BBC World Service

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For the BBC television network, see BBC World News.
"World Service" redirects here. For the albums, see World Service (Spear of Destiny album) and World Service (Delirious? album).
BBC World Service
Type Radio network broadcasting News, Speech, Discussions
Country United Kingdom
Availability Worldwide
Slogan The World's Radio Station
Headquarters Broadcasting House, London
Broadcast area
Worldwide
Owner BBC
Key people
Peter Horrocks (Director)
Launch date
19 December 1932 (1932-12-19)
Former names
BBC Empire Service
BBC Overseas Service
External Services of the BBC
Official website
bbc.com/worldserviceradio

The BBC World Service is the world's largest international broadcaster,[1][2] broadcasting news, speech and discussions in 28 languages[3] to many parts of the world on analogue and digital shortwave platforms, internet streaming, podcasting, satellite, FM and MW relays. The World Service was reported to have reached 188 million people a week on average in June 2009.[4] It does not carry advertising, and the English language service broadcasts 24 hours a day.

The World Service was funded by grant-in-aid through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the British Government[5] until 1 April 2014 when funding switched to the compulsory television licence fee levied on every household in the United Kingdom using a television to watch broadcast programmes.[6]

BBC World Service is a patron of the Radio Academy.[7] The Director of the World Service is Peter Horrocks.

History[edit]

The BBC World Service began as the BBC Empire Service in 1932 as a shortwave service[8] aimed principally at English speakers in the outposts of the British Empire. In his first Christmas Message, King George V stated that the service was intended for "men and women, so cut off by the snow, the desert, or the sea, that only voices out of the air can reach them."[9] First hopes for the Empire Service were low. The Director General, Sir John Reith (later Lord Reith) said in the opening programme: "Don't expect too much in the early days; for some time we shall transmit comparatively simple programmes, to give the best chance of intelligible reception and provide evidence as to the type of material most suitable for the service in each zone. The programmes will neither be very interesting nor very good."[9][10] This address was read out five times as it was broadcast live to different parts of the world.

On 3 January 1938, the first foreign language service, Arabic, was launched. German programmes commenced on 29 March 1938 and by the end of 1942 broadcasts were being made in all major European languages. As a result, the Empire Service was renamed the BBC Overseas Service in November 1939, and a dedicated BBC European Service was added in 1941. These broadcasting services, financed not from the domestic licence fee but from government grant-in-aid (from the Foreign Office budget), were known administratively as the External Services of the BBC.

The External Services broadcast propaganda during the Second World War. George Orwell broadcast many news bulletins on the Eastern Service during World War II.[11][12][13]

By the end of the 1940s the number of languages broadcast had expanded and reception had improved following the opening of a relay in modern day Malaysia and of the Limassol relay, Cyprus, in 1957. On 1 May 1965 the service took its current name of BBC World Service[14] and the service itself expanded its reach with the opening of the Ascension Island relay in 1966, serving African audiences with greater signal and reception, and the later relay on the Island of Masirah.

In August 1985, the service went off the air for the first time when workers struck in protest at the British government's decision to ban a documentary featuring an interview with Martin McGuinness of Sinn Féin. The External Services were renamed under the BBC World Service brand in 1988.

In recent years, the number and type of services offered by the BBC has decreased due to financial pressures. Due to the launch of internet based services, the need for a radio station is less frequent in countries where the population has easy access to the internet news sites of the BBC. The German broadcasts were stopped in March 1999 after research showed that the majority of German listeners tuned into the English version of the service. Broadcasts in Dutch, Finnish, French for Europe, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese and Malay were stopped for similar reasons.

On 25 October 2005 it was announced that the Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Greek, Hungarian, Kazakh, Polish, Slovak, Slovene and Thai language radio services would end by March 2006 to finance the launch of an Arabic and Persian language TV news channel in 2007.[15] Additionally, Romanian broadcasts ceased on 1 August 2008.

