Brian's Blog

…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World

BBC Radio…

There are literally two BBC Radio shows I often listen to, they are the 45-minute long Woman’s Hour (I know, I’m such a man) and the Jeremy Vine Show, which spans two hours. In addition to these two BBC Radio shows I also listen to Classic FM for a couple of hours on Saturday and Sunday evenings, to enjoy the Saturday Night at the Movies and Chart shows respectively.

I would say I “tune into”, but that wouldn’t be strictly accurate because half the time (I suppose) I listen online. The advantage to this is that with regards to the BBC stations I can skip back to the beginning of a show if I “tune in” late (a feature that sadly isn’t available with the Classic FM service), but with the benefit of the amp and speaker setup I can further enjoy, particularly, the pieces of music that take my fancy from the Classic FM offerings (the little radio in my kitchen just doesn’t have that spine-tingling umph when I want it).

In fact, I generally “log” into the Jeremy Vine show late so that I can skip back to the beginning and then skip through music being played and the dose of news that divides the two hours and the travel news that doesn’t concern me. It’s not that the music is bad, in fact the genres tend to change for each show, and some tracks I will listen to and I’ve enjoyed hearing some songs for the first time there, but I generally listen in to the show for the chatty parts; the topics being discussed, for which there are typically four per two hour show. These topics give me things to write about in my blog and that and the news form pretty much the only remaining understanding I have of what’s going on in the world; I rarely flick through a news paper or listen to any other news bulletin, and I don’t watch television.

Today I missed the final topic of the Jeremy Vine show because I had been listening to it on my radio, only then to move to my computer where I intended to listen to the final segment online, where I was faced with this:

It had me stumped.

I actually didn’t notice the “I’ll do it later” option, which can be forgiven since the “Sign in” option is the most prominent, and delaying the “inevitable” would be futile, and I got lost in my thoughts, and this blog post.

I read through the “Why sign in…” page instead, trying to get my head around the enforced and sudden change and what I would decide to do. Because there is a choice here: Would I sign up?

I was faced with a similar prospect when the Formula One championship switched to Channel Four a couple of years back and that website informed me I would need to sign up or login with a Facebook account or something in order to view the show, which I don’t have, or had reservations about doing. I stopped watching Formula One at that point.

Why do I have these reservations? I don’t really know. It’s the same for me when some government body starts requesting I provide them with personal details; especially when they include a threat at the end of it for not complying.

There is also the issue over data security; what information we have to part with in order to sign up, and how secure that date will be (which considering the number of big name hacks, cannot be guaranteed).

Something tells me that playing along is akin to selling my soul, which rationally I don’t think is the case, but I question “their” motives nonetheless. I can’t help but have images from the Book of Revelation about being marked with the sign of the beast; bar-coded and chipped; being only a number and being little more than a file of computer systems. Coincidentally, this week I came across “a group”/term called “Sovereign Citizen”, which perhaps fuels my feelings about these things, since such people try to live outside of “the law”.

And what are the BBCs motives in this present situation?

As with other services that do this, “they” want to learn all about you so they can “provide you with a better/personalised service”. With regards to the BBC which lacks advertising per se, they want to promote other shows to you that they think (from learning about your viewing/listing behaviour so far) you will enjoy; which means getting you hooked into their platform, not good. It’s how Youtube works; it suggests to you more of the same of what you’ve just seen and before you know it you’ve sat through hours of videos of cats when all you wanted to know was how to best remove a tick.

All this is a day after I received yet another letter from the TV Licensing agency (aka the BBC) who are still threatening to pay me a visit for my lack of TV licence (and my lack of communication with them; again, I don’t like threats), this time on the 15th of May (or not, as the letter further states). This has been going on for three years, and as you may imagine, further fuels my uncomfortableness about signing up to gain access to their radio shows.

I’m thinking of ways around this predicament.

1/ My first thought was, could I live without BBC Radio online? Potentially yes, although the thought of having to listen to the whole of the 2 hour Jeremy Vine Show, warts (music) and all, is a big deterrent.

2/ Could I record the show myself and listen later with the ability to skip through the bits I don’t want to hear? Yes. This would mean a change in my routine, but then the question is, would I prefer to change my routine over giving in to their request to me to sign my life/soul/freedom to just click and listen away. I’ll have a further think about it, but likely the answer is yes.

The fact that I haven’t watched Formula One for a couple of years now (yet still miss it occasionally) doesn’t bode well for Jeremy.

As an afterthought, because perhaps coincidentally, one of the topics that I did get to listen to on the Jeremy Vine show today was about the renationalisation of various previously privatised services such as the rail service, the electric companies, and the Royal Mail. What if the BBC is privatised? It’s one thing that the corporation does not feature advertising, but if it sold out it potentially could, and with this new change, it could sell off all the information we’ve parted with. The data a company holds about us is an asset. Don’t be an ass(et)… lol I just made that up and I’m tempted to include it in the title, but I think I’ll leave it down here for you worthy readers who made it this far; thanks for reading.

You can read the BBC’s page of their explanation of why they’re asking people to sign up here (I advise reading between the lines, I particularly liked the part “We’ll normally only keep your data for as long as necessary to give you the services you’re using.”):
http://www.bbc.co.uk/usingthebbc/why-we-are-asking-you-to-sign-in
Sneakily, since I originally clicked on the link in the small “Radio Player” window there was no scroll bar to reveal the full length of the page and contents in their entirety, but I knew a click of my mouse wheel would allow me the ability to scroll \o/

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4 comments on “BBC Radio…

  1. Sarada Gray
    11 May, 2017

    I have a great deal of sympathy for this: we, too, lived without TV for years and were constantly hassled by the TV Licensing people. They kept threatening to come round and never did. I, too, listen ‘again’ to radio; I quite like Jeremy Vine but most of my programmes are on radio 4. i have to admit the thought of privatising teh BBC fills me with horror. It may not be perfect but it’s all we have

    • Brian
      11 May, 2017

      This request for users of the radio section of the website to sign up and in to listen does seem to be a small step in that direction, although I can see how knowing what people listen to is beneficial, and this would perhaps be more accurate than their traditional methods.

  2. meltdblog
    13 May, 2017

    The traditional solution for people asking for personal details when they have no need for it is to give them something which fits the pattern but is unconnected to you. There are a wealth of websites to generate plausible “details” and temporary email systems to catch sign up confirmations before disappearing forever.

    • Brian
      13 May, 2017

      True, I do have a few e-mail accounts I use. I was curious what other information the sign-up page asks for and collects… in fact at the bottom of the page I linked to it states: “We share some of your personal data with TV Licensing to check if you are using BBC iPlayer and to keep their database up to date.” that could include logging my IP address for additional tracking, and they ask for my postcode at sign-up, so the e-mail address itself is only part of what they use for identification. And of course it’s in breach of their Ts&Cs for me to provide false information.

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This entry was posted on 11 May, 2017 by in Internet, Music, Services, Technology, TV & Video and tagged , , , , , , .
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