Radio Times

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Radio Times
RadioTimes-cvr.jpg
Christmas 2005 double issue
Editor Mark Frith
Categories TV and radio listings magazine
FrequencyWeekly
Circulation 577,087 (January – June 2018) [1]
First issue28 September 1923
Company BBC Magazines (1937–2011)
Immediate Media Company (since 2011)
Country United Kingdom
Based in London, England
Language British English
Scottish Gaelic (Scotland edition)
Welsh (Wales edition)
Website radiotimes.com
ISSN 0033-8060

Radio Times is a British weekly magazine which provides radio and television listings. It was the world's first broadcast listings magazine [2] when it was founded in 1923 by John Reith, then general manager of the British Broadcasting Company, later became the British Broadcasting Corporation from 1927.

John Reith, 1st Baron Reith British broadcasting executive

John Charles Walsham Reith, 1st Baron Reith, was a Scottish broadcasting executive who established the tradition of independent public service broadcasting in the United Kingdom. In 1922 he was employed by the BBC as its general manager; in 1923 he became its managing director and in 1927 he was employed as the Director-General of the British Broadcasting Corporation created under a Royal Charter. His concept of broadcasting as a way of educating the masses marked for a long time the BBC and similar organisations around the world. An engineer by trade, and standing at 6'6" tall, he was a larger than life figure who was a pioneer in his field.

The British Broadcasting Company Ltd (BBC) was a British commercial company formed on 18 October 1922 by British and American electrical companies doing business in the United Kingdom and licensed by the British General Post Office. Its original office was located on the second floor of Magnet House, the GEC buildings in London and consisted of a room and a small antechamber. On 14 December 1922, John Reith was hired to become the Managing Director of the company at that address. The company later moved its offices to the premises of the Marconi Company. The BBC as a commercial broadcasting company did not sell air time but it did carry a number of sponsored programmes paid for by British newspapers. On 31 December 1926, the company was dissolved and its assets were transferred to the non-commercial and Crown Chartered British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

Contents

It was published entirely in-house by BBC Magazines from 1937 [3] [4] until 2011 when the BBC Magazines division was merged into Immediate Media Company. [5] [6] [7]

Immediate Media Company Limited is a combined publishing house containing the former assets of Origin Publishing, Magicalia and BBC Magazines. It was formed on 1 November 2011 and was owned by Exponent Private Equity until January 2017, when Hubert Burda Media acquired the company for an undisclosed sum. Immediate Media Co. publishes over 70 interest-based, multi-platform brands, maintains over 50 websites, and employs over 1,100 staff in its offices in Hammersmith, London, Bristol, Redditch, Camberley and Manchester. Immediate is the current publisher of a diverse range of publications, including the Radio Times, Gardens Illustrated and Top Gear magazines. Tom Bureau - who has a background in digital media as well as traditional publishing - is Immediate's CEO. 60% of Immediate's profit is generated by the Radio Times, which is now spearheading the company's moves into online retailing..

History and publication

Cover of the first issue Radio Times - front cover - 28 September 1923.jpg
Cover of the first issue

Radio Times was first issued on 28 September 1923 for the price of 2d, carrying details of BBC wireless programmes (newspapers at the time boycotted radio listings, fearing that increased listenership might decrease their sales [8] ).

BBC Radio division and service of the British Broadcasting Corporation

BBC Radio is an operational business division and service of the British Broadcasting Corporation. 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.

Boycott act of voluntarily abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with a person, organization, or country

A boycott is an act of voluntary and intentional abstention from using, buying, or dealing with a person, organization, or country as an expression of protest, usually for moral, social, political, or environmental reasons. The purpose of a boycott is to inflict some economic loss on the target, or to indicate a moral outrage, to try to compel the target to alter an objectionable behavior.

Initially, Radio Times was a combined enterprise between the British Broadcasting Company and the publisher George Newnes, who type-set, printed and distributed the magazine. But in 1925 the BBC assumed full editorial control, and by 1937 the publication was fully in-house. [3] The Radio Times established a reputation for using leading writers and illustrators, and the covers from the special editions are now collectible design classics.

George Newnes British politician

Sir George Newnes, 1st Baronet was an English publisher and editor and a founding father of popular journalism. His company, George Newnes Ltd, continued publishing ground-breaking consumer magazines such as Nova long after his death.

