This chapter deals with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), its relations with its listening audience, and the way in which the corporation reacted to the commercial stations. It considers the role of John Reith and the extent to which Reith's hopes for broadcasting and its educational function were met. It suggests that the outcome was a fair compromise. Much of what Reith wanted was achieved. At the same time, the BBC was always sensitive to the wishes of its audience, even without the competition of the commercial stations. The chapter also looks at the part radio played in domestic life. The structure of broadcasting in England was unique. Many other countries had state broadcasting systems, but few had the relative autonomy of the BBC. The BBC had a cultural freedom of manoeuvre almost unknown elsewhere.
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