Tag Archives: BBC

Will Green Bank soon become a little less radio quiet?

GreenBankTelescope(Source: BBC News via Richard Langley)

Disturbing the peace: Can America’s quietest town be saved?

There’s a town in West Virginia where there are tight restrictions on mobile signal, wifi and other parts of what most of us know as simply: modern life. It means Green Bank is a place unlike anywhere else in the world. But that could be set to change.

“Do you ever sit awake at night and wonder, what if?” I asked.

Mike Holstine’s eyes twinkled like the stars he had spent his life’s work observing.

“The universe is so huge,” he began.

“On the off chance we do get that hugely lucky signal, when we look in the right place, at the right frequency. When we get that… can you imagine what that’s going to do to humankind?”

Holstine is business manager at the Green Bank Observatory, the centrepiece of which is the colossal Green Bank Telescope. On a foggy Tuesday morning, I’m standing in the middle of it, looking up, feeling small.

Though the GBT has many research tasks, the one everyone talks about is the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence. The GBT listens out for signs of communication or activity by species that are not from Earth.

[…]Green Bank sits at the heart of the National Radio Quiet Zone, a 13,000 square mile (33,669 sq km) area where certain types of transmissions are restricted so as not to create interference to the variety of instruments set up in the hills – as well as the Green Bank Observatory, there is also Sugar Grove, a US intelligence agency outpost.

For those in the immediate vicinity of the GBT, the rules are more strict. Your mobile phone is useless here, you will not get a TV signal and you can’t have strong wi-fi? -?though they admit this is a losing battle. Modern life is winning, gradually. And newer wi-fi standards do not interfere with the same frequencies as before.[…]

Read the full article on the BBC News website.

Additionally, if you have access to the BBC iPlayer, click here to watch the Click episode featuring Green Bank.

BBC Director-General’s goal? “A Netflix of the spoken word”

Lord Tony Hall (Source: BBC)

Lord Tony Hall (Source: BBC)

(Source: BBC via Richard Langley)

“With our world-class content, we could use our current output and the richness of our archive to create a Netflix of the spoken word,” said Lord Hall.

“One of the big challenges I have set my teams is just that: to enhance our global audio offer. The BBC makes the best radio in the world. It is one of our crown jewels, and we have an extraordinary wealth of audio riches at our disposal.

“It’s one of the things that will help the BBC carry the full weight of Britain’s culture and values, knowledge and know-how to the world in the years ahead. And say something really important about modern Britain.”

BBC World Service to launch 11 new language services

(Image source: BBC)

(Source: BBC News)

The BBC World Service will launch 11 new language services as part of its biggest expansion “since the 1940s”, the corporation has announced.

bbc-newlanguageservices

The expansion is a result of the funding boost announced by the UK government last year.

The new languages will be Afaan Oromo, Amharic, Gujarati, Igbo, Korean, Marathi, Pidgin, Punjabi, Telugu, Tigrinya, and Yoruba.

The first new services are expected to launch in 2017.

[…]The plans include the expansion of digital services to offer more mobile and video content and a greater social media presence.

On Wednesday the BBC launches a full digital service in Thai, following the success of a Facebook-only “pop-up” service launched in 2014.

Other expansion plans include:

  • extended news bulletins in Russian, with regionalised versions for surrounding countries
  • enhanced television services across Africa, including more then 30 new TV programmes for partner broadcasters across sub-Saharan Africa
  • new regional programming from BBC Arabic
  • short-wave and medium-wave radio programmes aimed at audiences in the Korean peninsula, plus online and social media content
  • investment in World Service English, with new programmes, more original journalism, and a broader agenda

The new language services mean the BBC World Service will be available in 40 languages, including English.

Lord Hall has set a target for the BBC to reach 500 million people worldwide by its centenary in 2022.

