Sunday, September 30, 2012

What the BBC should do.

What would the BBC do without its highly paid presenters?

Do people really care that the BBC keeps hold of its “best talent” by offering them huge salaries? After all it’s our licence fee which pays these wages.

In the familiar territory of football broadcasting we have Gary Lineker on a lucrative £2m a year salary to present the BBC’s televised football coverage, which includes Match of the Day and, erm... What else? Do they not have an irrelevant game show they can get him to present in his spare time?

Shearer, Lineker, Hansen, Lawrenson - The BBC MOTD team.

Whilst Lineker has proved himself as someone who is as good on the box as he was in it, a publicly funded broadcaster whose values include “delivering quality and value for money” must look at moving presenters and staff on to pastures privately funded, once their value reaches a certain amount. Either that or not pay people ridiculous salaries in the first place.

Then we have the strange cases of Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson. It’s hard to say as a Liverpool fan, but they are rubbish at their jobs. Actually it wasn’t that hard to say.

Hansen mumbles over pre prepared VT (it’s probably still actual video tape) in his Scottish accent, which is incomprehensible even to fellow Scots, and manages to say quite a lot but not say anything. His job seems to be to analyse the match we’ve just seen, but instead he’ll provide some sort of revised commentary in which he’ll repeat the same word over and over - “He passes short it there, there, there, there, and again there, brilliant passing there”.

Lawrenson’s poor, pointless analysis is basically just an extension of his poor, pointless commentary. Expect unfunny sarcastic quips, and comments which have nothing to do with the game of football we’ve just seen. He’ll comment on someone’s hair, or a player’s strange coloured boots which people wouldn’t have worn in his playing days, and he’s one of the only people in the world who’ll still add the word “not” to the end of a sentence to clarify that it was meant as sarcasm.

As you can see, Hansen and Lawrenson fully deserve their estimated £1m salaries. Not.

Ask most football fans and they’ll tell you that the BBC’s analysis of football is poor. Add in Garth Crooks, Martin Keown, and Alan Shearer and you have a punditry team of incompetent ex-players who probably couldn’t make it as a manager because they don’t know enough about football. Referring back to the BBC’s own values, their mission statement is as follows:

To enrich people's lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain.

We can now see that their core team of football presenters fail to meet any of these aims. No one would miss the current crew if they went, and the majority would probably say they should be moved on.

Now the problems have been highlighted, what is the solution?

Former players like Steve Claridge will probably work for the BBC in return for a regular place in the works five a side team, and a half time orange. This is the type of former player whom BBC should be looking to bring in. The guy who has just finished his playing career, not planned for the future, and fancies a go at punditry because, unlike some of his fellow professionals, he is able to string a few words together and has knowledge of the game. This is value for money.

Then the BBC should look at brining in journalists, pundits, writers, and presenters who are struggling to find work in the saturated media and journalism market. There are far more people doing pointless media degrees at college or university than there are jobs in the media industry, so the BBC should look to exploit this, and at the same time help people make full use of the talents they have, and the skills they’ve acquired.

A publicly funded organisation which helps reduce unemployment within their industry and give opportunities to talented individuals, which will then inform, educate, and entertain those who fund it. Sounds good.

Then, if any of these employees suddenly become popular, and the value of their stock soars to the point where the BBC would have to offer them a huge salary in order to fend off Sky, ITV, or ESPN et al, then, let them go to Sky, and recruit another hidden gem from the scrapheap. Who knows, maybe the thankful employee will to stay on with the BBC for less money because of the opportunity they gave them and the values upheld within their workplace.... Or maybe not.

According to this report, the BBC has a total income of £5,086m, with £3,606m of this coming from licence fee payers. That’s £3,606,000,000. With the extra money they would save from paying large amounts of money to presenters if the above ideas were applied across the board, the BBC would be able to pay more for actual programming and show things people actually want to watch.

During recent times the BBC have lost rights to numerous sports, including football, rugby, racing, cricket, F1 etc, etc, and don’t seem to have secured much to replace these sports in the TV schedule. With the amount of channels they now have, there is no excuse for the BBC not to show live games from the top league of the nation’s most popular sport. Surely people would rather the money they pay went towards actual programming, then the presenters of these programs.

We can listen to rubbish being talked about football in the pub, we don’t need to pay ex-footballers millions of pounds a year to do it.

P.S. This article is a slight dig at the BBC and the way it’s run, but it’s worth pointing out that the BBC air one of the best football shows around – The WorldFootball Phone In - albeit in the early hours of Saturday morning. Luckily you can download the podcast.

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