AS a learned citizen of the world, of course you, dear reader, absorb the contents of The Herald to boost your knowledge of events at home and abroad, but many of us also turn to the BBC which began broadcasting 100 years ago.


100 years ago today…
BBC aired its first broadcast on November 14, 1922, going on to become the world’s largest broadcast news organisation, creating around 120 hours of radio and TV output daily, as well as online coverage. BBC News, a division of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in fact operates 50 foreign news bureaus with more than 250 correspondents.


It is historic?
The British Broadcasting Company - as the BBC was originally called - was formed on October 18, 1922 by a group of leading wireless manufacturers, including Marconi. Daily broadcasting by the BBC began in Marconi's London studio, 2LO, in the Strand, on November 14, 1922. John Reith, a 33-year-old Scottish engineer, was appointed General Manager of the BBC at the end of 1922 and 2LO was the code name given to the BBC’s London transmitter.


So on this day…?
The BBC daily radio broadcasts began, with the first programme, at 6 pm, a news bulletin, supplied by news agencies. This was followed by a weather bulletin, prepared by the Met Office. They were read by Arthur Burrows, director of programmes, who read the bulletin twice, once fast and then slowly to see what listeners preferred. It marked the moment the radio moved to the heart of listeners’ lives and indeed, the 2LO transmitter is now preserved at the Science Museum in London.


What was on the news that night?
Burrows read of a "rowdy meeting" with Winston Churchill; a train robbery and London fog. He began the broadcast by saying, "2LO, Marconi House, London, calling".

Then in 1932?
The BBC launched the Empire Service, later to become the World Service, and the BBC Television Service was officially launched on November 2, 1936.

A keeper of history?
Neville Chamberlain announced ’this country is at war with Germany’” on the BBC airwaves in 1939. Then later Churchill would make his iconic speeches to the nation via the BBC.

In 2020/21, the BBC recorded a record average audience of 489 million adults every week. BBC Director-General Tim Davie said the last century "has been a story of a devotion to public service and constant reinvention".