A small grant was awarded to Professor Tom Watson and Professor Hugh Chignell in the Faculty of Media and Communication at Bournemouth University to conduct a scoping study of the university’s media archives. It was eventually decided to focus attention on the ITA/IBA archive and a sample of files was chosen during February to May 2015. Initially the files were checked against the Excel spreadsheet to check for accuracy but after that a fairly random sample of files were chosen and the contents were then described by the two research assistants (both current PhD students in the Faculty) and sample pages were scanned. In total xxx files were opened and each one is described in this online resource.
Content and scope
This is a large archive containing among other items Authority committee minutes and papers, Authority papers, Cable franchise applications, Director General’s correspondence, Engineering Director’s correspondence, Policy files, Programme contractor files, Programmes files, Radio Consultative Committee minutes and papers, Radio contract applications, Radio Director’s correspondence, Research for reports, Television Director’s correspondence.
The Centre for Media History
The CMH was established at Bournemouth University in 1999 as the Broadcasting History Group under the direction of Professor John Ellis. In subsequent years research income was obtained to carry out large scale research projects on the history of ITV (see Turnock, R. Television and Consumer Culture: Britain and the Transformation of Modernity, I.B. Tauris, 2007) and digitization projects for example of TV Times. Under the direction of Professor Sean Street, the centre focused its efforts on the digitization of radio archives including the ILR Programme Sharing Scheme and LBC/IRN radio news. The radio archives are now available on the British Universities Film and Video Council website at www.bufvc.ac.uk.
Case study: the ITA/IBA archive and Thatcherism
The archive covers the period 1980-1989, during which time Channel 4 emerged and satellite and cable broadcasting began.
The archive contains many documents leading up to the 1990 Broadcasting Act. The Act enabled deregulation, creating a free market strategy for commercial broadcast operators and is regarded as a quintessential example of Thatcherism.
Under the new legislation, some long-standing television franchises lost licenses to the highest bidder (TV-am became GMTV; Thames became Carlton) and the first of four Independent National Radio stations was created (Classic FM, 1992).
Hugh Chignell, Director for the Centre for Media History says: “The IBA archive is a fantastic resource for scholars, especially in the growing field of media and communications studies and history. It provides witness to the emergence of the Thatcher government and the effect of the implementation of its free market philosophies on British broadcasting.”
“This is a collection of historic importance, both for broadcasting and the political history of the UK as a whole,” says radio historian, former regulator and BU Visiting Fellow Tony Stoller.