BBC Radio

BBC Radio

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Encyclopedia
BBC Radio is a service of the British Broadcasting Corporation
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 which has operated in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 under the terms of a Royal Charter
Royal Charter
A royal charter is a formal document issued by a monarch as letters patent, granting a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organizations such as cities or universities. Charters should be distinguished from warrants and...

 since 1927. For a history of BBC radio prior to 1927 see British Broadcasting Company
British Broadcasting Company
The British Broadcasting Company Ltd 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...

. Internally, BBC Radio is now organised under the banner of BBC Audio & Music, which also oversees online audio content.

BBC Radios 1 to 6 are based in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 - with the exception of BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Radio 5 Live is the BBC's national radio service that specialises in live BBC News, phone-ins, and sports commentaries...

, now based in MediaCityUK, Greater Manchester
Greater Manchester
Greater Manchester is a metropolitan county in North West England, with a population of 2.6 million. It encompasses one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United Kingdom and comprises ten metropolitan boroughs: Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, and the...

 - but programmes are also made in Belfast
Belfast
Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland. By population, it is the 14th biggest city in the United Kingdom and second biggest on the island of Ireland . It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly...

, Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

, Bristol
Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

, Cardiff
Cardiff
Cardiff is the capital, largest city and most populous county of Wales and the 10th largest city in the United Kingdom. The city is Wales' chief commercial centre, the base for most national cultural and sporting institutions, the Welsh national media, and the seat of the National Assembly for...

, Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

 and Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

. All BBC Radio channels are available on DAB radio and also on the internet in Real Media, WMA and iPlayer (aac via Flash-plugin) streams.

National (UK)


The BBC today runs ten national domestic radio stations, four of which are only available in a digital format: via DAB Digital Radio
Digital audio broadcasting
Digital Audio Broadcasting is a digital radio technology for broadcasting radio stations, used in several countries, particularly in Europe. As of 2006, approximately 1,000 stations worldwide broadcast in the DAB format....

, UK digital television (satellite, cable and Freeview) plus live streams and listen again on the Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

.

The "main" radio stations, available via both analogue (FM
FM broadcasting
FM broadcasting is a broadcasting technology pioneered by Edwin Howard Armstrong which uses frequency modulation to provide high-fidelity sound over broadcast radio. The term "FM band" describes the "frequency band in which FM is used for broadcasting"...

 and AM
AM broadcasting
AM broadcasting is the process of radio broadcasting using amplitude modulation. AM was the first method of impressing sound on a radio signal and is still widely used today. Commercial and public AM broadcasting is carried out in the medium wave band world wide, and on long wave and short wave...

 frequencies) and Digital Audio Broadcasting
Digital radio in the United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom, the roll-out of digital radio is proceeding since test transmissions were started by the BBC in 1990. The UK currently has the world's biggest digital radio network, with 103 transmitters, two national DAB ensembles and 48 local and regional DAB ensembles...

 (DAB
Digital audio broadcasting
Digital Audio Broadcasting is a digital radio technology for broadcasting radio stations, used in several countries, particularly in Europe. As of 2006, approximately 1,000 stations worldwide broadcast in the DAB format....

), are:
  • BBC Radio 1
    BBC Radio 1
    BBC Radio 1 is a British national radio station operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation which also broadcasts internationally, specialising in current popular music and chart hits throughout the day. Radio 1 provides alternative genres after 7:00pm including electronic dance, hip hop, rock...

    : youth oriented, mostly contemporary pop
    Pop music
    Pop music is usually understood to be commercially recorded music, often oriented toward a youth market, usually consisting of relatively short, simple songs utilizing technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes.- Definitions :David Hatch and Stephen Millward define pop...

     and rock music
    Rock music
    Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

     (including Top 40 singles), plus news, original in-house live music sessions, original live music concerts and music documentaries
  • BBC Radio 2
    BBC Radio 2
    BBC Radio 2 is one of the BBC's national radio stations and the most popular station in the United Kingdom. Much of its daytime playlist-based programming is best described as Adult Contemporary or AOR, although the station is also noted for its specialist broadcasting of other musical genres...

    : adult oriented entertainment, wide range of music—specially adult contemporary and middle of the road, also talk, comedy, plus news, original in-house live music sessions, original live music concerts and music documentaries
  • BBC Radio 3
    BBC Radio 3
    BBC Radio 3 is a national radio station operated by the BBC within the United Kingdom. Its output centres on classical music and opera, but jazz, world music, drama, culture and the arts also feature. The station is the world’s most significant commissioner of new music, and its New Generation...

