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Thursday, May 3, 2012

British Broadcasting Corporation(BBC)


The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcaster headquartered at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London.It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff. Its main responsibility is to provide impartial public service broadcasting in the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.


The BBC is a semi-autonomous public service broadcaster that operates under a Royal Charter and a Licence and Agreement from the Home Secretary.Within the United Kingdom its work is funded principally by an annual television licence fee, which is charged to all British households, companies and organisations using any type of equipment to record and/or receive live television broadcasts; the level of the fee is set annually by theBritish Government and agreed by Parliament.


Outside the UK, the BBC World Service has provided services by direct broadcasting and re-transmission contracts by sound radio since the inauguration of the BBC Empire Service in December 1932, and more recently by television and online. Though sharing some of the facilities of the domestic services, particularly for news and current affairs output, the World Service has a separate Managing Director, and its operating costs have historically been funded mainly by direct grants from the British government. These grants were determined independently of the domestic licence fee and were usually awarded from the budget of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. As such, the BBC's international content has traditionally represented - at least in part - an effective foreign policy tool of the British Government. The recent BBC World Service spending review has announced plans for the funding for the world service to be drawn from the domestic licence fee.


The Corporation's "guaranteed" income from the licence fee and the World Service grants are supplemented by profits from commercial operations through a wholly owned subsidiary, BBC Worldwide Ltd. The company's activities include programme- and format-sales, magazines including the Radio Times and book publishing. The BBC also earns additional income from selling certain programme-making services through BBC Studios and Post Production Ltd., formerly BBC Resources Ltd, another wholly owned trading subsidiary of the corporation. The BBC is sometimes referred to as "Auntie" and "the Beeb". The former is also used to refer to the BBC's sister corporation, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.


History of the BBC:

The privately owned BBC was the world's first national broadcasting organisation and was founded on 18 October 1922 as the British Broadcasting Company Ltd. The original company was founded in 1922 by a group of six telecommunications companies—Marconi, Radio Communication Company,Metropolitan-Vickers (MetroVick), General Electric, Western Electric, and British Thomson-Houston (BTH)—to broadcast experimental radio services. The first transmission was on 14 November of that year, from station 2LO, located at Marconi House, London.

The British Broadcasting Company Ltd was created by the British General Post Office (GPO) and John Reith applied for a job with the existing company and later became its employee general manager. The company was wound-up and on 1 January 1927 a new non-commercial entity called the British Broadcasting Corporation established under a Royal Charter became successor in interest.


To represent its purpose and (stated) values, the Corporation adopted the coat of arms, including the motto "Nation shall speak peace unto Nation". The motto is generally attributed to Montague John Rendall, former headmaster of Winchester College, and member of the first BBC Board of Governors.The motto is said to be a "felicitous adaptation" of Micah 4: 3 "nation shall not lift up a sword against nation".


Experimental television broadcasts were started in 1932 using an electromechanical 30-line system developed by John Logie Baird. Limited regular broadcasts using this system began in 1934, and an expanded service (now named the BBC Television Service) started from Alexandra Palace in 1936, alternating between an improved Baird mechanical 240 line system and the all electronic 405 line Marconi-EMI system. The superiority of the electronic system saw the mechanical system dropped early the following year.

Headquarters & Regional Offices:

Broadcasting House in Portland Place, London, is the official headquarters of the BBC. It is home to three of the ten BBC national radio networks, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, and BBC Radio 4 Extra. On the front of the building are statues of Prospero and Ariel, characters from William Shakespeare's play The Tempest, sculpted by Eric Gill. Renovation of Broadcasting House began in 2002 and is scheduled for completion in 2012.


BBC Television and BBC News are currently based at BBC Television Centre, a purpose built television facility and the second built in the country located in White City, London. This facility has been host to a number of famous guests and programmes through the years, and its name and image is familiar with many British citizens. Nearby, the BBC White City complex contains numerous programme offices, housed in Centre House, the Media Centre and Broadcast Centre. It is in this area aroundShepherd's Bush that the majority of BBC employees work.


As part of a major reorganisation of BBC property, the entire BBC News operation is expected to relocate from the News Centre at BBC Television Centre to the refurbished Broadcasting House to create what is being described as "one of the world's largest live broadcast centres". Following completion Broadcasting House will also be home to most of the BBC's national radio stations, and the BBC World Service. The major part of this plan involves the demolition of the two post-war extensions to the building and construction of an extension designed by Sir Richard MacCormac of MJP Architects. This move will concentrate the BBC's London operations, allowing them to sell Television Centre, which is expected to be completed by 2015.


