Wednesday, 24 April 2013

A Brief History of the UK Radio Market

Do you want to work in radio? It is a very exciting (but not very well paid) time to work in radio as there is so much change at the moment.

  However before you can be part of the future of radio it's useful to see where radio has come from. Today's blog is a brief look at the history of UK radio. This blog is based on the research I undertook for a recent Masters Degree in Radio Production (and Management) at The University of Sunderland.

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The Past

Radio hasn't always had to fight to survive. In 1922 the BBC started broadcasting radio programmes in the UK. In the early days there was no competition, the BBC being the sole broadcaster; however in 1929 the climate began to change when John Logie Baird began testing the first television broadcasts. Surprisingly, TV was initially thought of as being an auxiliary service to radio. However, the power and popularity of TV rapidly increased.  Following World War 2 TV's reach extended to more and more areas of the UK, overtaking radio's hold on the media landscape. 

Photo by By Joxemai
All change

The launch of ITV in 1955 was the first of many significant changes to follow. 1967  saw the launch of the  "first BBC Local Radio station, BBC Radio Leicester" and by 1973 the first independent local radio stations were set up "to provide public service programming carrying advertising"(Short and Waghorn, 1993: 9)

What now?

The media market place soon became an increasingly competitive arena, a trend which has continued from the 80's through to today as multi-channel cable, Freeview and satellite TV all vie for a share of the media marketplace. Now, all UK based analogue TV transmitters have been turned off as part of the government initiative "The Digital Switchover". This allows (or forces) all TV users in the UK to become multi-channel enabled.  Today's media market place is a very different and difficult place to survive. 

The Future

Despite its highs and lows, radio so far throughout its history has managed to defend itself against threats from traditional mediums e.g. TV, Film, and Video/DVD. 

Photo by Smiker

But what about the future? Will radio be able to fend of its newest threat... the threat of softwear, the internet and the digital age? We will discuss that over the next few weeks right here on MYOB Show.

If you want to know more about what radio is up against check out the blogs...

What is web streaming?

What is a Podcast & How Can I Benefit?

 Many thanks,

Dom O'Neill

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