The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster that was founded in 1922. Its mission is to inform, educate and entertain. The BBC is the world’s oldest national broadcasting organization and the largest broadcaster in the world by a number of employees.
The BBC’s Founding and Mission.
The BBC employs over 31,000 staff in total, including more than 2,000 journalists. The BBC operates under a Royal Charter and is funded by a license fee which is charged to all UK households that have a television.
The BBC was founded by a group of private individuals who were interested in setting up a radio station that would serve the public good. The first official broadcast was made from the Alexandra Palace (ally pally) in North London, England, on the 2nd of November 1936 and lasted just one hour.
It started with the time and weather then a current British Movietone News film and finished with as the Radio Times described it “Variety”.
The BBC has come a long way since its humble beginnings and is now one of the most respected news organizations in the world.
The 1920s: The BBC’s Early Years.
The BBC’s first years were marked by growth and expansion. In 1924, the BBC launched its first radio news bulletin but it wasn’t until 1927 that the BBC launched its first regular radio service.
The BBC’s early years were also marked by controversy. In 1926, the BBC’s Scottish founder Sir John Charles Walsham Reith came under fire for the BBC’s radio coverage of the 9-day General Strike.
Winston Churchill (at that time the Chancellor of the exchequer) tried to put pressure on Reith to announce the government’s point of view but Reith held firm.
The British prime minister (Baldwin) had a series of conversations with Reith but he held firm with his view of being impartial. Labor party leaders were also very upset by the lack of coverage after their leader Ramsay MacDonald was refused radio airtime.
The first official launch of the Radio Times was in September 1923. The magazine listed all the radio shows by the days of the week with the times they were to air.
In January 1927 and by the Royal Charter the BBC was officially established.
Sir John Reith become the first Director-General. The founding charter defined the BBC’s official objectives, powers, and obligations.
In November 1929 the Scottish inventor Sir John Logie Baird started to test his vision frequencies theories for the BBC. His experimental television broadcasts started from studios near Covent Garden in London. With only 30 lines of black and white definition, the images were very basic.
The 1930s and 1940s: The BBC and World War II.
The BBC has a long and complicated history, especially when it comes to World War 2. After the outbreak of war in 1939, the BBC was used as a propaganda tool by the government to ensure that the public had accurate information about the war effort. This meant that the BBC had to walk a fine line between being objective and serving the government’s agenda.
The BBC did an admirable job during the war, but it was not without its controversies. One such controversy was the decision to broadcast Lord Haw’s Nazi propaganda speeches.
Despite this, the BBC remained an important part of British life throughout the war and continues to be so today. After the end of World War 2, Lord Haw was returned to England and later hanged for treason.
The 1950s-1960s: The BBC’s Golden Age.
The BBC’s Golden Age is considered to be the 1950s and 1960s. This was a time when the BBC was at the forefront of British broadcasting. The BBC had a monopoly on television in the UK and was able to produce some of the finest media in the world.
The BBC’s output during this period was hugely influential and set the standard for other broadcasters to follow. The likes of David Attenborough, Kenneth Clark, and Alistair Cooke were all household names thanks to the BBC.
This was also a time when the BBC began to expand its reach beyond Britain. The launch of Radio 1 in 1967 saw the BBC become a truly global broadcaster.
The BBC’s reputation for quality and impartiality was cemented during this period and it remains one of the most respected broadcasters in the world today.
The 1970s-1980s: The BBC in Crisis.
The BBC is one of the most respected broadcasters in the world, but it has not always been easy sailing. In the 1970s and 1980s, the BBC was in crisis, facing challenges from all sides including internal power struggles.
From within, the BBC was beset by industrial action as staff went on strike over pay and conditions. This led to a decline in morale and a loss of public trust. The BBC was also criticized for its coverage of events such as the Falklands War and the miners’ strike.
Outside of the organization, the BBC faced competition from commercial broadcasters who were eroding its market share. The government also introduced policies that threatened the independence of the BBC, such as introducing advertising on Radio 1.
Despite these challenges, the BBC remained a powerful force in British life throughout this period.
The 1990s-2000s: The BBC in the Digital Age.
The 1990s and 2000s were a time of change for the BBC. The broadcaster became more commercial, launching several new channels and services. At the same time, it began to embrace digital technology, making its content available online and on demand.
The BBC has a long and proud history of public service broadcasting. But in the 1990s, it faced increased competition from commercial broadcasters. In response, the BBC launched several new channels, including BBC2, BBC News 24, and Radio 5 Live. It also began to make its content available online and on demand.
Digital technology has transformed the way we consume media. And the BBC has been at the forefront of this change. Today, millions of people around the world can access its content on their computers, phones, and tablets.
The BBC is one of the most respected broadcasters in the world, and for good reason. It has a long and proud history of public service broadcasting that stretches back to the 1920s. In more recent years, it has faced challenges from all sides but has emerged stronger than ever.
Today, the BBC is firmly established in the digital age, with its content available online and on demand. This makes it more accessible than ever before and ensures that it remains at the forefront of British broadcasting.
Sources: Wikipedia, THX News, The BBC & The BBC Archive.