More service closures came in January 2011 when the closing of five language services was announced as a result of the financial situation the corporation was facing following the eventual financial transfer of responsibility for the World Service from the Foreign Office to the BBC licence fee. The Albanian, Macedonian, Portuguese for Africa, Serbian, and English for the Caribbean services were closed; the Russian, Ukrainian, Mandarin Chinese, Turkish, Vietnamese, Azeri and Spanish for Cuba services ceased broadcasting a radio service and the Hindi, Indonesian, Kyrgyz, Nepali, Swahili, Kinyarwanda and Kirundi services ceased transmission on the short wave band. The British government announced that the three Balkan countries had luxuriant access to international information and continuation of broadcast in the local tongues had become unnecessary. 650 jobs went as part of the cuts and the service is facing a sixteen percent budget cut.[16][17][18]

In March 2011 The Guardian published an article concerning an agreement between the World Service Trust (a World Service-linked broadcasting development charity) and the US State Department, in which the latter would provide the charity with a "low six figure" sum so that new technology could be developed that would stop jamming and to educate people on how to avoid state censorship should they want to.[19] However, the agreement has caused accusations that these measures would encourage a pro-American bias within the service and would help America win the 'Information War'.[20][21][22][23]

Operation[edit]

The BBC World Service is located in Broadcasting House, London.

The BBC World Service broadcasts from Broadcasting House in London, headquarters of the corporation as a whole. The service is located in the new constructions of the building and contains radio and television studios for use by the several language services. The building also contains an integrated newsroom used by the international World Service, the international television channel BBC World News, the domestic television and radio BBC News bulletins, the BBC News Channel and the local news for the BBC London region on television and radio.

Bush House in London was home to the World Service between 1941 and 2012.

Upon launch, the service was located, along with nearly all Radio output, in Broadcasting House. However, following the explosion of a parachute mine outside the building on 8 December 1940, the services relocated to new premises away from the likely target of Broadcasting House.[24] The Overseas service relocated to premises in Oxford Street while the European service moved temporarily to the emergency broadcasting facilities at Maida Vale Studios.[24] The European services moved permanently into Bush House towards the end of 1940, completing the move in 1941, with the Overseas services joining them in 1958.[25] Bush House subsequently became the home of the BBC World Service and the building itself has gained a global reputation with the audience of the service.[25][26] However, the building was vacated in 2012 as a result of the Broadcasting House changes[25] and the end of the building's lease that year;[27] the first service to move was the Burmese Service on 11 March 2012[28] and the final broadcast was a news bulletin broadcast at 11.00GMT on 12 July 2012.[27][29][30][31]

The BBC World Service is used to describe an English 24-hour global radio network and separate services in 27 languages. News and information is available on all these languages on the BBC Website with many having RSS feeds and specific versions for use on mobile phones and some also using email notification of stories. In addition to the English service, 18 of the language services broadcast a radio service using the Short wave, AM or the FM band. These programmes are also available to listen live over the internet, can be listened to again over the internet for seven days or indefinitely in some cases and, in the case of seven language services, can be downloaded as podcasts. One can also listen to the news from the BBC News app, which is available on both iTunes and the Google Play Store.[32] In recent years, video content has also been used by the World Service; 16 language services now show video reports in that language on the service's website and two services now have dedicated television channels – BBC Arabic launched in 2008 and BBC Persian launched in 2009. Television services are also used to broadcast the radio service, with local cable and satellite television operators providing the English network and occasionally some local language services free to air on their services. The English language service is also available on digital radio in the UK and Europe.[33][34]

Traditionally, the BBC World Service relied on shortwave broadcasts, because of its ability to overcome barriers of censorship, distance and spectrum scarcity. To this end, the BBC has maintained a worldwide network of shortwave relay stations since the 1940s, mainly in former British colonies. These cross border broadcasts have also been used in special circumstances to broadcast emergency messages to British subjects abroad, such as the advice to evacuate Jordan during the Black September incidents of September 1970. These facilities were privatised in 1997 as Merlin Communications, which were later acquired and operated as part of a wider network for multiple broadcasters by VT Communications (now part of Babcock International Group). It is also common for BBC programmes to air on traditionally Voice of America or ORF transmitters, while their programming is relayed by a station physically located in the UK. However, since the 1980s, satellite distribution has made it possible for local stations to relay BBC programming.

