BBC Radio

Last updated

BBC Radio
Division
Industry Mass media
Founded1927; 93 years ago
Headquarters,
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Bob Shennan (Director, BBC Radio and Music)
ServicesRadio broadcasting
Owner BBC
Parent British Broadcasting Corporation
Website bbc.co.uk/radio

BBC Radio is an operational business division [1] and service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (which has operated in the United Kingdom under the terms of a Royal Charter since 1927). The service provides national radio stations covering the majority of musical genres, as well as local radio stations covering local news, affairs and interests. It also oversees online audio content. [2]

Contents

Of the national radio stations, BBC Radio 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Live are all available through analogue radio (5 Live on AM only) as well as on DAB Digital Radio and online including BBC iPlayer. The remaining stations, BBC Radio 1Xtra, 4 Extra, 5 Live Sports Extra and 6 Music, all broadcast on digital platforms only.

All of the BBC's national radio stations (with the exception of 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra which broadcast from MediaCityUK in Salford) broadcast from bases in London, usually in or near to Broadcasting House in Marylebone. However, the BBC's network production units located in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow and Manchester also make radio programmes. [3]

History

The BBC's radio services began in 1922. The British Government licensed the BBC through its General Post Office, which had original control of the airwaves because they had been interpreted under law as an extension of the Post Office services. Today radio broadcasting still makes up a large part of the corporation's output - the title of the BBC's listings magazine, Radio Times , reflects this.

First charter

George V giving the 1934 Royal Christmas Message on BBC Radio Royal broadcast, Christmas 1934 (Our Generation, 1938).jpg
George V giving the 1934 Royal Christmas Message on BBC Radio

On 1 January 1927 the British Broadcasting Company was succeeded in monopoly control of the airwaves by the British Broadcasting Corporation, under the terms of a Royal Charter.

John Reith, who had been the founding managing director of the commercial company, became the first Director General. He expounded firm principles of centralised, all-encompassing radio broadcasting, stressing programming standards and moral tone. These he set out in his autobiography, Broadcast Over Britain (1924), influencing modern ideas of public service broadcasting in the United Kingdom. To this day, the BBC aims to follow the Reithian directive to "inform, educate and entertain". [4]

Competition from overseas stations

Although no other broadcasting organisation was licensed in the UK until 1973, commercial competition soon opened up from overseas. The English language service of Radio Luxembourg began in 1933 as one of the earliest commercial radio stations broadcasting to Britain and Ireland. With no possibility of commercial broadcasting available from inside the UK, a former British Royal Air Force captain and entrepreneur (and from 1935 Conservative Party member of parliament) named Leonard F. Plugge set up his own International Broadcasting Company in 1931. [5] The IBC began leasing time on transmitters in continental Europe and then reselling it as sponsored English-language programming aimed at audiences in Britain and Ireland. Because Plugge successfully demonstrated that State monopolies such as that of the BBC could be broken, other parties became attracted to the idea of creating a new commercial radio station specifically for this purpose. It was an important forerunner of pirate radio and modern commercial radio in the United Kingdom. The onset of World War II silenced all but one of the original IBC stations; only Radio Luxembourg continued its nightly transmissions to Britain.

Empire and the world

To provide a different service from the domestic audience the Corporation started the BBC Empire Service on short wave in 1932, originally in English but it soon provided programmes in other languages. At the start of the Second World War it was renamed The Overseas Service but is now known as the BBC World Service. [6]

Commercial radio influence

Beginning in March 1964, Radio Caroline was the first in what became an eventual fleet of 10 offshore pirate radio stations that began to ring the British coastline, mostly along the South East coast. By 1966 millions were tuning into these commercial operations, and the BBC was rapidly losing its radio listening audience. [7] [8] This was largely due to the fact that even though they were fully aware of the problem, the BBC still only played a few hours of Pop music from record a week, as opposed to the pirates who broadcast chart music and new releases all day.