    : arts and high culture
    High culture
    High culture is a term, now used in a number of different ways in academic discourse, whose most common meaning is the set of cultural products, mainly in the arts, held in the highest esteem by a culture...

    , special-interest music (classical, jazz
    Jazz
    Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

    , world music
    World music
    World music is a term with widely varying definitions, often encompassing music which is primarily identified as another genre. This is evidenced by world music definitions such as "all of the music in the world" or "somebody else's local music"...

    ), plus news, original in-house live music sessions, original live music concerts and music documentaries
  • BBC Radio 4
    BBC Radio 4
    BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams, and the...

    : news, current affairs, arts, history, original in-house drama, original in-house first-run comedy, science, books and religion
  • BBC Radio 5 Live
    BBC Radio 5 Live
    BBC Radio 5 Live is the BBC's national radio service that specialises in live BBC News, phone-ins, and sports commentaries...

    : news, sports, talk


The new digital-only (Internet Streaming/Sky
British Sky Broadcasting
British Sky Broadcasting Group plc is a satellite broadcasting, broadband and telephony services company headquartered in London, United Kingdom, with operations in the United Kingdom and the Ireland....

/freesat
Freesat
Freesat is a free-to-air digital satellite television joint venture between the BBC and ITV plc, serving the United Kingdom. The service was formed as a memorandum in 2007 and has been marketed since 6 May 2008...

/Freeview/DAB
Digital audio broadcasting
Digital Audio Broadcasting is a digital radio technology for broadcasting radio stations, used in several countries, particularly in Europe. As of 2006, approximately 1,000 stations worldwide broadcast in the DAB format....

) radio stations are:
  • BBC Radio 1Xtra
    BBC Radio 1Xtra
    BBC Radio 1Xtra is a digital radio station in the United Kingdom from the BBC specialising in new black music, sometimes referred to as urban music. Launched at 18:00 on 16 August 2002, it had been codenamed Network X during the consulation period and is the sister station to BBC Radio 1...

    : new urban music, plus news, original in-house live music sessions, original live music concerts and music documentaries
  • BBC Radio 4 Extra: classic comedy, drama, books, science fiction, fantasy and children's programmes
  • BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra: a companion to Radio 5 Live for additional sports events coverage
  • BBC 6 Music
    BBC 6 Music
    BBC 6 Music is one of the BBC's digital radio stations, was launched on 11 March 2002 and originally codenamed Network Y. It was the first national music radio station to be launched by the BBC in 32 years....

    : an eclectic mix of alternative genres including rock, funk, punk and reggae, plus news, original in-house live music sessions, original live music concerts and music documentaries
  • BBC Asian Network
    BBC Asian Network
    BBC Asian Network is a British radio station serving those originating from and around the Indian subcontinent. The music and news comes out of the main urban areas where there are significant communities with these backgrounds. The station has production centres in Birmingham, Leicester and London...

    : aimed at the large South Asia
    South Asia
    South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

    n community in the UK (primarily a digital radio station
    Digital audio broadcasting
    Digital Audio Broadcasting is a digital radio technology for broadcasting radio stations, used in several countries, particularly in Europe. As of 2006, approximately 1,000 stations worldwide broadcast in the DAB format....

    , but available in parts of the Midlands
    English Midlands
    The Midlands, or the English Midlands, is the traditional name for the area comprising central England that broadly corresponds to the early medieval Kingdom of Mercia. It borders Southern England, Northern England, East Anglia and Wales. Its largest city is Birmingham, and it was an important...

     on medium wave)
  • BBC World Service
    BBC World Service
    The BBC World Service is the world's largest international broadcaster, broadcasting in 27 languages to many parts of the world via analogue and digital shortwave, internet streaming and podcasting, satellite, FM and MW relays...

     is the world's largest international broadcaster,[1][2] 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),[3] non-profit, and commercial-free.

Nations


The BBC also runs radio stations for three of the nations of the UK. These stations focus on local issues to a greater extent than their UK 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 many advertising-funded Independent Local Radio (ILR)
Independent Local Radio
Independent Local Radio is the collective name given to commercial radio stations in the United Kingdom. The same name is used for Independent Local Radio in Ireland.-Development of ILR:...

 stations, which often broadcast contemporary popular music, BBC nations' radio stations offer a more "serious" alternative.
  • BBC Radio Scotland
    BBC Radio Scotland
    BBC Radio Scotland is BBC Scotland's national English-language radio network. It broadcasts a wide variety of programming, including news, sport, light entertainment, music, the arts, comedy, drama, history and lifestyle...

