The BBC provides a remarkable social glue, reaching more than 90% of the population every week. Our identities, our entertainment, engagement and access are all things we see delivered by the BBC's orchestras, by its network of local speech stations and its public campaigns. The BBC World Service, now funded by the licence fee, is the single biggest influencer of our international reputation. But talking of the detail, there's much heat and little light around the vexed issue of BBC governance.
But vandalising the very concept of a public service broadcasting - with its mission to be creative, inclusive, intellectually curious and journalistically challenging - doesn't get you a smaller, leaner BBC. It gets you Rai - a still expensive, monolithic structure that is very much less than the sum of its parts.
As a sales pitch, perhaps it leaves something to be desired. "Pay more, get less." Who could resist? Yet for reasons that I have never understood, that's exactly what's on offer from those people who argue that it's time to scrap the BBC licence fee and switch to some form of subscription-based financing.
As the corporation gears up to negotiating the renewal of the Royal Charter and defending the licence fee (why Ian Fletcher was brought in, after all), W1A is a reminder of why the BBC is worth it. Ok, there are a few other reasons, like BBC News and Radio 4 and live music and (now) the World Service.... You don't have to like them all, just enough of them.
In short, the BBC is flush with cash - nearly £5 billion each year - but doesn't quite know what it should be doing with it. It's not quite sure if it's a quasi-business or a public service, it's nervous of sounding patrician and it's terrified of taking big creative risks for fear of losing ratings.
In times like these, when money is tight it's only right that the BBC looks at where it can reduce its costs. But it is just as important that this is done in a way that is fair and protects local services and jobs where possible. Currently they aren't as 280 of the 380 jobs scheduled to be lost in the English regions, will come from local radio.