The World Service aims to be "the world's best-known and most-respected voice in international broadcasting, thereby bringing benefit to the UK, the BBC and to audiences around the world"[35] while retaining a "balanced British view" of international developments.[36] Like the rest of the BBC, the World Service is a Crown corporation of the UK Government. Until 2014, unlike the rest of the corporation, which is funded through a television licence fee, the World Service was funded through a Parliamentary grant-in-aid given by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In 2008/9 the BBC World Service received 12.4% of the department's £2.2 billion budget[37][38] and in the financial year 2011/12, the service received £255.2 million from this grant.[39]

In addition to broadcasting, the BBC World Service also devotes resources to the BBC Learning English programme which helps people learn English.[40]

Languages[edit]

Current[edit]

In addition to the BBC World Service broadcasts in English, the service also provides services catering for 27 other languages. These are:

Of these languages, a television service operates for the Arabic and Persian languages with a smaller service on IPTV for the Russian language. A radio service exists for 18 of the language services:

Previous[edit]

The World Service has previously operated a number of different language services, targeted to different audiences. The table lists all of the current and former language services and when they operated.[33][41][42]

Language Start Date Close Date Website
Afrikaans 14 May 1939 8 September 1957
Albanian 12 November 1940
20 February 1993
20 January 1967
28 February 2011
BBC Albanian Archive
Arabic 3 January 1938 BBC Arabic
Azeri 30 November 1994 BBC Azeri
Belgian French & Belgian Dutch 28 September 1940 30 March 1952
Bengali 11 October 1941 BBC Bangla
Bulgarian 7 February 1940 23 December 2005 BBC Bulgarian Archive
Burmese 2 September 1940 BBC Burmese
Croatian 29 September 1991 31 January 2006 BBC Croatian Archive
Cantonese Chinese 5 May 1941 BBC Chinese
Hokkien Chinese 1 October 1942 7 February 1948
Mandarin Chinese 19 May 1941 25 March 2011 BBC Chinese
Czech 31 December 1939 28 February 2006 BBC Czech Archive
Danish 9 April 1940 10 August 1957
Dutch 11 April 1940 10 August 1957
Dutch for Indonesia 28 August 1944
25 May 1946
2 April 1945
13 May 1951
English 25 December 1936 BBC World Service
English for the Caribbean 25 December 1976 25 March 2011 BBC Caribbean Archive
Finnish 18 March 1940 31 December 1997[43]
French for Africa 20 June 1960 BBC French
French for Canada 2 November 1942 8 May 1980
French for Europe 27 September 1938 31 March 1995
French for South-East Asia 28 August 1944 3 April 1955
German 27 September 1938 26 March 1999[44]
German for Austria 29 March 1943 15 September 1957
Greek 30 September 1939 31 December 2005 BBC Greek Archive
Greek for Cyprus 16 September 1940 3 June 1951
Gujarati 1 March 1942 3 September 1944
Hausa 13 March 1957 BBC Hausa
Hebrew 30 October 1949 28 October 1968
Hindi 11 May 1940 BBC Hindi
Hungarian 5 September 1939 31 December 2005 BBC Hungarian Archive
Icelandic 1 December 1940 26 June 1944
Italian 27 September 1938 31 December 1981
Indonesian 30 October 1949 BBC Indonesian
Japanese 4 July 1943 31 March 1991
Kazakh 1 April 1995 16 December 2005 BBC Kazakh Archive
Kinyarwanda 8 September 1994 BBC Kinyarwanda
Kyrgyz 1 April 1995 BBC Kyrgyz
Luxembourgish 29 May 1943 30 May 1952
Macedonian 6 January 1996 4 March 2011 BBC Macedonian Archive
Malay 2 May 1941 31 March 1991
Maltese 10 August 1940 31 December 1981
Marathi 1 March 1942
31 December 1944
3 September 1944
25 December 1958
Nepali 7 June 1969 BBC Nepali
Norwegian 9 April 1940 10 August 1957
Pashto 15 August 1981 BBC Pashto
Persian 28 December 1940 BBC Persian
Polish 7 September 1939 23 December 2005 BBC Polish Archive
Portuguese for Africa 4 June 1939 25 February 2011 BBC Portuguese for Africa Archive
Portuguese for Brasil 14 March 1938 BBC Brasil
Portuguese for Europe 4 June 1939 10 August 1957
Romanian 15 September 1939 1 August 2008 BBC Romanian Archive
Russian 7 October 1942
24 March 1946
26 May 1943 BBC Russian
Serbian 29 September 1991 25 February 2011[45] BBC Serbian Archive
Sinhala 10 March 1942
11 March 1990
30 March 1976 BBC Sinhala
Slovak 31 December 1941 31 December 2005 BBC Slovak Archive
Slovene 22 April 1941 23 December 2005 BBC Slovene Archive
Somali 18 July 1957 BBC Somali
Spanish for Latin America 14 March 1938 BBC Mundo
Swahili 27 June 1957 BBC Swahili
Swedish 12 February 1940 4 March 1961
Tamil 3 May 1941 BBC Tamil
Thai 27 April 1941
3 June 1962
5 March 1960
13 January 2006
BBC Thai Archive
Turkish 20 November 1939 BBC Turkish
Ukrainian 1 June 1992 BBC Ukrainian
Urdu 3 April 1949 BBC Urdu
Uzbek 30 November 1994 BBC Uzbek
Vietnamese 6 February 1952 BBC Vietnamese
Welsh for Patagonia, Argentina 1945 1946
Yugoslav (Serbo-Croatian) 15 September 1939 28 September 1991