    : News, music, sport and talk from Scotland
    Scotland
    Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

  • BBC Radio nan Gàidheal
    BBC Radio nan Gàidheal
    BBC Radio nan Gàidheal is a British radio station, broadcasting in Scottish Gaelic. It is operated by the BBC as part of its portfolio of television and radio services broadcasting to Scotland....

    : Scottish Gaelic language network
  • BBC Radio Shetland
    BBC Radio Shetland
    BBC Radio Shetland is an opt-out service of BBC Radio Scotland, covering the Shetland Islands, Scotland. The station airs from studios located in Pitt Lane, Lerwick.- Programming :...

    : News, music, sport and talk from Shetland
  • BBC Radio Orkney
    BBC Radio Orkney
    BBC Radio Orkney is a local opt-out of BBC Radio Scotland for the Orkney Islands, which is based in Castle Street, Kirkwall, Orkney, in Scotland....

    : News, music, sport and talk from Orkney
  • BBC Radio Wales
    BBC Radio Wales
    BBC Radio Wales is the BBC's national radio station broadcasting to Wales in the English language. Operated by BBC Wales, it began broadcasting on 12 November 1978 following the demise of the old "Radio 4 Wales" when BBC Radio 4 became a national network and moved from medium wave to long wave...

    : News, music, sport and talk from Wales
    Wales
    Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

  • BBC Radio Cymru
    BBC Radio Cymru
    BBC Radio Cymru is BBC Cymru's Welsh-language radio station, broadcasting throughout Wales from studios in Cardiff, Bangor, and Aberystwyth on FM since 1977. At the time of its launch it was one of the few FM-only radio services in the UK...

    : Welsh language
    Welsh language
    Welsh is a member of the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages spoken natively in Wales, by some along the Welsh border in England, and in Y Wladfa...

     network
  • BBC Radio Ulster
    BBC Radio Ulster
    BBC Radio Ulster is one of two Northern Irish BBC radio stations, the other being BBC Radio Foyle located in the city of Derry. BBC Radio Ulster is located at Broadcasting House in the Ormeau Avenue area of Belfast city centre...

    : News, music, sport and talk from Northern Ireland
    Northern Ireland
    Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

  • BBC Radio Foyle
    BBC Radio Foyle
    BBC Radio Foyle is a BBC Northern Ireland local radio station, serving County Londonderry in Northern Ireland. It is named after the River Foyle which flows through the city where the station is based. The station broadcasts from BBC's Northland Road studios on 93.1 FM and 792 MW in Derry, County...

    : News, music, sport and talk from north-west of Northern Ireland
    Northern Ireland
    Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...



There are many BBC Local Radio
BBC Local Radio
BBC Local Radio is the BBC's regional radio service for England and the Channel Islands, consisting of 40 stations. They cover a variety of areas with some serving a city and surrounding areas, for example BBC Radio Manchester; a county, for example BBC Radio Norfolk; an administrative region for...

 services across England, often catering to individual counties
Counties of England
Counties of England are areas used for the purposes of administrative, geographical and political demarcation. For administrative purposes, England outside Greater London and the Isles of Scilly is divided into 83 counties. The counties may consist of a single district or be divided into several...

.

Broadcast


BBC Radio services are broadcast on various FM
FM broadcasting
FM broadcasting is a broadcasting technology pioneered by Edwin Howard Armstrong which uses frequency modulation to provide high-fidelity sound over broadcast radio. The term "FM band" describes the "frequency band in which FM is used for broadcasting"...

 and AM
AM broadcasting
AM broadcasting is the process of radio broadcasting using amplitude modulation. AM was the first method of impressing sound on a radio signal and is still widely used today. Commercial and public AM broadcasting is carried out in the medium wave band world wide, and on long wave and short wave...

 frequencies, digital radio
Digital audio broadcasting
Digital Audio Broadcasting is a digital radio technology for broadcasting radio stations, used in several countries, particularly in Europe. As of 2006, approximately 1,000 stations worldwide broadcast in the DAB format....

 or DAB
Digital audio broadcasting
Digital Audio Broadcasting is a digital radio technology for broadcasting radio stations, used in several countries, particularly in Europe. As of 2006, approximately 1,000 stations worldwide broadcast in the DAB format....

, and streaming live on BBC Online (giving the stations a worldwide audience).

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; a number of trials are also underway of MP3
MP3
MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 Audio Layer III, more commonly referred to as MP3, is a patented digital audio encoding format using a form of lossy data compression...

 downloads and podcast
Podcast
A podcast is a series of digital media files that are released episodically and often downloaded through web syndication...

ing for selected shows—see bbc.co.uk#Streaming media.

