Crisis or renewal: the origins, evolution and future of public service broadcasting 1922 to 1996

Owen, J. 1996. Crisis or renewal: the origins, evolution and future of public service broadcasting 1922 to 1996. PhD thesis University of Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design

TitleCrisis or renewal: the origins, evolution and future of public service broadcasting 1922 to 1996
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsOwen, J.
Abstract

In the 1980s the future of public service broadcasting in

Britain was called into doubt. Technological developments in

cable, satellite and digital technologies were, it was argued,

poised to end the condition known as 'spectrum scarcity'; while

the emergence of a neo-liberal Conservative government, pledged

to rolling back the frontiers of the state', was of the opinion

that the current system of public service broadcasting provision

was no longer necessary given the number of broadcasting channels

now available; broadcasting, in its view, would increasingly be

able to mirror the publishing industry in its structure and

future regulation.

Critics however, were loathe to accept the argument that

technological considerations alone ought to drive broadcasting

policy; and two key questions emerged. Firstly, how was public

service broadcasting to be defended in a climate increasingly

hostile to public service ideals and institutions in general; and

secondly, and as a result of the first question, how was public

service broadcasting to be understood?

This thesis seeks to answer both these questions and argues

that in the process of clarifying the nature of public service

broadcasting in the past, that solutions for its defence in the

future will be found. Public service broadcasting, was not, it

will be argued, simply about institutions like the BBC, but

evidence of a much broader and widely shared (across the

political divides) understanding of the proper role of

broadcasting in a democratic society (at least until the 1980s).

In short, public service broadcasting in the past was never

simply a response to a set of technological conditions; instead

it was forged from a set of political, economic, Administrative

and cultural ideas about the nature of society and broadcasting's

role in it; and hence its ability to respond to the new

conditions of the 1990s and beyond.

Year1996
FileOwen.pdf
Publication dates
Completed1996

Related outputs

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Permalink - https://westminsterresearch.westminster.ac.uk/item/948yy/crisis-or-renewal-the-origins-evolution-and-future-of-public-service-broadcasting-1922-to-1996


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