Programming[edit]

At present, the English language service of the World Service offers a schedule consisting mainly of news and background programmes with some other cultural programmes also featuring. Mainstays of the current BBC World Service schedule include the news programmes Newsday, World Update, Newshour and World Briefing, and the daily arts and entertainment news programme The Strand, which started in late 2008. There are daily science programmes, including Health Check, the technology programme Click and Science in Action. At the weekends, much of the schedule is taken up by Sportsworld, which often includes live commentary of Premier League football matches. On Sundays the international, interdisciplinary discussion programme The Forum is broadcast. On weekdays, an hour of the schedule is given over to World: Have Your Say which encourages listeners to participate in discussing current events via text message, phone calls, emails and blog postings.

Previously, other programming was broadcast including music programmes, such as those presented by John Peel, classical music programmes presented by Edward Greenfield, religious programmes with mostly Anglican celebrations, often from the Church of St. Martin in the Fields, weekly drama, educational programmes such as English-language lessons, and humour, with programmes such as Just A Minute. Other notable previous programmes included Letter from America by Alistair Cooke, which was broadcast for over 50 years; Off the Shelf, which featured a daily reading from a novel, biography or history book; and Outlook, a long running human interest story programme, first broadcast in July 1966 and presented for more than thirty years by John Tidmarsh. Further examples of the broad range of programmes for the audience can be seen through programmes included A Jolly Good Show, a musical requests programme presented by Dave Lee Travis; Waveguide, a radio reception guide for listeners; The Merchant Navy Programme, a show for seafarers presented by Malcolm Billings.

While some of this range of programming is still retained, since the late 1990s, the focus of the station has been as a news network, with news bulletins added every half-hour following the outbreak of the Iraq War.

