Book Reviews -- the History of BBC Broadcasting in Scotland, 1923-1983 by W. H. McDowell

By Loft, Jan | Journalism History, Spring 1994 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Book Reviews -- the History of BBC Broadcasting in Scotland, 1923-1983 by W. H. McDowell


Loft, Jan, Journalism History


McDowell, W.H. The History of BBC Broadcasting in Scotland, 1923-1983. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1992. 357 pp. $79.

W.H. McDowell's intent when writing The History of BBC Broadcasting in Scotland, 1923-1983 was to create an institutional account of the BBC in Scotland. There is little published material on broadcasting in Scotland and, until this book, no standard work on the BBC in Scotland to provide a regional counterpart to BBC historian Asa Briggs' work on the history of the BBC United Kingdom broadcasting. As Briggs comments in the book's foreword, this book is a contribution to the history of Scotland as well as to the BBC.

The book is the result of an extended and further-developed study of postwar Scottish broadcasting which had previously been submitted for McDowell's research degree at the University of Edinburgh. This broadcast history should encourage further research and writings by other broadcast historians, especially those who have directly participated in broadcasting. It also creates interesting reading for those who are familiar with the development of radio and television in the United States. In particular, the book lays down, in painstaking detail, the development and philosophy of public service broadcasting, which easily help create parallels to commercial broadcast development in the United States.

McDowell creates three major themes in the text: growth, centralization, and eventual competition. The author describes in great detail a history of the creation of the Regional (Scottish) broadcast service, which some readers may find difficult to absorb. Indeed, because of the extent of the material, readers may find the material rather heavy going unless they are engaged in similar research.

McDowell defends his emphasis on minute points by showing the importance of understanding the original policy-making philosophies as well as the decisions which were handed down to, or inherited , by subsequent policy-makers. The "Scottish" issues were wrestled with in every administration and broadcasting era. Some of these issues were dealing with defining what constituted "recognizably Scottish" programming, Scottish broadcast origins, and other points that would be regarded as essentially Scottish. He does a particularly good job in highlighting how Scottish concerns often conflicted with the philosophy developed by the BBC's first General Manager, John Reith, that the BBC should be an arbiter of public taste and a definer of standards.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Book Reviews -- the History of BBC Broadcasting in Scotland, 1923-1983 by W. H. McDowell
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?