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Radio For Sale: Sponsored Programming in British Radio during the 1930s

Sean Street

The Bournemouth Media School

Bournemouth University

E-mail: sstreet@bournemouth.ac.uk

http://www.ukc.ac.uk/sdfva/sound-journal/Street19991.html

Download a text version of this article for printing HERE


Abstract

During the 1930s a thriving and sophisticated understanding of radio as a selling medium was in place in Britain, supporting European English language commercial programming undermining the BBC's monopoly of the broadcast audience. Between 1930 and 1939, radio was used by many consumer brands successfully as an important part of sales campaigns, developing concepts of programme planning and the targeting of audiences which were to anticipate trends - both within the BBC and in the Independent sector - many years later.


1.

 

1.1

The idea that during the 1930s a well-organised radio advertising industry was in operation, selling product to a large British audience, is one which appears to go against our understanding of broadcasting history in this country. After all, the BBC, commencing transmissions in November 1922 held the monopoly as a Public Service Provider, the sea-change of 1956 Commercial Television was long decades away, the radio revolution of the 1960s pirates and later land-based independent radio even further - and in any event, surely during the impoverished ‘30s, radio would be hard-pressed to gain much funding at all from advertisers?

 

1.2

It is the purpose of this paper to demonstrate that during the 1930s a thriving and sophisticated understanding of radio as a selling medium, together with the necessary industrial infrastructure was in place, supporting European English language commercial programming aimed at undermining the BBC’s monopoly. Further, that radio was used by many major consumer brands successfully as an important part of sales campaigns, developing concepts of programme planning and targeting audiences. A key part of this study will be recently discovered primary evidence from the J. Walter Thompson archive and a 1935 survey of advertisers utilising selected commercial stations, conducted by Legion Information Services, and held by the BBC in its written archives at Caversham.

 

1.3

The first scheduled radio broadcast in the world is claimed to be a Dutch concert transmitted by the broadcasting pioneer Steringa Idzerda. It was transmitted from The Hague from 8.00pm – 11.00pm on 6 November 1919. 1. There had been other transmissions, including many by Idzerda himself, but this particular broadcast was significant in that it was advertised in the press, and time, date and frequency were announced. The Programme was called Soiree Musicale and it was sponsored by the Dutch electrical firm, Philips. The broadcast reached an unexpectedly large audience of amateurs, eager to put their new radio receiving equipment to the test. Idzerda was encouraged to turn his `one-off’ concert into a series, and founded a radio station to facilitate this.

 

1.4

The popularity of the programmes increased – particularly in Britain. In the Spring of 1922, the Dutch Press were reproducing a picture from the Illustrated London News dated 24 April with the caption "This is how an English family listen to the Dutch concerts". 2. The concerts, broadcast in English, were well publicised, especially in England, and in 1923 the Daily Mail took out a year’s sponsorship. A conflict arose with the Netherlands audience which complained that the programmes were not in Dutch, and in November 1924 the programming stopped due to lack of finance.

 

1.5

In the meantime the Sykes Committee on Broadcasting heard evidence in 1923 as to the appropriateness of advertising as a financial support to broadcasting. (The BBC in its early days had been established by a group of wireless manufacturers in order to promote the sale of sets). In its report, the Sykes Committee came to the conclusion that:

 

In newspaper advertising the small advertiser as well as the big gets his chance, but this would not be the case in broadcasting. The time which could be devoted to advertising would in any case be very limited, and therefore exceedingly valuable; and the operating authorities who would want revenue would naturally prefer the big advertiser who was ready to pay highly, with the result that only he would get a chance of advertising. This would be too high a privilege to give to a few big advertisers at the risk of lowering the general standard of advertising. 3.

1.6

Notwithstanding this the early Hague experiments continued to encourage others, including Captain Leonard Plugge, an entrepreneur who, in 1925, organised a fifteen minute fashion talk, broadcast in English from a studio on the Eiffel Tower, and sponsored by Selfridge’s store. With no way of publicising the programme, the transmission was a failure in audience terms. Nevertheless there were further commercial experiments throughout the 1920s. In 1927 and 1928 the Kolster Brand radio manufucturer sponsored a series of English concerts by the de Groot orchestra from Hilversum, and from 1929 to 1931 there were occasional series of record programmes broadcast from Radio Toulouse, sponsored by the Vocalion Record Company.

