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A Real BBC Listener, Will Martin  Glenn Hauser
 May 15, 2001 12:08 PDT 

Will Martin`s reply to BBC WS:

Thanks for including my message in Friday's "Write On"!

I'm afraid that the response from management you aired shows their
basic misunderstanding of what a "real" BBC listener is. They just
count the people who listen to a bit of BBC newscast on public radio
or who listen to the joint BBC/PRI "World" program as BBC listeners.
They get larger numbers from there but that is the wrong comparison.

A real BBC listener is someone like me, who wakes up in the morning
and puts in an earphone while my wife is still asleep and listens to
"Outlook" and then one of the Meridian programmes, followed by the
science and ecosystem-related programs that come in the next hour.
Someone who sets an alarm to wake up at 5:30 AM on a Saturday to hear
"Science In Action". Someone who tapes "Discovery" because it is on
in the evening opposite a favorite TV show. Someone who will follow
all the episodes of "Tale of Two Cities" on "Off The Shelf". Someone
who has to decide whether to watch TV or listen to a BBC programme
in the evening, and ends up listening while videotaping the TV for
later viewing, and has hundreds of unwatched tapes as a result!

I have no computer at home, so Internet listening is not an option.
Even if it were, how could I do it the same as I now use a shortwave
radio next to the bed? I just punch a button to turn it on, and a
memory button to bring up the best current BBC shortwave frequency.
How could I do this with a computer without waking my wife, and
filling the bedside with equipment, and spending money every month
for a service provider?

I do listen to BBC via FM relay via the local KWMU-FM public-radio
relay. But that is only 11 PM to 5 AM (weekdays, slight variation
on weekends). And that is the special emasculated BBC feed for
American public radio, which eliminates many feature programmes that
should be included, so I often have to jump back to shortwave to hear
something like "World of Music", which is a programme that deserves
FM-relay quality and never should have been removed from that feed!

I am entitled to sleep at night, I remind you. Don't try to force me
to stay up all night to have the only chance to listen to the BBC!
Also, I am a lucky person to have this relay in my city. Not many
people have this option, if you consider the entire country. Just
because a few big cities have these relays doesn't help the millions
in smaller towns or rural areas, and even the many cities that do not
have a daily multi-hour relay.

The satellite-radio services mentioned not only do not exist yet, but
have monthly fees and are aimed at automobiles. (I don't even drive,
myself.) They don't work the same as an ordinary shortwave portable
radio, which is a proven relatively-low-cost technology.

Let's get rid of the managers who made this decision, and keep the
BBC on shortwave to the *entire* world.

(William Martin, Saint Louis, Missouri, May 14 to BBC, cc to DXLD)


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