Masthead from the 25 December 1931 edition, including the BBC motto "Nation shall speak unto nation" Radio Times 1931 (masthead).jpg
Masthead from the 25 December 1931 edition, including the BBC motto "Nation shall speak unto nation"

In 1928, Radio Times announced a regular series of 'experimental television transmissions by the Baird process' for half an hour every morning. The launch of the first regular 405-line television service by the BBC was reflected with television listings in the Radio Times edition of 23 October 1936. [9] Thus Radio Times became the first television listings magazine in the world. Initially only two pages in each edition were devoted to television. However, on 8 January 1937 the magazine published a lavish photogravure supplement and by September 1939, there were three pages of television listings.

Britain declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939 and television broadcasting ceased. Radio listings continued throughout the war with a reduced service, but by 1944, paper rationing meant editions were only 20 pages of tiny print on thin paper. When television resumed, the Radio Times expanded with regional editions were introduced. In 1953 the television listings, which had been in the back of the magazine, were placed alongside the daily radio schedules and on 17 February 1957, television listings were moved to a separate section at the front with radio listings relegated to the back.

The Declaration of war by France and the United Kingdom was given on 3 September 1939, after German forces invaded Poland. Despite the speech being the official announcement of both France and the United Kingdom, the speech was given by the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, in Westminster, London.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Rationing in the United Kingdom

Rationing was introduced temporarily by the British government several times during the 20th century, during and immediately after a war.

By the 1950s Radio Times had grown to be the magazine with the largest circulation in Europe, with an average sales of 8.8 million in 1955. [10]

Radio Times is published on Tuesdays (its publication day having gradually moved forward from Fridays over many years) and carries listings for the following Saturday through to Friday (this began in 1960, before which issues ran Sunday to Saturday; the changeover meant that Saturday 8 October 1960 was listed twice). From 20 April 1964, BBC Two starts broadcasting, the existing "BBCtv" (formerly BBC Television Service) is renamed BBC One, then on 1 July 1967, BBC Two becomes Europe's first colour television service is launched with the live Wimbledon coverage, and two years later BBC One is finally introduced colour service on 15 November 1969.

Since Christmas 1969, a double-sized issue has been published each December containing listings for two weeks of programmes. Originally, this covered Christmas and New Year listings, but in some years these appear in separate editions, with the two-week period ending just before New Year. The cover of the 'Christmas Number' (as this issue came to be called) dating from the time when it contained just a single week's listings, usually features a generic festive artwork, atypical for the magazine, which since the 1970s has almost exclusively used photographic covers for all other issues.

By the 1970s, Radio Times took a stand with "no smoking" policies were beginning to appear for some reason and also stopped cigarette advertising (such products include Benson & Hedges, John Player, Rothmans, Dunhill and Imperial Tobacco) from September 1969 within the magazine. On 1 September 1984, the method of web-offset printing was used for the first time, and the magazine became brighter and more colourful, gone were the sludgy greys of newsprint and sheets of gravure was replaced by clean blacks on white paper from leafing through although it wasn't until 2 June 1990 that the entire magazine was finally printed in full colour.

Until the deregulation of television listings on 1 March 1991, the Radio Times carried programme listings for BBC radio and television channels only, while the ITV-published magazine, TVTimes , carried television programme listings for ITV, and from November 1982, Channel 4 (including S4C in the Wales edition). [11] Today both publications carry listings for all major terrestrial, cable and satellite television channels in the United Kingdom and following deregulation, new listings magazines began to be published.

After the deregulation of television listings, there was strong criticism from other listings magazines that Radio Times was advertised on the BBC (as well as on commercial channels), saying that it gave unfair advantage to the publication bearing "If it's on... it's in!" slogan. The case went to court, but the outcome was that as the Radio Times had close connections with the BBC it would be allowed to be advertised by the BBC; however, it must be a static picture of the cover, and that the clear disclaimer "Other television listings magazines are available" be given (leading to the phrase entering common public usage for a time).[ citation needed ] By the early 2000s, advertisements for the publication had become sparse on the BBC.[ citation needed ] The Radio Times has not been promoted on BBC television and radio channels since 2005, following complaints by rival publications that the promotions were unfair competition. [12]

Radio Times gets with the new fresher look on 3 September 1994 as the television listings had the day's name going vertical with "today's choices" replacing "at a glance" on the left of a page, while the major revamp on 25 September 1999, which also changed the "letters" section beginning on the front page and primetime television listings from two narrow columns to one wide column, and lasted until 13 April 2001 (shortly before Easter), which saw the new masthead title and the programme pages were reverting to having the day running across the top of the page horizontally.