 

1.7

In January 1930 an anonymous BBC internal memo is commenting on a programme sponsored by Decca Records on Radio Paris and transmitted with both French and English announcers:

 

Announcements are made after every record, something like this: "You have just heard Such-and-Such, recorded on a Decca Record No.XXX. You are now going to hear Such-and-Such, recorded on a Decca Record No. ZZ." The closing announcement is more or less like this:"Ladies and Gentlemen, you have been listening to a concert offered by the Decca Gramophone Company of London and Paris. The records you have heard broadcast have been selected from requests received during the past week, and our next concert, which will take place on Sunday afternoon next, will consist of records selected as the most popular from this week’s post. We should like to hear from listeners and correspondence should be addressed to Radio Publicity Limited, -- Regent Street, London…" 4.

1.8

This early style of `live’ sponsored programming, with a presenter simply linking records was soon to give way to more complex recorded productions as the medium expanded. In January 1930, In 1932 Leonard Plugge established the International Broadcasting Company, broadcasting regular sponsored programmes from a range of European stations, notably Radio Normandy in Fecamp. From 1933 the rival Radio Luxembourg created a further outlet for commercial programming, and in the same year the Irish Free-State broadcaster, Radio Athlone began transmissions which carried commercials. The scene was set for a period in which sponsorship played a key part in English language radio – and in the popular cultural climate of Britain.

 


2

 

2.1

Through the first years of the 1930s there was a strong debate as to the merits of commercial broadcasting; Wireless Magazine carried a series of articles on the subject between 1930 and 1933, with considerable emphasis placed on the American model. The magazine claimed that the BBC itself could introduce sponsored programmes based on the lessons learned in the US, where many programmes of a `serious’ nature carried little more than the sponsor’s name, without undue interruption for advertising:

 

Just imagine what a week of sponsored hours would sound like through a BBC station… The announcer says, "Now ladies and gentlemen, you are to be the guests of The Moonlight Soap Company. The Moonlight Symphony Orchestra will open the programme with –" That would be all the advertising; the rest would be a good programme. 5.

 

2.2

In the same year the BBC decided to give its audience a taste of what commercially supported broadcasting meant in programming terms. On New Year’s Eve, 1930, an episode of the popular comedy series, Amos n’ Andy was broadcast in a relay from the US. The Radio Times gave its audience due warning:

 

We announce this in advance because a broadcast by Amos’n’ Andy is something of an event. These pretended negroes, who broadcast daily in the interest of a powerful toothpaste corporation, are the single most popular item in the American programmes… To hear Amos’n’ Andy…will be to take a step nearer to solving the great riddle of those United States. 6.

As has been pointed out by Valeria Camporesi the BBC was inviting its listeners to judge this work as a study rather than as entertainment, inviting them "to a detached evaluation of a distant culture."

 

2.3

In America, Radio as an advertising medium had been in place since the start; by 1931 there was already a growing library of books on the subject, including Broadcast Advertising by Frank A. Arnold, Director of Development at NBC and Lecturer in Broadcast Advertising at the College of the City of New York. Arnold’s writing, geared though it was to an American industry, contained many lessons for the British entrepreneurs. Fundamental was his statement of what he perceived as the four essentials of good sponsored programming:

 

First, it should be the best of its kind. Second, it should be fitted to the product. Third, it should be adapted to its audience, and fourth, it should occupy a suitable time. 8.

2.4

This last point was to prove of crucial importance to the success of English language commercial radio in the 1930s. It may therefore be claimed with some confidence that when the European Commercial campaigns of those years began in earnest, they had as their basis a sophisticated body of background research gained from American experience in all areas of Radio advertising, from audience evaluation to the relationship between product and programme.

 

2.5

The production of sponsored broadcast material meant a major adjustment in the way many advertising agencies operated. Almost all programmes were pre-recorded in Britain and shipped out to the Continental stations for transmission. In these programmes the sponsor’s message was usually integral to the overall content, which meant that the agencies had of necessity to become programme-makers as well as experts in their own field. In order to establish the expensive facilities necessary for such work, a considerable number of contracts were required, and as a result most commercial programming was inevitably produced by a relatively small number of major agencies.

 

2.6

The IBC itself quickly established itself as a facilities house, offering sophisticated studios for hire. Towards the end of the decade, it boasted proudly that it had helped set up some of the agencies’ radio services by this method:

 

It needs a good deal of radio advertising to justify a complete department. Agencies with only one or two accounts on the air cannot economically take the step of forming one. To them particularly we offer a programme unit complete in every detail and rich in experience. Since its inception in its present form, our programme unit has been responsible for nearly five thousand broadcasts on behalf of advertisers. It is currently handling productions ranging from a single voice to a cast of dozens of artistes. Any advertising agent can place this highly-skilled and efficiently-equipped organisation at the disposal of his client at no higher cost than if he were producing programmes within his own Company. 9.

