Sterling Times

Sponsored English Radio in Europe - 1

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These pages record some of the history of the early English-language sponsored or commercial stations that transmitted to the United Kingdom during the 1930s.

In 1920, the first experimental broadcasts were transmitted by the Marconi Company. Thr first broadcast from 2LO from London was made on 11 May 1922 from a 100 watt trasmitter contained in a teak cabinet in Marconi House. Transmissions from 2LO were then limited to one hour a day.

On 18 October 1922, the British Broadcasting Company took over 2LO. There were then 50,000 listeners. The BBC also took over transmitters in Birmingham (5IT) and Manchester (2ZY). The first BBC broadcast was on 14 November 1922. Some programmes in these early years received sponsorship, but this was later stopped.

On 31 December 1926, the British Broadcasting Company was liquidated and on the following day, the British Broadcasting Corporation was constituted by Royal Charter.

The sponsored stations

Radio Paris transmitted a fashion talk in English sponsored by Selfridges in 1925 from the Eiffel Tower. Very few people heard the broadcast.

In 1927, Hilversum broadcast a concert sponsored by Kolster Brandes Limited.

In 1929, Radio Toulouse made broadcasts in English sponsored by some British gramophone companies (arranged by the International Broadcasting Company).

Two years later, in 1931, the International Broadcasting Company (IBC) started broadcasts from Radio Normandy. The IBC experiemented with broadcasts from over twenty different stations.

By 1932, the stations had 21 advertising sponsors. Annual revenue climbed to £400,000 in 1935, and to £1,700,000 in 1938.

The following stations are all listed with programme schedules in the May 3, 1935 Jubilee edition of Radio Pictorial.

Paris (Poste Parisien) 312 metres, 939 kc/s, 100 kW

Radio Normandy 293 metres, 1113 kc/s

Radio Luxembourg 1304 metres, 230 kHz, 200 KW

Radio Côte D'Azur (Juan-les-Pins) 240 metres, 1249 kc/s, 10 kW

I.B.C. Short Wave Empire Transmissions E.A.Q. (Madrid) 30 metres, 10,000 kc/s, 20 kW

Radio Athlone 531 metres, 565 kc/s, 60 kW relayed by Dublin, 1348 kc/s, 222.6 metres; and Cork, 1240 kc/s, 241.9 metres

Radio Ljubljana 569 metres, 527 kc/s 7 kW

Yankee Network WNABC Boston Mass 243.8 metres, 780 kc/s 2.5 kW and WEAN, Providence, RI, 384.4 metres, 780 kc/s 5 kW.

The following are also listed in Ron Montague's booklett, "When the Ovaltineys Sang" [availalble from Ron Montague, 39 Orchill Drive, Benfleet, Essex, SS1 1BJ for £1.25 including postage] Radio Toulouse and Radio Lyon.

Sposored radio map

1935 Radio Pictorial

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