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  • BBC

    The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters are at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London, and it is the world's oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees. It employs over 20,950 staff in total, 16,672 of whom are in public sector broadcasting. The total number of staff is 35,402 when part-time, flexible, and fixed-contract staff are included.

    The crisis placed the BBC in a delicate position. On one hand Reith was acutely aware that the Government might exercise its right to commandeer the BBC at any time as a mouthpiece of the Government if the BBC were to step out of line, but on the other he was anxious to maintain public trust by appearing to be acting independently. The Government was divided on how to handle the BBC but ended up trusting Reith, whose opposition to the strike mirrored the PM's own. Thus the BBC was granted sufficient leeway to pursue the Government's objectives largely in a manner of its own choosing. The resulting coverage of both striker and government viewpoints impressed millions of listeners who were unaware that the PM had broadcast to the nation from Reith's home, using one of Reith's sound bites inserted at the last moment, or that the BBC had banned broadcasts from the Labour Party and delayed a peace appeal by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Supporters of the strike nicknamed the BBC the BFC for British Falsehood Company. Reith personally announced the end of the strike which he marked by reciting from Blake's "Jerusalem" signifying that England had been saved.

    Television broadcasting was suspended from 1 September 1939 to 7 June 1946, during the Second World War, and it was left to BBC Radio broadcasters such as Reginald Foort to keep the nation's spirits up. The BBC moved much of its radio operations out of London, initially to Bristol, and then to Bedford. Concerts were broadcast from the Corn Exchange; the Trinity Chapel in St Paul's Church, Bedford was the studio for the daily service from 1941 to 1945, and, in the darkest days of the war in 1941, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York came to St Paul's to broadcast to the UK and all parts of the world on the National Day of Prayer. BBC employees during the war included George Orwell who spent two years with the broadcaster.

    Under the new royal charter instituted 2017, the corporation must publish an annual report to Ofcom, outlining its plans and public service obligations for the next year. In its 201718 report, released July 2017, the BBC announced plans to "re-invent" its output to better compete against commercial streaming services such as Netflix. These plans included increasing the diversity of its content on television and radio, a major increase in investments towards digital children's content, and plans to make larger investments in other nations of the United Kingdom besides England to "rise to the challenge of better reflecting and representing a changing UK".

    The licence fee is classified as a tax, and its evasion is a criminal offence. Since 1991, collection and enforcement of the licence fee has been the responsibility of the BBC in its role as TV Licensing Authority. Thus, the BBC is a major prosecuting authority in England and Wales and an investigating authority in the UK as a whole. The BBC carries out surveillance (mostly using subcontractors) on properties (under the auspices of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000) and may conduct searches of a property using a search warrant. According to the BBC, "more than 204,000 people in the UK were caught watching TV without a licence during the first six months of 2012." Licence fee evasion makes up around one-tenth of all cases prosecuted in magistrates' courts.

    As part of a major reorganisation of BBC property, the entire BBC News operation relocated from the News Centre at BBC Television Centre to the refurbished Broadcasting House to create what is being described as "one of the world's largest live broadcast centres". The BBC News Channel and BBC World News relocated to the premises in early 2013. Broadcasting House is now also home to most of the BBC's national radio stations, and the BBC World Service. The major part of this plan involves the demolition of the two post-war extensions to the building and construction of an extension designed by Sir Richard MacCormac of MJP Architects. This move will concentrate the BBC's London operations, allowing them to sell Television Centre, which is expected to be completed by 2016.

    Since 1975, the BBC has also provided its TV programmes to the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS), allowing members of UK military serving abroad to watch them on four dedicated TV channels. From 27 March 2013, BFBS will carry versions of BBC One and BBC Two, which will include children's programming from CBBC, as well as carrying programming from BBC Three on a new channel called BFBS Extra.

    Ratings figures suggest that during major incidents such as the 7 July 2005 London bombings or royal events, the UK audience overwhelmingly turns to the BBC's coverage as opposed to its commercial rivals. On 7 July 2005, the day that there were a series of coordinated bomb blasts on London's public transport system, the BBC Online website recorded an all time bandwidth peak of 11 Gb/s at 12.00 on 7 July. BBC News received some 1 billion total hits on the day of the event (including all images, text and HTML), serving some 5.5 terabytes of data. At peak times during the day there were 40,000 page requests per second for the BBC News website. The previous day's announcement of the 2012 Olympics being awarded to London caused a peak of around 5 Gbit/s. The previous all-time high at BBC Online was caused by the announcement of the Michael Jackson verdict, which used 7.2 Gbit/s.

    The BBC employs staff orchestras, a choir, and supports two amateur choruses, based in BBC venues across the UK; the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Chorus and BBC Big Band based in London, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Glasgow, the BBC Philharmonic in Manchester, the BBC Concert Orchestra based in Watford and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in Cardiff. It also buys a selected number of broadcasts from the Ulster Orchestra in Belfast. Many famous musicians of every genre have played at the BBC, such as The Beatles (The Beatles Live at the BBC is one of their many albums). The BBC is also responsible for the United Kingdom coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest, a show with which the broadcaster has been associated for over 60 years. The BBC also operates the division of BBC Audiobooks sometimes found in association with Chivers Audiobooks.