Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) started as a pragmatic arrangement, supported mostly

by professionals and a small managerial elite, and was soon plagued by criticism about, re-

spectively, its lack or excess of independence, while claiming to provide cultural excellence

and, more problematically, unbiased coverage of events. PSB was defined with more preci-

sion in a second moment, when it started being threatened by deregulation and commer-

cialisation (some 20 years ago). The notion of a ‘European model’ of PSB is fragile, as

there are many differences between Public Service Broadcasters in Europe. The BBC was

for a long time the major inspiration for PSBs across the continent; in general Northern

European public service broadcasters (including Germany) have been better funded and

have enjoyed more independence and institutional stability than those in the South, where

political influence, lack of consensus about public service, poor resources and early com-

mercialisation weakened public service and led to a more radical deregulation than in the

North. While academics and intellectuals have been mostly defending public service, its

relevance is now under scrutiny due to competition from commercial broadcasters and

people’s easy access to a great variety of sources and media. This chapter discusses these

themes and asks whether there is still a need for strong public service broadcasters

(including radio) in contemporary Europe.