Decoding the BBC: Our Visit With Kevin Blacoe and the BBC

Jul 15, 2014

(Aryann Cuda) As this week slowly comes to a close, and I reflect on all that I have accomplished so far, I am amazed that my time here in London has gone by so quickly. As one of our final group activities, the class and I had the chance to visit and speak with Kevin Blacoe, BBC Learning, Senior Advisor for Policy, Public Affairs and Internal Communications this past Monday. That same day, we were also fortunate enough to go on an excellent tour of the BBC Broadcasting House.

During our discussion with Mr. Blacoe, we touched upon the coming of “2015 – The Year of Coding.” Overall, Blacoe stated that starting in September of this year, the British curriculum would start to include computing and basic coding, so he is subsequently working on new programs to assist learning in that area of expertise. I found it ironic that I had just mentioned to Professor Culver the other day how important coding seems to be now – the ability to not only understand why a piece of digital media is successful, but more importantly how it actually works. It was enlightening to hear that the BBC seemed to be ahead of the game in the area of coding education. Most importantly, however, I was surprised to find out that Mr. Blacoe is actually a Temple University alumnus! (As he studied at TU Main Campus for a year of his undergraduate career)

Further, Mr. Blacoe addressed the issue of the changing distribution practices in today’s media saturated world. He inferred that distribution is happening on a worldwide scale, and therefore content creators need to be fully aware that their programs may need to have the potential to connect with different cultures all over the globe. I thought this point was extremely relevant, especially after attending The Children’s Media Conference. I have learned that more and more, children’s content from the UK is slowly making its way to the United States and visa versa.

After our talk with Mr. Blacoe, we embarked on a journey through the BBC! The tour was quite informative, interactive, and overall, extremely exciting! I had the opportunity to perform in a mock news program as a news anchor and I also experienced what it was like to physically make the sound effects for a radio drama. I thought the BBC’s news floor looked extremely similar to Philadelphia’s WPVI-6ABC news floor – except for the fact that BBC’s stage was right in the middle of the workspace, which I happened to really appreciate. During the tour, the guides briefly explained the different programs that were simply classics in BBC history and I wondered why programs on PBS did not have the same type of nostalgia for American citizens – at least not for me (Except Sesame Street, of course). The programming on the BBC seems to be more playful, modern, culturally appealing, and overall, entertaining, than the content that is shown on PBS.

Unfortunately, this will be the last blog that I post while in London. I have thoroughly enjoyed articulating my experiences for you all, and I hope you have felt as if you were traveling with me. Back to the States in a couple of days…

See you soon, Philadelphia! And London…Thank you from the bottom of my heart for an eye-opening and inspiring three weeks. I shall return!
Cheers, Aryann.


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