for the radio stations.

The main content (i.e. TV transmissions) was moved in order to physically restrict the reception area - as an alternative to restricting it by expensive encryption.

So this is what the Beeb is getting at in one of the repies quoted above - the radio stations have had to be moved as a secondary effect of steps being taken in preparation for the ending of encryption (which in turn saves the British licence-payer money).

2old
 

rolfw

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#17
There is no doubt that the whole move is based on economics, but at a time when some other countries are looking to expand their international cultural influence, France for example, it seems strange to me that the UK should choose to diminish theirs.

It is perfectly understandable that the BBC TV channels should be restricted due to copyright conflicts, but the radio channels, in particular radio four and five with mainly home grown programming have no such problems.

The space that radio stations require on a transponder is relatively small and I'm sure that some sort of reciprocal arrangement could be reached with other providers to offset the cost.

The stupid thing is that given the chance, many, if not most expatriate Brits would be happy to pay for the privilege of watching and listening to their homeland channels
 
J

jimscrivener

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#18
As the BBC does seem to have noticed at least a little bit the outcry over radio (if the reports re satellite Radios 4 and 2 is true) this suggests that continued writing / e-mailing etc may be more worth doing than the occasional BBC replies suggest.

But this thread was originally asking if there was anything elese we could do. No new ideas?


Jim
 
J

jimscrivener

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#19
New reply from BBC Reception

Thank you for your email.

The BBC is only able to transmit its domestic service where they can be received overseas, either where the primary beneficiary is the UK licence payer, or it can be done for little or no cost. (BBC World Service is directly funded by the government).

There is some good news as we should be able to transmit BBC Radio 2 and 4 by means of a wider beamed transponder on which we have found a small amount of spare capacity. Details will be published on our website in due course at www.bbc.co.uk/reception

regards Martyn Culling
BBC Reception Advice
 

rolfw

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#20
LOL, must have been me writing to my MP that did it. :)
 
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