Reporting the World

Many people around the world are familiar with the BBC or the British Broadcasting Corporation. But, how did the BBC become so big, and how has it affected the way we learn about world events?

In 1922, the BBC became the world’s first national broadcasting organization. When the BBC launched its first radio service, its founders could never have imagined the impact it would have. By 1925, nearly 80% of England’s population was reached by the BBC in some way!

The popularity of radio spread throughout the 1930s, and people gathered together around the radio to listen to the news, sporting events, and other programs. This new way of learning about current events spread quickly.

Television service arrived in 1936, but it didn’t last long. TV programming was suspended when World War II broke out and didn’t resume until 1946. Thankfully, radio broadcasts continued to help keep citizens up to date. Once the war ended and television programs were allowed again, the popularity of TV grew enormously, and the BBC continued growing its influence.

Why is the BBC so popular outside of England? In 1932, the BBC Empire Service was launched with broadcasts aimed at English speakers living in overseas territories of the British Empire. And, as we’ve learned, the British Empire covered a lot of the globe.

In 1965, the BBC Empire Service changed its name to the BBC World Service. Today, millions of people around the world tune in to the BBC on television, on the radio, and online. As I travel throughou parts of former British Empire, I’m sure that the BBC will be how I stay up to date on current events!