Over the last few weeks several rounds of announcements have been made at the BBC regarding our future size, shape, services and locations. I've studiously avoided any face to face briefings- I find they tend to get dominated by those who howl the loudest, and not always the most cogently- and instead I've been perusing and pondering the various written pronouncements and powerpoints.
At the large scale, I guess we're cutting our cloth more economically now- though it's sad to see TVC on the list of places to leave, I'm ambivalent. I just don't know the London TV studio market well enough to know if it really is excess capacity- though it is a peculiar context for the sale of BBC Resources (just what the prospective buyer gets for their money is a bit moot!). Personally, TV doesn't excite me that much, and since studio based drama doesn't happen so much these days, I can't bring myself to be too upset by the loss of the home of so many second rate sit coms and chat shows. From experience, it's a fairly impractical, dingey place for most of the people who work there, and would be very difficult and expensive to upgrade. Possible, but pricey, and witha risk that it would never be busy enough to justify it.
The scale down of F&L is harsh, but apparently driven by the over capacity there at the moment. Trimming News too, is arguably overdue. At times it does seem to be a very well staffed part of the operation, and it's conceivable that it could be as effective with fewer separately dedicated people and more pooled resources.
If there was anything that seemed a real shame it was the decision to cut the local radio support buses. As I understand it, these vehicles do us sterling service, and actually support a key, and often under valued part of the BBCs activities. Local radio is a bit of a 'Cinderella' in the BBC, but has colossal reach- building ,and in some cases rebuilding relationships of trust and ownership with our audiences is key to the strategy- and it seems odd to be cutting these great tools for just that sort of capability right now. Still, what do I know?
A little more about the R&D area perhaps? Next time.