Programming


Throughout its history the BBC has produced many radio programmes. Particularly significant, influential, popular or long lasting programmes include:
  • Any Questions?
    Any Questions?
    Any Questions? is a topical debate radio programme in the United Kingdom.-Format:It is broadcast by BBC Radio 4 on Friday evenings and repeated on Saturday afternoons, when it is followed by a phone-in response programme, Any Answers?, previously a postal response slot...

     (1948–present): Topical debate series.
  • The Archers
    The Archers
    The Archers is a long-running British soap opera broadcast on the BBC's main spoken-word channel, Radio 4. It was originally billed as "an everyday story of country folk", but is now described on its Radio 4 web site as "contemporary drama in a rural setting"...

     (1950–present): Long running rural soap opera
    Soap opera
    A soap opera, sometimes called "soap" for short, is an ongoing, episodic work of dramatic fiction presented in serial format on radio or as television programming. The name soap opera stems from the original dramatic serials broadcast on radio that had soap manufacturers, such as Procter & Gamble,...

    . Currently the most listened to programme on Radio 4 and on the BBC's on-line radio service.
  • Children's Hour
    Children's Hour
    Children's Hour—at first: "The Children's Hour", from a verse by Longfellow—was the name of the BBC's principal recreational service for children during the period when radio dominated broadcasting....

     (1922–1964): Long running slot for children's programmes.
  • Desert Island Discs
    Desert Island Discs
    Desert Island Discs is a BBC Radio 4 programme first broadcast on 29 January 1942. It is the second longest-running radio programme , and is the longest-running factual programme in the history of radio...

     (1942–present): Interview programme in which the guest chooses the eight pieces of music they would take with them to a desert island. The longest running music radio programme in British history.
  • Friday Night is Music Night
    Friday Night is Music Night
    Friday Night is Music Night is a long running live BBC radio concert programme featuring the BBC Concert Orchestra, broadcast most Fridays on BBC Radio 2 at 8.00pm. It is the world's longest-running live music radio programme....

     (1952–present): Long running live music show, covering a wide range of music tastes.
  • Gardeners' Question Time
    Gardeners' Question Time
    Gardeners' Question Time is a long-running BBC Radio 4 programme in which amateur gardeners can put questions to a panel of experts.-History:...

     (1947–present): Gardening programme in which gardening experts give advice and answer listeners' questions.
  • The Goon Show
    The Goon Show
    The Goon Show was a British radio comedy programme, originally produced and broadcast by the BBC Home Service from 1951 to 1960, with occasional repeats on the BBC Light Programme...

     (1951–1960): Highly influential comedy series with elements of surrealism
    Surrealism
    Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members....

    .
  • Hancock's Half Hour
    Hancock's Half Hour
    Hancock's Half Hour was a BBC radio comedy, and later television comedy, series of the 1950s and 60s written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson. The series starred Tony Hancock, with Sid James; the radio version also co-starred, at various times, Moira Lister, Andrée Melly, Hattie Jacques, Bill Kerr...

     (1954–1960): Influential comedy series which transferred to television.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (radio series)
    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a science fiction comedy radio series written by Douglas Adams . It was originally broadcast in the United Kingdom by BBC Radio 4 in 1978, and afterwards on global short wave radio on the BBC World Service, National Public Radio in the U.S. and CBC Radio in...

     (1978–1980 and 2004–2005): Comedy science fiction serial by Douglas Adams
    Douglas Adams
    Douglas Noel Adams was an English writer and dramatist. He is best known as the author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which started life in 1978 as a BBC radio comedy before developing into a "trilogy" of five books that sold over 15 million copies in his lifetime, a television...

    .
  • I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue
    I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue
    I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, sometimes abbreviated to ISIHAC or Clue, is a BBC radio comedy panel game broadcast since 11 April 1972 at the rate of one or two series each year , transmitted on BBC Radio 4, with occasional repeats on BBC Radio 4 Extra and the BBC's World Service...

     (1972–present): Comedy series parodying the radio panel game format.
  • It's That Man Again
    It's That Man Again
    It's That Man Again was a BBC radio comedy programme which ran from 1939 to 1949. The title was a contemporary phrase referring to ever more frequent news-stories about Hitler in the lead-up to World War II, and specifically a headline in the Daily Express written by Bert Gunn...

     (1939–1949): Comedy series popular during and after World War II
    World War II
    World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

    .
  • Journey Into Space
    Journey Into Space
    Journey Into Space is a BBC Radio science fiction programme, written by BBC producer Charles Chilton. It was the last radio programme in the UK to attract a bigger evening audience than television...

