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Read this: BONUS Lord Grade, Ofcom Chair, in conversation with Katie Razzall

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BONUS Lord Grade, Ofcom Chair, in conver…

BBC sounds music Radio podcasts hi I'm Katie and this is the media show from BBC Radio 4.

This is a special Media Show podcast extra because I was at a conference dedicated to Public Service Broadcasting organised by the voice of the listener and do a charity and I had the job of interviewing on stage the Ofcom chair Michael grade is being a huge forgetting broadcasting for decades top rolls at the BBC iTV and Channel 4 for the Daily Mail famously dubbed him pornographer in chief for commissioning might seem pretty time by modern standards.

This is my Kilbride news junkie radio and television my wife goes crazy because I I will watch the 67 the 10 snooze snooze night.

I watch everything complete news Junkie

I'm an audience.

I've always been though.

I'm having a professional broadcaster deciding what to make and what that money into which produces to believe which one's not to believe I'm an audience and III any program as well made and crafted and has no has real skull behind at Talent I'll watch it and lots of that's on the BBC you're talking about the BBC today.

I mean how much it cost to cross the board you only have sent this is a problem at all problem for broadcasters.

You know there's been a massive expansion of choice but you haven't got more time to enjoy that choice.

So you so do it becomes more selective and and the switching on switching a set on and it will automatically go to BBC1 or iTV the set free to you and you said and watch it until you fell asleep those days.

Audience is very selective they have very very high expectations of every program and they're gone if you're in the so much so much choice now.

I'm enjoying at the moment the stream.

I love slow horses, honestly.

It's just magic is is twist on the on the spy genre with Gary Oldman playing as Dead beat dem beats by is one of us to watch catching just catching up with you.

Get a stone I loved and I'm just catching up on madam secretary which is the sort of political American political thing about sexy Estate which is very very well written play Where I find the time to do this.

I don't know between the news really you're arguing that we need to decide what kind of BBC want before we decide how it should be funded and you.

Things that are key to you whether that's the local element offering something for everyone being a strong broadcaster acting as a bulwark against fake news in your view are there things at the BBC shouldn't be making.

No, you're not on the side of people who say they shouldn't be making Strictly Come Dancing entertainment at the moment.

We have a licence fee.

I make no comment about whether that should continue or not but we have a licence fee everybody pays the last three everybody pays the same is entitled to something for them and the BBC's you know nobody would argue that the BBC shouldn't have taken Morecambe and Wise and on the BBC now.

He's going to argue that and the fact is that the BBC had his best can be incredibly created the streamers would never commission happy or strictly you know so that has a role and it has it has it has a role of it and has to provide entertainment even the days of the BBC Monopoly

The light programme those of none of you will remember the light program you to do things like ignorance is Bliss and sort of brainless braindead hilarious shows at more thank you.

Yeah wonderful.

It's always the great tradition of doing it as long as there's a licence for you and everyone is paying you got a provide entertainment as well as melvyn, Bragg In Our Time and when it comes to the licence be difficult for you because you've been someone who's had a lot of opinions through your career.

Yes, which is fair enough, but now your head of Ofcom and perhaps.

You know there's opinions and coming back to you, but you have sample said that you think the licence fee is a regressive.

That's not an opinion.

That's a fact it isn't an opinion in my pay the same.

My licence fee as a pensioner pay the same for my licence for you as a single mum with 3 kids and a rented room.

You know how much would the licence for you.

I mean that would go up to 200 200 is that do you think it's worthwhile for you? I think you've got to address the aggressive nature of it before you decide but would you be willing to pay more than £200 so that other people paid less have to ask her why she might tell you to stop watching news watch football last night different games.


See what you want to end up really personal personal times you come here, but you would like to end up in a situation where people who can afford to pay more people who find £40 if it's decided after the great debate that we're going to have in charge.

The licence fee or some form of licence fee should continue universal licence fee then I would but we haven't got to that stage yet.

We still haven't had the debate about what we want from the BBC what it should cost and then how it's funny because there are you know the lot of people would argue for scription lot of people who died for advertising.

I think I think there's a big decision if you put the BBC in the competition for revenue you can't expect the same outcome.

You can't expect fleabag and some of the more esoteric risks at the BBC is taking it had a criticism of the it doesn't take it off risks creatively that's speaking person that possibly maybe relation to budget is to do with the fact that the BBC

Competition for revenue can understand the ITV channel 4 Channel 5 not wanting to take massive created risks because it's you know it's it is the bottom line.

