British Broadcasting Policy: From the Post-Thatcher Years to the Rise of Blair
Rundfunk und Geschichte 41(1-2): 57-68 (2015)
12 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2015 Last revised: 21 Nov 2016
Date Written: 2015
Having contextualized the rise of a market-driven neoliberal ideology with the broadcasting policies of the Thatcher governments in the first article of this series, in this second piece we lay out the policy narrative from 1990 to the rise of New Labour in 1997. Focusing on the BBC under Director General John Birt (1992-2000), we examine the continuity of the emergent policies in the post-Thatcher years, covering development that led to the Broadcasting Act 1990, BBC Charter renewal in 1994, the Broadcasting Act 1996 and beyond. Birt’s signature policy Producer Choice introduced a market into the programme-making practices of the BBC. It signified the emergence of a new management culture and has been criticized for eroding creativity and increasing bureaucracy. The argument is made that its organizational procedure comes to substitute for a larger, more existential purpose.
Keywords: Broadcasting Policy, Media Policy, BBC, Producer Choice, Modernity, Neoliberalism
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