The Wonderful World of BBC … vs. American Public Broadcasting

Jul 15, 2014

(Elaica Zayas) On Monday, July 14th we finally had our tour of the BBC. But before we began touring the wonderful new building of BBC, we met with Kevin Blacoe, Senior Advisor for Policy, Public Affairs and Communications in the BBC Learning Department.

He explained that he worked at Sky for 2 and half years before he began working at BBC. He also mentioned that he studied abroad at Temple University in the early 2000s for an entire year studying American and English Literature in undergrad! GO OWLS! He discussed a lot of the positions he’s held within the BBC as well as with other companies. He does politics and policy and report writing and strategic stuff with BBC in terms of education and works with different teams that creates resources for students and teachers for media literacy, benefit of different technologies and programming. Kevin Blacoe also explained how the BBC worked in the beginning of his conversation. He explained what BBC Trust is: the governing body of the BBC, responsible to licensee payers, etc. Everyone who watches and has a television pays 145GBP.

In discussion with my classmates and professor, we discussed some of the differences between public broadcasting in the UK and in the US. BBC is funded about the British people, who pay abut $230 a year for a TV license, a mandatory tax paid to the British government. It is considered a criminal offense if people try to evade this tax. Americans however are not required to pay a tax to fund PBS, the choice is left to them whether they want to help fund PBS.

We also see how BBC is immediately thrown at us while in the BBC. I wondered if maybe it is because British people are forced to pay it, so they want good programming and they want to see what is being shown on the broadcast service they are forced to pay a tax for.

I think PBS is incomparable to BBC, not just because of the required tax, but because the programming is usually t educate rather than entertain. Although BBC aims to educate, they make sure they entertain in a way that they are educating the viewers. I think that if PBS was to entertain as well as educate in a fun way, they’d undoubtedly have more viewers.

I also believe that a required tax for PBS wouldn’t be a bad idea neither. It would make Americans want to be more vocal in nationwide public broadcasting programming. We know how us Americans are about taxes, so I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t go well…