Let me be clear: the BBC already makes use of Wikipedia‘s content and its structure (see this entry about search at the BBC) but there’s a real reticence about getting stuck in and making a useful contribution to the project itself (Nick Reynolds, who knows what he’s talking about, explains why here). Semantic web advocates at the BBC are busy building quite deep links into Wikipedia at the API level (see this fascinating post by Tom Scott about the way the BBC’s /music pages now make use of open content from Wikipedia and MusicBrainz).
There’s no shortage of collective and individual enthusiasm for Wikipedia but Wikipedia has become the backbone of the semantic web so it’s time for the Corporation to directly support the project by encouraging staff to become contributors or editors, by making the case for open learning content and by using the BBC’s resources and authority to improve its content. This is a direct and cost-effective way of using the licence fee to improve a vital piece of the global information infrastructure.
(updated this post a bit at 15:22 on 12 January).