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Aug. 23rd, 2010

On a remote island off the coast of Norway, we found treasure. We didn't even have to leave the house, as it turned up in a table drawer last opened probably some time in the 1960s. In it, to my utter astonishment, were a couple of beautifully preserved copies of this:

I stress: this is Volume 2 of the entire Radio Times. There are listings for each of the separate broadcasting stations illustrated above, each of which runs its own schedule through the day and has its own performers on standby in lavish studios like this:

The technology is so new that the aggravating phenomenon of radio signals "fading" is still introduced to the reader in inverted commas. In fact there are plenty of teething troubles:

Have you managed to tune in to a music broadcast from California? Kindly alert the proper authorities!

When it all works, though, it works splendidly, and the keen (not to say pedantic) listener is invited to interact with the “British Broadcasting Company”’s improving output:

No pressure there, M.E.M. Stephan.

In fact, given that at the time the hobby of listening to the radio usually included building the thing in the first place, it appears to have appealed disproportionately to an extremely scrupulous frame of mind. This contributor typifies the kind of listener the Radio Times envisaged frowning through an entire French monologue waiting to pounce on the merest mispronunciation:

As well as its essays from broadcasters and programme listings, just as now, the Radio Times liked to indulge its lighter side, seen here in this cheeky item from its gossip section:

As with anything from this era, some of the most memorable and enduring moments are provided by the advertising. The bell you use to summon your servants can be adapted into a radio unit:

Then as now, a giveaway in a magazine was a guaranteed circulation-booster, although here it consists of something for you to go away and make yourself. At least it's free, I guess:

Can't help suspecting that this would consist solely of a bunch of numbered diagrams and only the white notes:


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 23rd, 2010 11:59 am (UTC)
BBC Genome
Relatedly: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/2010/08/bbc-genome-the-complete-broadc.shtml
Aug. 23rd, 2010 12:27 pm (UTC)
I knew there was something missing from the new house. I seem to have misplaced the bell I use to summon my servant. Oh Noes!
Aug. 23rd, 2010 09:56 pm (UTC)
I am going to make a 'STOP! READ THIS!' stamp for use on all my future communications.
Aug. 23rd, 2010 09:56 pm (UTC)
this beats a kipper forgotten by the last tenant of the house by about a zillion miles. you lucky bugger! i could spend a good few hours working my way through that lot...
Aug. 26th, 2010 02:28 pm (UTC)
The wireless, dates, and cork-tipped cigarettes. SMELLS LIKE HOME.
Aug. 28th, 2010 06:27 pm (UTC)
Brilliant! "STOP! READ THIS!" simply made me scroll down.
Sep. 9th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
I sniggered a little at the subtitle 'The Official Organ of the BBC', but then I am 5.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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