Needle Time: The BBC, the Musicians’ Union, popular music, and the reform of radio in the 1960s

Witts, Richard (2013) Needle Time: The BBC, the Musicians’ Union, popular music, and the reform of radio in the 1960s. Popular Music History, 7 (3). pp. 241-262. ISSN 1740-7133 DOI https://doi.org/10.1558/pomh.v7i3.241

Item not available from this archive. (Request a copy)

Abstract

The BBC is currently the world’s largest media employer of musicians. Influenced by Michel Crozier’s theory on bureaucracies, and using primary source material from the BBC’s written archives, this essay examines, through the prism of Crozier’s strategic analysis, the attempts of the centralized policy makers of BBC radio to comprehend their external environment—pirate radio stations, craft unions, ministries. These bureaucrats strove to retain a working relationship with the Musicians’ Union while, at the same time, attempting to meet the aesthetic demand of their licence-payers to hear popular music presented ‘authentically’ on disc rather than by BBC contract bands playing arrangements. In particular, the pro-music policies of senior bureaucrat Richard Marriott are considered. While the article explores the layers through which policy is pummelled into practice, or by-passed, it concludes that the changes that make the greatest impact are those spurred by the external force of government.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Influenced by Michel Crozier’s theory on bureaucracies, and using primary source material from the BBC written archives, this essay examines, through the prism of Crozier’s strategic analysis, the attempts of the centralized policy makers of BBC radio to comprehend their external environment – pirate radio stations, craft unions, ministries. These bureaucrats strove to retain a working relationship with the union while, at the same time, they attempted to meet the aesthetic demand of their license-payers to hear popular music presented ‘authentically’ on disc rather than by BBC contract bands playing arrangements. In particular, the pro-music policies of senior bureaucrat Richard Marriott are considered. While the article explores the layers through which policy is pummeled into practice, or by-passed, it concludes that the changes that make the greatest impact are those spurred by the external force of government.
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions: Media
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2013 08:03
URI: http://repository.edgehill.ac.uk/id/eprint/5656

Archive staff only

Item control page Item control page