The Welsh Broadcaster: a Study of Communicator Ideology and Orientation amongst Producers in BBC Wales

  • David Bevan

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The main aim of this study v/as to explore the role of the communicator in a 'national 1 region of the BBC. Structured interviews were conducted with 62 producers employed by BBC Wales.

    Providing a framework for the investigation was a critical analysis of the resurgence and mobilisation of Welsh ethnicity, its influence in the 'construction* of a "Welsh Question 1 and its relationship to the development of Welsh broadcasting. The analysis revealed the intersection of ethnic and linguistic concerns with the professional and social objectives of an expanding middle class from within whose ranks the broadcasters of this study were drawn.

    This was confirmed in their personal biographies and in the data relating to their social, educational and cultural background and affiliations. Although few had firmly chosen broadcasting as a career before entry, most of the producers saw it as ar. extension of existing professional interests. The most important factor which attracted them to Welsh broadcasting, however, was the opportunity to serve 'Welsh’ interests.

    A profile of the producer population in terms of age distribution, output area, media and linguistic alignment was related to an analysis of the sources of satisfaction and dissatisfaction experienced in the producer role. Among a range of ideological responses to control, a predominant ‘commitment to Welshness’ emerged as the most significant form of adaptation to role conflict. This affected their view of professional practice of the BBC and their own career aspirations. A general reluctance to leave Wales and widespread support of nationalist politics were two major findings.

    In the absence of systematic institutional research, a number of unsubstantiated assumptions about the Welsh audience informed programme content and practice. The conflict between cultural commitment and institutional goals was most acute in relation to the Welsh language. The study identified three main groups within the producer population. These subscribed in turn to a 'conservative', 'pragmatic' and an 'interventionist' or 'cultural action 1 model of the role of broadcasting.

    The ultimate survival of Welsh culture appeared to rest, however, not on greater media provision but on wider structural factors.
    Date of AwardMar 1982
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Polytechnic of Wales

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