Newcommen Society - ‘BBC – 100 years of public broadcasting. Disruptive technology in action 1922-2022’ by Dr. Mark Pegg

10th April 2024 6:00 pm

In 2022, the BBC celebrated 100 years of broadcasting, having radically transformed Britain. The BBC entered our homes and made radical changes to our society and culture. With its mission to inform and educate as well as entertain, the BBC soon had a leading role in all the key events of British life – war, peace, politics and even the relationship with the monarchy – all changed forever.

What were the technologies that enabled this to happen: the scientific and technological inventions and innovations that defined the rise and rise of radio and television? This is a timeline of disruptive technologies that created the most powerful force in communications the world had ever seen. As technology continued to progress, so broadcasting went on re-inventing itself until today it is a convergence of different strands as a digital, integrated multi-media platform. It is a story of successful technological diffusion, a series of rapid and transformational impacts on our lives. The focus is on science and technology, but no account would be complete without the human factor. Broadcasting gave birth to a new breed of personalities: famous speakers, entertainers and news presenters, but it also created a cadre of engineers and technicians who made it happen.

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