News[edit]

The core feature of much World Service scheduling is the news. This is almost always transmitted at one minute past the hour, where there is a five-minute bulletin, and on the half-hour where there is a two-minute summary. Sometimes these bulletins are separated from the programmes being transmitted, whilst at other times they are integral to the programme (such as with World Briefing, Newshour or The World Today). As part of the BBC's policy for breaking news, the BBC World Service is the first service to receive a full report for foreign news.[46]

The BBC World Service employs a team of 8 staff announcer/newsreaders.[citation needed] As of late 2011, following restructuring in the Presentation department, those who regularly read the news are:

The following freelancers can also be heard on the network:

Availability[edit]

Africa[edit]

Broadcasts have traditionally come from the UK, Cyprus, the large BBC Atlantic Relay Station on Ascension Island, and the smaller Lesotho Relay Station and Indian Ocean Relay Station on Seychelles. A large part of the English schedule is taken up by specialist programming from and for Africa, for example Network Africa, Focus on Africa and Africa Have Your Say. In the 1990s, the BBC added FM facilities in many African capital cities.

Americas[edit]

BBC shortwave broadcasts to this region were traditionally enhanced by the Atlantic Relay Station and the Caribbean Relay Company, a station in Antigua run jointly with Deutsche Welle. In addition, an exchange agreement with Radio Canada International gave access to their station in New Brunswick. However, "changing listening habits" led the World Service to end shortwave radio transmission directed to North America and Australasia on 1 July 2001.[47][48] A shortwave listener coalition formed to oppose the change.[49] Both XM Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio rebroadcast the World Service over commercial satellite radio to Canada and the United States,[50] and more than 300 public radio stations across the US carry World Service news broadcasts—mostly during the overnight and early-morning hours—over AM and FM radio, through American Public Media (APM).[51] Listeners also have the option of calling a US number to listen to a live stream, 712-432-6580. The BBC and Public Radio International (PRI) co-produce the programme The World with WGBH Radio Boston, and the BBC is also involved with The Takeaway morning news programme based at WNYC in New York City. BBC World Service programming also airs as part of CBC Radio One's CBC Radio Overnight schedule in Canada.

The BBC continues to broadcast to Central America and South America in several languages. It is possible to receive the Western African shortwave radio broadcasts from eastern North America, but the BBC does not guarantee reception in this area.[52] It has ended its specialist programming to the Falkland Islands but continues to provide a stream of World Service programming to the Falkland Islands Radio Service.[53]

Asia[edit]

For several decades, the World Service's largest audiences have been in Asia, the Middle East, Near East and South Asia. Transmission facilities in the UK and Cyprus have been supplemented by the former BBC Eastern Relay Station in Oman and the Far Eastern Relay Station in Singapore. The East Asian Relay Station moved to Thailand in 1997 when Hong Kong was handed over to Chinese sovereignty. Together, these facilities have given the BBC World Service an easily accessible signal in regions where shortwave listening has traditionally been popular. The English shortwave frequencies of 6195, 9740, 15310/360 and 17790/760 kHz are widely known.

The largest audiences are in English, Hindi, Urdu, Nepali, Bengali, Tamil, Sinhala and other major languages of South Asia, where BBC broadcasters are household names. The Persian service is the de facto national broadcaster of Afghanistan, along with its Iranian audience. The World Service is available up to eighteen hours a day in English across most parts of Asia, and in Arabic for the Middle East. With the addition of relays in Afghanistan and Iraq these services are accessible in most of the Middle and Near East in the evening. In Hong Kong and Singapore, the BBC World Service in English is essentially treated as a domestic broadcaster, easily available 24/7 through long-term agreements with Radio Television Hong Kong and MediaCorp Radio. In the Philippines, DZRJ 810 AM broadcasts the BBC World Service in English from 12:00–05:00 PHT (GMT+8).

Although this region has seen the launch of the only two foreign language television channels, several other services have had their radio services closed as a result of budget cuts and redirection of resources.[54][55]

Jamming[edit]

Iran, Iraq and Myanmar/Burma have all jammed the BBC in the past. Mandarin was heavily jammed by the People's Republic of China until short wave transmissions for that service ceased[56][57] but China continues to jam transmissions in Uzbek[58][59] and has since started to jam transmissions in English throughout Asia.[59][60]

Europe[edit]

The World Service employed a medium wave transmitter at Orford Ness to provide English-language coverage to Europe, including on the frequency 648 kHz (which could be heard in parts of the south-east of England). Transmissions on this frequency were stopped on 27 March 2011, as a consequence of the budgetary constraints imposed on the BBC World Service in the 2010 budget review.[61] A second channel (1296 kHz) traditionally broadcast in various Central European languages, but in 2005 it began regular English-language transmissions via the Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) format.[62] This is a digital shortwave technology that VT expects to become the standard for cross-border transmissions in developed countries.

