Changing stations

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Changing stations

A radical reform is now in full swing in the world’s public broadcasting systems. A sharp decline in both audience ratings and program reliability, and an upswing in reckless management are the major culprits behind the reform move. The best solution is to introduce an entrepreneurial management method such as restructuring.
The British Broadcasting Corporation unveiled an intensive restructuring program last year. The plan is to slash 2,800 jobs by 2012, sell its headquarters, reduce subsidiaries by 30 percent and the number of programs by 10 percent.
The new BBC chairman, Mark Thompson, emphasized that the BBC could only survive if drastic measures were taken.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy shed light on the importance of public broadcasting. He said he would revamp the France 2 and France 3 broadcasting systems as ad-free broadcasters.
Japan’s NHK is also conducting a comprehensive reform. Shigeo Fukuchi, the former chairman and CEO of Asahi Breweries, was inaugurated last month as the station’s new president. Skepticism surrounding the dramatic move swept Japan.
Shigetaka Komori, chairman of the NHK management committee, said, “The appointment of Mr. Shigeo Fukuchi is a desperate countermeasure designed to overhaul the broadcasting system across the board.”
NHK has already been under intense pressure to step up its reform agenda as it faces growing problems such as people’s refusal to pay subscription fees because of corruption in the station; the introduction of a government measure designed to lower subscription fees; the merger and abolition of as many as 34 subsidiaries; and the reduction in the number of channels.
Now Korea’s broadcasting circles are taking preparative steps to replace the president with a new one. MBC elected a new chairman on Feb. 15, and there are rumors that the incumbent KBS chairman will step down soon.
Fortunately, the new MBC president was elected fairly. He’s a celebrity anchor who symbolizes the company’s brand image.
However, an important post in broadcasting circles should not be dealt with from a political perspective ― such as political transactions and the expression of gratitude.
The heads of public broadcasting corporations or the Korean Broadcasting and Communication Commission serve an invaluable role securing public interest and gaining the people’s confidence.

The writer is the deputy culture and sports editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.

By Yang Sung-hee []
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