This is a very brief review of key events concerning the birth of broadcasting in both the United States of America and United Kingdom. It reveals a recurring theme whereby statute law has been employed as a means to create monopolistic, limited access to the airwaves. It is the same process which has been traditionally used for both ideological and commercial reasons, to regulate access to the printed word by limited licensing of both printers and publications. Such controls work for a brief time at most, because they provoke a continuing struggle by censored opponents who believe that they have equal rights to be seen and heard by society at large. This overview does not include a review of the sequence of foundational laws which today form the basis for two different systems of broadcasting in the USA and UK, but they will be covered in the new publication from which this overview is extracted, with the working title of Yesterair: The Origins of American and British Broadcasting.*
*This new title, which will be available through The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame, is scheduled for publication during 2015 and it incorporates both new sections and updated comparative monographs which have been previously published by their authors: Eric Gilder and Mervyn Hagger, who are also responsible for the content recital on this page.
Understanding the how and why often helps to explain the what and where of the same story. If you are so inclined, please review the small print for those details below.*
*This story relates to intertwined events taking place in the UK and USA which were interpreted by two differing legal points of view concerning the formation of commercial monopolies. For example, the English East India Company served the interests of the Crown, and it was aided by Parliamentary legislation. But in the USA, the Boston Tea Party serves to highlight the opposite tradition. By the nineteenth century monopolies in the USA were being depicted as a giant octopus. Beginning with the Sherman Act of 1890; followed by the Clayton Act, and the creation of the Federal Trade Commission Act in 1914, the US government began taking firm legal action against ‘unfair’ monopolies which were designed to stifle competition. The first target of the Sherman Act was the formation of the Standard Oil Trust. It had been formed on the 2nd January 1882 by placing all of the properties of component member companies in the hands of a board of trustees. Stockholders of these component companies were then issued with proportionately equal trust certificates representing the shares they held in the companies. With all profits going into the Trust, its nine trustees determined the dividends to be paid out to the shareholders, because they also elected the directors and officers of all the component companies. Although various companies appeared to be operating independently, they were in fact controlled by the Standard Oil Trust which functioned as a monopoly. In the chain of events that follow, the US government acting under the aegis of a national emergency, created a national monopoly of radio patents. When the emergency came to an end, it also brought to an end the necessity for the US government to hold private assets in the ‘National Interest’. Although monopolies based upon the model of Standard Oil were illegal in the USA, various companies attempted to form combines that circumvented the law. When that failed they sometimes looked to other countries which did not look upon monopolies in an unfavourable light. To the general public what often appeared to be an ordinary company, could in fact be a combination of financial interests acting through a third party performing the work of a trustee. Central to this story is the role played by the banker J. Pierpont Morgan, and readers are directed to the enormous library of well-documented academic works describing his rise to power.
1917: On 6th April, 1917, the USA ended its nominal neutrality when it became a combatant in the ‘Great War’. At that time the U.S. War and Navy Departments took control of radio patents and ship-to-shore radio stations. Some of these assets were British-owned by the American Marconi Company. For reasons embedded in world commerce, the dominance of the British Empire and the European embroilment that became known as World War One, the USA looked upon the United Kingdom with distrust, and even as a potential war-mongering foe. But WWI was a game-changer on many levels because it began the major shift of world power from London to Washington, D.C., and by the end of World War Two the shift was more-or-less complete.*
*It's a little heavy-going, but Kathleen Burk's summary article Money and Power: America and Europe in the 20th Century published in History Today, volume 43, Issue 3, 1993, is well-worth reading as a overview. It also touches on the search and seizure role of the British Navy. It was a role that had become limited in its application close to the UK shoreline. In later years this would provide a key reason for investors to back UK offshore commercial radio believing that their ships would not be searched and seized by the Royal Navy. U.S. military mistrust of Europe continued to grow between the end of WWI and the start of WWII. See: How America planned for an attack on Britain in 1930... by David Gerrie, 21st September 2011.
