by Ray Fleming

BBC Radio is 90 today. The first broadcast in 1922 was a news bulletin, transmitted from Marconi House in The Strand, London.
At the time BBC stood for British Broadcasting Company which was jointly owned by a number of electrical firms; Company became Corporation in 1926. John Reith, who more than any other person shaped the enduring principles of State brodcasting, joined the BBC in December 1922.

The current crisis affecting the BBC is almost wholly a TV affair. Radio has its own management structure and there is no reason, therefore, why this 90th anniversary should not be used to praise what is recognised as the finest radio broadcasting service in the world. The diversity and creativity of programming from Radio 1 to Radio 6 and the World Service is remarkable and the invariable integrity of news services is respected wherever they are heard. I have never seen a calculation of the cost of, say, Radio 4, but all of BBC TV and Radio costs only 2.79 pounds a week for each user -- an outstanding bargain.

BBC Radio is not without its faults -- how could it be? But, by chance, the TV crisis enabled its critical role in national life to be demonstrated -- when John Humphrys' forensic interview of his own Director General on the Radio 4 Today programme made very clear that Mr Entwistle's career was over.