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Thursday, 12 July 2012

Voices are gone from the Strand

Gone is the BBC from Bush House. The last people moved out this week.

The cutbacks happened last year, when 30 million listeners were dropped from the Beeb World Service. One sixth of the world listeners no longer have access to the BBC World News Service.

I stood in front of Bush House about three weeks ago, and that eerie feeling one gets in front of an abandoned house was already settling on this great monument of communication. It is a passing of an era, and like so many of the communication hubs of that part of the City, including the old newspaper buildings, a sadness lingers. Voices are gone forever from the Strand.

I remember listening to the BBC World News as a young person in the Midwest. The world opened up for me and it was exciting. I also think the passing of the old technology, of the old ways of radio, is sad. A commentator sent me this link for the video, which I could not get to work on this post.

I was a friend of Harmon Grisewood, who died many years ago, and this video reminded me that he described having to wear formal wear for his position at the BEEB. Mr. Grisewood was a Catholic and a gentleman. He was a lovely man and had many friends. It is hard to imagine someone being gone so long.


Nescio Quid said...

Yes, that building is an institution. Sad to see it go. It has personal history for me!

RC said...

Thanks for mentioning the passing of BBC World Service from Bush House.

This year a number of the major international broadcasters have cut back their activities or disappeared from shortwave altogether: Radio Canada International, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Radio Sweden, and others.

The "Media Network Live" show at has been covering this sad story. I can't blame them from dropping most shortwave; but several major countries seem to have just abandoned the idea of trying to reach out to a world audience, even by the relatively inexpensive means of Internet radio; sadly, some are even abandoning their audiences in countries without free communications or independent media, let alone open Internet access.