history of the BBC

  • The British Broadcasting Corporation

    The BBC is established by Royal Charter as the British Broadcasting Corporation.
    Sir John Reith becomes the first Director-General.
  • where it all started

    he BBC started its first daily radio service in London – 2LO.
    BBC news was supplied by an agency, and music drama and 'talks' filled the airwaves for only a few hours a day. It wasn't long before radio could be heard across the nation.
  • First foreign language broadcast - Arabic

    Announcer Ahmad Kamal Sourour Effendi was recruited from the Egyptian radio service as the voice of the BBC’s first service in a foreign language.
  • Woman's Hour - The first dedicated radio programme for women

    From early on Woman's Hour was not afraid to tackle difficult issues facing women. Even after the first few editions, politics and women’s citizenship featured prominently. By 1947 BBC managers were panicking at the prospect of the menopause being discussed. Topics such as 'keeping house', and child care featured less after the 1960s.
  • A first for the weather

    Launched just before World War II then abandoned, regular TV weather forecasts were revived in July 1949. They consisted of charts, with a disembodied voice reading the weather bulletin. The big change to the modern format came in January 1954, when a Met officer interpreted the map in vision. George Cowling was the BBC’s first ‘weatherman’.