I am a New Yorker of lower-middle-class origins. As a teenager and young woman in the 1960s, I dropped out of higher education and succumbed to the allure of sex 'n' drugs 'n' rock 'n' roll. But my aspirations were for more. As I came from a non-intellectual background, I saw no role models or prototypes for a larger cultural life in my immediate environment and certainly not from the US media.
In 1975 I moved to Britain and can honestly say that after 21 years of reading the broadsheets and watching and listening to the BBC I am better informed and better educated than many of my university-educated contemporaries in the US.
I never listened to the World Service in America but Radios 3 and 4 have been my lifeline here in an isolating and not very stimulating job. In 1990 I returned to the US supposedly for good, but could find no comparable radio to enrich my working hours. I moved back to Britain partly, as I am not ashamed to admit, due to the superior quality of the UK media. Please, please, Mr Birt, realise what a lifeline the BBC and World Service are for people who, for one reason or another, are isolated from the larger cultural world, which, to its credit, the BBC brings us daily. And, finally, where there is a will there is a way.
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