The British government reacted by passing the Marine Offences Act, which all but wiped out all of the stations by midnight on 14 August 1967, by banning any British citizen from working for a pirate station. Only Radio Caroline survived, and still continues today (though the last original offshore broadcast was in 1989).

One of the stations called Radio London ("Big L") was so successful that the BBC was told to copy it as best they could. This led to a complete overhaul by Frank Gillard the BBC's Director of Radio of the BBC output creating the four analogue channels that still form the basis of its broadcasting today. The creator of BBC Radio One told the press that his family had been fans of Radio London.

The BBC hired many out-of-work broadcasting staff who had come from the former offshore stations. Kenny Everett was asked for input in how to run the new Pop station due to his popularity with both listeners and fellow presenters. Tony Blackburn who presented the very first BBC Radio One morning show had previously presented the same morning show on Radio Caroline and later on Big L. He attempted to duplicate the same sound for BBC Radio One. Among the other DJs hired was the late John Peel who had presented the overnight show on "Big L", called The Perfumed Garden. Though it only ran for a few months prior to Big L's closure, The Perfumed Garden got more fan mail than the rest of the pop DJ's on Radio London put together, so much that staff wondered what to do with it all. The reason it got so much mail was that it played different music, and was the beginning of the "album rock" genre. On Everett's suggestion, Big L's PAMS jingles were commissioned to be resung in Dallas, Texas so that "Wonderful Radio London" became "Wonderful Radio One on BBC".

The BBC's more popular stations have encountered pressure from the commercial sector. [9] John Myers, who had developed commercial brands such as Century Radio and Real Radio, was asked in the first quarter of 2011 to conduct a review into the efficiencies of Radios 1, 2, 1Xtra and 6 Music. His role, according to Andrew Harrison, the chief executive of RadioCentre, was "to identify both areas of best practice and possible savings." [9]

BBC analogue networks

On 30 September 1967:

BBC Radio 5 was launched on 27 August 1990 as a home for sport and educational and children's programming, but was replaced by BBC Radio 5 Live, a dedicated news and sport network, on 28 March 1994.

2002 digital radio networks

With the increased rollout of Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) between 1995 and 2002, BBC Radio launched several new digital-only stations BBC 1Xtra, BBC 6 Music and BBC 7 in 2002 on 16 August 11 March and 15 December respectively – the first for "new black British music", the second as a source of performance-based "alternative" music, the latter specialising in archive classic comedy shows, drama and children's programmes. BBC Asian Network joined the national DAB network on 28 October 2002. The stations have since been renamed to include the BBC Radio brand, to BBC Radio 1Xtra, BBC Radio 6 Music, and BBC Radio 7. In 2011, BBC Radio 7 was renamed BBC Radio 4 Extra as the service was brought more into line with BBC Radio 4.

Stations

Much of BBC radio comes from Broadcasting House, Portland Place at the head of Regent Street, London Bbc broadcasting house front.jpg
Much of BBC radio comes from Broadcasting House, Portland Place at the head of Regent Street, London

National (UK-wide)

The BBC today runs eleven national domestic radio stations, six of which are only available in a digital format: via DAB Digital Radio, UK digital television (satellite, cable and Freeview) plus live streams and listen again on BBC Sounds.

The main radio stations, available via both analogue (FM and/or AM frequencies) and Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), are:

Slogan:Where the UK's journey into new music begins, from pop to dance, from hip hop to rock and everything in between
Slogan:The home of great music – Pop and Rock from the sixties, seventies, eighties and beyond to blues, big band, country and jazz with the best live music and documentaries
Slogan:Radio 3 broadcasts classical music, jazz, world music, new music, arts programmes and drama. It's the home of the Proms and broadcasts more live music than any other network
Slogan:Intelligent speech, the most insightful journalism, the wittiest comedy, the most fascinating features and the most compelling drama and readings anywhere in UK radio
Slogan:First for breaking news, and the best live sport. Premier League football, Champions League football, Europa League football, international football, FA Cup football, Championship Football, Football League, Scottish...