2.7

Outside of the IBC’s own operation, the leading advertising agencies involved in programme-making were the London Press Exchange and the J. Walter Thompson Organisation. The necessity of recording material had as a by-product the development of new technical facilities. JWT also issued sampler records for clients, containing examples of programming of various types. Howard Thomas, then working for the London Press Exchange, produced programmes at the HMV recording studio at Abbey Road, while observing the progress made by the rival Thompson group – particularly towards the end of the 1930s - at Bush House:

 

In 1939 J. Walter Thompson were leading the way…by pioneering the Philips-Miller system of recording sound on metal tape. The BBC engineers had been experimenting with this revolutionary advance but they had failed to enthuse the programmers about its merits. Thompson’s made their own decision and installed the equipment in their studios at Bush House. The capital cost was considerable but continuous recording on tape rapidly made savings in time and money. When the BBC took over Bush House in wartime for overseas broadcasting the JWT studios and tape-recorders became an immediate asset for the propaganda drive. 10.

2.8

The nature of radio advertising, and the social environment within which it operated during the most successful years of pre-war commercial radio, may be assessed through the example of the J Walter Thompson ledgers for the years 1936, 1937, 1938 and the first months of 1939, recently discovered in the Organisation’s Berkeley Square headquarters in London. 11. Analysis of this data shows what products were deemed appropriate for a radio market. The 1930’s was a period of considerable unrest and uncertainty both at home and on the international scene. From the data available we may see how advertisers exploited the economic pressures and world-wide political uncertainty. This was already prevalent in billboard and press advertising; it is therefore not surprising that it spread into the field of commercial radio.

 

2.9

J. Walter Thompson’s books show a direct comparison between these forms. It is clear from these that most of the Organisation’s biggest spending clients invested some of their budgets on radio advertising. Given the mood of the time, further analysis confirms that the brands which spent most heavily on radio advertising tended to be relatively affordable products aimed at the household or `quack’ medicinal market. As Gillian Dyer has written 12. the 1930’s was a period of `nerve warfare’:

 

At a time of economic gloom and uncertainty, the pedlars of nerve tonics, vitamin pills and mouthwashes came into their own…readers [and listeners] were told of the dangers of contracting hitherto unknown conditions such as `halitosis’, `summer sluggishness’, `tell-tale tongue’, `listlessness’, `night starvation’ and `body odour’.

 

2.10

Dyer draws attention to a notice which appeared in a 1931 edition of Advertisers Weekly, which demonstrates the awareness of the commercial sector of the possibilities for exploitation within the social climate of the time, in this case for the manufacturer of a brand of tonic wine (Wincarnis):

 

`Rising unemployment figures, it seemed, were inevitably reducing our market; yet we refused to be intimidated by this. Consideration of the matter showed that even those who drew unemployment benefit represented a potential market and one likely to be productive enough if approached in the right way. So instead of neglecting the unemployed, we visualized them as a prospective market of 2,500,000 people. 13.

2.11

Among the largest of the agencies’ accounts were those of Reckitt’s, Horlicks, Pond’s and Kraft. Brown and Polson concentrated their campaign on Custard Powder and Cornflour, two staples of home baking. Three of the largest spenders, Rowntrees at around £250,000 total per annum, Pond’s at £130 – 150,000 total per annum and Horlicks at £200,000 total per annum show differing approaches to radio advertising. Rowntree steadily increased their radio spending from under 10% of total spend in 1936 to almost 15% by 1939. Pond’s radio budgeting remained constant, with a fifth of their total spend allocated to radio during the period. Horlicks spent more than one third of their money on radio advertising, with a daily one-hour variety programme. Many of J.Walter Thompson’s clients chose not to advertise on radio, probably because in relation to press and outdoor advertising, the production costs were comparatively high: (for example out of every £5.00 spent by Horlicks on radio, £2.00 went on production costs. This against £1.00 in £10, or less, for press production.) 14.


3.

 

3.1

The typical nature of the spending in radio in relation to total budgets of some major clients within the JWT rosta may be seen from the following table:

 

[1936] 15.

