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Reflections on the Past, Questions of the Future--Public Service Broadcasting: A Case Study of The Bahamas Broadcasting System,
Unformatted Document Text:  3 Reflections on the Past, Questions of the Future--Public Service Broadcasting: A Case Study of The Bahamas Broadcasting System, 1930-1993 Throughout the period under study, 1930-1993, broadcasting presented stories, images, information, ideas, entertainment, and spectacles that characterized The Bahamas and its people. Consequently, broadcasting reflected the national character, political philosophy and cultural identity of The Bahamas. This finding supports Head’s hypothesis that “a country’s broadcasting system mirrors national character, expressing a particular political philosophy and cultural identity.” 1 Beyond the promotion of national development and integration, Bahamian broadcasting is also characterized by the changes and challenges that have shaped its development throughout its history. Technological, geographic, economic, political and social forces have impacted the development of broadcasting in The Bahamas during its seventy-two years of history. Today, perhaps its greatest challenge is staying economically viable and aesthetically appealing to local audiences. This challenge is not unique to The Bahamas as, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, many public broadcasting systems are struggling to compete with global media products which are finding their way into these markets through modern technologies like satellite, cable television and the Internet. Media systems scholars (Tracey, 2000; Brown, 1996; McChesney, 1995) 2 are debating today the sustainability of these systems in a world that has become increasingly competitive. Local programs must compete with cheaper, more technically advanced foreign fare. Local audiences are being conditioned to accept foreign media products more than their own. Added to this mix is the economic dictate to import foreign programs to fill local airtimes. As a result of these challenges, local programming is minimal or non-existent in many developing countries like The Bahamas. In addition to programming challenges, public

Authors: Storr, Juliette.
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Reflections on the Past, Questions of the Future--Public Service Broadcasting: A Case Study of
The Bahamas Broadcasting System,
1930-1993
Throughout the period under study, 1930-1993, broadcasting presented stories, images,
information, ideas, entertainment, and spectacles that characterized The Bahamas and its people.
Consequently, broadcasting reflected the national character, political philosophy and cultural
identity of The Bahamas. This finding supports Head’s hypothesis that “a country’s broadcasting
system mirrors national character, expressing a particular political philosophy and cultural
identity.”
1
Beyond the promotion of national development and integration, Bahamian
broadcasting is also characterized by the changes and challenges that have shaped its
development throughout its history. Technological, geographic, economic, political and social
forces have impacted the development of broadcasting in The Bahamas during its seventy-two
years of history.
Today, perhaps its greatest challenge is staying economically viable and aesthetically
appealing to local audiences. This challenge is not unique to The Bahamas as, at the beginning of
the twenty-first century, many public broadcasting systems are struggling to compete with global
media products which are finding their way into these markets through modern technologies like
satellite, cable television and the Internet. Media systems scholars (Tracey, 2000; Brown, 1996;
McChesney, 1995)
2
are debating today the sustainability of these systems in a world that has
become increasingly competitive. Local programs must compete with cheaper, more technically
advanced foreign fare. Local audiences are being conditioned to accept foreign media products
more than their own. Added to this mix is the economic dictate to import foreign programs to fill
local airtimes. As a result of these challenges, local programming is minimal or non-existent in
many developing countries like The Bahamas. In addition to programming challenges, public


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