There were historical reasons for America's fear of Britain: Eight years after the American colonies declared independence from Great Britain during 1776, the British burned-down the White House and Capitol buildings on 24th August 1814. That event was part of the War of 1812 which is recalled in the words of the Star-Spangled Banner (U.S. national anthem), and in Lonnie Donegan's toned-down British ‘cover version’ of Johnny Horton's jingoistic 1959 hit recording Battle of New Orleans. However, they were both obfuscating redacted versions of Jimmy Driftwood's 1936 academic history lesson, which he set to folk music.*
*James Corbitt Morris (1907-1998) who changed his name to Jimmy Driftwood, was a school teacher who wrote the lyrics to ‘Battle of New Orleans’ in 1936, “to help his students differentiate between the War of 1812 and the Revolutionary War of 1776.”" - The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. In 1949, Driftwood graduated from Arkansas State Teachers College and became a school principal, but his folk lyrics were ‘dumbed-down’ for the mass-market: first by Johnny Horton for American Top 40 radio; then the redacted version was further toned down by transforming the British into anonymous rebels for its UK re-release. Then Lonnie Donegan added apologetics with an additional talking introduction and replaced a euphemism to satisfy BBC censors and get airplay. By the nineteen-sixties the Driftwood history lesson had been lost, and a mindless pop song had taken its place. The traditional story of offshore radio has followed a similar path of obfuscation.
1919: on 17th October after the termination of WWI, the U.S. Congress forced the divestiture of wartime-held radio patents for placement into non-government, but U.S. controlled hands. The result was the forced asset buy-out of the British-owned American Marconi Company whose assets had been held by the U.S. government during the War. With the help of the U.S. Navy, its assets then became the property of a new General Electric subsidiary company called the Radio Corporation of America. RCA was not a wholly-owned subsidiary of GE, although General Electric had a controlling interest, because RCA shares were also allocated to other companies and interests whose assets were added to the pool of RCA shared patents and properties. RCA thus brought together the interests of the U.S. Navy, which was represented on its board of directors; the United Fruit Company with its wireless-equipped ships serving Central and South America; the Westinghouse Electric Corporation which had also expanded into the radio business, and American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T) with its own wireless telephony and land line telephone networks. Presiding over RCA was David Sarnoff, who in 1923, invented a widely disseminated, self-promoting myth that in 1912 as a New York City telegraph operator, he had personally received the distress calls of the RMS Titanic.*
*See online: Background details to the creation of RCA. Also see online: David Sarnoff's Titanic Lie that still refuses to go away. See also: The General: David Sarnoff and the Rise of the Communications Industry by Kenneth Bilby. Harpercollins; (1986) ISBN-10: 006015568X and: Sarnoff: An American success by Carl Dreher; Quadrangle; (1977), ISBN-10: 0812906721
1922: On 18th October, British Broadcasting Company Limited was formed by an amalgamation of US and UK radio manufacturing businesses. At that time, several of them had begun to operate their own broadcasting stations in the United Kingdom. They were forced into a combination by the British General Post Office (GPO) to create a single company which operated as a monopoly like an American Trust. But whereas the U.S. government was breaking-up such combinations, the U.K. government was creating one by law. Some electrical manufacturers had been conducting GPO licensed transmissions of their own, and these now ceased after their broadcasting interests were folded under the umbrella of BBC transmissions. Its specific licenses included provisions for sponsored broadcasts which in a modified form did take place on a few occasions in the form of trade-outs. Scotsman John Reith was appointed as its Managing Director. As a ‘son of the manse’ he held very strong and opinionated views about what should and what should not be broadcast, and he wrote in his 1924 autobiography [‘Broadcast over Britain’] that it was his job to tell all British listeners both what they wanted to hear, and what they needed to hear.*
*The BBC was originally owned by a consortium of British and American interests: Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company; British Thomson Houston Company; General Electric Company; Western Electric Company; Radio Communication Company; Burndept Ltd. (representing 28 smaller companies. GEC was a British company with unrelated origins to the U.S. General Electric Company.) 2LO in London, was the first in a network of BBC stations, it went on the air for the first time on November 14, 1922. On licensing, see: I started a joke - Text, Cotext, Context: The Rouge Rendering of 'Piracy' as vexed legal construct over time and place. Gilder, Eric and Hagger, Mervyn. University of Bucharest Review, Volume XII, No.2, 2010, page 53. See also" John Reith and the Feudal Values of British Broadcasting in a Modern Age, by Gilder, Eric and Hagger, Mervyn; University of Bucharest Review Modernity: The Crisis of Value and Judgment 8(3)(2006); London My Hometown, originally published as chapter in Mass Media Moments in the United Kingdom, the USSR and the USA, by Gilder, Eric; "Lucian Blaga" University of Sibiu Press, Romania. 2003 ISBN 973-651-596-6 - currently under revision as part of a new edition. *Read Reith's broadcasting ideology in: Reith, J. C. W. - Broadcast over Britain. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1924. *For a brief biographical sketch about the life of John Reith, see: McIntyre, Ian - Reith, John Charles Walsham, first Baron Reith (1889-1971) - Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2011. *See also: Lord Reith: “The Hypocrite who built the BBC - His name is still a byword for high-minded broadcasting. But Lord Reith was an adulterer and family tyrant who was so profligate he left just £75 in his will.” Daily Mail review of: My Father: Reith Of The BBC by Marista Leishman; Saint Andrew Press (2006); ISBN-10: 0715208349