In addition to the scheme above, the BBC is in the process of making and producing more programmes outside of London. This involves producing more programmes at production centres such as Belfast, Glasgow and, most notably, Manchester. As part of the scheme, BBC North West is moving from New Broadcasting House, Oxford Road, to MediaCityUK in Salford. Joining them are the BBC Sports, BBC Children's, Radio 5 Live, BBC Breakfast and BBC Philharmonic departments and services from London. MediaCityUK will therefore become the biggest staffing operation outside London.


As well as the two main sites in London (Broadcasting House and White City), there are seven other major BBC production centres in the UK, mainly specialising in different productions. Broadcasting House Cardiff, has been home to BBC Cymru Wales, which specialises in drama production. Open since October 2011, and containing 7 new studios, Roath Lock is notable as the home of productions such as Doctor Who and Casualty. Broadcasting House Belfast, home to BBC Northern Ireland, specialises in original drama and comedy, and has taken part in many co-productions with independent companies and notably with RTÉ in the Republic of Ireland. BBC Scotland, based in Pacific Quay, Glasgow is a large producer of programmes for the network, including several quiz shows. In England, the larger regions also produce some programming.


Previously, the largest 'hub' of BBC programming from the regions is BBC North West. At present they produce all Religious and Ethical programmes on the BBC, as well as other programmes such as A Question of Sport, however this is to be merged and expanded under the BBC North project, which involved the region moving from New Broadcasting House, Manchester, to MediaCityUK. BBC Midlands, based at The Mailbox in Birmingham, also produces drama and contains the headquarters for the English regions and the BBC's daytime output. Other production centres include Quarry Hill in Leeds, home of BBC Yorkshire,Broadcasting House Bristol, home of BBC West and famously the BBC Natural History Unit.


There are also many smaller local and regional studios throughout the UK, operating the BBC regional television services and the BBC Local Radio stations.

Services:
Television:
In the UK, BBC One and BBC Two are the BBC's flagship television channels. Several digital only stations are also broadcast: BBC Three, BBC Four,BBC News, BBC Parliament, and two children's channels, CBBC and CBeebies. Digital television is now in widespread use in the UK, with analogue transmission being phased out by December 2012.


BBC One is a regionalised TV service which provides opt-outs throughout the day for local news and other local programming. These variations are more pronounced in the BBC 'Nations', i.e. Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, where the presentation is mostly carried out locally on BBC One and Two, and where programme schedules can vary largely from that of the network. BBC Two variations exist in the Nations, however regions today rarely have the option to 'opt out' as regional programming now only exists on BBC One, and regional opt outs are not possible in the regions that have already undertaken the switch to digital television. BBC Two was also the first channel to be transmitted on 625 lines in 1964, then carry a small-scale regular colour service from 1967. BBC One would follow in November 1969.


A new Scottish Gaelic television channel, BBC Alba, was launched in September 2008. It is also the first multi-genre channel to come entirely from Scotland with almost all of its programmes made in Scotland. The service was initially only available via satellite but since June 2011 has been available to viewers in Scotland on Freeview and cable television.


The BBC also has a HD channel, BBC HD, that launched on 9 June 2006 following a 12 month trial of the broadcasts. It became a proper channel in 2007, and screens HD programmes as simulcasts of the main network, or as repeats. The corporation has been producing programmes in the format for many years, and stated that it hoped to produce 100% of new programmes in HDTV by 2010. On 3 November 2010, a high-definition simulcast of BBC One was launched, entitled BBC One HD.


In the Republic of Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland, the BBC channels are available in a number of ways. In these countries digital and cable operators carry a range of BBC channels these include BBC One, BBC Two and BBC World News, although viewers in the Republic of Ireland may receive BBC services via 'overspill' from transmitters in Northern Ireland or Wales, or via 'deflectors' – transmitters in the Republic which rebroadcast broadcasts from the UK, received off-air, or from digital satellite.


Since 1975, the BBC has also provided its TV programmes to the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS), allowing members of UK military serving abroad to watch and listen to them on two dedicated TV channels.


Since 2008, all the BBC channels are available to watch online, either through the channel website, or through the BBC iPlayer service. This online streaming ability came about following experiments with live streaming, involving streaming certain channels in the UK.


Radio:

The BBC has ten national radio stations, six stations serving the BBC Regions and numerous others covering the Local regions in England. Of the ten national stations, five are major stations and are available on FM, DAB and online. These are BBC Radio 1, offering new music and popular styles and being notable for its chart show; BBC Radio 2, playing Adult contemporary, country and soul music amongst many other genres; BBC Radio 3, playing classical and jazz music and home to the BBC Proms; BBC Radio 4, offering current affairs, factual, drama and comedy speech programmes and BBC Radio 5 Live, broadcasting 24 hour news, sport and talk programmes.