In the 1990s, the BBC purchased and constructed large medium wave and FM networks in the former Soviet bloc, particularly the Czech (BBC Czech Section), Slovak Republics (BBC Slovak Section), Poland (BBC Polish Section) (where it was a national network) and Russia (BBC Russian Service). It had built up a strong audience during the Cold War, whilst economic restructuring made it difficult for these governments to refuse Western investment. Many of these facilities have now returned to domestic control, as economic and political conditions have changed.

On Monday 18 February 2008, the BBC World Service stopped analogue shortwave transmissions to Europe. The notice stated, "Increasing numbers of people around the world are choosing to listen to radio on a range of other platforms including FM, satellite and online, with fewer listening on shortwave."[63] It is sometimes possible to pick up the BBC World Service in Europe on SW frequencies targeted at North Africa. The BBC's powerful 198 kHz LW, which broadcasts the domestic BBC Radio 4 to Britain during the day (and carries the World Service during the night) can also be heard in nearby parts of Europe, including the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium and parts of France, Germany and Scandinavia.

On Wednesday, 10 December 2008, BBC World Service and Deutsche Welle started broadcasting a joint DRM digital radio station. It broadcasts a mix of English-language news and information programmes produced by each partner, and is aimed at an audience in mainland Europe. The station hopes, among other things, to stimulate the production of DRM radio receivers.

Former BBC shortwave transmitters are located in the United Kingdom at Rampisham, Woofferton and Skelton. The former BBC East Mediterranean Relay Station is in Cyprus.

Pacific[edit]

Shortwave relays from Singapore (see Asia, above) continue, but historic relays via Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Radio New Zealand International were wound down in the late 1990s. The World Service is available as part of the subscription Digital Air package (available from Foxtel and Austar) in Australia. ABC NewsRadio, SBS Radio, and various community radio stations also broadcast many programmes. Many of these stations broadcast a straight feed during the midnight to dawn period. It is also available via the satellite service Optus Aurora, which is encrypted but available without subscription.

Japan and Korea have little tradition of World Service listening, although during the 1970s to 1980s, shortwave listening was popular in Japan. In those two countries, the BBC World Service was only available via shortwave and the Internet. As of September 2007, a satellite transmission (subscription required) became available by Skylife (Channel 791) in South Korea.

In Sydney, Australia a transmission of the service can be received at 152.025 MHz. It is also available on the DAB+ Network in Australia under the name of SBS6.

BBC World Service relays on Radio Australia now carry the BBC Radio news programmes. 2MBS-FM 102.5, a classical music station in Sydney, also carries the BBC World Service news programmes at 7am and 8am on weekdays, during its 'Music for a New Day' breakfast programme.

In New Zealand, stations of the Auckland Radio Trust and the Association of Community Access Broadcasters carry some BBC World Service content including a 24/7 transmission on an AM Frequency (810 kHz) in Auckland.

UK[edit]

The BBC World Service does not receive funding for broadcasts to the UK, and reliable medium wave reception was possible in only southeast of England from the 648 kHz service which ceased in 2011 as a cost-cutting measure. Since the introduction of digital broadcasting, the World Service's output has been made more widely available in the UK with the service now being carried on DAB, Freeview, Virgin Media and Sky platforms. The World Service is also broadcast overnight on the frequencies of BBC Radio 4 following the latter's closedown at 0100 British time.

Presentation[edit]

The current BBC World Service signature tune and an example of a top-of-the-hour announcement.

The World Service uses several tunes and sounds to represent the station. The current signature tune of the station is a five note motif, composed by David Arnold and which comprises a variety of voices declaim "This is the BBC in..." before going on to name various cities (e.g. Kampala, Milan, Delhi, Johannesburg), followed by the station's slogan and the Greenwich Time Signal.[64][65] This is heard throughout the network with a few variations – in the UK the full service name is spoken whereas just the name of the BBC is used outside the UK. The phrase "This is London" was used previously in place of the station slogan.

