Significant dates in Scottish broadcasting

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1922

  • May 4 — Postmaster-General, F. G. Kellaway, announces in the House of Commons that it had been decided to authorise regular broadcasting in Great Britain.
  • October 18 — The radio manufacturers and the Post Office agree on the form of Company to be established.
  • November 14 — Broadcasting officially begins in London from the station 2LO (loaned by the Marconi Company and operated under their auspices until the end of the year)
  • November 15 — The Company takes over the existing stations at Birmingham and Manchester under similar arrangements with the Western Electric Company and the Metropolitan Vickers Company respectively.
  • December 15 — The British Broadcasting Company is registered.

1923

  • January 18 — BBC's Licence to broadcast officially issued (it was retrospective, however, and gave permission to broadcast as from 1 November 1922).
  • March 6 — Opening of BBC main station in Glasgow, 5SC.
  • April 15 —First Sunday broadcast on 5SC consisting mainly of hymns and a sermon delivered by the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, the Right Rev Dr John Smith.
  • September 28 — First issue of the Radio Times published.
  • October 10 — Opening of BBC main station in Aberdeen, 2BD.

1924

  • May 1 — Opening of BBC relay station in Edinburgh, 2EH.
  • November 12 — Opening of BBC relay station in Dundee, 2DE.

1925

  • March 18 & 19 — Union Internationale de Radiophonie (UIR) formed in Geneva: the first international broadcasting organisation.
  • July 27 — The world's first long-wave station, 5XX, opened at Daventry. With a 25-kilowatt transmitter it was the biggest broadcasting station in the world.
  • September 21 & 22 — UIR International Broadcasting Conference in Geneva agrees that, in future, there will have to be fewer high-power stations covering large areas, rather than many small low-power ones.

1926

Early — Permission obtained to erect a high-power medium-wave station at Daventry (5GB), which, in conjunction with the long-wave station already in existence there, was a pre-cursor to the BBC's eventual roll-out of twin-wave regional stations across Britain.

  • April — David Cleghorn Thomson begins his appointment as 'Scottish Liason Officer'.
  • October 7 — Weekly Scottish Market Prices for Farmers broadcast for the first time from Edinburgh, replacing the London bulletin.
  • October 12 & 13 — Two-day conference on 'Broadcasting and Scottish National Life' held at the McLellan Galleries, Glasgow.
  • November 17 — BBC's Control Board makes the decision to substitute high-power twin-wave Regional stations for the main stations at Glasgow, Manchester, Cardiff, and London, to abandon the name 'relay station', to restrict the time and range of programmes from the newly styled 'local broadcasting stations' and ultimately to abolish them altogether.[1]

1927

  • January 1 — British Broadcasting Corporation instituted under Royal Charter.
  • February 17 — Henry Fitch transferred from Aberdeen to Glasgow as senior assistant to the interim station director.
  • February 28 — George Marshall becomes Newcastle station director, leaving Northern Area Director, David Cleghorn Thomson, to take on additional role as interim Glasgow station director.
  • May 16 — Northern Area Director, David Cleghorn Thomson, signed-off for a month with nervous depression.[2]
  • June — BBC appoints committee, under Dr W. H. Eccles, to approve, reject, or modify, the proposed scheme of twin regional transmitting stations.
  • July 5 — Henry Fitch appointed permanent Glasgow station director.[3]
  • August 21 — First regional high-power transmitter, 5GB, opened for regular service at Daventry, replacing the Birmingham (5IT) transmitter, and offering listeners in the West Midlands of England an alternative programme to the national long-wave station at Daventry, 5XX. (5GB was sometimes referred to as 'Daventry Junior')
  • October 7 — Combined afternoon talk and Children's Hour begins, with each of the four Scottish stations taking their turn monthly to simultaneously broadcast the programme from their local studio to all Scottish stations. The alternate fortnights were shared by Edinburgh and Glasgow.[4]
  • November 26 — First weekly Scottish Sports Bulletin is broadcast from 6.45–6.50 pm on a Saturday.

1928

  • March 5 — Ban on 'controversy' removed by the Postmaster-General, meaning that "statements involving matters of political, religious or industrial controversy" can be broadcast.[5]
  • September 23 — First daily Scottish News Bulletin is broadcast from 9–9.05 pm.
  • September 24 — Start of a distinctively all-Scottish programme of schools broadcasts, beginning with Professor John Arthur Thomson's natural history talk on the 'Showers of Gossamer'.[6]
  • October 30 — Scottish Regional Programme Board meets for the first time, controlling all national programmes for Scotland, along with outside broadcasts and the ordinary programmes from the Glasgow station; 'Northern Area Director' title changes to 'Scottish Regional Director' and is no longer responsible for Ulster.[7]
  • November 1 — Scottish Regional Programme begins; Edinburgh and Dundee relays are downgraded to mere studios; an amalgamated Scottish Children's Hour begins from Glasgow, run by the former Edinburgh station children’s organiser, Evva Kerr.
  • November 21 — At the suggestion of the assistant controller of programmes, Roger Eckersley, the BBC Control Board approved the general principle of "provincial programmes being concentrated more on purely local material; and, as far as possible, of eliminating provincial programmes of a similar character to those available in London at the same time". This was not rigidly enforced until the policy of centralisation came into effect.

