Today as I was driving to the office, I was thinking about how public radio and television is organized in the UK. It has great shows like in the states, but there seems to be more choice (rather than just NPR and PBS). Radio 4 is like NPR with a British twist, Radio 3 is locally focused and includes music and talk, Radio 2 and Radio 1 are all music (just different styles – i.e. classic versus pop). Likewise the BBC TV channels have different focuses/ tilts. We get movies, shows, news, and so on.
All of this may not seem so impressive, except for the fact you don’t hear a week long fundraising initiative blocking/ interrupting broadcasts. The public stations are funded by the TV License scheme. In short, for every house in the UK who owns a TV pays a yearly license fee. The license is used to support these public stations. In the US, we donated to the public stations. But, when it came time for the week long (or longer) broadcasting to raise funds supporting public radio/ TV, I would get fed up with the fundraiser that I’d avoid the channels for a month or so.
While I like the US system of being voluntary, I can’t stop but think how nice it is not to hear a fundraising interuption (especially on the way to and from work).