Popcorn-tastic, mate

In his 1994 autobiography My Tune, the veteran disc jockey Simon Bates remarks of his amazement of how low the murder rate inside radio stations has historically been.  Bates evidently knew whereof he was writing, as his book came out a year after his very high-profile resignation from the BBC’s flagship national radio channel Radio 1, and at a time when the station was going through the biggest and most controversial personnel shake-up in its history.  At least one of …

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‘Doctor Fact is knocking at the door! Someone – please – let the man in!’

It’s proving to be another crowded year for anniversaries, not all of them Great War- or Ireland-related. Two 25-year ones in the coming week that are particularly worthy of attention may well pass unnoticed amid the above themes. In four days’ time it will be exactly a quarter of a century since the Geneva-based British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee switched on his patented information network, whereby computer users from all over the globe could access and share information simply by …

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A modest proposal (to abandon public service broadcasting

When some propose a massive change in the way the BBC is structured and run, you have to ask ‘what problem are they trying to solve’? This advocacy piece on Political Betting betrays a profound thoughtlessness behind scrapping the licence fee for a subscription service: In the beginning, the licence fee was entirely justifiable. It was only the rich who could afford first radio and then television, and even once the ownership of both became widespread, the BBC remained dominant …

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“must at the very least include a mechanism that makes the broadcasting companies accountable and answerable to this Assembly…”

Speaking of making the media accountable…  The Northern Ireland Minister for Culture, Sinn Fein’s Carál Ní Chuilín, has declared that she is “considering options such as appointing a panel of experts to review broadcasting in the North and devolution of responsibility locally with a view to bringing proposals forward for cross-party support”.  Here’s a couple of lines from the minister’s press release [NI Culture Minister, Sinn Fein’s Carál Ní Chuilín] “I am considering options such as appointing a panel of experts …

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“Having the BBC available in the South gives us a clear link with what politicians in the North are doing.”

So opined the then Irish Minister for Communications, Eamon Ryan, in February 2010 when the Irish and UK governments signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) “for continuing co-operation on broadcasting issues on the island of Ireland.” Specifically, on what will happen after the digital switchover in 2012 –  now scheduled for Oct 24 in Ireland as well as in Northern Ireland. Reports at the time that the agreement committed “the two governments to facilitating RTÉ services in Northern Ireland and BBC services …

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Does History Matter? BBC NI’s Festival of History & Broadcasting

BBC NI Festival of History and Broadcasting

I gave up history at the age of 14. Keeping on three sciences meant that it was a straight choice between geography and history. As a result, my knowledge of history is confined to the legend of Finn McCool, the Roundheads and the Cavaliers, and a link between the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in an open top charabanc and the start of the First World War. Maybe if Horrible Histories had been around twenty five years ago I might …

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