The BBC and the Child Radio Listener in the 1920s

Healy, Zara (2022) The BBC and the Child Radio Listener in the 1920s. BBC Website .

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The BBC has provided radio programmes for children across Britain since 1922. Children were such a valued audience that they were given their own daily radio show called Children’s Hour. It ran on local, regional and national radio networks until the slot was decommissioned in 1964, due to dwindling audience figures. Children’s Hour offered children their own version of the BBC ‘in miniature’, by providing a variety of music and speech radio. This ranged from live music, talks, drama, stories, news, features, outside broadcasts, and later on, records. In 1926, the programme slot was fixed between 5.15pm and 6pm across the whole BBC. Children’s Hour gave young listeners time to relax after their school day and before their homework.

The R11 archive files reveal how the programmes were produced and internal discussions on how best to serve the child listener. The BBC took this responsibility seriously but knew very little about child audiences in the 1920s. Children were able to vote for their favourite items to be repeated in Children’s Hour ‘Request Weeks’ from 1926, which gave producers useful information. However, there was no official audience research on Children’s Hour available until January 1939. There was also confusion about whether the show should educate or entertain and this caused arguments. This blog discusses the beginning of children’s radio in the 1920s and highlights four of the most significant archive documents from this decade.

Keywords:Children's Hour, Radio, Children's Radio, BBC, early history of the BBC, children as active agents
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V146 Modern History 1920-1949
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film, Media & Journalism > Lincoln School of Film, Media & Journalism (Media)
ID Code:48597
Deposited On:18 Nov 2022 12:33

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