02 February 2010

Radio Times

The Radio Times (casually, if alarmingly, subtitled 'The Offical Organ Of The BBC'), first published on the 28th of September, 1923 was the BBC's own radio and television listings magazine. Until 1955 it enjoyed a hallowed status as the only listings magazine, ultimately due to the fact that independent television did not exist in the UK. Even when Associated Rediffusion and ATV arrived on the seen it was immediately established that each channel produce its own listings magazine. The BBC stuck with its own two channels, staunchly against the independents' publication: TV Times. Alternately, the daily newspapers also carried the television listings, but only a day at a time; the big advantage of the TV and Radio Times was being able to view the whole week.

We are familiar, nowadays, with a range of television magazines, each holding a week or more of listings. Even the newspapers come with their own seven-day listings. This change came about, for the Radio Times, in March of 1991, when it began to list the other commercial channels alongside its own offerings; undoubtedly a survival-based move in what was becoming an increasingly competitive market.

Radio Times is nevertheless a continuing success, containing listings for terrestrial channels, satellite (or cable) and radio, relying on its reputation and quality to maintain a healthy readership. It reached its four thousandth issue in 2002 and continues to offer seven day's worth of forward planning for the eager telly addict.

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