Articles by Richard G Elen

Celebrating 75 Years of BBC Television

Published 9 November 2011

The 75th Anniversary of the launch of the BBC Television Service from Alexandra Palace was commemorated by a small party at AP on Wednesday 2 November, 2011. Richard Elen was there to describe the scene.

Most people like the BBC as it is

Published 3 March 2010

Although the article leads on a poll result that suggest that the majority of the UK population are “broadly in favour” of the proposed BBC cuts, a new poll published…

Lies, damned lies and Ofcom

Published 10 August 2009

Coverage of the data presented in Ofcom’s Communications Market Report indicates that many correspondents are not at their best when dealing with statistics. But Ofcom themselves don’t make it particularly easy to do anything other than misinterpret the data.

BBC expenses: Still nothing to write home about

Published 17 July 2009

Despite protestations from a number of Guardian/Observer readers (and the odd columnist) that there wasn’t much of a story in BBC executives’ expenses, now here’s a second round. There is even less of a story this time.

Exactly the wrong thing to ask for

Published 3 July 2009

ITN newscaster Alastair Stewart calls for a “Beeching style enquiry” into the BBC to assess whether its services are all really “necessary and viable”. What a ridiculous idea.

Radio and Britain’s Digital Future

Published 1 July 2009

If we’re keeping DAB, we need to upgrade it to use modern codecs. But why not skip all that and move the “radio space” to IP networks? However, you can’t do that until there is a national broadband infrastructure that will need a lot more than copper-based 2Mb/s. So until then, maybe keeping FM is the thing to do…


Published 24 January 2009

Protest over BBC Gaza appeal veto Let me first state my position. I personally am very much in favour of support for the Gaza Crisis Appeal. Just looking at the…

Many a true word spoken in jest

Published 8 December 2008

John Barrowman item et seq, The Now Show, Series 25, Episode 2, BBC Radio 4 Hats off to BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show for, er, raising the issue of…

What horrible screen graphics…

Published 5 November 2008

Talk about ugly… for some reason US screen graphics are often garish, overcomplex and hard to read in my view. Look at this example from MSNBC this morning.

For goodness’ sake, turn off the tweets

Published 5 November 2008

Last night found me glued to the BBC News US Election coverage on the BBC website until I dragged myself away at 3am, with Ohio called for Obama and Virginia…

OK, that’s enough

Published 30 October 2008

Brand has resigned; Ross probably ought to consider doing something similar himself. The pre-recording of edgy comedy programmes is a great way to make sure that the wrong thing doesn’t…

Mixed messages

Published 29 October 2008

I’m not a fan of either Ross or Brand; I have no comment on the question as to whether or not they are overpaid; and I certainly think that the…

What is Fairness?

Published 27 October 2008

I’ve talked about this issue before, but as it keeps coming up, perhaps it’s time to talk about it again. It is commonly assumed that for the media to be…

Future lessons from the past

Published 13 October 2008

As someone who remains of the opinion that what the British Government did in the years 1945-51 to establish major post-war institutions (despite the country being nearly bankrupt) was brilliant…

Watch this man.

Published 3 October 2008

Despite the fact that Cory Ondrejka works for EMI, he knows more about what’s really going on in the music industry than almost anyone else.

Searching back in time

Published 3 October 2008

For Google’s 10th anniversary, you can search the web as it was in 2001.

Television: the gin of the 20th century

Published 25 September 2008

Can you imagine how much time we wasted watching TV – and what we could now be doing instead?

Television: the gin of the 20th century

Published 25 September 2008

Can you imagine how much time we wasted watching TV – and what we could now be doing instead?

On the Run

Published 1 August 2008

The story of London’s clandestine radio stations (1973)

Demand Five – another case of online discrimination

Published 22 July 2008

Once again, a sizeable proportion of online users are being discriminated against by on-demand programme providers: this time by Five’s TV-on-demand service Demand Five. If they were visually impaired, for…

Pay-per-PSB? Not as a package

Published 20 July 2008

COO of BSkyB, Mike Darcey, writing in the Royal Television Society journal Television (Vol. 45:6, July 2008 p12), reckons Ofcom – and many of the rest of us – are…

O2 and iPhone 3G: Where ‘first come first served’ is a lie

Published 12 July 2008

Of course, as everyone might expect, there was enormous demand for the iPhone 3G when it came out earlier in the week: it’s obviously an excellent product with several of…

Breaking the news too fast

Published 23 June 2008

On the internet, news can sometimes travel too fast

Medi(a)eval Haze

Published 9 May 2008

If you, like me, are an avid BBC Four viewer, you might have seen the extremely cool trailer for the recent Mediaeval (oh, sorry, we are spelling it the American…

How do we make money?