1929

  • April/May — Head office accepts recommendation by David Cleghorn Thomson that the policy of centralisation should take effect in Scotland on the earlier date of 30 September.
  • September 30 — BBC's policy of centralisation officially comes into effect in Scotland; Glasgow and Aberdeen station orchestras disbanded and amalgamated into a single octet; Aberdeen station has local output, including its separate Children's Hour, slashed.
  • October 15 — First occasional talk on Scottish literature, Current Scottish Letters, given by William Power from the Glasgow studio.
  • October 19 - What's Wrong With Scotland?, a landmark ten-part series begins.

1932

  • June 12 — Scottish Regional Transmitter at Westerglen near Falkirk takes over transmission of the Scottish Programme; local transmitters close at Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee.

1933

1935

  • January 6 — The 'Scottish Regional Programme' is re-named 'The Scottish Programme'. The words 'Region' and 'Regional' were still to be used internally.[8]

1937

  • July 3 — Sir John Reith declares that Wales is, from this date on, established as a separate region in the national wireless system — nearly a decade after Scotland had enjoyed a Regional programme.[9]

1938

  • September 30 — In the wake of the 'Munich Crisis', a single Regional Programme was broadcast on weekdays until further notice due to the importance of broadcasting official statements, news bulletins and foreign broadcasts. The Scottish Regional Programme returned after seven days.[10]

1939

  • September 1 —
    • 8.15 pm, BBC Home Service, broadcasting on 391.1 and 449.1 metres, replaces the former Scottish Regional Programme.
    • 9.26 pm, a service of propaganda for listeners in European countries launches on 261.1 metres, the former wavelength of the National Programme.
  • September 3 — The Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain's declaration of war is broadcast from No. 10 Downing Street at 11.15 am.
  • September 5 — Survivors of the Athenia are recorded in the BBC's Queen Margaret Drive studios in Glasgow and their accounts broadcast in the News.
  • September 18 — War announcements of special interest to the Highlands are to be broadcast in Gaelic.[11]
  • October 17 — Broadcast of an eye-witness account from Edinburgh of the German air raid on the Firth of Forth — the Luftwaffe’s first attack on Britain.
  • October 28 — Eye-witness account of an air-battle over Scotland.
  • October 29 — Introduction of the Children's Hour on Sundays.
  • November 30 — A weekly Gaelic half-hour is introduced on 261.1 metres, broadcast every Thursday at 5.30 pm.
  • December 4 — Lift Up Your Hearts, the first broadcast of daily early morning prayers, and Up in the Morning Early, the first broadcast of daily physical exercises for men and women, are both broadcast for the first time, from the Queen Margaret Drive studios in Glasgow.

1940

  • January 1 — First wartime Scottish football commentary: Hibernian v Heart of Midlothian at Easter Road in the Scottish Regional League East Division.
  • January 7 — Experimental 'Programme for the Forces' begins.
  • February 21 — Gaelic half-hour is moved to Wednesdays at 10.30 pm. (First programme: Oidhche Air Cheildidh)
  • April — Moultrie Kelsall becomes acting Scottish Programme Director (Andrew Stewart seconded to the Ministry of Information for 16 months)
  • April 23 — News summaries in Gaelic now broadcast twice a week on Tuesday and Saturday nights at 10.30; no longer part of the weekly Gaelic half-hour.
  • June 27 — Radio Caledonia, the German propaganda station aimed at Scotland, goes on-air for the first time.
  • October 1 — Scottish Half-Hour broadcast on Tuesdays at 7.30 pm, a weekly slot Scottish producers could fill as they pleased.

1941

  • Scottish Variety Orchestra formed as a loose arrangement.

1942

  • April 17 — Weekly Scottish News Summary introduced at the end of the 6 pm National News on Fridays, on both the Home Service and Forces Programme.
  • July 13 — Scottish News Summary becomes twice-weekly.
  • August — Closure of Radio Caledonia, the German propaganda station aimed at Scotland.

References

  1. Control Board minutes, 17 November 1926, BBC WAC R3/3/2.
  2. Sick note, 16 May 1927, BBC WAC L1/421/1.
  3. Assistant Controller to Station Directors, 'Northern Area', 4 July 1927, BBC WAC R13/369/1.
  4. 'The Children's Hour: The Need for Scottish Topics', Glasgow Herald, 6 October 1927, 3.
  5. 'BROADCASTING (CONTROVERSIAL MATTER)', House of Commons Debate, 5 March 1928, Hansard, vol 214 cc811-2.
  6. Coming Events’, Glasgow Herald, 24 September 1928, 12.
  7. 'BBC Policy: Scottish Changes', Scotsman, 31 October 1928, 11.
  8. Director of Internal Administration, 'Titles of Regions', 1 January 1935, BBC WAC R34/731/2.
  9. BBC Handbook 1939, 46.
  10. BBC Handbook 1939, 35.
  11. 'War Announcements in Gaelic', Glasgow Herald, 19 September 1939.