     (1953–1958): Science fiction
    Science fiction
    Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

     series which was the last UK radio programme to achieve a higher audience than television.
  • Just a Minute
    Just a Minute
    Just a Minute is a BBC Radio 4 radio comedy panel game chaired by Nicholas Parsons. Its first transmission on Radio 4 was on 22 December 1967, three months after the station's launch. The Radio 4 programme won a Gold Sony Radio Academy Award in 2003....

     (1967–present): Long running panel game
    Panel game
    A panel game or panel show is a radio or television game show in which a panel of celebrities participates. Panelists may compete with each other, such as on The News Quiz; facilitate play by guest contestants, such as on Match Game/Blankety Blank; or do both, such as on Wait Wait.....

     where the contestants must attempt to speak for one minute without repetition, hesitation or deviation.
  • Letter from America
    Letter from America
    Letter from America was a weekly 15-minute radio series on BBC Radio 4, previously called the Home Service, which ran for 2,869 shows from 24 March 1946 to 20 February 2004, making it the longest-running speech radio programme in history...

     (1946–2004): Commentary on American news and events by Alistair Cooke
    Alistair Cooke
    Alfred Alistair Cooke KBE was a British/American journalist, television personality and broadcaster. Outside his journalistic output, which included Letter from America and Alistair Cooke's America, he was well known in the United States as the host of PBS Masterpiece Theater from 1971 to 1992...

    . The longest-running speech radio programme in history.
  • The News Quiz
    The News Quiz
    The News Quiz is a topical panel game broadcast on British radio BBC Radio 4.-History:It was first broadcast in 1977 with Barry Norman as chairman. Subsequently it was chaired by Simon Hoggart, Barry Took , and then again by Simon Hoggart until March 2006. Hoggart was replaced by Sandi Toksvig in...

     (1977–present): Topical comedy show
  • The Reith Lectures
    Reith Lecture
    The Reith Lectures is a series of annual radio lectures given by leading figures of the day, commissioned by the BBC and broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service....

     (1948–present): Annual series of lectures given by leading figures of the day.
  • Round the Horne
    Round the Horne
    Round the Horne was a BBC Radio comedy programme, transmitted in four series of weekly episodes from 1965 until 1968. The series was created by Barry Took and Marty Feldman - with others contributing to later series after Feldman returned to performing — and starred Kenneth Horne, with Kenneth...

     (1965–1968): Comedy series notable for its innuendo
    Innuendo
    An innuendo is a baseless invention of thoughts or ideas. It can also be a remark or question, typically disparaging , that works obliquely by allusion...

     and use of the gay slang polari
    Polari
    Polari is a form of cant slang used in Britain by actors, circus and fairground showmen, criminals, prostitutes, and by the gay subculture. It was popularised in the 1960s by camp characters Julian and Sandy in the popular BBC radio show Round the Horne...

    .
  • Sports Report
    Sports Report
    Sports Report is one of the longest-running programmes on British radio. It started in the first week of 1948, and has always been aired from 5.00 to 6.00 p.m...

     (1948–present): Saturday sports round-up including the football results of the day.
  • Test Match Special
    Test Match Special
    Test Match Special is a British radio programme covering professional cricket, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 , Five Live Sports Extra and the internet to the United Kingdom and the rest of the world...

     (1957–present): Live cricket
    Cricket
    Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

     coverage.
  • Today programme
    Today programme
    Today is BBC Radio 4's long-running early morning news and current affairs programme, now broadcast from 6.00 am to 9.00 am Monday to Friday, and 7.00 am to 9.00 am on Saturdays. It is also the most popular programme on Radio 4 and one of the BBC's most popular programmes across its radio networks...

     (1957–present): Early morning news and current affairs programme.
  • Top Gear
    Top Gear (radio show)
    Top Gear was originally a short-lived pop music show on the BBC Light Programme in the mid-1960s.- Origin and format :It was one of the Corporation's few attempts to compete with the pirate radio stations and Radio Luxembourg, who had attracted large audiences of young British pop music listeners...

     / John Peel
    John Peel
    John Robert Parker Ravenscroft, OBE , known professionally as John Peel, was an English disc jockey, radio presenter, record producer and journalist. He was the longest-serving of the original BBC Radio 1 DJs, broadcasting regularly from 1967 until his death in 2004...

     (1967–2004): Pioneering and influential alternative music programme.
  • Woman's Hour
    Woman's Hour
    Woman's Hour is a radio magazine programme broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in the United Kingdom.-History:Created by Norman Collins and originally presented by Alan Ivimey the programme was first broadcast on 7 October 1946 on the BBC's Light Programme . It was transferred to its current home in 1973...

