Chronography of TVand radio broadcasts

Page last modified 18/9/2022


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UK and general, for other specific countries see below

31/1/2016, Terry Wogan, radio and TV presenter, died aged 77. He was born on 3/8/1938 in Ireland and became a British citizen in 2005.

9/2/2003, The new BBC Digital channel, BBC 3, began broadcasting

2/6/1999, After decades of resisting external technological influences such as television, the King of Bhutan allowed TV broadcasts in the Kingdom for the first time, to coincide with his silver jubilee.

26/4/1999, BBC TV presenter Jill Dando was shot dead on the doorstep of her Fulham house in London.

3/10/1988, Cable TV Network TNT (Turner National Television) was launched by media mogul Ted Turner.

9/11/1997, BBC1 began broadcasting 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Previously TV had closed down at night.

4/1997, In the UK, the Broadcasting Standards Commission was set up. Replacing the earlier Broadcasting Complaints Commission and the Broadcasting Standards Coincil, it monitors TV morals and aims for fair representation of individuals and situations.

30/3/1997, In Britain, Channel Five was launched.

1/9/1993, In the UK, British Sky Broadcasting began transmissions.

1990, The UK�s Independent Television Commission was established by the Broadcasting Act 1990 to licence and regulate independent TV companies,

5/2/1989, Rupert Murdoch launched Sky TV.

11/12/1988. An Ariane rocket carrying an Astra 1A satellite to bring 16 TV channels to Britain was launched from French Guyana.

1/11/1982. Channel 4 began transmitting. It aimed to cater to minority audiences.

2/11/1981, CB or Citizen�s Band Radio became legal in Britain.

1/6/1980, CNN, Cable News network, offering 24-hour news, owned by Ted Turner, went on air.

20/3/1980. The pirate radio station Radio Caroline, on the ship Mi Amigo, ran aground and sank after 16 years of broadcasting.

28/2/1980, The BBC announced that as an economy measure it would scrap five of its orchestras.

1/3/1975, Colour TV broadcasting began in Australia.

21/10/1974, Liverpool City radio went on air.

9/10/1973, Capital Radio (London) began broadcasting.

8/10/1973. Britain�s first legal commercial radio station, LBC (London Broadcasting Company) Radio in London, began transmission.

19/12/1971, Intelsat IV (F3) was launched; it entered commercial service over the Atlantic Ocean on February 18, 1972.

16/6/1971, The BBC�s first chief, Lord Reith, died.

20/5/1971, The first home TV videorecorder, the Philips N1500, went on sale in London. It cost �388.62 (about �5,600 in 2021 prices), used reels of 1-cm tape, and could record for 1 hour. Anything longer required the tapes to be changed

18/2/1971. Rupert Murdoch took control of London Weekend Television.

1970, 90% of UK households had a TV set, up from 75% in 1961.

15/11/1969. The first colour TV advert went on British television � for Birds Eye peas.

2/9/1969. ITV began broadcasting in colour.

19/9/1968, The TV Times, a weekly magazine for British independent TV, was first published.

1967, The Mendip TV mast was constructed.

8/11/1967. The first local radio station in the UK, Radio Leicester, went on the air.It was opened by the Postmaster-General, Edward Short.

30/9/1967. BBC Radio was reorganised. BBC Radio 1, 2, 3, and 4 began broadcasting, with Tony Blackburn introducing The Breakfast Show. His first record was Flowers In The Rain by The Move.

15/8/1967. The Marine Broadcasting Act came into force in the UK, outlawing pop pirate radio stations.

1/7/1967. BBC 2 began colour broadcasting in Britain. Wimbledon was covered in colour for the first time.

20/12/1965, The Belmont TV transmitter, Lincolnshire, began operations,

2/5/1965. The British satellite, Early Bird, began transmitting TV programmes to 300 million viewers in 24 countries.

1964, The Tokyo Olympics became the first major sprting event to be broadcast globally via satellite. By 1969 the entire Earth was covered by satellite TV transmissions.

23/11/1964, The first British commercial radio station, Radio Manx, began broadcasting.

21/4/1964. BBC2 began transmission.

28/3/1964. Radio Caroline, Britain�s first private radio broadcasting station, began broadcasting from The Channel outside the British 3-mile territorial waters limit. See 1961. Pirate broadcasts to the UK were also made from the Atlanta.

13/11/1962.. Kenneth Adam, Director of BBC TV, announced that a second channel would be launched in 1964. The new channel would show very little repeated programmes and not have much American material.

10/7/1962. Telstar I, the world�s first television telecommunications satellite, was launched in America. The following day it transmitted a special television inaugural programme to mark the first communications satellite.

