This is the International Section of
The Broadcast Archive

Maintained by:
Barry Mishkind - The Eclectic Engineer
Updated: 11/26/00



British Broadcasting:

  • History
  • Regulation

British Broadcasting History:

The earliest stations in England were:

  • 2MT - Whittle -  2/14/22
  • 2LO - London - 5/11/22
  • 2ZY - Manchester 5/16/22
  • BBC London, incorporated 2LO. 11/14/22 - First daily radio programmes from 2LO in London.
  • 2WP became 5IT, Western Electric in Birmingham. 11/15/22 15/Nov - First broadcasts from Birmingham (5IT) and Manchester (2ZY, licensed 5/16/22).

For much of its history, broadcasting in Britain has been controlled by the BBC. Everyone in the country is required to pay a radio and TV tax to support the BBC, which operates without commercials.

In the 1960s, there was the introduction of "Pirate" broadcasting, from ships anchored in the English Channel. Various laws were set up to put them out of business, but weather and ship groundings often did more damage. Soundscapes has some great pictures and audio from the pirate days. There has been a resurgence of pirate broadcasting in the 90s, but with the opening up of commercial broadcasting in England, they are less of an impact than previously.

Link to more information on the BBC


October 18 - British Broadcasting Company Ltd formed.
November 1 - Broadcast receiving license (10 shillings) introduced.
December 14 - JCW Reith appointed General Manager of BBC.


January 8 - First outside broadcast.
January 18 - Postmaster-General grants BBC licence to broadcast.
March 26 - First daily weather forecast.
November 26 - First experimental broadcast to America.
December 30 - First programme from mainland Europe relayed by landline.


January 6 - First religious service broadcast.
February 5 - Greenwich Time Signal first transmitted.
February 17 - First Big Ben daily time signal.
April 23 - First broadcast by HM King George V (opening of the British Empire Exhibition in Wembley).
November 10 - First live running commentary (from The Lord Mayor’s Show).

July 27 - Daventry 5XX LW transmitter opened.

'Goodnight everybody, goodnight' - BBC Savoy Hill studios
January 24 - The Week’s Good Cause first transmitted (R).
May 4 - General strike began. BBC broadcasts five news bulletins daily.
December 31 - British Broadcasting Company Ltd dissolved.

January 1 - British Broadcasting Corporation established by Royal Charter with Sir John Reith as Director-General.
August 13 - First BBC Prom from the Queen’s Hall.
November 11 - Experimental broadcasts to the Empire began from Chelmsford short-wave station.

2L0 and 5XX receivers
March 5 - Ban on broadcasting controversial material lifted.
March 12 - First broadcast by the BBC Dance orchestra, led by Jack Payne.

Savoy Hill number 1 studio

January 16 - The Listener first published.
July 19 - Toytown first transmitted (R).
August 20 - First BBC transmission of Baird’s 30-line experimental television.