On 24th April, the Illustrated London News ran a story about UK listeners tuning into concerts from Holland that were introduced in the English language. In 1923 when the Daily Mail began sponsoring these concerts transmitted from the Netherlands, it intensified focus upon the fact that the BBC was not able to satisfy all of the requirements of British listeners.*
*See online: Pre-War UK Commercial Radio and the BBC
1923: Competition provided by English language sponsored programmes originating from outside the United Kingdom was viewed by the BBC as a threat to its monopoly status. In response, Parliament formed the Sykes Committee to study the future of broadcasting within the United Kingdom. Its conclusion was that British domestic broadcasting should not be supported by advertising revenue, but by a tax (‘licence fee’) imposed by law upon listeners. They were only authorised to ‘tune-in’ as individual licence holders on wireless sets which had been manufactured by BBC member companies. The licence to listen was restricted to individuals, and thus the GPO was able to shut down the growth of an early form of ‘cable radio’ by companies relaying both the BBC and the continental commercial stations to their subscribers. It also provided the bedrock for litigation against commercial establishments who used their wireless sets to play for the entertainment of their patrons by labelling such activities as ‘public performances’. Its finding that American broadcasting was “vulgar” because it relied upon advertising for financial support, became a recurring theme in Parliamentary committee reports over the years that followed.*
*The history of these committees is preserved by the BBC online: Committees of Enquiry: Sykes Committee; 25th August 1923; recommended: licence fee funding; no advertising: broadcasting transfer from private to public. John Reith was a member of the committee. Crawford Committee; 2nd March 1926; recommended: broadcasting run by a public service corporation; licence fee funding for ten years. Selsdon Television Committee; 14th January 1935; recommended: television broadcasting should be established within the public sector. Ullswater Committee; 31st December 1935; recommended: regional broadcasting decentralization and expansion; Government control during national emergencies; no funding by advertising; increase in Licence Fee. Hankey Television Committee; 29th December 1944; recommended: BBC monopoly of television services. Beveridge Committee; 15th December; recommended: BBC continuing as sole broadcaster. Minority Report: Selwyn Lloyd recommended the end of the broadcasting monopoly. When the Conservatives won the election in 1950, Selwyn Lloyd's recommendations resulted in the creation of ITV underwritten by on air advertising. Pilkington Committee; 1st June 1962; recommended: renewal of BBC Charter and Licence Fee funding. The report criticised commercial television for triviality and endorsed the view “Those who say they give the public what it wants begin by underestimating public taste, and end by debauching it”. The next report was on 24th February 1977.
1924: The main differences between BBC and NBC were that NBC did not have the exclusive right to broadcast, and the BBC could not sell its air time. The precursor to the idea of selling air time came about with a lawsuit filed in 1924 by AT&T who made transmitters, and at the time operated its own stations. AT&T claimed that it alone had the exclusive right to sell air time due to the restrictive covenant on the sale of its transmitters. This was an idea later extended in Europe to the public air play of phonographic recordings. Because NBC was a subsidiary of RCA of which AT&T was a part owner, the problems which had confronted WHN in 1924 did not apply, and AT&T supplied NBC with telephonic links to form its network of stations.*
*For details of the landmark AT&T-v-WHN lawsuit, see: New York Daily News, March 3, 2000, extract by Jay Maeder: Masters Of The Air Radio, March 1924; Chapter 25 - “...there were already rumblings that AT&T had every intention of taking over the entire infant radio business from its competitors - RCA, General Electric and a couple of other companies - and then charging listeners subscription fees to receive its signals. Early in March 1924, this suspicion grew darker when big WEAF sued tiny, independent WHN over a patent-infringement matter and sought to shut it down. In fact, AT&T was bringing similar suits against all but 40 of the nation's 563 radiophone broadcast stations. Yes, a company lawyer admitted, AT&T would own the air if the actions succeeded. “That's what patents are for” he said. Also: Herbert Hoover Condemns Private Monopoly of Broadcasting, 11th March 1924, New York Times. Although AT&T won its lawsuit against WHN and branded it as an outlaw station, it did not enforce its claim due to the negative storm of publicity that it created, because it was branded as a case of the “big fellow jumping with hobnailed boots all over the little fellow.” How African-American ‘Race Records’ Became Obfuscated by ‘Rock 'n' Roll’ within Transatlantic ‘Cover Versions’; by Gilder, Eric and Hagger, Mervyn; East-West Cultural Passage, Journal of the ‘C. Peter Magrath’ Research Center for Cross-Cultural Studies; Volume 12, Number 2, December 2012, see page 120 supra, and: The Listener's Voice: Early Radio and the American Public by Elena Razlogova, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011 chapter 2, page 33.
