Wartime and Post-War Radio Broadcasting: BBC Hegemony and Commercial Sector Hiatus

  • JP Devlin


The Second World War gave the BBC time to consolidate its output and also prepare its radio strategy for the post-war era as commercial stations were forced to close down, although Lord Haw-Haw was able to be heard clearly in Britain broadcasting from Radio Hamburg. The BBC introduced the BBC Forces Programme and General Forces Programme for British soldiers fighting abroad during the war, and for the post-war era, it established new national radio stations in the form of the BBC Home Service, the BBC Light Programme and the BBC Third Programme. Radio Luxembourg would also return after war as would television which would become a huge threat to radio. Devlin describes how the Second World War allowed BBC Radio to re-establish itself.


  1. Baade, C. Victory through Harmony: The BBC and Popular Music in World War II. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.Google Scholar
  2. Baily, L. BBC Scrapbooks, Volume 2 London: George Allen and Unwin, 1968.Google Scholar
  3. Barnard, S. On the Radio: Music Radio in Britain. Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 1989.Google Scholar
  4. Briggs, A. The BBC: The First Fifty Years. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985.Google Scholar
  5. Briggs, A. The History of Broadcasting in the United Kingdom. Volume 2: The Golden Age of Wireless. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995aGoogle Scholar
  6. Briggs, A. The History of British Broadcasting in the United Kingdom. Volume 3: The War of Words 1939–1945. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995b.Google Scholar
  7. Briggs, A. The History of Broadcasting in the United Kingdom. Volume 4: Sound and Vision. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995c.Google Scholar
  8. Bridson, D.G. Prospero and Ariel. London: Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1971.Google Scholar
  9. Carpenter, H. The Envy of the World: Fifty Years of the BBC Third Programme and Radio 3. London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1996.Google Scholar
  10. Chignell, H. Public Issue Radio: Talks, News and Current Affairs in the Twentieth Century. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cole, J. Lord Haw-Haw—and William Joyce: The Full Story. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1964.Google Scholar
  12. Crisell, A. An Introductory History of British Broadcasting 2nd edition. London: Routledge, 2002.Google Scholar
  13. Curran, J. and Seaton, J. Power Without Responsibility: The Press, Broadcasting and New Media in Britain. London: Routledge, 2003.Google Scholar
  14. Dutton, D. Reputations: Neville Chamberlain. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2001.Google Scholar
  15. Haley, W. “The Wartime Administration of the BBC.” Public Administration 24, no. 2 (1946).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hilmes, M. “British Quality, American Chaos: Historical Dualisms and What They Leave Out.” The Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast and Audio Media 1, no. 1 (2003).Google Scholar
  17. Hobsbawm, E. Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century 1914–1991. London: Michael Joseph, 1994.Google Scholar
  18. Johnes, M. and Mellor, G. “The 1953 FA Cup Final: Modernity and Tradition in British Culture.” Contemporary British History 20, no. 2 (2006).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Johnson, C. and Turnock, R., eds. Independent Television Over Fifty Years. Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2005.Google Scholar
  20. Kenny, M. Germany Calling: A Biography of William Joyce, Lord Haw-Haw. Dublin: New Island, 2003.Google Scholar
  21. Kuhn, R. The Media in France. London: Routledge, 1995).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kynaston, D. Austerity Britain 1945–51. London: Bloomsbury, 2007.Google Scholar
  23. Lewis, P. “Remembering Radio.” The Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast and Audio Media 11, no. 1 (2013).Google Scholar
  24. Lewis, P. and Booth, J. The Invisible Medium: Public, Commercial and Community Radio. London: Macmillan, 1989.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. McKibbin, R. Classes and Cultures: England, 1918–1951. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Martin, B. “Postwar Austerity to Postmodern Carnival: Culture in Britain from 1945.” In The Great, The New and The British: Essays on Postwar Britain, edited by Ribberink, A. and Righart, A. Hilversum: Verloren, 2000.Google Scholar
  27. Morley, P.‘This is the American Forces Network’: the Anglo-American Battle of the Airwaves in World War II. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2001.Google Scholar
  28. Nicholas, S. “The People’s Radio: The BBC and its Audience, 1939–1945.” In ‘Millions Like Us’?: British Culture in the Second World War, edited by Hayes, N. and Hill, J. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1999.Google Scholar
  29. Pawley, E. BBC Engineering 1922–1972. London: BBC Publications, 1972.Google Scholar
  30. Plomley, R. Days Seemed Longer. London: Eyre Methuen, 1980.Google Scholar
  31. Pronay, N. and Taylor, P. “‘An Improper Use of Broadcasting…’ The British Government and Clandestine Radio Propaganda Operations Against Germany During the Munich Crisis and After.” Journal of Contemporary History 19, no. 3 (1984).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Reid, C. Action Stations: A History of Broadcasting House. London: Robson Books, 1987.Google Scholar
  33. Street, S. A Concise History of British Radio 1922–2002. Tiverton: Kelly Publications, 2002.Google Scholar
  34. Street, S. Crossing the Ether: British Public Service Radio and Commercial Competition 1922–1945. Eastleigh: John Libbey Publishing, 2006.Google Scholar
  35. Williams, S. “Pioneering Commercial Radio the “D-I-Y” Way.” European Journal of Marketing 21, no. 8 (1987).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • JP Devlin
    • 1
  1. 1.LondonUK

Personalised recommendations