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BBC Radio and public value: The governance of public service radio in the United Kingdom

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Between 2007 and 2017 in the United Kingdom, BBC radio services were regulated by the BBC Trust, with the performance of BBC radio stations monitored against the so-called ‘drivers of public value’. Utilizing the Reach, Quality, Impact and Value for Money performance framework (RQIV), periodical reviews of BBC Radio Service Licences were carried out. This article considers two such reviews, of BBC radio stations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and BBC Local Radio services in England. The use of the public value approach in the governance of public service radio in the United Kingdom is assessed. It is argued that the public value approach places a serious focus on audience responses, but that the use of the RQIV framework is problematic when considering the cultural nature of broadcasting. It is suggested that the BBC is increasingly being forced to make decisions for political-economic reasons, rather than for reasons of public value.
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Keywords: BBC Radio; audience research; media governance; public service radio; public value; radio regulation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Ulster University

Publication date: April 1, 2017

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  • The Radio Journal is committed to high-quality, diverse research in the arena of radio and sound media, from broadcast to podcast and all in between. We look for articles that explore the production, circulation and reception of radio and creative soundwork, addressing historical and contemporary issues in sound-based journalism and media studies from a wide range of national and transnational perspectives.
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