Jump to navigation Jump to search This article is about the BBC’s operational division consisting of several UK radio stations. For the BBC’s digital multiplex, see BBC National DAB. This article needs additional citations for verification. London, usually radio 2 programmes or near to Broadcasting House in Marylebone.
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The BBC’s radio services began in 1922. The British Government licensed the BBC through its General Post Office, which had original control of the airwaves because they had been interpreted under law as an extension of the Post Office services. On 1 January 1927 the British Broadcasting Company was succeeded in monopoly control of the airwaves by the British Broadcasting Corporation, under the terms of a Royal Charter. John Reith, who had been the founding managing director of the commercial company, became the first Director General. He expounded firm principles of centralised, all-encompassing radio broadcasting, stressing programming standards and moral tone. Although no other broadcasting organisation was licensed in the UK until 1973, commercial competition soon opened up from overseas. The English language service of Radio Luxembourg began in 1933 as one of the earliest commercial radio stations broadcasting to Britain and Ireland.
To provide a different service from the domestic audience the Corporation started the BBC Empire Service on short wave in 1932, originally in English but it soon provided programmes in other languages. At the start of the Second World War it was renamed The Overseas Service but is now known as the BBC World Service. Beginning in March 1964, Radio Caroline was the first in what became an eventual fleet of 10 offshore pirate radio stations that began to ring the British coastline, mostly along the South East coast. By 1966 millions were tuning into these commercial operations, and the BBC was rapidly losing its radio listening audience. The British government reacted by passing the Marine Offences Act, which all but wiped out all of the stations by midnight on 14 August 1967, by banning any British citizen from working for a pirate station. BBC was told to copy it as best they could.