Monday 9 January 2017

The BBC Needs To Rethink Its Football Programs

The last time I published this blog was almost 7 weeks ago.

A week later, I planned to write about Football Telephone shows like BBC 5 Alive but didn’t have the energy to. I have thought about other topics as well but lacked the motivation to write for different reasons. I finally found the strength to publish something on another platform last week and hope I can pick it up from here going forward.

Six weeks ago, I was on my way back from Dublin where a dear friend had got married. Travelling back from Heathrow, I was caught in the post football match traffic from the late kick off at Stamford Bridge and I was listening to BBC 5 Live hosted by Jason Mohammed & Robbie Savage. I had never called into a Phone – In program before because I have very low regard for some of the conversations on those programs. But the stress of near standstill traffic plus the constant whine of Robbie Savage’s voice was so upsetting, I decided to call and perhaps give them a bit of my mind.

The producer or whoever it was that picked and screened my call obviously didn’t put me through as what I wanted to say didn’t suit their purpose. You get the sense they are only after dim witted and controversial callers. The type that wants Claudio Ranieri out of Leicester 5 minutes after winning the league and the type that wants Sam Allardyce to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.

Yes I could easily have turned the radio off or switched to another station or play music as I certainly do whenever Adrian Durham, Andy Goldstein or Jason Cundy are on the airwaves on Talksport. But I understand Talksport, they are allowed to Talkshite. They are a commercial radio station and can sell filth to make money.

What I don’t understand is a taxpayer funded radio station indulging in the same silliness. Whether they make controversial radio programs or not, their funding is guaranteed by mugs like me forced to cough up for the TV licence fee. They deprive me of my hard earned £146.50 by way of the TV licence fee and they make atrociously silly & controversial radio programs.

They not only do this un - educative & mindless programs, they outsource the programs to independent producers. The 606 program on BBC 5 Live Sports is outsourced to a company called Short Sharp Production. This company appears to be owned by an individual  

Why the BBC will need an external company to produce a football phone - in program is something that stumps me. Football is our passion in the UK, football has a large following in the UK and you need a private company to script telephone calls from the public to 2 supposedly expert pundits? 2 individuals who are supposed to know a lot about football? 2 well remunerated people?  Befuddling.

Maybe the objective is not to educate. It is not to inform or share expertise. Rather they have asked a private company to produce it because it is entertainment. It is about the controversy. It is about the ridiculous opinions. It is about silly callers making a fool of themselves on national radio. It is about ratings. Which is all a shame when a national radio, fully funded by the taxpayer needs to set up a circus to justify their existence.

I think the bosses at the BBC, will do well to read this article by David Walsh of The Sunday Times and rethink their overall football coverage and choice of pundits. We are constantly compelled to listen to uninformed, unimaginative and highly opinionated ex - players whose ability to inform & educate is below par. They often resort to jokes, puns and personal preferences to mask their shortcomings.  Their favourite line in my opinion is to say something like – “I think that player is very good. I really do”. The “really do” is the convincing argument. Why is he a good player? His stats? His vision? How does he compare with peers in this league? Globally? Just mealy-mouthed opinion.

For an organization wholly reliant on the taxpayer for it’s funding, the BBC must shape up.