Tuesday, October 09, 2007
BBC World Service celebrates 75 years of broadcasting
This year the BBC World Service celebrates 75 years of
broadcasting. In this audio archive, each of those years
will be looked at in a special one-minute-long programme,
based on our vast radio archive.
Presented by Helen Boaden, the BBC's Director of News,
the series will look at how mass communications have
changed the world, and how the world has changed the
The series begins in 1932, with the rather downbeat
words of the BBC's founder, Lord Reith: "as to programmes
- don't expect too much in the early days... The programmes
will neither be very interesting nor very good."
It covers innovations in broadcasting and charts changing
styles in reporting.
But the highlights are those unforgettable moments from
radio and television that bring 20th century history to
life: the abdication speech of Edward VIII; the Hindenburg
airship going up in flames; the War of the Worlds panic
in the US; Charles de Gaulle speaking to the Free French
from the BBC in 1940; Churchill's famous speeches;
Hungarian Free Radio's last desperate call for help as
Russian tanks rolled into Budapest; the first man on the
And in amongst those well-known moments is some astonishing
radio, from propaganda jazz songs from World War II, to the
sound of Radio Mille Collines, the station whose hate-filled
broadcasts played such a key role in the horrific Rwandan
genocide in 1994.
This 75th anniversary has given the BBC World Service a
chance to look back at what has been achieved by
broadcasting over the years, to dig through its archives,
and to find some truly amazing gems.
Taken altogether, they provide an insight into not just
the history of broadcasting - but the history of the world.
More anniversary stuff can be found at :