The BBC is funded by:
- Grants (and VERY sizable ones, at that)
- Licence Fees (compulsary to all TV owners)
- Sales to Normal Humans (BBC Enterprises is no cottage industry)
- Sales to other Broadcasting Houses (Almost all BBC programs are offered for sale to other broadcasters, and the price isn't peanuts, either)
- Repeat fees from overseas broadcasters
- Auctions of old BBC items (eg: costumes, props, etc)
There are probably other methods with which the BBC makes money, but these are the ones that spring to mind. The BBC is NOT a poor company, no matter WHAT the BBC Director General may say. It's probably one of the bigger television stations in Europe.
To argue that they need to drop international shortwave broadcasts is to argue that they don't need recognition. However, most of their income is FROM recognition! Look at the list, for a moment. Most of their income is derived from the importance and relevence of the BBC to listeners.
(You don't get many repeat fees paid for programs never requested, because nobody knew they ever existed in the first place.)
Thus, sure, I can see that s/w broadcasts cost money. So does building a computer. Gateway wouldn't get very far, if they tried arguing to their customers that building computers is expensive. The BBC shouldn't be allowed to do the same thing, either.
(And, no, the BBC has no automatic right to do anything it likes. It's not an autonomous company. The Government may claim that the BBC is a free agent, but if the Government says "jump", you can be damn sure that the BBC's only response will be "how high?")
However, this IS consistant with the BBC's attitude, over the past decade. The BBC Radiophonics Workshop was closed. Then went the BBC Costume Department. They're hell-bent on out-sourcing the whole damn thing.
In the end, the BBC - and its reputation for making some very high-quality broadcasts that will be remembered for generations - will simply cease to exist. It'll all be cheap imports for the TV and junk pop for the radio. (It's getting that way, now.)