Sunday, March 20, 2011

Great Explanations, Victor Goonetilleke and Pete Myers

Searching through an audio archive, I have been stunned at how little has changed in international broadcasting in the last 15 years. It really has seen the long slow decline and many of the arguments to keep it going are stuck in the mid-1990's. As an example, I co-hosted the edition of Media Network with Victor Goonetilleke who was passing through Hilversum on his way back to Sri Lanka.

With recent discussion in January 2011 about funding of the BBC World Service, this audio flashback to a conference in September 1995 is rather topical. Sam Younger was the Managing Director of BBC World Service in 1995 and he questioned whether it is desirable for public broadcasters to work with commercial operations, especially in television. He predicted that the growth of international TV would have a major impact on radio transmissions. He also warned against certain types of sponsored programmes.

The programme also contains the voice of the late Pete Myers who explains the reason for ending the run of the Happy Station programme, an entertainment show that ran for many years on Radio Netherlands. 

A nice cup of tea was one of the standard tunes that recurred in the Happy Station programme hosted by Eddy Startz, first on PCJ in 1928, and after the war when broadcasting resumed, Happy Station was a station within the station, Radio Netherlands. Last Sunday saw the last transmission of entertainment in English under that programme title. Pete Myers is one of the four hosts of the show during its 67 year run. Before the recording started he explained why the entertainment will continue, but not under the title of Happy Station. 
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