Tuesday, July 22, 2008

BBC classical music sponsorship outlawed


'When I drove off the cross-channel ferry last Monday I retuned the car radio to BBC Radio 3. Within an hour the presenter had plugged the BBC's New Generation Artists Scheme so many times that I concluded she was earning a bonus for every mention' - those were my words posted here on 30 Sept. 2007.

For a long time I have been a lone voice complaining about the incessant and gratuitous on-air plugs for BBC Radio 3's New Generation Artists scheme. This week I was joined by another voice. The BBC Trust, the body that works on behalf of licence fee payers to audit broadcast quality, has outlawed sponsorship of specific BBC activities including the New Generation Artists scheme which was funded by financial giant Aviva, the world's fifth-largest insurance group. The image above is from the BBC website.

Of course it is vitally important that new musicians are supported and nurtured. But the BBC is a public body which is funded by license fee income to the tune of more than £3 billion ($6 billion) every year. So it is hardly short of the odd pound or two and is simply undermining its own credibility with these ill-conceived attempts to ape the commercial sector.

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