Published 1 April 2008

So here we are in this new media world. We download our music and give it to our friends, so the musicians who make it don’t get any income. We…

We’re not talking about it…

Published 30 March 2008

As if GCap Media’s stance on DAB was not obvious enough already, listeners to Classic FM who have not been blasted or lulled into inattention by the ads in the…

How do we make any money?

Published 9 March 2008

So here we are in this new media world. We download our music and give it to our friends, so the musicians who make it don’t get any income. We…

Democratisation or death?

Published 9 March 2008

Can we trust new media?

The world’s most famous radio receiver to close?

Published 7 March 2008

UK’s world-class astronomy project faces closure Turning a blind eye to a magic kingdom of marvellous things For arch Government stupidity there can be few more stunning examples than the…

Trust and new media

Published 14 February 2008

eSkeptic: Journalist-Bites-Reality! – How broadcast journalism is flawed in such a fundamental way that its utility as a tool for informing viewers is almost nil. I’m in the process of…

Microsoft strikes again

Published 1 February 2008

For an extended version of this article, click here. It was bad enough that the BBC’s iPlayer excludes tens of thousands of licence-payers by being Windows-only. Now Classic FM, the…

Spiegel im Spiegel

Published 1 February 2008

I’ve been a technology journalist of one sort or another since 1974, and in my view there are two fundamental requirements for the job: an ability to write, of course,…

Nothing new under the virtual sun

Published 31 January 2008

Eliot (right) and Carolyn’s on-screen ‘avatar’. BBC copyright. Wednesday (Tuesday in Scotland) saw the latest in a new documentary strand, Wonderland, on BBC2. This week it was “Virtual Adultery and…

Microsoft Strikes Again

Published 10 January 2008

Why can’t I listen to MyClassicFM?

The forgotten anniversary

Published 1 December 2007

Of all the broadcasting anniversaries we’ve been noting recently in these pages, there’s one that seems to have slipped by. It might seem a small thing, but it was actually…

Mistaking technique for artifice

Published 4 September 2007

Five News to ban staged shots So Channel Five’s new news editor, David Kermode, is banning a bunch of traditional interview techniques in a bid to try and restore trust…

Free Radio: 40+ years on

Published 2 September 2007

What happened to ‘Free Radio’?

Third ‘Second Life’ Convention sees active media presence

Published 25 August 2007

‘Second Life’ after the backlash Second Life’s Real-World Problems This weekend the Hilton, in downtown Chicago, is playing host to the third Second Life Community Convention – SLCC 07 –…

Another ?reality? show bites the dust

Published 25 August 2007

?Anchorwoman? Canceled After One Airing We’re used to so-called ‘reality’ shows crashing and burning, or getting themselves into deep water (or other substances). The latest tale that will hopefully contribute…

Free Radio: 40 years on

Published 14 August 2007

“Big L time is three o’clock, and Radio London is now… closing down….” This is what we heard Paul Kaye say, forty years ago today, virtually to the minute as…

The BBC Sells Out

Published 2 August 2007

BBC Corrupted by Microsoft Free Software Foundation plans protest against “corrupt” BBC BBC Trust backs calls for Linux iPlayer So, let’s look at this story in a little more detail….

The BBC Sells Out?

Published 1 August 2007

A recent blog entry on the web site, under the headline “BBC Corrupted by Microsoft” bemoans the latest development in copy protection. What it is fundamentally about is that…

The wrong mea culpa

Published 18 July 2007

DELETE—It’s all very well all this wailing and gnashing of teeth going on at the BBC and aired in public. We know that the phone-in quiz business was industry wide,…

The ethics of the edit suite

Published 15 July 2007

Treasury makes complaint to BBC about Gordon Brown film Hot on the heels of the Queen/RDF storm in a teacup, Newsnight is apparently in trouble with the Treasury over a…

Should the BBC do more in-house?

Published 13 July 2007

Well, it’s one angle that hasn’t been explored a great deal by the rest of the UK media (another writer has suggested it briefly here). As has been pointed out,…

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