1926: Because of the findings of the Crawford Committee on 2nd March 1926, the GPO did not renew the licenses it had issued to the British Broadcasting Company Limited. On 15th November 1926, which was one month before the original BBC went out of business, RCA created its own subsidiary called the National Broadcasting Company. RCA owned half the stock in NBC; GE own thirty percent, and Westinghouse owned twenty percent. The three musical chimes that were later employed to announce programmes on the NBC network were 'G','E','C'. NBC was dominated by the management style of David Sarnoff who attempted to imitate the original BBC company formula managed by Reith. The two radio chiefs met and discussed the social approach to broadcasting. “I firmly believe that America's radio authorities will swing over to our ideas about broadcasting,” said Sir John.*
*See major feature in The New York Times, Section 2, page 9, May 31, 1931, with several articles including: Radio Differs Across the Sea, and Director of England's [sic] Broadcasting Discusses Reasons Why United States Has 605 Stations and British Isles Twenty-two; Sir John Reith, Director General of England's [sic] Radio, Meets M. H. Aylesworth, President of the National Broadcasting Company, to Discuss the Two Widely Different Radio Systems and Ideas.
1927: Sharing the same initials but not the same name or ownership, BBC broadcasts continued in 1927 under a Crown chartered and non-commercial British Broadcasting Corporation. This new BBC was also issued with exclusive licenses by the GPO, and John Reith was appointed as its first Director General.*
*The status of the new BBC placed it under the obfuscated management of the Crown, and therefore upon a level above direct interference by Members of Parliament which derives its sovereign authority from the Crown. The British Broadcasting Corporation was issued its ‘Royal Charter’ by King George V as the reigning monarch representing the Crown. See page one of the BBC Royal Charter renewed on 19th September 2006 and read about the differences between the institutions of Parliament; the Crown and the reigning Monarch and: What the Crown May Do, with specific reference to page 5, section 11, by John Howell, QC.
1929: On 15th March 1929, the Victor Talking Machine Company was acquired by RCA, and its purchase began a series of transactions that would have a lasting effect on not only the record industry and its listening public, but also it marked the beginning of a legal struggle lasting through today. GE/RCA set in motion a legal system which contrasts the legal rights of manufacturers against the legal rights of purchasers of those manufactured goods. It is a story that goes to the heart of one of the accusations thrown at the UK offshore radio stations of the nineteen-sixties, and it is rooted in the 1924 case of AT&T versus WHN.*
*For details of the WHN case: Revisit the footnote above for the year 1924. For RCA buyout of Victor, see online: Victor Acquired by RCA at The David Sarnoff Library; and A photo history of RCA's Golden Years in Camden
On 27th October 1929, shares on the New York Stock Exchange plunged during Black Thursday, and this event triggered a slide into the Great Depression which began a downturn in the U.S. economy that would eventually be halted by the militaristic production demands of World War II. Instead of seeing a shrinking economy, some in the record business saw only a threat from the growth of radio broadcasting. “Phonograph-record sales had peaked in 1927 at 106 million but within five years had fallen to some 6 million. But radio found new listeners.”*
*See: The Great Depression (1929-1939); See also online: “Music in the 1930s”. American Decades. Ed. Judith S. Baughman, et al. Vol. 4: 1930-1939. Detroit: Gale, 2001. U.S. History In Context. Web. 19 Aug. 2013.
By 1929, sponsored broadcasts for British listeners originating from sources outside the United Kingdom not only continued, but they increased in number; frequency of transmission, and sophistication. Captain Leonard Plugge soon became the doyen of this ‘art’, having cut his teeth on selling a fifteen minute English language sponsored fashion talk to Selfridges. That broadcast from the transmitters of Radio Paris with a studio on the Eiffel Tower, was not a commercial success in gaining a large audience but it proved to him that such arrangements could defeat the BBC monopoly for British listeners. Record pluggers were at work promoting products from the Vocalion Record Company with sponsored shows heard on Radio Toulouse. They were soon followed by the Decca Gramophone Company with transmissions announced over Radio Paris in both French and English. Coordinating the purchase of air time and the production of shows was a new British company called Radio Publicity Limited.*
*See: Wallis, Keith - The Biography of Captain Leonard F. Plugge - A Pioneer of Commercial Radio - And the World listened, page 93. Kelly Publications (2007); ISBN-10: 1903053234 [For promotional reasons, the pronunciation of Plugge's name was changed by his political supporters to rhyme with the word "plug" when he became a Conservative Member of Parliament.]