Click here to read the full article…

In addition, Mike Terry, posted a link to this Leading Article  from The Times which focuses on the BBC expansion. This content is behind a paywall (though you can register to read two free items per week) but here is an excerpt from the conclusion that I found particularly interesting:

“The radio may seem an irrelevance in the age of the internet but it is the most intimate of the so-called mainstream media and as such poses a challenge to authoritarian rule. Radios are cheap, ubiquitous and can whisper truths under the bedcovers. There is nothing that dictators hate more than direct access to the ears of their subjects.”

Indeed.

Foreign Affairs Committee believe “government should fund BBC Monitoring”

(Source: Parliment.UK via Andy Sennitt on PCJ Media’s Facebook Page)

Government should fund BBC Monitoring, not the licence fee payer

bbc-monitoring29 October 2016

It was a mistake to end Government funding for BBC Monitoring in 2013 and that change should be reversed, say MPs on the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Report findings

The Foreign Affairs Committee says BBC Monitoring is vital to the FCO’s scrutiny of developing events across the world. Highly valued by the Government, the service translates and analyses news and information from freely available media sources in 100 different languages and covering 150 countries.

Triggered by a shortfall of £4m in funding, the BBC now proposes an extensive restructure of the service, which would mean the closure of 40% of BBC Monitoring posts in the UK and 20% of posts abroad, and relocation of the service from Caversham to London.

The Government is the prime customer for the service. The Foreign Affairs Committee believes Government should restore funding for open source monitoring of media sources overseas, whether they pay BBC Monitoring or carry out the work themselves.

Chair’s comments

Chair of the Committee, Crispin Blunt MP, commented:

“BBC Monitoring is a highly regarded organisation whose work is more important than ever.

These cuts to BBC Monitoring, proposed by the BBC, are simply not in the interest of the UK Government. They will not help the FCO improve its performance in detecting trends and undercurrents overseas that have implications for UK policy – something it notably failed to do in Libya, for instance. Given the vast increase in social media output, this kind of monitoring is more important than ever.

Other countries with similar operations fund them from central Government. The principal benefit of the output of BBC Monitoring is better-informed Government policy, which is why the Government should fund it, not the licence fee payer. It’s notable that in the face of these cuts, government departments are in the process of recreating this capability internally. This should not be necessary and we should be bolstering the work of BBC Monitoring, not cutting it.”

Further information

Anniversaries of BBC and CBC broadcasting

Pilot-Model-TV

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kris Partridge, who writes:

A day or two late, but I don’t know if you have this about CBC:

(Source: Southgate ARC)

Canada’s public broadcaster, the CBC, is 80 years old

Modelled somewhat on the BBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation came into being on November 2, 1936.

Surprisingly many of the issues that led to the creation of the CBC, are still around today.

In 1936, there were 74 radio stations across the country; three were CBC stations and four more were leased.  All however were dwarfed by signals sweeping across the border into Canada from more powerful US stations. Concerns of US domination of Canadian airspace, is still a concern 80 years later.

Full article here:
History: Nov 2, 1936 -Canada’s Public Broadcaster birthday: 80 today

Also yesterday was the 80th anniversary of the start of Television broadcasting in the UK

(Source: BBC Blogs)

The BBC’s first British television service launched 80 years ago today, on 2 November 1936. To mark the occasion our colleages at BBC History have launched a new website celebrating the landmark anniversary combining archive material from the early days of television.

The site is packed full of video and audio footage telling the story of television including its invention, the opening night at Alexandra Palace in 1936, TV closure during the war and its resurrection in 1946, as well as TV’s milestone moments such the Olympics and the Coronations of 1937 and 1953. We’ve selected some choice clips below to whet your appetite[…]

Read the full article and watch the archived video by clicking here & more here.

Additional links:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-15551270 & http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-15554897

Unfortunately due to various geo restrictions the one hour long programme from BBC4 last night is not viewable on iPlayer (catch up TV) outside the UK, sorry about that.

Fantastic! Thank you Kris. I’ve really enjoyed viewing the archived footage on the BBC Blog.