My fun 3-minute interview about being a BBC World Service listener

May 6, 2019 by Greg Beier

Over the weekend, I had the great surprise of discovering that an interview that I had done in February (I come on at the six-minute mark) while visiting the the studio of the BBC World Service to interview Stephen Sackur (truly a surreal media moment!) about how I listen to the BBC had finally been broadcast.

Incidentally, I also had the good fun of interviewing on the BBC over the past six months:

1) Stephen Sackur, host of BBC Hard Talk.
2) Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC Technology Correspondent.
3) Afua Hirsch, Producer of “The Great Unravelling: Trade and Trump.”
4) Jane Wakefield, Producer of “Can You Murder a Robot.”

For many years, I suffered through listening to the BBC World Service via the BBC News App. This was a really dumb move because I was always trying to catch the news update at the top of the hour, which I consider the world’s best summary of what is happening but if I missed just a few minutes of it, then I had to wait a full hour until the next summary came up.

Then one glorious day, I discovered the BBC iPlayer Radio app and my fate was sealed as a completely addicted BBC listener. If you miss the hourly update, you can just wait a bit (normally), and then play it. But the really great feature is being able to see the schedule and to hear all of the shows after they have played — for free and without commercials!

While I love the BBC, my big requests to the BBC were: 1) to instantly make available the hourly news summaries for replay, 2) would organize content for listeners by their time zone around the world instead of just one linear delivery off of the UK time zone for the BBC World English Service, and add metadata for recorded live interviews on the news shows to make them searchable — some of the interviews are just breathtaking and unless who was interviewed or the subject is recorded and is searchable — it is all basically lost forever.

My big wish would be for the BBC to create a 24 hour financial channel with a significant emphasis on policy. Since the financial crisis of 2008, I have been stunned by how much financial news has shifted from just a discussion of where a market or company is going in the next few hours to very thoughtful analyses of structural change in markets, politics, and technology. I feel that the BBC would have quite an edge in putting this kind of long-form reporting together that would fill a gap that currently exists in the spectrum dominated by CNBC plus Bloomberg TV and Radio.

The world is furiously trying to figure out what shape the new global financial and political architecture will take and the BBC could provide a forum with the just right tone for applied Big Ideas to have a home. I have no doubt that leading figures like Ray Dalio, Jeremy Grantham, and others would make use of it regularly.

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