Radio Reunited: BBC Radio at 90

Monday 10 September 2012, 15:39

Tim Davie Tim Davie Director of Audio & Music

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Radio Reunited

When the first BBC transmitter, known as 2LO, crackled into life on November 14th 1922 few could have guessed the impact that radio would have on our world. A few thousand enthusiasts, listening by headphones to primitive crystal radio sets, heard a news bulletin read by Arthur Burrows, the director of programmes of the newly formed British Broadcasting Company (as it then was).

Britain was a very different place, still convulsed by the aftermath of the First World War and just entering a new era of technology. However, while motor vehicles and domestic telephones led to more long distance contact with friends and family, it was radio, as the first mass broadcasting medium, that bought people together across the nation to share experiences together. As we know, television and the internet have burst upon us in the decades since, but the wonders of radio have endured. Indeed, today radio is flourishing.

To mark the 90th anniversary the BBC is attempting an ambitious first, bringing together around 60 our stations (network, local, national and international) for a single remarkable moment – a three-minute piece of history broadcast simultaneously around the UK and the world. At its heart will be an idea that explains radio’s success: listening to each other.

So if you could talk to the audience of the future, people listening 90 years from today, what would you say? What would be your hopes, fears or observations to a generation yet unborn? It may be a piece of advice, a wish or a question. You might address it to the world at large or more personally, maybe to a great grandchild. You’ll need to keep it short, probably no more than 20 words because we reckon the pithier the thought, the better the broadcast. Personally, I think I may remind people on the limits of technology and enduring beauty of the British landscape. Or maybe just celebrate the fact that the relevance of the wireless has never faded.

We’re thinking of this Radio Reunited moment as a message in a bottle across the years. I’m delighted that Damon Albarn has agreed to set the best of the thoughts to music which we can play out to our listeners on November 14th 2012 at 5.33pm, to mark the first broadcast from 2LO. Radio has come a long way since those crystal sets – short wave, medium wave, FM, digital and now the internet – and there’s no telling how it will be broadcast in 2102. But one thing I am willing to bet is that 90 years from today someone in the BBC will dig out our 2012 90 year broadcast and millions of people will still be tuning to radio to hear it once more.

Send your entries by text or email to your favourite station’s drivetime show or tag your tweets using the hashtag #BBC90. You can also leave your entry in the comments below.

The best will be given to Damon to include in his unique composition. All entries must be submitted by Friday 14th September 2012. Listeners whose messages are chosen will be invited by their chosen station to record their thought.

Tim Davie is director of BBC Audio & Music 

  • The information you provide will be collected and compiled by the BBC for purposes of broadcast on air, possible inclusion in Damon Albarn's piece for the 90th Anniversary of BBC Radio and possible inclusion in The Mass Observation Archive at the University of Sussex for research purposes. Full names will not be broadcast or published online or given to the University of Sussex. The BBC may wish to use your contribution in other BBC services, strictly in accordance with the BBC’s Terms of Use (http://www.bbc.co.uk/terms/).
  • Your details will not be passed to anyone else and we will only contact you with regard to your contribution and its use by the BBC. If you submit a text, tweet or email by anyone other than yourself, you must obtain their permission first and if the person is a child you will need to obtain their parent’s written consent. Please visit the BBC's Privacy & Cookies Policy (http://www.bbc.co.uk/privacy/) for more information.
  • The BBC may need to edit your contribution for technical or operational reasons and we cannot guarantee that your contribution will be broadcast. Please ensure that your contribution complies with the BBC's Terms of Use (http://www.bbc.co.uk/terms/), and any local terms and House Rules.

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Comments

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  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1.

    In a world of deceivers and dissemblers who speak the words of togetherness yet conspire to divide and exploit, we must never forget the power of love.

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    0

    Comment number 2.

    Both London 2012 Athletics Games were brilliant. As Britons of different heritages we should call ourselves BRITISH first and foremost.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 3.

    Is Half-Life 3 out yet?

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 4.

    Our generation often looked to our past for solutions - we hope you will too!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 5.

    The one thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history. Hopefully you've learned more than we've done so far.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 6.

    The BBC is 180. Happy Birthday BBC. Long may you continue!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 7.

    We are now your history. Were we good stewards for this Earth you now inhabit? How do you judge us? How will you in turn be judged?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 8.

    Petrol is £1.36 a litre , milk is 50p a pint , bread is around £1 a loaf and a pint of beer is about £3.70. Question is , does the Euro still exist? Oh and have England won the World Cup yet or is football now banned? :)

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 9.

    I prefer radio. In fact I listen to television or movies rather than watch them. I like to have hints but rely on my imagination to paint the scene. For some things, like book adaptations, radio wins hands down. It is a different art form to t.v. and cinema and will always have a place. The internet has made radio more relevant and accessible. The first app I bought for my new Galaxy S3 was InTune so I could listen to radio from all over the world. Radio remains a great medium even if it is via internet rather than the airwaves. However, your idea that radio magically unites people is a load of t*sh in my opinion. I can listen to radio from around the world but I don't necessarily like what I hear or agree with opinions expressed. Have a group hug if you want but I think that is more about your sentimentality and lack of imagination than a true reflection of what radio has been, is, or shall continue to be. Amongst the maudlin messages to the future I hope there will be someone giving two fingers because when radio really gets under my skin that is often my reaction. In the future I hope people will still be putting up two fingers to the rubbish on the radio but I hope they will feel they have more of a say in what happens in the world than I do. I feel my generation is overwhelmed by an overload of useless information and feels a need to act on that information but powerless to do anything. I want to be able to say go to **** but more than being able to reject what is worthless I want to feel inspired and to be able to say a whole-hearted yes to something. I don't think I'm that unusual. I guess my message would be "I hope you exercise your right to say **** to the crud but that you also find something you can love and give your total committment to because a human being needs a vocation in order to be fully human - that's how it has always been and I think it will never change. At least I ****** well hope not. You made me edit out the swearing to post this. Radio doesn't censor my replies this way. Ha!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 10.

    No doubt you are listening to this through a chip in your brain. Honour the science that made this happen, the human spirit that envisioned the possibility and the divine spirit that inspired us to use it to serve humanity.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 11.

    Remember twenty twelve was the year Britain discovered it could still be Great.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 12.

    In spite of what you might have read elsewhere, there were a small number of us in 2012 who had no interest in sport and genuinely and unaffectedly enjoyed the music of Stockhausen - I fear we were an evolutionary dead-end.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 13.

    i hope that in 90 years time as this generation and those after us are long gone, that you've learn from our mistakes and do not repeat history. i hope that everyone has finally learnt to be accepting of one another and that bullying is a thing of the past. i also hope that a cure for cancer has been found and that world hunger is no longer an issue. hope that your future is a happy one and that you will continue to keep that way for future generations to come. good luck!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 14.

    Radio will always matter: by listening, we are reminded that no matter how far apart we may live, we are connected to each other.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 15.

    You may look back on my world but I can only dream yours and pray that you are people who can still love and hope and see beauty.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 16.

    in 90 years I seriously hope that in the music industry people still use real instruments and not just synthisizers etc. Also, CD's should still exist because downloading's no fun!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 17.

    Time Travel Will Be A Thing Of The Past In The Future !

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 18.

    Is your world a more purple place?

 

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