1930: On April 18, headlines of The New York Times screamed a warning that General Electric was on its way to creating a gigantic electrical Trust with operations in almost every country in the world “except Russia”. These headlines were reporting the reactions of U.S. Members of Congress the previous day, but they ignored the fact that the U.S. Congress had facilitated the forced buy-out of American Marconi in order create Radio Corporation of America as a GE subsidiary company. General Electric had built upon the manipulative financial maneuvering of John Pierpont Morgan who had previously engineered the merger of Edison General Electric and Thomson-Houston Electric Company to form General Electric. In between the rise of General Electric had been the part played by AT&T in its own bid during 1924 to create a broadcasting monopoly. General Electric had taken the game to a higher level by seeking to control the entire electrical manufacturing and consumer products industry.*
*See headlines and story: “World Radio Trust Planned By Young, Dill Tells Senate; Senator Asserts That Merger of R.C.A. Will Connect With International Bank. Contracts Abroad Cited. He Declares Agreements With Foreign Nations Indicate General Electric Monopoly. ...Demand for Investigation. ... Says [GE President Owen D.] Young Plans World Radio Trust...” The New York Times, April 18, 1930 “The federal government, which had fostered the formation of RCA in 1919, had become alarmed at its growth, and on May 31, 1930, it began antitrust proceedings against the patent pooling arrangements at the foundation of the company.” Owen D. Young had stared down from the front cover of Time magazine on 6th January 1930, as its ‘Man of the Year’.
On September 19 1930, David Sarnoff appeared to be ignoring the uproar when he announced plans to turn Camden, New Jersey (home of RCA-Victor), into the ‘Radio Center of the World’.*
*See “Radio Capital of the World”, page 114: Capital Moves: RCA's Seventy-year Quest for Cheap Labor, by Jefferson R. Cowie; The New Press (2001) ISBN-10: 1565846591
1931: On May 5, 1931, GE/RCA created Electric and Musical Industries (EMI) and began building another cartel in the United Kingdom. Having run afoul of the U.S. Congress the previous year because of its enormous and near monopolistic electric, broadcasting and recording industry that was based in the USA, but with tentacles that spread worldwide, GE/RCA formed EMI by merging the Columbia Graphophone Company and the Gramophone Company. The merger and the creation of EMI appeared to be the work of two British companies amalgamating and forming yet another new British company. However, although both of its parent companies were British, most of their shares were owned or controlled by American interests. When RCA had bought the Victor Talking Machine Company in 1920, it had also gained Victor's half interest in the Gramophone Company, Ltd. Consequently, at the time of the creation of EMI, forty-three percent of the Gramophone Company was owned by RCA Victor, and eighty percent of Columbia Graphophone was owned by J.P. Morgan. David Sarnoff sat on the EMI board of directors and its chairman was a naturalised American living in London named Louis Sterling.*
*See online: RCA Victor Camden/Frederick O. Barnum III collection at the Hagley Museum, Greenville, Delaware. Also online: Louis Sterling was born on 16th May 1879, in Kowno, Lithuania/Russia. He arrived in the USA sometime between 1882 and 1886, and he married in England during 1919, and died in the UK during 1958. And: ...Electric and Musical Industries (EMI) Also: How African-American ‘Race Records’ Became Obfuscated by ‘Rock 'n' Roll’ within Transatlantic ‘Cover Versions’; by Gilder, Eric and Hagger, Mervyn; East-West Cultural Passage, Journal of the ‘C. Peter Magrath’ Research Center for Cross-Cultural Studies; Volume 12, Number 2, December 2012; The GE Jigsaw Puzzle page 120 supra.
Meanwhile, in the USA, while more consumers were losing jobs due to the onset of the ‘Great Depression’, the growth of the radio business was being blamed for the collapse in the sale of phonographic records.*
*See: American Mercury magazine, September 1932, page 255. Collapse of record industry blamed on radio Despite the poor sound quality of the early radios, people were attracted to the programs and bought fewer records. Recording History: 1925-1940; In the 1930s, labels argued that piracy was a significant explanation for the decline in disc sales. After all, why would anyone purchase records when the radio was giving away their tunes for free? The International Recording Industries, Edited by Lee Marshall,. ‘Piracy’, page 56.; Radio reached its ‘Golden Age’ during the 1930s when by 1934 half of the homes in the U.S. had radios. Media History Project, 2001. ...Historical Overview: Radio, by Quint Randle.