The new digital-only (Internet Streaming/Sky/freesat/Freeview/DAB) radio stations are:

Slogan:On air. On the ground
Slogan:Showcasing the best in comedy drama and entertainment. With quizzes, sitcoms, panel games, satire, stand up, life stories, classics from the archive, science fiction and fantasy
Slogan:More live sport. Pure live sport. Live cricket from the Test Match Special team, football commentary, Formula 1, rugby union, rugby league, baseball, NFL American Football, tennis...
Slogan:The place for the best Alternative Music. From Indie Pop and Iconic Rock to Trip Hop, Electronica and Dance with great Archive Music Sessions, Live Music Concerts and Documentaries
Slogan:Bollywood, Bhangra, Asian Urban and underground. Home of Desi music, news and documentaries

National Regions

The BBC also runs radio stations for the three national regions: Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. These stations focus on local issues to a greater extent than their UK-wide counterparts, organising live phone-in debates about these issues, as well as lighter talk shows with music from different decades of the 20th century. Compared to the majority of the UK's commercially funded radio stations, which generally broadcast little beyond contemporary popular music, the BBC's "national regional" stations offer a more diverse range of programming.

Local services

There are many BBC Local Radio services across England (and the Channel Islands), often catering to individual counties.

World Service

BBC World Service is the world's largest international broadcaster, [10] [11] broadcasting in 27 languages to many parts of the world via analogue and digital shortwave, internet streaming and podcasting, satellite, FM and MW relays. It is politically independent (by mandate of the Agreement providing details of the topics outlined in the BBC Charter), non-profit, and commercial-free. The English language service had always had a UK listenership on LW and therefore DAB Services allowed, by this popular demand, it to be now available 24/7 for this audience in better quality reception.

Slogan:The BBC's international radio station

Broadcasting

BBC Radio services are broadcast on various FM and AM frequencies, DAB digital radio and live streaming on BBC Online, which is available worldwide.

They are also available on Digital Television sets in the UK, and archived programs are available for 7 days after broadcast on the BBC website; many shows are available as podcasts.

International syndication

The BBC also syndicates radio and podcast content to radio stations and other broadcasting services around the globe, through its BBC Radio International business which is part of BBC Studios. Programmes regularly syndicated by BBC Radio International include: In Concert (live rock music recordings from BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 2, including an archive dating back to 1971); interviews, live sessions and music shows; Classical Music (including performances from The BBC Proms); Spoken Word (Music documentaries, Dramas, Readings, Features and Comedies, mainly from BBC Radio 4) and channels, including BBC Radio 1.

BBC Radio International also provides many services internationally including in-flight entertainment, subscription, and satellite services. BBC Radio International is partnered with Sirius Satellite Radio and British Airways as well as many other local radio stations.

Programmes

Throughout its history the BBC has produced many radio programmes. Particularly significant, influential, popular or long lasting programmes include:

Expenditure

The following expenditure figures are from 2012/13 and show the expenditure of each service they are obliged to provide: [12]

BBC 2012-13 Expenditure Radio.gif
Service2012/13 Total Cost
(£million)
Comparison with
2011/12 (£million)
BBC Radio 1 54.2+ 3.6
BBC Radio 1Xtra 11.8+ 0.7
BBC Radio 2 62.1+ 1.6
BBC Radio 3 54.3+ 1.8
BBC Radio 4 122.1+ 6.2
BBC Radio 4 Extra 7.2- 1
BBC Radio 5 Live 76+ 6.7
BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra 5.6+ 0.3
BBC Radio 6 Music 11.5- 0.2
BBC Asian Network 130
BBC Local Radio 152.5+ 6
BBC Radio Scotland 32.7+ 0.6
BBC Radio nan Gàidheal 6.3+ 0.3
BBC Radio Wales 18.8+ 1.1
BBC Radio Cymru 17.6+ 1.7
BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Radio Foyle 23.80
Total669.5+ 29.4

