The news that the BBC is going to cut a couple of radio stations and reduce its Internet presence is a bit of a smokescreen. On the face of it it sounds as if the BBC, like the rest of us, is doing its best to reduce its costs. It isn't - and has no intention of doing so, but it has led to a debate about what we want from the BBC.
Do we keep Radio 3 and Radio 4 or just Radio 4? Do we need BBC 2 and BBC 4 or can we get by with just one TV channel? This is what I keep hearing - where do we cut the BBC?
We cut it at its source of funding - the licence fee.
The BBC is too big and is doing too much - way beyond its remit, in my opinion - but the debate about what services to cut is not the right way to think about how to reduce it. The obvious answer - obvious answer to me, anyway - is to force the BBC management to make the decision about what to cut and you do this by reducing the amount they receive from the taxpayer.
I'd start with a 10% reduction in the licence fee every year for five years followed by a ten year freeze. That should be enough to get the BBC to cut some of its multitude of stations and services.
Whether we're left with just one TV channel and one radio station is irrelevant - but if, after that fifteen year period, the BBC is failing to fulfil its remit as a public service broadcaster then just get rid of it.