On this day in history : 18th October 1922 – A group of leading wireless manufacturers, which includes Marconi, form the British Broadcasting Company….

The first live public broadcast had taken place in June 1920 at the Marconi factory in Chelmsford…. It had featured Dame Nellie Melba, the famous Australian Soprano – and the British public loved it…. However, military and government organisations were concerned that such broadcasts would interfere with the airwaves and disrupt important military and civil communications…. The General Post office was responsible for issuing broadcasting licences – and bowing to pressure from the authorities they banned any more broadcasts from the Chelmsford factory….

But by 1922 the GPO had received almost 100 applications for broadcasting licences…. To keep control it decided to issue one single license – to one company, formed by a consortium of leading wireless receiver manufacturers, among them Marconi….

Daily broadcasting began on the 14th of November 1922 at Marconi’s London studio, ‘2LO’, in The Strand…. John Reith was appointed General Manager of the BBC on the 14th of December 1922; having no rules or guidelines to adhere to he effectively began to ‘write the rule book’….

Sir John Reith – Photo courtesy : Howard Coster – Public domain

September 1923 saw the first edition of The Radio Times and in February 1924 the Greenwich Time Signal – or the ‘Pips’ – was introduced, marking the precise start of every new hour on BBC radio….

It was in January 1927 that the BBC became known as the British Broadcasting Corporation and is established by Royal Charter…. Sir John Reith becomes the very first Director-General….

John Logie Baird began to experiment with the first television broadcasts using BBC frequencies in November 1929…. Seven years later, in the November of 1936 the BBC Television Service began – (Black and white of course, colour didn’t become readily available until the ’60s) – bringing a mixture of programmes to include sport, drama, news and cartoons….

John Logie Baird (photographed in 1917) – Public domain

In May 1932 the purpose designed and built Broadcasting House opens….and in December of the same year King George V makes the first radio broadcast by a British monarch….

King George V giving the annual Royal Christmas message in 1934 – Andy Dingley (scanner) – Public domain

The BBC may no longer have the monopoly over broadcasting – we now have a vast choice for our listening and viewing options (some may say too many) – but what a long way things have come….

Broadcasting House (with the modern extension to the side) – Photo courtesy : Stephen Craven CC BY-SA 2.0

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