On 22 May 2007, two extra pages of television listings per day were added as part of a slight tweak in the publication's format, bringing it up to ten pages of listings per day in total, or five double-page spreads: two pages of reviews of highlights ("choices") followed by two pages of terrestrial television listings, then six pages of listings for digital, satellite and cable channels. Before digital channels became commonplace, a terrestrial day's television was sometimes spread over up to three double-spreads mixed with advertisements, but this format was phased out when independent publishers were allowed to publish television programme schedules.

Until 2009, the television listings issued a warning phrase "contains strong language" used for BBC programmes from 9:00pm during the hours of watershed restrictions.

As from 10 April 2010 onwards, the daytime listings have moved onto the evening section having the full day's output for the five main channels on one double-page spread. Other changes saw the addition of Freeview EPG numbers into the channel headers, and include director and year of production details on all Film4 movies throughout the day.

The latest circulation figure (January 2013 – January 2014) for the Radio Times is 831,591 (Decrease2.svg 6.9%) making it third in the TV listings magazine market behind TV Choice (1,374,813 Increase2.svg 11.8%) and What's on TV (1,049,558 Decrease2.svg 14.1%). [13]

Editors

There have been 18 editors of Radio Times to date (including one uncredited and one returning) since the magazine began publication: [14] [15]

Regional editions

There are several regional editions, which each contain different listings for regional programming. All editions carry variations for adjoining regions and local radio listings.

When it began in 1923, there was just a single national edition, but from 10 October 1926 there were two editions – Southern and Northern, then on 7 January 1934 it was back to one edition again. In 1949 the North of England edition was separated from Northern Ireland who had their own edition. On 8 October 1960, the Midlands edition was renamed Midlands & East Anglia, and the West of England edition was renamed South & West, and on 21 March 1964 the previously unmarked London edition was renamed London & South East.

When BBC Two began on 20 April 1964, there were a number of "BBC-2 edition" for areas where only certain parts of a region could get BBC Two until 1966:

BBC-2 regionsService date
London & South East 20 April 1964
Midlands & East Anglia 6 December 1964
Wales 12 September 1965
North of England 31 October 1965
South & West 16 January 1966
Northern Ireland 11 June 1966
Scotland 9 July 1966

From 1982 until 1991, S4C listings were included in the Wales edition known as "Rhaglenni Cymraeg", but only the Welsh language programmes were listed, and no English language programmes known as "Rhaglenni Saesneg", those would require consultation for the TVTimes' pull-out supplement Sbec was used.

Radio Times started carrying ITV and Channel 4 (with S4C) listings to begin with they mirrored the ITV regional areas from 1 March 1991:

Edition BBC regions ITV regions
London BBC South East Thames Television, London Weekend Television
East Anglia BBC East Anglia Television
Midlands BBC Midlands, BBC East Midlands Central Independent Television
South BBC South Television South
West BBC West HTV West
South West BBC South West Television South West
Yorkshire BBC North Yorkshire Television
North East BBC North East Tyne Tees Television
North West BBC North West Granada Television
Borders BBC Scotland Border Television
Central Scotland Scottish Television
Northern Scotland Grampian Television
Wales BBC Cymru Wales HTV Cymru Wales
Northern Ireland BBC Northern Ireland Ulster Television

The number of English regional editions has been reduced since the early 1990s due to there being fewer variations in the schedules, such as the Yorkshire version was absorbed by the North East version on 25 September 1993 and later added the North West version on 7 April 2007.

Before 1997, the regional variations were at the bottom of the relevant channel listings.

The most recent of these was on 25 August 2007 when the Midlands and London/Anglia versions were merged. The exception to this process of merging is Wales, which used to be part of a larger Wales/West (of England) version, mirroring the HTV region, and separated on 16 April 2005 leaving the West of England to join South and South West versions together.