In addition to these five stations, the BBC also runs five additional stations that broadcast on DAB and online only. These stations supplement and expand on the big five stations, and were launched in 2002. BBC Radio 1Xtra sisters Radio 1, and broadcasts new black music and urban tracks. BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra sisters 5 Live and offers extra sport analysis, including broadcasting sports that previously were not covered. BBC Radio 6 Music offers alternative music genres and is notable as a platform for new artists.

BBC Radio 7, later renamed BBC Radio 4 Extra, provided archive drama, comedy and children's programming. Following the change to Radio 4 Extra, the service has dropped a defined children's strand in favour of family-friendly drama and comedy. In addition, new programmes to complement Radio 4 programmes were introduced such as Ambridge Extra, and Desert Island Discs revisited. The final station is the BBC Asian Network, providing music, talk and news to this section of the community. This station evolved out of Local radio stations serving certain areas, and as such this station is available on Medium Wave frequency in some areas of the Midlands.

As well as the national stations, the BBC also provides regional stations. In the 'Nations', six stations serve large areas of these regions. In Scotland, these are BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio nan Gaidheal, the latter providing programmes in Scots Gaelic; in Wales these are BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru, the latter providing programming in Welsh and in Northern Ireland there is BBC Radio Ulster with an opt out for the North West called BBC Radio Foyle. Furthermore, there are 40 BBC Local Radio stations in England and the Channel Islands, usually covering specific cities and their surrounding areas (Such as BBC Radio Bristol), for counties, or regions (Such as BBC Three Counties Radio), or geographic features (Such as BBC Radio Solent covering the South Coast).

As part of BBC Local Radio, the BBC also serves the Channel Islands, which strictly speaking are not part of the United Kingdom, through its TV News service and BBC Guernsey and BBC Radio Jersey. These services are funded from locally collected licence fees. However, despite this, the BBC does not offer Local Radio for the Isle of Man, primarily because the island has been served by the popular and long lasting independent commercial station, Manx Radio.

For a worldwide audience, the BBC World Service provides news, current affairs and information in 28 languages, including English, around the world and is available in over 150 capital cities. It is broadcast worldwide on shortwave radio, DAB and online and has an estimated weekly audience of 180 million listeners. Since 2005, it is also available on DAB in the UK, a step not taken before, due to the way it is funded. The service is funded by a Parliamentary Grant-in-Aid, administered by the Foreign Office, however following the Governments spending review in 2011, this funding will cease, and it will be funded for the first time through the Licence fee. In recent years, some services of the World Service have been reduced; the Thai service ended in 2006 as did the Eastern European languages, with resources diverted instead into the new BBC Arabic Television.

Historically, the BBC was the only legal radio broadcaster based in the UK mainland until 1967, when University Radio York (URY), then under the name Radio York, was launched as the first, and now oldest, legal independent radio station in the country. However, the BBC did not enjoy a complete monopoly before this as several Continental stations, such as Radio Luxembourg, broadcast programmes in English to Britain since the 1930s and the Isle of Man based Manx Radio began in 1964. Today, the BBC still has some of the most popular Radio stations, with BBC Radio 2 being the most popular of the network and the most popular in the country, with 12.9 million weekly listeners in 2006.

BBC Programming is also available to other services and in other countries. Since 1943, the BBC has provided radio programming to the British Forces Broadcasting Service, which broadcasts in countries where British troops are stationed. BBC Radio 1 is also carried in the United States and Canada on Sirius XM Radio (online streaming only).

The BBC is a patron of The Radio Academy.

News:

BBC News is the largest broadcast news gathering operation in the world, providing services to BBC domestic radio as well as television networks such as the BBC News, BBC Parliament and BBC World News. In addition to this, news stories are available on the BBC Red Button service, Ceefax and BBC News Online. In addition to this, the BBC has been developing new ways to access BBC News, as a result has launched the service on BBC Mobile, making it accessible to mobile phones and PDAs, as well as developing alerts by e-mail, digital television, and on computers through a desktop alert.

Ratings figures suggest that during major crises such as the 7 July 2005 London bombings or a Royal Event, the UK audience overwhelmingly turns to the BBC's coverage as opposed to its commercial rivals.On 7 July 2005, the day that there were a series of coordinated bomb blasts on London's public transport system, the BBC Online website recorded an all time bandwidth peak of 11 Gb/s at 12:00 on 7 July. BBC News received some 1 billion total hits on the day of the event (including all images, text and HTML), serving some 5.5 terabytes of data. At peak times during the day there were 40,000 page requests per second for the BBC News website. The previous day's announcement of the 2012 Olympics being awarded to London caused a peak of around 5 Gbit/s. The previous all time high at BBC Online was caused by the announcement of the Michael Jackson verdict, which used 7.2 Gbit/s.





                                                                                                         ( To be continued)






















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