So much for the superiority of the private media…

The Beeb…living evidence that commercial radio just plain sucks, according to the UK Guardian:

The BBC’s radio services have “badly bruised” its commercial rivals and Radio 1 and 2 should be sold for £500m, according to an influential report.

The UK radio market is suffering from “stunted growth” owing to the commercial sector’s inability to compete against the BBC’s budget and cross-promotional abilities, according to the report from the European Media Forum, an arm of independent research institute the European Policy Forum.

The report will be submitted as a contribution to Ofcom’s “blue-sky” review of the shape of broadcast and communications regulation after 2010. Graham Mather, the EPF chairman, is a member of Ofcom’s content board and the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

“The BBC, with an annual radio budget of £450m, has badly bruised its private sector rivals,” says the report, published today.

“The BBC’s ability to tap all its various media platforms to cross-promote – and cross-subsidise – its radio output has added to the commercial sector’s woes.”

Oh, poor babies. Pardon me while I convulse with laughter.

If the private broadcasters are truly suffering as a result of the Beeb’s superior market share, where on Earth will they get the money–greater than the Beeb’s entire annual radio budget, I see–to buy BBC 1 and 2? I guess they’ll just have to knock over a liquor store. (Or better still, the Pentagon, which would never miss the money anyway…)

On a more serious note: there is no solid evidence that “both stations should prosper in the commercial sector”, as the economist who did the study insists. On the contrary, were they to be converted to a commercial-radio format, they would soon lose listeners, no matter how much advertising revenue they gain. Why? Again, it comes down to the blindingly obvious: Because they will not be offering the public what they did when they were publically funded! They won’t be the BBC anymore!

People like the BBC. They trust it BECAUSE it is the BBC, and not just another crummy commercial station. It has built up its market share on the grounds of comfort and familiarity, as well as its very solid journalism. It’s obviously doing the public a service. And yet there are those who think it would “prosper” if it were sold off and watered down? What are those people smoking???

Here we have the ironies of a truly free market, where there’s both private and public broadcasting on the airwaves: the “market”, which is made up of PEOPLE, votes with its collective feet. And where do they run? To the one that gives them the best bang for their buck–or pound–or euro, if you prefer. The one that doesn’t suck. The one that doesn’t bombard them with inane commercials and crappy Top 40 music and brain-dead right-wing talk all day long. In other words, the PUBLIC station!

These twits are trying hard to fix what ain’t broken–the Beeb–by insisting that the government break it first. It’s an idea so crazy it should be laughed out of existence, but some people get paid unheard-of sums of money to come up with cockamamie schemes that don’t bear closer scrutiny–yet somehow, mysteriously, seldom fail to be implemented. Presumably, this is because The Free Market (TM) mandates it.

Here’s a radical thought for all you media privateers out there: How about putting out a product that doesn’t stink, if you REALLY want to compete, instead of whining the same old tired tune about the Evils of Big Government stifling all competition?

And then they wonder why no one’s listening.

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