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- Mar 2021
In Britain, John Reith, the visionary son of a Scottish clergyman, began to look for an alternative: radio that was controlled neither by the state, as it was in dictatorships, nor by polarizing, profit-seeking companies. Reith’s idea was public radio, funded by taxpayers but independent of the government. It would not only “inform, educate and entertain”; it would facilitate democracy by bringing society together: “The voice of the leaders of thought or action coming to the fireside; the news of the world at the ear of the rustic … the facts of great issues, hitherto distorted by partisan interpretation, now put directly and clearly before them; a return of the City-State of old.” This vision of a radio broadcaster that could create a cohesive yet pluralistic national conversation eventually became the BBC, where Reith was the first director-general.
Interesting encapsulation of the idea behind the BBC.