     (1946–present): Long running magazine programme for women.
  • Workers' Playtime (1941–1964): Lunchtime variety show.


For more BBC radio programmes see :Category:BBC radio programmes.

History of BBC Radio


The BBC radio services began in 1922. It was licensed by the British Government through its General Post Office
General Post Office
General Post Office is the name of the British postal system from 1660 until 1969.General Post Office may also refer to:* General Post Office, Perth* General Post Office, Sydney* General Post Office, Melbourne* General Post Office, Brisbane...

 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 and this is still reflected in the title of the BBC's listings magazine called 'Radio Times
Radio Times
Radio Times is a UK weekly television and radio programme listings magazine, owned by the BBC. It has been published since 1923 by BBC Magazines, which also provides an on-line listings service under the same title...

'.

First charter


On 31 December 1926 the British Broadcasting Company became the British Broadcasting Corporation and gained control of the airwaves under the terms of a Royal Charter
Royal Charter
A royal charter is a formal document issued by a monarch as letters patent, granting a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organizations such as cities or universities. Charters should be distinguished from warrants and...

. John Reith
John Reith
John Reith may refer to:*John Reith, 1st Baron Reith , Scottish broadcasting executive*John Reith...

, who had been the founding Managing Director of the commercial company, became the first director. He expounded firm principles of centralised, all-encompassing radio broadcasting, stressing programming standards and moral tone. These are set out in his autobiography, Broadcast Over Britain (1924), influencing modern ideas of public service broadcasting in the United Kingdom
Public service broadcasting in the United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom the term "public service broadcasting" refers to broadcasting intended for the public benefit rather than for purely commercial concerns. The communications regulator Ofcom, requires that certain television and radio broadcasters fulfil certain requirements as part of their...

. To this day, the BBC aims to follow the Reithian directive to "inform, educate and entertain". Critics of his approach state that he was dictatorial and that he imposed a theocratic viewpoint on the broadcasting service. Reith's ideals were utterly at odds with the model of light entertainment based commercial radio adopted in some other countries (e.g. the USA).

Competition from overseas stations


Although no other broadcasting organisation was licensed in the UK until 1973, commercial competition soon opened up from overseas. The commercial competitors were for the most part represented by the International Broadcasting Company that bought blocks of airtime from radio stations such as Normandy, Toulouse, Ljubljana, Juan les Pins, Paris, Poste Parisien, Athlone, Barcelona, Madrid and Rome. In the period from 1927 to 1939, light entertainment on the British airwaves was for the most part the domain of the 10 part-time English language IBC stations. By 1938 on Sundays upwards of 80% of the British audience turned their dials away from the BBC to these IBC stations which followed an American format of commercial broadcasting. They were eventually silenced by the advent of the German military taking control of their transmitters in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

 and other countries during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

American Armed Forces influence



The respite from American influence on British broadcasting was short lived. When the US military flooded Europe with troops during World War II, American-style programming followed and the BBC was forced to transmit these shows, first on the BBC Forces Programme
BBC Forces Programme
The BBC Forces Programme was a BBC radio station which operated from 7 January 1940 until 26 February 1944.-Foundation:Upon the outbreak of World War II, the BBC closed the existing BBC National Programme and BBC Regional Programme, combining the two to form a single channel known as the BBC Home...

 and later on the BBC General Forces Programme
BBC General Forces Programme
The BBC General Forces Programme was a BBC radio station from 27 February 1944 until 31 December 1946.-Foundation:Upon the outbreak of World War II, the BBC closed the existing BBC National Programme and BBC Regional Programme, combining the two to form a single channel known as the BBC Home...

, both on the former frequencies of the BBC National Programme
BBC National Programme
The BBC National Programme was a BBC radio station from the 1920s until the outbreak of World War II.-Foundation:When the BBC first began transmissions on 14 November 1922, the technology for both national coverage and joint programming between transmitters did not exist – transmitter powers were...

. After the war the BBC Forces transmitters that had carried these shows were transformed into a network called the BBC Light Programme
BBC Light Programme
The Light Programme was a BBC radio station which broadcast mainstream light entertainment and music from 1945 until 1967, when it was rebranded as BBC Radio 2...

.

The original BBC stations which had been linked together to form the BBC Regional Programme
BBC Regional Programme
The BBC Regional Programme was a UK radio network which operated from the end of the 1920s until the outbreak of World War II in 1939.-Foundation:...

 were transformed into the BBC Home Service
BBC Home Service
The BBC Home Service was a British national radio station which broadcast from 1939 until 1967.-Development:Between the 1920s and the outbreak of The Second World War, the BBC had developed two nationwide radio services, the BBC National Programme and the BBC Regional Programme...