Television

Edition BBC regions ITV regionsOther channels
London/Anglia/Midlands BBC London, BBC South East, BBC East, BBC Midlands, BBC East Midlands ITV London, ITV Anglia, ITV Central BBC One Wales, BBC Two Wales, ITV Wales, London Live
South/West/South West BBC South, BBC South East, BBC West, BBC South West ITV Meridian, ITV West Country, ITV Channel Television BBC One Wales, BBC Two Wales, ITV Wales, S4C
Yorkshire/North East/North West BBC Yorkshire, BBC Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, BBC North East and Cumbria, BBC North West ITV Yorkshire, ITV Tyne Tees, ITV Granada BBC One Scotland, BBC Scotland, BBC One Wales, BBC Two Wales, ITV Anglia, ITV Border, ITV Central, ITV Wales, S4C
Scotland/Border BBC Scotland STV North, STV Central, ITV Border, ITV Border Scotland BBC Alba, BBC One England, BBC Two England
Wales BBC Cymru Wales ITV Cymru Wales S4C, BBC One England, BBC Two England, ITV Central, ITV Granada, ITV West, ITV Westcountry
Northern Ireland BBC Northern Ireland UTV RTÉ One, RTÉ2, Virgin Media One, Virgin Media Three

Radio

Edition BBC Local Radio regions
London/Anglia/Midlands BBC Radio Berkshire, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, BBC Coventry & Warwickshire, BBC Radio Derby, BBC Essex, BBC Radio Gloucestershire, BBC Hereford and Worcester, BBC Radio Kent, BBC Radio Leicester, BBC Radio Lincolnshire, BBC Radio London, BBC Radio Norfolk, BBC Radio Northampton, BBC Radio Nottingham, BBC Radio Oxford, BBC Radio Shropshire, BBC Radio Stoke, BBC Radio Suffolk, BBC Surrey, BBC Sussex, BBC Three Counties Radio, BBC WM
South/West/South West BBC Radio Berkshire, BBC Radio Bristol, BBC Radio Cornwall, BBC Radio Devon, BBC Essex, BBC Radio Gloucestershire, BBC Radio Guernsey, BBC Hereford and Worcester, BBC Radio Jersey, BBC Radio Kent, BBC Radio London, BBC Radio Oxford, BBC Radio Solent, BBC Somerset, BBC Surrey, BBC Sussex, BBC Three Counties Radio, BBC Wiltshire
Yorkshire/North East/North West BBC Radio Cumbria, BBC Radio Derby, BBC Radio Humberside, BBC Radio Lancashire, BBC Radio Leeds, BBC Radio Lincolnshire, BBC Radio Manchester, BBC Radio Merseyside, BBC Radio Newcastle, BBC Radio Sheffield, BBC Radio Stoke, BBC Tees, BBC Radio York plus BBC Radio Scotland
Scotland/Border BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio Shetland, BBC Radio Orkney, BBC Radio nan Gàidheal
Wales BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru (including Radio Cymru 2)
Northern Ireland BBC Radio Ulster, BBC Radio Foyle

Colour-coding layouts

From 2 June to 21 December 1990, the programme page headings were deep pink for films, dark blue for television (including the channels BBC One in vermilion and BBC Two in spring green) and medium turquoise for radio. The day was also shown inside coloured block halfway down the side of each page, which had a different colour for each day:

DayColour
Saturday Red
Sunday Orange
Monday Magenta
Tuesday Chartreuse
Wednesday Purple
Thursday Salmon
Friday Green

However these colours were slightly different from those that were changed on 22 December 1990, through until 29 October 2004:

DayColour
Saturday Red
Sunday Sapphire
Monday Amber
Tuesday Indigo
Wednesday Green
Thursday Cerise
Friday Turquoise

The channel logos arrived on 16 February 1991 as the same date for the new BBC One and BBC Two station idents, when they started covering all channels to identify the colours until 3 October 1997:

ChannelColour
BBC One Lilac
BBC Two Viridian
ITV Silver
Channel 4 Black
Channel 5 (from 30 March 1997) Yellow

The recent change from 25 September 1999, which the programme page headings were violet for films, dark orange for television, and sea green for radio. On 30 October 2004, the colours were later changed the day's listings for Tuesday in lavender, Wednesday in mint leaf, Friday in navy blue, and from 10 April 2010, the colours changed once again were Sunday in navy blue, Monday in yellow, Thursday in mauve and Friday in indigo.