The tune Lillibullero is another well known signature tune of the network following its broadcast previously as part of the top-of-the-hour sequence.[65] This piece of music is still heard before certain bulletins and as a shortened version elsewhere, but it is used less often than previously.[64] The use of the tune has gained some controversy because of its background as a Protestant marching song in Northern Ireland.[64][65]

The BBC World Service announcement and time signal at Midnight GMT, 1 January 2009

In addition to these tunes, the BBC World Service also uses several interval signals. The English service uses a recording of the Bow Bells, made in 1926 and used a symbol of hope during the Second World War, only replaced for a brief time during the 1970s with the tune to the nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons. The morse code of the letter "V" has also been used as a signal and was introduced in January 1941 and had several variations including timpani, the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony (which coincide with the letter "V"), and electronic tones which until recently remained in use for some Western European services. In other languages, the interval signal is three notes, pitched B–B-C. However, these symbols have been used less frequently.

The network operates using GMT, regardless of the time zone and time of year, and is announced on the hour on the English service as "13 hours Greenwich Mean Time" (1300 GMT) or "Midnight Greenwich Mean Time" (0000 GMT). At the start of the new year, as part of an annual tradition, the BBC World Service broadcasts the chimes of Big Ben in London.

Magazine publishing[edit]

At various times in its history, the BBC World Service has published magazines and programme guides:

  • London Calling: listings
  • BBC Worldwide: included features of interest to an international audience (included London Calling as an insert)
  • BBC on Air: mainly listings
  • BBC Focus on Africa: current affairs

Of these, only BBC Focus on Africa is still being published.

Comparison[edit]

Estimated total direct programme hours per week of some external radio broadcasters for 1996
Broadcaster 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 1996[2]
United States VOA, RFE/RL & Radio Martí 497 1,495 1,907 1,901 2,611 1,821
China China Radio International 66 687 1,267 1,350 1,515 1,620
United Kingdom BBC World Service 643 589 723 719 796 1,036
Russia Radio Moscow / Voice of Russia[3][1] 533 1,015 1,908 2,094 1,876 726
Germany Deutsche Welle 0 315 779 804 848 655
Egypt Radio Cairo (ERTU) 0 301 540 546 605 604
Iran IRIB World Service / Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran 12 24 155 175 400 575
India All India Radio 116 157 271 389 456 500
Japan NHK World Radio Japan 0 203 259 259 343 468
France Radio France Internationale 198 326 200 125 379 459
Netherlands Radio Netherlands Worldwide[1] 127 178 335 289 323 392
Israel Israel Radio International[1] 0 91 158 210 253 365
Turkey Voice of Turkey 40 77 88 199 322 364
North Korea Radio Pyongyang / Voice of Korea 0 159 330 597 534 364
Bulgaria Radio Bulgaria[1] 30 117 164 236 320 338
Australia Radio Australia 181 257 350 333 330 307
Albania Radio Tirana (RTSH) 26 63 487 560 451 303
Romania Radio Romania International 30 159 185 198 199 298
Spain Radio Exterior de España 68 202 251 239 403 270
Portugal RDP Internacional[1] 46 133 295 214 203 226
Cuba Radio Havana Cuba 0 0 320 424 352 203
Italy Rai Italia Radio[1] 170 205 165 169 181 203
Canada Radio Canada International[1] 85 80 98 134 195 175
Poland Radio Polonia[1] 131 232 334 337 292 171
South Africa Radio RSA / Channel Africa 0 63 150 183 156 159
Sweden Sveriges Radio International[1] 28 114 140 155 167 149
Hungary Magyar Rádió[1] 76 120 105 127 102 144
Czech Republic Radio Prague[1][4] 119 196 202 255 131 131
Nigeria Voice of Nigeria 0 0 62 170 120 127
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Radio Belgrade / International Radio of Serbia 80 70 76 72 96 68

Source: International Broadcast Audience Research, June 1996

The list includes about a quarter of the world's external broadcasters whose output is both publicly funded and worldwide. Among those excluded are Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea and various international commercial and religious stations.