Is you know it's it's a very competitive market the advertising market is incredibly competitive now.

I'm or not when I was in ITV first time you know the the advertising sales director and never came in on a Wednesday because it buggered up both weekends.

We had a monopoly the money just called it in my husband's favourite quote wasn't down to him.

It's awesome Lord somebody who's you said that first.

I think you know I understand you would like to know you have to work on in the middle of the week.

Not worry about the weekends.

You've also got huge amounts of commercial experience and the BBC is becoming more commercial take Doctor Who would you famously act an act in the 1980s the new version is now a big budget?

Disney and the Independent production company bad wolf is that the right direction of travel do you think the BBC be there is no question that the licence fee payers the money to the BBC to invest in programming that programming has a value and intellectual property value and the BBC has a duty to maximise the value of the IP with the licence repairs who invested in and to maximise it as best they can and return that to the licence fee pay with investing the prophet say if they make a property investing the profits in more wonderful content for British audiences, and that's a virtuous circle and no for the BBC to give up the idea of exploiting its intellectual property and handing it over the summer is that somebody can make millions of pounds out of it and in?

Licence fee payers a return on their investment seems to be crackers BBC needs to ensure it keeps those rights and keeps the money at self trade and all that but yes there is a pot to be shared, but it's at the BBC's very good at exploiting it.

It's it's intellectual properties and be happy to see more of it a lot of money is coming back to the BBC have created that intellectual property investment.

I'd like to talk about impartiality something you have to deal with a lot.

I think it Ofcom how do you define due impartiality every single case is different and the keyword in that crazy.

Just is due impartiality bad enables us when we get a complaint on impartiality or fairness or accuracy whatever the thing is that enables.

The context you know example but you know if if BBC News interviews the prime minister of the day on the 10:00 news doing partially allows them to balance that a few nights later with the leader of the opposition.

They don't have to do it in the same program.

So that would be non so make it all impossible, so we interpret each case as it comes along we take all the evidence that we can from everybody decided to investigate a case to answer.

We then take evidence of everybody concern the complainant the broadcaster the people involved we reach final send it back to them.

We get further comments and eventually we will publish judgement, but the key thing is due impartiality not every case is different and you if you go on our website.

And read the very full accounts of our Jude occasions where we have investigated.

You will see pretty well every case is different.

Do you believe that BBC output for example is boarding pass I would say that the BBC strives day and night to leave that state of Grace known as impartiality sometimes there are mistakes on all broadcasters.

There are mistakes.

It's over carelessness.

Very rarely.

Is it deliberate? It's off.

It's interpreted by some people has been delivered and it's just a kid.

I cannot describe to you the pressure that reporters are under the stairs.

You will know that you know you're doing what you're doing a piece of that your dorm to do a piece with the today show then you're doing BBC News 24 then you're doing the 1.

Alarm you're doing the sex you doing the 10 you doing online sometimes in my case.

I got the director-general sitting right next to me as he's just being interviewed as well, but it's impossible but everybody striving to achieve it and Ofcom is there two police it after the fact after never before transmission GB news right now.

Do you think the UK has a problem with the growth of pinion LED programming well leaving GB news out of its I can't comment on that because we have live investigations.

I don't want any way to Prejudice That but at the heart of Ofcom is the Promotion of free speech and freedom of expression and you know from the bad old days when I was when I was first in in ITV

The regulator The Independent broadcasting authority was the publisher of Law any programs that were controversial we had to go and take to the IBA and script and and the cat program approved by the regulator government appointed regulate.

We've moved a long way from there and it's freedom of expression that counts a great deal and we're not in the business of telling people.

They're not allowed to broadcast why does impartiality prevent of Express 1000 exactly so he's off some people believe that argument to permit to overlook in French months of impartiality regulation because I don't like has Borne out by the evidence in any way shape or we would be in dereliction about Duty

People are confused some people what counts as news and what does encounters news? What's current affairs very difficult what is a news program and what is the current affairs programme that's difficult to talk we all know the difference between Panorama and the news at 10, but there was no it's not confusing.

It's not confusing at all anyone agree.

Everyone agreed well.

We'll see I think I think the point is that for some people you're clearly you look at the likes of GB news.

Talk to the LBC it is but you say we need for freedom of expression you may well be right programming but they are talking about music.

Innovation and new genre is the programme where the Business of ensuring that that the public can continue to trust what they see and hear on the television on licence on the Wii licence and a 2000 broadcasters they're all required on the x by the by the Ofcom code and where there are two police the coat.

