Public Broadcasting Policy

  • John Whale


Broadcasting, and in particular television, is a clear case where British practice has been significantly changed by American example. In the 1920s the broadcasting systems in the two countries set off on different paths. In the 1950s the two paths converged; and it was not the Americans who had changed their line. The direction of British broadcasting since then is in large measure the result of a lesson from America. Whether that particular lesson was a useful one is a matter for doubt.


Television Service Commercial Television Broadcasting System Blue Book Current Affair 
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  1. There are several useful volumes of reminiscence about American broadcasting: one of the more illuminating is Fred W. Friendly’s Due to Circumstances Beyond Our Control … (New York: Random House, 1967), and one of the more recentGoogle Scholar
  2. Les Brown’s Television: The Business Behind the Box (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1971).Google Scholar
  3. The indispensable study is Erik Barnouw’s three-volume History of Broadcasting in the United States (New York: Oxford U.P., 1966, 1968, 1970); on a much wider canvas he has done almost as exhaustive a job as Asa Briggs has in his History of Broadcasting in the United Kingdom (London: Oxford U.P., 1961, 1965, 1970).Google Scholar
  4. Much of the relevant official material is in Frank J. Kahn (ed.), Documents of American Broadcasting (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1968). The Beveridge Report which opened the door to British commercial television when it meant to shut it is the Report of the Broadcasting Committee, 1949, Cmd 8116 (London: HMSO, Jan 1951); and the story of how commercial television was then foisted on a mildly reluctant government is told in H. H. Wilson’s Pressure Group (London: Secker & Warburg, 1961).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John Whale 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Whale
    • 1
  1. 1.‘Sunday Times’UK

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