. A third part-time service was created under the name of the BBC Third Programme
BBC Third Programme
The BBC Third Programme was a national radio network broadcast by the BBC. The network first went on air on 29 September 1946 and became one of the leading cultural and intellectual forces in Britain, playing a crucial role in disseminating the arts...

. For the history of these stations see Timeline of the BBC
Timeline of the BBC
- 1920s :* 1922** 18 October - The British Broadcasting Company is formed.** 14 November - First BBC broadcasts from London .** 15 November - First broadcasts from Birmingham and Manchester ....

.

Empire and the world


To provide a different service from the domestic audience the Corporation started 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
BBC World Service
The BBC World Service is the world's largest international broadcaster, broadcasting in 27 languages to many parts of the world via analogue and digital shortwave, internet streaming and podcasting, satellite, FM and MW relays...

.

Commercial radio influence


WWII silenced all but one of the original IBC stations, only Radio Luxembourg
Radio Luxembourg (English)
Radio Luxembourg is a commercial broadcaster in many languages from the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. It is nowadays known in most non-English languages as RTL ....

 continued its nightly transmissions to Britain as a commercial radio station featuring American-style entertainment and religion.

Beginning in 1964 the first in what became a fleet of 10 offshore pirate radio
UK pirate radio
UK pirate radio was popular in the 1960s and experienced another surge of interest in the 1980s. There are currently an estimated 150 pirate radio stations in the UK...

 stations began to ring the British coastline. By 1967 millions were tuning into these commercial operations and the BBC was rapidly losing its radio listening audience.

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. Only Radio Caroline
Radio Caroline
Radio Caroline is an English radio station founded in 1964 by Ronan O'Rahilly to circumvent the record companies' control of popular music broadcasting in the United Kingdom and the BBC's radio broadcasting monopoly...

 survives.

One of the stations called Radio London
Radio London
Radio London may refer to one of the following radio stations:*A popular name for the BBC World Service in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II*The station now known as BBC London 94.9...

 ("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
Frank Gillard
Frank Gillard CBE was a BBC reporter and radio innovator.-Early years:Gillard was born in Tiverton, Devon and attended Wellington School, Somerset. He gained a Batchelor's degree from St Luke's College, Exeter. He then taught in a private school.-Broadcaster:In 1936 he became a part time...

 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. Tony Blackburn
Tony Blackburn
Tony Blackburn is an English disc jockey, who broadcast on the "pirate" stations Radio Caroline and Radio London in the 1960s and was the first disc jockey to broadcast on BBC Radio 1 in 1967. In 2002 he was the winner of the ITV reality TV programme I'm a Celebrity.....

 who presented the very first BBC Radio One morning show had previously presented the same morning show on Radio Caroline
Radio Caroline
Radio Caroline is an English radio station founded in 1964 by Ronan O'Rahilly to circumvent the record companies' control of popular music broadcasting in the United Kingdom and the BBC's radio broadcasting monopoly...

 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
John Peel
John Robert Parker Ravenscroft, OBE , known professionally as John Peel, was an English disc jockey, radio presenter, record producer and journalist. He was the longest-serving of the original BBC Radio 1 DJs, broadcasting regularly from 1967 until his death in 2004...

 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. Big L's PAMS
PAMS
PAMS , based in Dallas, Texas, was the most famous jingle production company in American broadcasting. It produced identification packages for radio stations around the world, as well as some commercial music.-History:The company was founded by William B. Meeks, Jr. PAMS (an acronym for Production,...

 jingles were commissioned to be resung in Dallas, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 so that "Wonderful Radio London" became "Wonderful Radio One on BBC".

The BBC's more popular stations have encountered pressure from the commercial sector. John Myers, who had developed commercial brands such as Century Radio and Real Radio
Real Radio
Real Radio is a network of adult contemporary independent local radio stations in England, Scotland and Wales and is operated by . Each station broadcasts local breakfast through to drive time shows and network programming in the evening and through the night...

, 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."