We're not there to tell them who present programs what programs they can and can't make that would be let's going back to the the dark ages.

You know let's go back to the days when the Lord Chancellor had to improve the Script 1968 any play that went on in the West End you had to take the Script to the Lord Chancellor and gave his approval those days are over 1 people might have questions around that some of the things that you see that's a reason the band you know there is no law against people being offended.

I'm offended by logic programs.

I see cos they're not good enough that offends me because they might be wonderful one day a lot of programs or programmes start awful and develop something absolutely extraordinary, so you know we're not the business is stifling innovation.

No it took it took 2 years for Dad's Army to catch on with the public.

You know I suppose the recent Williams you made with that the esta McVey Philip Davies program.

That was rule does not impartial but Nadine dorries interview with Boris Johnson's beauties alright.

That is where there is a read the people who make those comments is glib comments should read go on the website and read the details fully transparent detailed rationale for any judgement that that we make when we when we choose to investigate and you'll see the ambulance you may not like what you see.

That's not a reason to ban it this is 2023 Focus

Yeah, this is not we don't live in the patricians society that that I grew up in when I started in broadcasting.

We talk about the decline in investment in investigated because it's so expensive with huge Cars 2 Newsnight budget being neutered.

Are you concerned about the downgrading of investigative journalism in the UK I know the BBC in the 1980s you increase audiences for Panorama by so clever scheduling.

So you know you were investing back then cleverly anecdotal when panoramas ratings fell the editor and I would get together so I think it's time to do that annual episode.

How much is your house worth and and the kids will go up again.

So that's what we used to do tricks of the trade.

Sorry about earlier.

It wasn't to deliberate on the programme when you have journalism is very very important part of democracy of this country.

It is a very challenged.

It is a very challenge, but hopefully there are dedicated journalists and dedicated editors and broadcasters who you feel the need to invest that is how you know you start with the internet of a story and you need a lot of resources to go and follow that get it onto the air and Away that is legally defensible and in every way defensible and it's very very high risk, and it is you know it is a problem.

You know the the machina the days of when I started on ITV there.

It was this week World in Action in primetime Weekend World on Sunday lunch time.

It's just the back of the weather the commercial market has has gone.

How do you protect it so very big question I'm gonna know the answer.

I genuinely don't know the answer.

I just hope that there are enough people who care about about these particular genre power in broadcasting who put resources into it and if the reports are written by people in this room about Newsnight becoming a chat show as a as an avid view of Newsnight how will you feel about that decision for the BBC every time a long-running programme gets changed there is an outcry when I cancel Doctor Who

I can't tell you why I was in the nose days a massive a pylon without social media.

I think the radio still had bowels days, but but but it always happens and people have people have a particular affection for certain programs and it's the changes that innovation is the lifeblood you know we have to be a head of a woman's tastes if you're in broadcasting not slaves.

I did just want to ask you one about Ofcom annual because some people here will be aware of the claim made by the former culture secretary Nadine dorries recently of skullduggery surrounding your appointment.

She says you were her first choice to convert pressure was put on her to appoint someone else and your name was even switched.

She says in the correspondence that went to the then p.m.

Or do you know about this? I know what that's all I know.

All I know is what I've read Android reading.

Do you think it's true when when books are written back to the person has read the indexes and Celia your name is your name is presumably usually in I haven't read the book.

I have read the extract complete news to me.

I have no idea.

I have no way of knowing and how independent do you feel Ofcom is from the government completely I mean that the core of our if we weren't you know the judgement across all the sectors that we regulate whether it's best broadband telecoms spectrum.

You name it wherever we we go out, but not stick if the people we regulating thought we were politically motivated so the independence and the political independence of of Commerce in.

Political Independence of the BBC and we got that regard that without lives and I'll come and do you speak to ministers of the Secretary state, they want to see me.

I'm going or if there's this legislation go in the online safety wear quite a lot of meetings on the online safety be me not just not not always with the with the officials to build team and the ministers and son it's part of life, but I don't feel not all my life in broadcasting.

I've had two with stand for pressure one kind of and another weather is Mrs Thatcher and real lives give you the IRA deoxygenated verse of the in that famous upset all the way through and always resisted.

It was managed to resisted and ofcom's know.

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Thursday, 30 November 2023
Brian Butterworth

8:16 AM

I recall Lord Grade taking about "capture" once at a public meeting. It was basically away of saying "you can ignore what you want to" as it was so simple for people to enter into letter writing or emailing campaigns without being reflective of the public at a whole.

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Brian Butterworth's 38,910 posts GB flag

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