In 1931 Captain Plugge created the International Broadcasting Company (IBC) with offices and studios located opposite BBC Broadcasting House in Portland Square, London. The IBC studios produced transcribed programming that was aired over the facilities of many external radio stations. Eventually Captain Plugge focussed upon developing one of them into a true full-time competitor to BBC transmissions serving southern England that became known to British listeners as Radio Normandy [Normandie]. Publicising these transmissions were general circulation magazines such as Radio Pictorial that were devoted to this alternative form of programming. They were also joined for a time by the publications of Jehovah's Witnesses. They promoted their own programmes which had been excluded from John Reith's censored BBC airwaves, but were heard over a small network of stations based in France.*
*See: 1932 Year Book of the International Bible Students Association; [Jehovah's Witnesses]; page 114: “There are now three radio stations which regularly broadcast the Truth: Radio-Vitus in Paris, Radio Lyon, and Radio Normandy. All three stations broadcast regularly the transcription records of Brother Rutherford.”
1933: EMI sought to establish a legal monopoly in Europe of the kind that was not possible in the USA due to both anti-Trust legislation, and adverse public opinion created by companies who attempted to form monopolistic Trusts. But even in Europe, the only governmental body that would become a willing participant in the EMI scheme was Italy. Between the 20th March 1930, and the 5th February 1934, Il Duce was in the process of creating his fascist corporate state, and Mussolini hosted the Confederazione Generale Fascista dell'Industria Italiana which was held in Rome from the 10th to the 14th of November, 1933. At its conclusion the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry was born. IFPI opened its first headquarters in the EMI offices at Hayes, just outside of London, but it revealed its American origins by its choice of wording. Instead of using the British word ‘gramophone’, it chose ‘phonograph’, its American equivalent. The idea behind IFPI was to make record sales in Europe conditional, and for personal use only. If there was to be any form of public ‘audience’, then the manufacturer could charge a licensing fee for public performance of the manufactured recording.*
*See: A Short History of IFPI, 1933-2013; The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics: Fascism, (2002) by Sheldon Richman; I started a joke - Text, Cotext, Context: The Rouge Rendering of ‘Piracy’ as vexed legal construct over time and place. Gilder, Eric and Hagger, Mervyn. University of Bucharest Review, Volume XII, No.2, 2010, page 55, n.82-83.; Antinomic Interpretations of Self as defined by Moral Rights and Copyrights in British Tradition, Spirit and Feelings, and the United States Constitution, Gilder, Eric and Hagger, Mervyn. East-West Cultural Passage, A Journal of the ‘C. Peter Magrath’ Research Center for Cross-Cultural Studies; Volume 10, July 2011, page 146 supra; Mussolini and Fascism by Marco Palla, Interlink Pub Group Inc., (2000) ISBN-10: 1566563402
After the creation of IFPI in 1933, EMI used its subsidiary Gramophone Company label to test its legal theory that it could create a new income-stream for records, by using the same approach that AT&T had used in 1924 with the sale of its transmitters. The difference being that in Europe fascist monopolies were not only permitted, they were being cloned. If a British court of law ruled in their favour, then that ruling could be used as a legal precedent to give IFPI clout. The test case was brought against defendants Stephen Carwardine and Company and Hammond's Bradford Brewery Company Limited who between them controlled a restaurant in Bristol. The instant (specific) complaint was that the restaurant had entertained its customers by playing the 1931 recording of ‘Overture, The Black Domino’, written by the French composer Auber and played by the London Symphony Orchestra. The Plaintiff said that playing the record in public without the permission of the copyright owners was against the law.*
*See: references for IFPI, etc., under the entry for 1933.
1934: The verdict in the EMI test lawsuit ironically appeared in The Times newspaper on Tuesday, 14th August. The judge, Mr. Justice Maugham, ruled in favour of the plaintiff. On page xxvi, the paper reported that: “The rediffusion of broadcast programmed to the public by loud-speaker or other means became the next most important subject requiring a legal ruling following the definition of broadcasting as a public performance. The operation of loud-speakers in public establishments such as hotels, cafés, and public houses caused concern to the Performing Right Society, as its repertoire was being used for the benefit of such establishments and their clientele, but without advantage to the society's members. The BBC licence held by the B.B.C. confined the use of this repertoire to reception by listeners for private and domestic use, and the society contended that rediffusion constituted further public performance necessitating separate licensing.”
