Happy New Year, 1923! And Happy New Season: 3, that is, as we tell the story of the BBC's 3rd-6th months. Formative times at Auntie Beeb, as the staff grows from 4 in one room to a new premises at Savoy Hill.

Season 3 begins with this, episode 40 overall, on New Year's Day 1923. John Reith, Arthur Burrows, Cecil Lewis and Major Anderson begin work in the one-room BBC, like an Amish schoolhouse. Each day, the number of staff and visitors grow - and helpfully Reith, Burrows and Lewis all wrote vividly about the manic days of Magnet House - home to the BBC for the first four months of 1923.

We're grateful to the books:

  • Broadcasting from Within by C.A. Lewis
  • The Story of Broadcasting by A.R. Burrows
  • The Reith Diaries, edited by Charles Stuart
  • Broadcasting over Britain by J.C.W. Reith
  • Into the Wind by J.C.W. Reith

Plus you'll hear from the 5th (or 6th) BBC employee, Rex Palmer in a rare clip of 1920s broadcasting.

More up to date, 'Diddy' David Hamilton is our guest - the man with the greatest listening figures in the history of British radio.

David's books, The Golden Days of Radio 1, and Commercial Radio Daze, are available at ashwaterpress.co.uk

Part 1 of our interview with David was on episode 30, and part 3 will be on a future episode.

Want to watch, in-vision, the full interview? Join our band of matrons and patrons on Patreon - the full video is here. And THANK YOU to all who support us there, and keep us afloat as a one-man-band of a podcast.

You'll also find on Patreon, my readings-with-interruptions of Cecil Lewis' book Broadcasting from Within - the first book on broadcasting. Part 1 and Part 2 will be followed, of course, by Part 3 - and if you want it sooner, dear Patreon subscriber, just ask and I'll read/record/upload pronto.

We also mention in this episode:



  • Be on the show! Email me a written ‘Firsthand Memory’ (FM) about a time you’ve seen radio or TV in action. Or record a voice memo of your ‘Airwave Memories’ (AM), 1-2mins of your earliest memories of radio/TV. Get in touch!
  • Please do rate/review us where you get your podcasts - it helps others find us. We are a one-man operation! We need your help.
  • Archive clips are old enough to be public domain in this episode.
  • This podcast is NOTHING to do with the present-day BBC - it's entirely run, researched, presented and dogsbodied by Paul Kerensa.

Original music is by Will Farmer.

Next time: The story continues with the first female employee of the BBC, Isobel Shields...
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