Directors

AppointedDirector
1963 Frank Gillard
1970 Ian Trethowan
1976 Howard Newby
1978 Aubrey Singer
1982 Richard Francis
1986Brian Wenham
1987 David Hatch
1993 Liz Forgan
1996 Matthew Bannister
1999 Jenny Abramsky
2008 Tim Davie
2013 Helen Boaden
2016 James Purnell

See also

Related Research Articles

BBC World Service International radio division of the BBC

The BBC World Service is an international broadcaster, owned and operated by the BBC. It is the world's largest of any kind. It broadcasts radio news, speech and discussions in more than 40 languages to many parts of the world on analogue and digital shortwave platforms, internet streaming, podcasting, satellite, DAB, FM and MW relays. In 2015, The World Service reached an average of 210 million people a week. In November 2016, the BBC announced that it would start broadcasting in additional languages including Amharic and Igbo, in its biggest expansion since the 1940s.

BBC Radio 4 British domestic radio station, owned and operated by the BBC

BBC Radio 4, part of BBC Radio, is owned and operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation. It broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes including news, drama, comedy, science and history from the BBC's headquarters at Broadcasting House, London. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is Mohit Bakaya.

BBC Radio 5 Live British national radio station

BBC Radio 5 Live is the BBC's national radio service that broadcasts mainly news, sport, discussion, interviews and phone-ins. It is the principal radio station covering sport in the United Kingdom, broadcasting virtually all major sports events staged in the UK or involving British competitors.

LBC British talk radio station

LBC is a London-based national phone-in and talk radio station. It was the UK's first licensed commercial radio station, which began to broadcast on Monday 8 October 1973, a week ahead of Capital Radio. The launch of LBC also saw the beginning of Independent Radio News broadcasting, as LBC provided the service to independent local radio stations nationwide. LBC broadcast only to London until 2006, at which time it became available, via digital radio, in some other parts of the country. It has been available nationwide since 2014.

British Forces Broadcasting Service Broadcasts radio and television programmes for the British military

The British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) provides radio and television programmes for Her Majesty's Armed Forces, and their dependents worldwide. Editorial control is independent of the Ministry of Defence and the armed forces themselves.

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire is the BBC Local Radio service for the English county of Cambridgeshire. It originally broadcast from studios on Hills Road (A1307) close to the railway station in Cambridge - which have now moved to a new multimillion-pound centre at the Cambridge Business Park on Cowley Road - and a studio on Priestgate in Peterborough. It broadcasts on 96 and 95.7 FM, DAB, and via its web page using RealPlayer. It started broadcasting on 1 May 1982 and was originally known as Radio Cambridge.

Capital Xtra British radio station

Capital XTRA, and originally called Choice FM) is a Global-owned radio station that broadcasts in London on 96.9 and 107.1MHz FM; and nationally on DAB Digital Radio, Freesat, Sky, Virgin Media and online. It is a radio station that specialises in contemporary grime, hip hop and R&B music.

BBC Radio Cymru Welsh national radio station

BBC Radio Cymru is BBC Cymru Wales' Welsh-language national radio network. It broadcasts two stations throughout Wales from studios in Cardiff, Bangor, Aberystwyth and Carmarthen on FM, DAB, digital TV and online.

Free Birmingham

Free Birmingham is an Independent Local Radio station serving Birmingham and surrounding areas. It is owned and operated by Bauer and broadcasts on 96.4 FM and DAB Digital Radio, as well as online. The station is part of the Hits Radio network, which broadcasts a mix of chart and contemporary hits alongside local news and information.

Digital One is a national commercial digital radio multiplex in the United Kingdom, owned by Arqiva. As of March 2010, the multiplex covered more than 90% of the population from 137 transmitters. Coverage was extended to Northern Ireland in July 2013.