Digitisation

In December 2012, the BBC completed a digitisation exercise, scanning the listings of all BBC programmes from an entire run of about 4,500 copies of the magazine from the first issue to 2009, the BBC Genome Project, with a view to creating an online database of its programme output. [16] They identified around five million programmes, involving 8.5 million actors, presenters, writers and technical staff. [16] BBC Genome was released for public use on 15 October 2014. [17] [18] Corrections to OCR errors and changes to advertised schedules are being crowdsourced. [17]

Covers

When the magazine was a BBC publication, covers had a BBC bias (in 2005, 31 of the 51 issues had BBC-related covers). Doctor Who is the most represented programme on the cover, appearing on 29 issues (with 35 separate covers due to multiples) in the 49 years since the programme began on 22 November 1963. [19]

The Radio Times for 30 April - 6 May 2005 covered both the return of the Daleks to Doctor Who and the forthcoming general election. Radio Times Vote Dalek cover.jpg
The Radio Times for 30 April – 6 May 2005 covered both the return of the Daleks to Doctor Who and the forthcoming general election.

Most covers consist of a single side of glossy paper. However, the magazine often uses double or triple-width covers that open out for large group photographs, while events such as Crufts or new series of popular programmes are marked by producing several different covers for collectors. Sporting events with more than one of the Home Nations taking part are often marked with different covers for each nation, showing their own team. The second series of Life on Mars , meanwhile, was marked by the Radio Times producing a mock-up of a 1973-style cover promoting the series, placed on page 3 of the magazine.

On 30 April 2005, a double-width cover was used to commemorate the return of the Daleks to Doctor Who and the forthcoming general election. [20] This cover recreated a scene from the 1964 Doctor Who serial The Dalek Invasion of Earth in which the Daleks were seen crossing Westminster Bridge, with the Houses of Parliament in the background. The cover text read "VOTE DALEK!" In a 2008 contest sponsored by the Periodical Publishers Association, this cover was voted the best British magazine cover of all time. [21]

Each year, the Radio Times celebrates those individuals and programmes that are featured on the cover at the Radio Times Covers Party, where framed oversized versions of the covers are presented. [22]

In recent years,[ when? ]Radio Times has published and sold packs of reproductions of some of the Christmas covers of the magazine as Christmas cards.

Industrial disputes

Missing issues

For various reasons, some issues were not printed. These include: [23]

Issue dateReason
14 May 1926 General strike
21 February 1947 Fuel crisis
28 February 1947
8 September 1950Printing dispute
13 October 1950
20 October 1950
27 October 1950
1 August 1981
2 April 1983
9 April 1983
3 December 1983

Diminished form

Printing disputes and other operational difficulties have also lead to the magazine appearing in a different formats to the standard:

Issue dateReason
1 July 1949 London edition printed by The Daily Graphic
15 September 1950Nine-day issue, northern edition printed as a tabloid
3 November 1950
24 February 1956Printed as a broadsheet in Paris, France
2 March 1956
9 March 1956
16 March 1956
23 March 1956
30 March 1956
11 November 1978Cover printed in monochrome
18 November 1978
25 November 1978
31 May 1980

Radio Times Annual and Guides

An Annual was published three times: in 1954, [24] 1955 [24] and 1956. [25]

From 2000 to 2018, BBC Worldwide has published the Radio Times Guide to Films, featuring more than 21,000 films in a 1,707-page book. The 2006 edition was edited by Kilmeny Fane-Saunders and featured an introduction by Barry Norman, former presenter of the BBC's Film programme until his death in 2017. The Radio Times Guide to Films 2007 is introduced by Andrew Collins.

There are also similar publications, the Radio Times Guide to Comedy and the Radio Times Guide to Science-Fiction.

Website

The Radio Times website was launched in 1997 primarily as a listings service. In 2011, it relaunched offering a diverse editorial product to accompany its listings and television, radio and film recommendations.

See also

Bibliography

Related Research Articles

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References

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  6. Preston, Peter (11 March 2012). "What price the Radio Times? Only private equity can tell us". The Guardian.
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  11. THE GOOD NEW TIMES ... THE BRADSHAW OF BROADCASTING: 1980s – 2000 by Robin Carmody, July 2000, Off the Telly Archived 14 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
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  20. "Doctor Who – The greatest magazine cover of all time". Radio Times. BBC Magazines. Archived from the original on 24 May 2011. Retrieved 1 October 2008.
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