1961, The first �pirate� radio began. A ship, the Veronica, was moored just off The Netherlands, making unaiuthorised pop music broiadcasts. See 23/8/1964.

1960, European TV broadcasters agreed on a common standard of 625-line pictures. A few countries differed; the UK used the post-war 425-line system, and France had already gone for a 819 line standard. Japan followed the US 525-line standard.

10/9/1960, Colour television broadcasting began in Japan.

11/7/1960. The communications satellite TELSTAR became operational. Britain could now receive US television shows,

1959, Colour TV began in Cuba.

1959, TV broadcasting began in India.

31/10/1959, The first television broadcasts in Africa began, from Ibadan, Nigeria.

28/10.1959, South Africa rejected the introduction of television.

1957,The BBC ended the so-called �toddlers truce�; a period between 6pm and 7pm when no programmes were nroadcast. This was supposed to help mothers get young children to bed, who believed that the night�s entertainment was over. Programmes ended at 11pm for the night.

9/1/1957. TV detector vans were first used by the UK Post Office to track down licence dodgers.

1956, Granada TV began broadcasting in the NW of England.

11/12/1956, In Britain, the start of TV broadcasting was moved forward from 7pm to 6pm.

3/11/1956, The Elmley Moor ITV transmitter in Yorkshire was switched on.

10/10/1955, Experimental colour TV broadcasts were made from by the BBC from Alexandra Palace, London.

20/9/1955. The Radio Times was first published.


Start of independent TV in the UK

4/8/1954, The Independent Television Authority was set up.

31/7/1954, The Independent Television Act was passed, allowing for independent TV franchises in the UK.

5/7/1954, The BBC began daily news broadcasts

6/6/1954. The Eurovision television link-up was inaugurated.

25/3/1954, UK Parliament approved the idea of independent TV broadcasting. The Television Act 1954 was passed.

11/1/1954, George Cowling from the Met office became the first weatherman to be seen on TV. Previous forecasts had been sound only.

13/11/1953, In Britain, plans for a new commercial TV channel to rival the BBC were announced.


1/5/1953, The BBC began broadcasts from Northern Ireland, from a transmitter near Belfast. Also this day the Pontop Pyke TV transmitter near Consett, Durham began operations. TV engineers were keen to have programmes in operation for Queen Elizabeth�s coronation on 2/6/1953.

31/12/1951, Television came to north-west England with the opening of a transmitter near Manchester. Scotland would get TV in 1953. TV was only available in the London area until a Midlands transmitter opened in 1950. Now television threatened the popularity of radio and cinema.

27/8/1950, The BBC transmitted its first pictures from abroad, a two-hour programme from Calais..

3/11/1949, The BBC bought the Rank Studios in Shepherds Bush for programme making.

29/7/1949, The BBC issued its first televised weather forecast.

1948, BBC expenditure was still heavily geared towards radio. This year the BBC spent �6.5 million on radio, but just �716,666 on TV.

29/9/1946, BBC Radio�s Third Programme, later to become Radio Three, began broadcasting.


The World War Two Period

7/6/1946, In Britain the BBC resumed TV broadcasts this day; the initial audience was fewer than 12,000 people. See 1/9/1939. By 1947, the UK had 34,000 TV sets, a number that was rapidly growing.

29/7/1945, The BBC Light Programme began broadcasting.

12/10/1944. Angela Rippon, British TV presenter, was born in Plymouth.

8/3/1943, Michael Grade, BBC chief, was born.

5/1/1942, Jan Leeming, BBC presenter, was born.

1/7/1941. The first TV commercial was shown; on WNBT in New York, USA.It was for the Bulova clock and Watch company.

22/6/1940. Esther Rantzen, TV presenter, was born in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire.

1/9/1939. TV broadcasting in the UK was switched off. This was partly because the BBC aerial at Alexandra Palace London, broadcasting on 45 MHz, would have made a useful beacon for German bombers, and partly because TV engineers were needed to operate the radar installations. At this time, some 20,000 YV sets were in operation in England, mostly within a 25 mile radius of Alexandra Palace, but some who lived further away had spent �126 on a set, gambling on receiving the signals. See 7/6/1946.


7/4/1939. David Frost, TV presenter, was born in Tenterden, Kent.

29/3/1938, The BBC began foreign language broadcasts in German.

3/1/1938. The BBC began its first foreign language service, in Arabic.

2/11/1936. The first daily high definition TV broadcasts in Britain were transmitted from the BBC�s aerial at Alexandra Palace, London. Only around 280 homes had TV sets, which were on sale at the Olympia Exhibition for �110.