Radio enjoys a huge following in the United Kingdom. There are around 600 licensed radio stations in the country. For a more comprehensive list see List of radio stations in the United Kingdom.

Digital radio in the United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the roll-out of digital radio is proceeding since engineering test transmissions were started by the BBC in 1990 followed by a public launch in September 1995. The UK currently has one of the world's biggest digital radio networks, with about 500 transmitters, three national DAB ensembles and 48 local and regional DAB ensembles broadcasting over 250 commercial and 34 BBC radio stations across the UK. In London there are already more than 100 different digital stations available. In addition to DAB and DAB+, radio stations are also broadcast on digital television platform as well as internet radio in the UK. Digital radio ensemble operators and stations need a broadcasting licence from the UK's media regulator Ofcom to broadcast.

Global (company) British media company

Global is a British media company formed in 2007. It is the owner of the largest commercial radio company in Europe having expanded through a number of historical acquisitions, including Chrysalis Radio, GCap Media and GMG Radio. Global owns and operates seven core radio brands, all employing a national network strategy.

Jack FM (United Kingdom)

JACKfm is an adult hits format radio station that broadcasts on 106.8 MHz FM in Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, and on DAB in Oxfordshire. Between 2016 and 2017 it also broadcast in Surrey and parts of Hampshire. The station shares premises in Eynsham, Oxfordshire, with its sister stations JACK 2 and Jack 3, as well as its national DAB stations Union JACK and JACK Radio.

BBC Radio 1Xtra British national radio station

BBC Radio 1Xtra is a digital urban contemporary and Black music radio station in the United Kingdom that is owned and operated by the BBC. Launched at 6 PM on 16 August 2002, it had been code named Network X during the consultation period and is the sister station to BBC Radio 1. The station is broadcast from the 8th floor of New Broadcasting House, shared with Radio 1 and the Asian Network.

This is a list of events in British radio during 2016.

This is a list of events taking place in 2018 relating to radio in the United Kingdom.

This is a list of notable events in the timeline of digital audio broadcasting in the UK.

Scala Radio UK digital radio station

Scala Radio is a classical music digital radio station in the United Kingdom, owned and operated by Bauer Radio since its launch in March 2019. The station broadcasts around the clock nationally on DAB via the Sound Digital multiplex, and online through websites and apps, including the station's own. The station was the first national classical music service to launch on terrestrial radio in the UK since Classic FM in 1992.

This is a timeline of the development of radio in London.

References

  1. "BBC Management Structure". 26 July 2013. BBC. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  2. BBC Audio & Music, Retrieved 18 November 2010
  3. "BBC National Radio" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 February 2009. Retrieved 1 February 2009.
  4. "No need to change BBC's mission to 'inform, educate and entertain'". UK Parliament. 31 October 2016.
  5. AND THE WORLD LISTENED The Biography of Captain Leonard F. Plugge - A Pioneer of Commercial Radio. Kelly Publications 2007. Author: Keith Wallis
  6. History BBC World Service
  7. "The Offshore Radio Revolution in Britain 1964–2004". H2G2. 31 August 2004. Retrieved 22 July 2007.
  8. Imogen Carter (27 September 2007). "The day we woke up to pop music on Radio 1". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 September 2007.
  9. 1 2 Andrews, Amanda (28 November 2010). "BBC enlists commercial sector help to shake up radio". The Telegraph. Retrieved 12 March 2011.
  10. "Microsoft Word - The Work of the BBC World Service 2008-09 HC 334 FINAL.doc" (PDF). Retrieved 16 February 2011.
  11. "World s largest international broadcaster visits city". Coal Valley News. Archived from the original on 21 January 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
  12. "BBC Full Financial Statements 2012/13" (PDF). BBC Annual Report and Accounts 2012/13. BBC. 2013. pp. 8–9. Retrieved 17 August 2013.

Further reading