Notes:

  1. Does not broadcast on shortwave as of 2014.
  2. 1996 figures as at June; all other years as at December.
  3. Before 1991, broadcasting for the former USSR.
  4. Before 1996, broadcasting for the former Czechoslovakia.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Microsoft Word - The Work of the BBC World Service 2008-09 HC 334 FINAL.doc" (PDF). Retrieved 16 February 2011. 
  2. ^ "World s largest international broadcaster visits city". Coal Valley News. Retrieved 16 February 2011. 
  3. ^ BBC World Service – About | Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bbcworldservice/info
  4. ^ "BBC's international news services attract record global audience of 238 million". BBC. 
  5. ^ "BBC World Service (BBCWS), The UK's Voice around the World". BBC. Archived from the original on 1 November 2006. 
  6. ^ "About Us: BBC World Service". British Foreign & Commonwealth Office. 22 October 2010. Retrieved 9 January 2011. 
  7. ^ The Radio Academy "Patrons"
  8. ^ Repa, Jan (25 October 2005). "Analysis: BBC's voice in Europe". BBC News. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "Historic moments from the 1930s". BBC World Service. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  10. ^ Transcribed from recording on World Service 75th Anniversary DVD; full extract transmitted as part of opening program – the Reith Global Debate – of the 'Free to Speak' 75th anniversary season
  11. ^ West, W. J., ed. (1985). Orwell: The War Broadcasts. Duckworth & Co/BBC. ISBN 0-563-20327-7. 
  12. ^ West, W. J., ed. (1985). Orwell: The War Commentaries. Duckworth & Co/BBC. ISBN 978-0-563-20349-0. 
  13. ^ "Historic moments from the 1940s". BBC World Service. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  14. ^ "The 1960s". BBC World Service. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  15. ^ "BBC East Europe voices silenced". BBC News. 21 December 2005. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  16. ^ "BBC World Service to cut five language services". BBC News. 26 January 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  17. ^ "BBC World Service cuts outlined to staff". BBC News. 26 January 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  18. ^ Plunkett, John (26 January 2011). "BBC World Service to 'cut up to 650 jobs'". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  19. ^ Dowell, Ben (20 March 2011). "BBC World Service to sign funding deal with US state department". The Guardian (London). 
  20. ^ "BBC World Service and US State Department: new partners, new bias?". RT (Russia Today). 23 March 2011. Archived from the original on 31 May 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  21. ^ "BBC World Service to sign funding deal with US state department". Retrieved 20 March 2011. 
  22. ^ "BBC World Service and US State Department: new partners, new bias?". Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  23. ^ "American anger at BBC World Service Trust's bid for US funding". Retrieved 22 March 2011. 
  24. ^ a b Thomas, Ronan. "BBC Broadcasting House". West End at War.org.uk. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  25. ^ a b c "Why is the HQ called Bush House?". Frequently Asked Questions. BBC World Service. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  26. ^ "BBC Buildings – Bush House". The BBC Story. BBC. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  27. ^ a b "BBC World Service leaves Bush House". BBC News. 12 July 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
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External links[edit]

  • BBC World Service at BBC Online
  • BBC World Service key facts from the BBC Press Office at BBC Online
  • BBC World Service (Internet Schedule) live streaming – MP3, WMA
    • BBC World Service English News live streaming – MP3, WMA
    • BBC World Service for Africa live streaming – MP3, WMA
  • Diniacopoulos/BBC News Collection at Concordia Centre for Broadcasting and Journalism Studies – CCBS
  • BBC World Service – French, Russian and Spanish – broadcast reviews of 3 London productions of Internationalist Theatre in 1981 and 1985: Genet 'The Balcony', Gorky's 'Enemies' and Griselda Gambaro's 'El Campo'-
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