At the time IFPI only existed as an organisation, and it had gained a legal ruling by using the Performing Right Society which represented songwriters, composers and music publishers. But this landmark case enabled it to open a British office in London's Wigmore Street representing the record manufacturers, with EMI and Decca as its founding members. GE/RCA/EMI/IFPI stayed with American terminology when they opened their doors as Phonographic Performances Limited. The significance of this event is that it opened a new income-stream in Europe that was not possible in the USA. To reinforce its new position of power, PPL added warning notices to all British records that did not appear on American record labels.*
*See: references for IFPI, etc., under the entry for 1933.
1935: Between 17th August and the 15th November, American interests pulled out of direct involvement in EMI. RCA sold its stock for $10 million in cash. Whatever the reasons given, GE/RCA had achieved a goal of establishing in European law the idea that when a person or a company buys a product, their purchase in some instances is conditional, and more akin to a lease, since the manufacturer continues to have a legal attachment to that product. Today, the effects of that initial test law suit in Bristol continue to be felt by the users of everything from electronic games to motion pictures.*
*See: Acquittal in Oink music piracy trial ‘deep disappointment’ to IFPI group. Music industry vows to continue pursuing Middlesbrough man acquitted of piracy in case compared to Sweden's Pirate Bay. The Guardian, Thursday 21 January 2010.
1938: The audience claimed for the commercial stations broadcasting into the United Kingdom seems to vary, and with a very large swing upwards of eighty-percent on Sundays, although finding documented evidence of these claims is rather difficult. One reason for audiences deserting the BBC in droves on Sundays was due to John Reith's insistence that the BBC only broadcast a mixture of religion and non-entertaining programming on that day.*
*See: Radio, Morality, and Culture: Britain, Canada, and the United States, 1919-1945; By Robert S. Fortner. See page 51. Southern Illinois University Press, (2005) ISBN-10: 0809326647
While the UK entered World War II, the continental English language commercial radio stations were being forced off the airwaves by the arrival of hostile armies which occupied their facilities. Meanwhile, US troops arriving in Britain complained about the fare offered by the BBC radio, and their disquiet resulted in the creation of the American Forces Network in the UK. After July 1943, upwards of seventy-five AFN stations came on air broadcasting from British soil, with the exception of the London area where an extensive internal system of wired broadcasting was employed to relay AFN programmes. These AFN stations, which were located on new US bases and inside military hospitals and other U.S. facilities, were heard for up to nineteen hours a day all over the United Kingdom. Transmissions were broadcast on 218.1 metres (1375kHz); 213.9 metres (1402kHz); 212.6 metres (1411kHz); 211.3 metres (1420kHz), and 207.3 metres (1447kHz). Spill-over signals carried transcribed American programming (minus their U.S. domestic commercials), into adjoining British homes and netted a sizable UK civilian audience. AFN put to rest a claim that it was impossible to licence additional stations because of a lack of available space on the broadcasting band. It was a claim made prior to WWII and it was a resurrected claim that was made after WWII. But the existence of AFN broadcasting from multiple locations within the UK during World War II is still not a part of general information today.*
*: AFN research provided courtesy of Svenn Martinsen
On 7th June 1944, the day after D-Day landings in Normandy, the BBC was ordered to begin transmitting the Allied Expeditionary Forces Programme (AEF), on 514 meters (583kHz), to promote unity of purpose among the invading British, American and Canadian troops with a mainly up tempo music format. After VE-Day on the 28th July 1945, AEF went off the air to be replaced by the BBC Light Programme. The Allied Occupation Forces then tuned to their respective British, American and Canadian military broadcasting services. Back in London on the last day of 1945, listeners heard the announcer sign-off with the words: “AFN London now leaves the air after fifty-three months' faithful service.” The Star Spangled Banner was played and AFN vanished from the British airwaves and in many instances, from the history of British broadcasting.*
*: AFN research provided courtesy of Svenn Martinsen
With the end of WWII the new American Forces Network (AFN) radio stations which had been established on US bases on the continent of Europe, began to provide listeners in the UK with one of the few English language entertainment alternatives to BBC programming that were available to British listeners.*
*:AFN research provided courtesy of Svenn Martinsen
1946: Radio Luxembourg restarted daytime commercial transmissions (mainly in French but with some English language programming) on Long Wave. On July 2 1951 the English programmes of Radio Luxembourg were moved to the medium wave frequency of 208 metres (1439 kHz).*
1952: On 7th September, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Courier became an operational radio broadcasting relay station for the Voice of America which commenced transmissions from its anchorage off the island of Rhodes, Greece.*
*See: USCC Courier and: USCC Courier, history Also: President Truman dedicates radio ship, front page story: March 5 1952
1954: British commercial broadcasting lobby succeeded in getting the Television Act enacted on 30th July 1954, which led to the creation of an Independent Television Service, with strings attached to the Establishment. The lobby was not successful in getting licenses for commercial radio stations.*
*See: Pressure Group The Campaign for Commercial Television in England, by H. H. Wilson. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, (1961).