11/6/1936. Leslie Mitchell became the BBC�s first television announcer.

24/1/1935. Bamber Gasgoigne, UK TV presenter, was born in London.

19/12/1932, The British Broadcasting Corporation inaugurated its Empire shortwave broadcasting service to the entire British Empire, based from its Daventry transmitters, see 25/12/1932.

22/8/1932, The first regular BBC broadcast began, from Alexandra Palace, Wood Green, north London. Programmes were broadcast on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays for just 30 minutes, from 11.00pm to 11.30pm. The same masts were used for radio broadcasts so TV broadcasts could not begin until radio had finished.

15/3/1932, The BBC made its first broadcast from its new HQ at Portland Place, near Oxford Circus.

12/11/1931. The Abbey Road BBC recording studios were opened by Sir Edward Elgar, who conducted his Pomp and Circumstance marches with the London Symphony Orchestra.

11/4/1930. The Daily Express became the first paper to publish TV programmes.

30/9/1929, The first experimental TV broadcast was made by the BBC.

3/7/1928. John Logie Baird made the first colour TV transmission, from the Baird Studios, London.

1/1/1927. The British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, came into being. It had formerly been the British Broadcasting Company.

16/10/1925, Britain began regular broadcasts to Continental Europe, on a weekly basis.

5/2/1924. The BBC �pips� or time signals, were heard for the first time. They were set by a clock at Greenwich.

31/12/1923. The chimes of Big Ben were broadcast by the BBC for the first time.

23/12/1923, The BBC began regular radio broadcasts for entertainment, as opposed to information.

25/11/1923. The first transatlantic wireless broadcast from the UK to the USA was made.

28/9/1923. The Radio Times was first published.

27/7/1923,The BBC radio transmission station at Daventry opened.

14/11/1922. The British Broadcasting Corporation began daily news broadcasts from 2LO in The Strand, London. This had formerly been Marconi�s London broadcasting station. At 6pm the news was read by Arthur Burrows, once at normal speed and once at slow speed. See 14/2/1922, 18/10/1922 and 26/3/1923.

18/10/1922. The BBC, the British Broadcasting Company, was officially formed, at Marconi House, The Strand, London (2LO). See 14/11/1922.

23/2/1920, The first regular broadcasting service in Britain began, from Chelmsford.

25/5/1913, The broadcaster Richard Dimbleby was born.

12/5/1908, Wireless Radio Broadcasting was patented by Nathan B Stubblefield.

29/3/1903, A regular news service began between New York and London began, using Marconi�s wireless.

13/8/1888. Birth of television pioneer John Logie Baird in Helensburgh, Firth of Clyde, Scotland.


Europe (ex. UK)

1/1/1968, Colour TV began in The Netherlands.

1/10/1967, Colour TV broadcasting began in France. At this time there were only 1,500 colour TV sets in France, but within 12 months that number had grown to 200,000.

4/11/1961, Italy's second television network Rai 2 began broadcasting, joining the original RAI (Radiotelevisione Italiana) which had begun in 1954.

26/12/1959. Bulgarian National Television was founded. Colour broadcasting began in 1970.

12/2/1950, The European Broadcasting Union was formed.

29/12/1930. Radio Luxembourg began broadcasting.



10/1996, Fox News Channel was launched in the USA.

4/1989, CNBC (Consumer News and Business Channel) was launched in the USA.

1983, By the time a child in the US reached 18, it was estimated they had watched over 17,000 hours of TV, equivalent to 710 continuous days and nights of TV. In that time they had seen 360,000 adverts and witnessed 15,000 murders.

23/11/1982, In the USA, TV commercials were deregulated, removing restrictions on length and content.

24/2/1970, National Public Radio was launched in the USA.

19/4/1965, Westinghouse Broadcasting WINS, New York�s first all-news radio station began broadcasting. It was soon copied by other stations across the USA.

1956, Pay-TV was introduced in the USA, where viewers could pay to see extra vchannels; sometimes by inserting coins in a meter box at the side of the TV.

30/4/1939, The World Fair in New York opened. It was opened by President Franklin D Roosevelt, who became the first US President to appear on TV, as NBC began their TV news service this day.

14/8/1928. The world�s first scheduled television programmes were broadcast by WRNY in New York.

3/7/1928. The first TV sets went on sale in the USA, at $75 each.

1927, CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System), now a major US TV network, was founded.

11/11/1926, The UScommercial broadcaster NBC(National Broadcasting Company) was founded

2/11/1920, The first regular radio programme began, KDKA, in Pittsburgh.


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