In today’s podcast we will focus on your English comprehension. Your ability to listen to English being spoken and your understanding of the conversation. The conversation is about something very British, the BBC, so there will be lots of interesting vocabulary and grammar terms to learn.
And just to
make sure you are listening, there is a test at the end of the podcast with the answers in the free transcript we provide with every one of our audio lessons. You can download these by visiting the article’s web page and answer a simple maths problem to show the download buttons.
If you want to download multiple lessons, then visit our downloads section, where you will find the last 6 months (about 75 lessons) of audio lessons and transcripts, free to download.
Salford Broadcaster Uncountable
|The World Service||5|
|The BBC Is||5|
|Quality Of Life||5|
|Moved To Salford||4|
|BBC World Service||3|
Hi there and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. Learn grammar, vocabulary and fluency through simple listening, the natural way. If you find our podcasts a bit difficult to understand – and they do vary in their level – then go to our website at adeptenglish.com and have a look at our 500 Most Common Words Course. It’s important for your language learning to listen to English at the right level.
And if the podcasts take you a lot of effort or a long time to understand, you would benefit from this course. The 500 Most Common Words Course will ensure that you know the most common words in English really well, so that when you listen to a podcast like this one, you’ll understand more words on first listen. Then you’ll only need to focus on the vocabulary specific to the podcast topic. The course is short and it doesn’t cost very much – but will make a big difference to you!
OK, so let’s learn English today - how about today we practice what’s called English comprehension? This means I read something out that I’ve written and then I’ll ask you some questions at the end, so you can test your understanding.
It may be a good idea to listen to the podcast more than once before you try to answer the questions. And when you answer the questions, see if you can put your answers in full sentences, just as though you were doing an exam in English! Here goes, get ready to study English and see how much you can understand.
The British national television company is called the BBC – the British Broadcasting Corporation. This is the world’s oldest national broadcaster. ‘To broadcast’ means to put out, to put live a TV or radio programme. And everyone knows the BBC in the UK, not least because we all have to pay a licence fee to it every year. A licence, L-I-C-E-N-C-E in UK English and L-I-C-E-N-S-E in US English – well, a licence is a permit or a permission to do something – and you pay to have it.
Usually there’s a record on a database somewhere which indicates you’ve paid. But a licence can also refer to a piece of paper – a driving licence is a good example of this. Although the TV licence rules may be about to change in the UK, this licence fee that each household has to pay to the BBC is £157.50 every year and it’s strictly enforced. If you’re caught watching TV without a licence, you may have a criminal prosecution – that means you go to court as though you were a criminal. And you can be fined up to £1,000.
So the British Broadcasting Corporation, or BBC is well known for its news – and for the World Service. The World Service is an international news service, run by the BBC, which is the largest in the world and it’s been going since 1932. It aims to provide balanced news to the rest of the world, albeit with a British viewpoint.
A photograph of a Young man interviewing a woman in a radio studio. Used to help explain the English grammar used in this lesson.
The World Service is broadcast in 200 countries. Once your English is at a very good level, it would make sense to practice by listening to the World Service as well as Adept English. But the World Service does broadcast in 40 other languages too. It comes from Broadcasting House, which is in Westminster in London.
Other TV programmes come from either Television Centre in White City, West London, which I passed recently when I had to go to Imperial College in London, as it’s nearby – or Salford.
So about 8 years ago, parts of the BBC were moved to Salford, S-A-L-F-O-R-D near Manchester, in the north of England. It included BBC Sport, Breakfast TV, Children’s TV and Radio 5 Live, which covers sport. There were many reasons for this move. Firstly, the cost of office space in Manchester is much less than the cost in central London, which as you might expect, is very expensive.
Given that the BBC is publicly funded – so it’s funded by a kind of tax if you like, in the form of this TV licence, it was felt that cost savings were important to give better value for money. Secondly, the national broadcaster was seen as being very ‘London-centric’ – and despite everyone in the UK having to pay their TV licence, it was felt that programming reflected attitudes in the south, and employment opportunities were all in London. But 25% of licence payers live in the north of England, and yet didn’t feel that their viewpoints were being represented.
So it was intended to increase popularity. And thirdly, the particular area that the television centre moved to is actually a town just next to Manchester – so that’s called Salford, as I’ve mentioned. I recall as a teenager travelling into Manchester sometimes to shop – and passing through Salford on the train. Back then, it was one of the most poor, deprived and depressing areas of the country. And as a teenager, I think it made a big impression on me – as the sort of area that I absolutely didn’t want to live in!
So you can imagine that the people who worked for the BBC were perhaps fairly reluctant to move to Salford or Manchester. People can be very particular that ‘London is the only place to be’ and they can be quite dismissive of the north of England. It’s a kind of snobbery in a way, but I can understand why they might have been dismayed at the prospect of moving to Salford.
People were concerned about crime statistics, being away from their usual London bubble and also not being able to have the same high-profile guests on TV programmes, many of whom live in London, of course. You’re not going to get the Prime Minister on Breakfast TV, if you’re based in Salford.
So it’s been quite a few years now since the move. DId it have the intended effect? Well, the effect on local employment is disputed. Some reports before the move suggested it would boost local employment by 15,000 jobs. Employment, E-M-P-L-O-Y-M-E-N-T - it’s one of those uncountable nouns, like traffic or custard remember? And ‘employment’ describes how many people are working, how many people have jobs. The opposite ‘unemployment’, U-N-E-M-P-L-O-Y-M-E-N-T describes how many people aren’t working.
So the result of the move is disputed. Some reports say that Manchester has benefited by only around 4,000 jobs, yet others hail it as a great success. It’s hard to measure – lots of BBC employees had their moves funded, paid for, but inevitably local people will have been employed as well.
What’s certain is that it has led to the redevelopment of a very depressed area with MediaCityUK being built. That’s where the BBC is located. MediaCityUK is a 200 acre site in Salford, where the BBC, lots of tech companies and the University of Salford are located. And in the areas around Salford, there’s been a lot of what’s known as ‘regeneration’.
This is when urban areas, areas inside cities are given investment – money, and rebuilt. Old housing has been cleared away and new houses built instead. Salford also prides itself on its historic buildings and green spaces, its parks and its gardens, which make it a much pleasanter environment.
So many of those who were reluctant to move north have discovered that in some ways, ‘quality of life’ is better up north in some ways. ‘Quality of life’ can be measured in all kinds of ways. Can you afford adequate housing? Is there adequate schooling and healthcare? Is it a pleasant environment? And the north scores highly on many of these.
The cost of living is much less than in London. However, although I’m a fan of the north of England – I was brought up there – my one reservation is that the weather is colder and wetter than in the south. I do like a bit of sunshine, but I still have a great affection for the north of England – it’s a great place to live.
Ok, that’s it - what about some questions to test you?
- What does BBC stand for? (...What does BBC stand for?...)
- What is the BBC World Service? (….What is the BBC World Service?...)
- What types of BBC programmes moved to Salford? (...What types of programmes moved to Salford?...)
- Name two reasons why parts of the BBC moved to Salford. (...Name two reasons why they went to Salford?...)
- What is the name of the site in Salford where the BBC is located? (...What’s the name of the site where the BBC is located in Salford?…) And last question….
- Explain the phrase ‘quality of life’ and give two examples of how you might measure it. (Again...explain ‘quality of life’ and give two examples of how you might measure it….)
Answers are in the transcript – so have a look on our website at adeptenglish.com. Practice listening to that information about the BBC a couple of times before answering the questions. Adept English. Learn grammar, vocabulary and fluency the natural way – through simple listening. Much easier to learn English grammar in use, just like this.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.