BBC analogue networks


BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 1 is a British national radio station operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation which also broadcasts internationally, specialising in current popular music and chart hits throughout the day. Radio 1 provides alternative genres after 7:00pm including electronic dance, hip hop, rock...

 was launched as a part-time pop music
Pop music
Pop music is usually understood to be commercially recorded music, often oriented toward a youth market, usually consisting of relatively short, simple songs utilizing technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes.- Definitions :David Hatch and Stephen Millward define pop...

 station 30 September 1967. The BBC Light Programme
BBC Light Programme
The Light Programme was a BBC radio station which broadcast mainstream light entertainment and music from 1945 until 1967, when it was rebranded as BBC Radio 2...

 was renamed Radio 2
BBC Radio 2
BBC Radio 2 is one of the BBC's national radio stations and the most popular station in the United Kingdom. Much of its daytime playlist-based programming is best described as Adult Contemporary or AOR, although the station is also noted for its specialist broadcasting of other musical genres...

 and broadcast easy listening, folk, jazz and light entertainment. The BBC Third Programme
BBC Third Programme
The BBC Third Programme was a national radio network broadcast by the BBC. The network first went on air on 29 September 1946 and became one of the leading cultural and intellectual forces in Britain, playing a crucial role in disseminating the arts...

 and BBC Music Programme was merged to form Radio 3
BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio 3 is a national radio station operated by the BBC within the United Kingdom. Its output centres on classical music and opera, but jazz, world music, drama, culture and the arts also feature. The station is the world’s most significant commissioner of new music, and its New Generation...

 and the BBC Home Service
BBC Home Service
The BBC Home Service was a British national radio station which broadcast from 1939 until 1967.-Development:Between the 1920s and the outbreak of The Second World War, the BBC had developed two nationwide radio services, the BBC National Programme and the BBC Regional Programme...

 became Radio 4
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams, and the...

.

BBC Radio 5
BBC Radio 5 (former)
BBC Radio 5 was a BBC radio network that carried sport, children's and educational programmes.It was transmitted via analogue radio on 693 and 909 kHz, and lasted for three years and eight months. The success of BBC Radio 4's coverage of the Gulf War, on a service known as Scud FM,...

 was launched on 27 August 1990 as a home for sport and children's programming, and was replaced and renamed on 28 March 1994 with BBC Radio Five Live
BBC Radio Five Live
BBC Radio 5 Live is the BBC's national radio service that specialises in live BBC News, phone-ins, and sports commentaries...

, a dedicated news and sport network.

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 1Xtra, 6 Music and BBC 7
BBC 7
BBC Radio 4 Extra, formerly known as BBC 7 and BBC Radio 7, is a British digital radio station broadcasting comedy, drama, and children's programming nationally 24 hours a day. It is the principal broadcasting outlet for the BBC's archive of spoken-word entertainment...

 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
BBC Asian Network
BBC Asian Network is a British radio station serving those originating from and around the Indian subcontinent. The music and news comes out of the main urban areas where there are significant communities with these backgrounds. The station has production centres in Birmingham, Leicester and London...

 joined the national DAB network on 28 October 2002. For some time the majority of listeners used Freeview, digital satellite and digital cable services to listen to these networks. In 2011, BBC Radio 7 was renamed BBC Radio 4 Extra as the service was brought more into line with BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams, and the...

.

Directors of BBC Radio


Note: the official title of this post has changed over the years. The most recent was in 2006 when it became "Director of Audio and Music" to reflect the BBC's online audio services.

See also


  • BBC WMA live streams for UK & international users
  • BBC iPlayer Radio Stations
  • BBC Local Radio
    BBC Local Radio
    BBC Local Radio is the BBC's regional radio service for England and the Channel Islands, consisting of 40 stations. They cover a variety of areas with some serving a city and surrounding areas, for example BBC Radio Manchester; a county, for example BBC Radio Norfolk; an administrative region for...

     about BBC local radio stations.
  • BBC Television
    BBC Television
    BBC Television is a service of the British Broadcasting Corporation. The corporation, which has operated in the United Kingdom under the terms of a Royal Charter since 1927, has produced television programmes from its own studios since 1932, although the start of its regular service of television...

    —a specific article about BBC domestic television services.
  • BBC World Service
    BBC World Service
    The BBC World Service is the world's largest international broadcaster, broadcasting in 27 languages to many parts of the world via analogue and digital shortwave, internet streaming and podcasting, satellite, FM and MW relays...

    —a specific article about BBC external radio and television broadcasting services.
  • British Broadcasting Company
    British Broadcasting Company
    The British Broadcasting Company Ltd 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...

    , Ltd., for a history of the BBC prior to 1927.
  • Timeline of the BBC
    Timeline of the BBC
    - 1920s :* 1922** 18 October - The British Broadcasting Company is formed.** 14 November - First BBC broadcasts from London .** 15 November - First broadcasts from Birmingham and Manchester ....

     for an overview of BBC history.
  • List of BBC Radio programmes adapted for television
  • BBC Radio Labs Blog

External links