BBC Charter Renewal


Page : 1 2 3ALL

After three years of negotiations non profit abracaDABra! contracted and paid to air some shelved stories from CBeebies and the popular 500 Words competition so that this publicly funded content can reach a wider audience, alongside the daily schedule of family friendly songs and stories.

The BBC flags up the popularity of BBC ‘Schools News Report’ and R2’s’500 Words’ competition [sadly not open to 14 year olds] but these once-a-year events represent a tiny example of radio’s potential in young lives.

12b..Having withdrawn from providing PSB radio for children there is a danger that any attempt to resuscitate it would be challenged by rivals as a new service and necessitate the following assessments:

  • Competitive Impact Principle assessment (making sure that proposals minimise the potential for negative competitive impacts on the wider market)
  • A Clause 25 Test (deciding whether a proposal constitutes a significant change to the UK Public Services)
  • A full Public Value Test (to weigh public value against market impact where the change is agreed to be significant).

If such tests were upheld, young listeners could languish un-served by the public purse for the foreseeable future – reliant on volatile commerce,  voluntary good will or the BBC’s online only delivery. This cannot be allowed to happen.

13b.The BBC  has been co-opted to spearhead internet take-up by moving its audiences to online delivery in order to free-up frequencies for lease to the telecommunications industries.

These airwaves are not the private fiefdom of governments; the BBC; Ofcom or commercial interests. They are public space and evidence shows that audiences, including children, still prefer the traditional broadcasting platforms.

14b.Had the public been asked:

“Forget Digital Switchover, the technology is obsolete.  Do you want Licence Fees deployed instead to drive Internet Switchover, which would also free up more capacity for lease to the telecommunications industries?”


” We notice your children don’t tune to BBC children’s content hidden on DAB so can you equip then with the latest personal kit and we’ll put some content there instead?”

 The public might have sucked their teeth a little. Parents of younger children don’t welcome excessive screen and keyboard activity and those who bought DAB radios for the children’s content have been short changed.  Children’s radio was a soft target and suffered first in the push. Which BBC broadcasting services will be next?

15b.Notwithstanding decisions on future BBC funding, governance and size, the new Charter must make full and fair provision for children to remain at the heart of public service broadcasting on all platforms. The BBC’s commitment to distinctive public service radio requires it.

Children are a deserving audience today and the consumers and creators of tomorrow. They may not pay the licence fee but equitable investment in them is fundamental to the purpose of the BBC.

16b.In closing we make two suggestions:

  1. Re-title the TV Licence to Public Service Broadcasting [PSB] Licence. This will properly reflect the deployment of funds to include radio, internet and future platforms.
  1. Open a public consultation on the potential for children’s radio and establish an independent body of parents and childcare professionals to work with the BBC in the run-up to Charter and beyond, with a view to protecting children’s rights and needs in all public broadcasting development.

Documents relied on:


Susan Stranks –  Coordinator.

No publishing restrictions.     .


Page : 1 2 3ALL

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...

Slider by webdesign