1957: On Valentine's Day, 14th February, Sir Edward Hulton sold his grandson Jocelyn Stevens a Victorian fashion magazine. It was called The Queen but Beatrix Miller, who he hired as editor, chopped off its prefix and invented a style sheet to identify the new target of readership. Beatrix loved naming things and she gave her new stereotypical reader the name Caroline. This imaginary girl was described as being young; good looking; men would enjoy taking to bed, but not taking as a wife. Therefore the advertising content of ‘Queen’ magazine aimed at portraying both opulence and manifested frivolity, while its editorial pages suggested tattle for soirees.
Fresh out of Cambridge University, young Jocelyn sped around London in his sports car to mingle with a societal clique called The Princess Margaret Set. Her photographer-husband Antony Charles Robert Armstrong-Jones and her good friend and feature-writer Cecil Robin Douglas-Home, both became contributors to ‘Queen’ magazine. Among the many influential people who moved within that exclusive circle, was the retired commercial radio entrepreneur, and former Conservative Member of Parliament Leonard Plugge.
Jocelyn was also a very angry young man. He fumed that the older members of the ‘Establishment’ had made such a mess of the ‘Suez Crisis’ which had taken place just a few months earlier. In ten years from the day that he became the new publisher of ‘Queen’, he would be witnessing the end of the legal era of British commercial offshore radio which he and Beatrix were soon to help set in motion.*
*That same Valentine's Day of 1967 which was then ten years into the future, would also be the occasion on which The New York Times would ‘gift’ its readers with an exposé of media manipulation by CIA funding. See: Puppets on Strings: How American Mass Media Manipulated British Commercial Radio Broadcasting, page 61 supra by Eric Gilder and Mervyn Hagger. The Romanian Journal of English Studies; Editura Universității de Vest Timişoara, no.6, 2009 - ISSN 1584-37342009); and: Prophecies of Dystopic “Old World, New World” Transitions Told: The World Tomorrow Radio Broadcasts to the United Kingdom: 1965-1967, in New/Old Worlds: Spaces of Transition, Bucuresti: Univers Enciclopedic (2007); and: Brash Young Giant, Time magazine, February 23 1962, which includes information about the introduction of the ‘Caroline’ journalism theme at Queen magazine by Jocelyn Stevens; also: Coleridge, Nicholas and Quinn, Stephen, The Sixties in Queen, Ebury, London, 1987, ISBN 85223-618-2, with an introduction by Jocelyn Stevens providing a historical review of Queen magazine during his ownership as publisher from 1957 to 1968. On page 6 he observed: “On 30th January 1962, I had dropped the prefix ‘The’ ...”; Crewe, Quentin: Autobiography, Hutchinson, London, 1991. ISBN 0-09-174835-6. See reference to Queen magazine on page 149 supra; Crewe, Quentin: The Frontiers of Privilege: A century of social conflict as reflected in The Queen, Collins, London, 1961, with introduction by Jocelyn Stevens; Quentin Crewe: Obituary, The Independent, November 16, 1998; The Independent, Anne Trehearne, Queen Fashion Editor Obituary with comments about Beatrix Miller, September 14 2006; The Queen, August 30, 1961, page 118: “Society in its traditional form was dead. Now we have the Establishment instead ... Lately even the Establishment, who once never complained of each other, never resigned or were proved wrong, have begun to complain, resign and be proved wrong.” - Observation by Jocelyn Stevens; The Queen magazine, Christmas Number 1961, page 2 - Caroline subscription invitation; Queen magazine, February 1 1967: Jacqueline Kennedy cover story by Robin Douglas-Home, page 32 - “... she loathed publicity for ... her children ... especially she loathed her children being used as publicity attractions ...”; Liz Tilberis, No Time to Die, Avon, N.Y., 1998, ISBN 0-380-73226-2, with comments on pages 76-78, by this co-worker about the penchant of Beatrix Miller to give everything a name.
1958: On August 2, after gaining inspiration from the Voice of America radio ship Courier, the Danish offshore commercial broadcasting station Radio Mercur began transmissions from mv Cheeta. On 31st August 1958 the station also started programmes aimed at Sweden under the name Skånes Radio Mercur. Initially they shared the output but later a second transmitter was installed so that both could broadcast simultaneously.*
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