Jul 21st, 2021 by bbcentury
Season 2 Episode 4 (aka Episode 31 in total) flashes us back to Arthur Burrows' pre-BBC days, and brings us to December 17th-20th 1922, when 4/5 of the BBC workforce (ie. 4 people of the 5) tour central London searching for a building.
They can use Magnet House for now, on loan from General Electric, but after that, where? After deciding against a gold-flatting mill (now a Gym Box), they discover a nice little premises on Savoy Hill.
But before that, Arthur Burrows shows John Reith the ropes, via a chart, of everything this new BBC will need, from engineers to commissionaires a lady's assistant. Reith is still baffled.
But before THAT - several years before that - Burrows was the lone voice trying to convince the Marconi Company that broadcasting was a Good Thing. The Marconi bosses didn't agree. Our special guest knows all about this: Professor Gabriele Balbi, Associate Professor of Media Studies at USI in Switzerland, has written a paper called 'Wireless’ Critical Flaw: The Marconi Company, Corporation Mentalities and the Broadcasting Option'. He fills in Burrows' back-story, explains how several voices can be heard within a company's culture, and is a lone voice in academia too, suggesting that the Marconi Company still didn't get behind broadcasting even when the Melba concerts showed it was possible. Even then, he argues, the transmissions were just to show home-users that wireless communication was easy.
So perhaps when Burrows was explaining to Reith everything about broadcasting, he was STILL fighting the corner for his vision of what radio was, and could be.
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Next time: The staff grows! We look at Marconi House in late December 1922, as Rex Palmer joins, but experimental licences cause a headache for those hoping for any income from this new 'BBC' experiment.
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Closing down now, closing down.