Client Total spend Airtime Radio Production Total Radio

 

B&P 74,649 11,054 3,458 14,512
Horlicks 214,557 44,179 42,830 87,009
Ponds 148,840 17,945 12,059 30,004
Rowntree 251, 953 20,569 12,218 32,787

 

 3.2

Air time could vary widely, according not only to how much was purchased on any one station or the time of day; clients, via their agents, could place the same programme on a number of different stations. For example, the Horlicks Picture House programme was broadcast simultaneously at 4.00pm each Sunday on Radio Luxembourg and Radio Normandy. In addition to this and its daily Teatime programmes, it also bought time on Normandy and Luxembourg in 1936 and 1937 at various times between 8.00am and 9.30am. At the same time, production costs for Horlicks during this period show as being almost as high as air time. This may be explained by the fact that the company’s policy was a high profile one, with top stars of the day featuring on many of its programmes. On Sunday 12 December 1937, The Horlicks Picture House presented to following: Vic Oliver, Gene Gerrard, Betty Ann Davies, Webster Booth and Helen Raymond, together with compere Edwin styles and the Horlicks All-Star Orchestra directed by Debroy Somers. 16.

 

3.3

In 1934 the IBC had countered a British press ban on publicity for its programmes by launching its own listings magazine, Radio Pictorial. From this time many of the major clients bought advertising space in the journal as well as on the air. For instance, the daily Horlicks Tea Time Hour, broadcast on weekdays on Radio Luxembourg and on Sundays on Radio Normandy between 4.00pm and 5.00pm, was supplemented by a half-page cartoon-strip featuring a series of fictional `case studies’ such as `Ames, the fighting parson’ who `worked desperately hard in a poor, thickly populated parish.’ However, when things became too much for him, `night starvation’ was diagnosed, and Horlicks provided the answer.

 

3.4

This message was carried through into the radio programmes. The advertisement in Radio Pictorial thus served two purposes: it publicised the transmission at the same time as it sold the product. Bird’s custard utilised the same double approach, as did Rinso for its Rinso Music Hall, broadcast on Luxembourg and Normandy on Sunday evenings. Here the print approach was to produce a poster-like advertisement reminiscent in style of the layout of music-hall posters with which the audience of the time would have been familiar. A programme such as this, employing major stars of the time (Sunday 31 January 1937 boasted Turner Layton, Albert Whelan and Tessie O’Shea among others) 17. was costly in production terms, and required strong print back-up of this kind in order to confirm its standing on a day when the BBC was at its most vulnerable due to its Sunday policy. (It should also be stressed that major advertising agencies had interests in areas other than just radio; so it made sense to develop the importance of linked campaigns which employed radio and press advertising as complementary rather than competitive media).

 

3.5

No marked seasonal trend was noted for most of the brands advertised. A major exception to this however was the case of Sun-Maid Raisins. With this product the spend begins in September, continues in October and November and tails off again in December. This would seem to reflect a marketing campaign aimed at housewives making mince pies, pudding and cakes for Christmas. Otherwise overall spending through the year was noted as reflecting a business reality which holds today: that is a rise in the spring, followed by a tail off before another peak in summer, an autumnal dip and a further rise in the pre-Christmas period.

 

3.6

The manufacturers of larger, relatively expensive, so-called `luxury’ goods seem from the ledgers to have decided that the radio market was inappropriate. Singer cars, for instance, began the sample period spending a proportion of their £20 – 25,000 annual advertising budget on radio, but very soon dropped out of the list, preferring to spend on press and outdoor advertising as the decade moved towards its close. The broadcaster Roy Plomley, who joined Radio Normandy in 1936, illustrated in his autobiography how lessons were learned regarding the appropriateness of product advertising:

 

Among the advertisers on Radio Normandy, among the laxatives and packet soups and soaps and gravy mixes. A firm was selling pianos, and pianos struck me as expensive items to be vended to a mass and mainly C-class audience. 18.

 

3.7

In 1936 the BBC employed RJE Silvey as part of its newly established Listener Research Group. Silvey was a crucial figure, since he had worked in the Commercial sector with the London Press Exchange, and brought with him much valuable information on the methods of agencies and commercial stations. Judging from material in the BBC’s Written Archives at Caversham, Silvey was particular active in his researches into Commercial Radio Advertising during 1937 and 1938. He has clearly been set the task of assessing if and by how much interest in commercial Radio has been growing. In a memo dated 21 October 1937, to the BBC’s Head of Public Relations, he reports on findings based on enquiries made with advertising agencies, from which he concludes that the amount spent by advertisers on buying airtime is moving dramatically upwards:

 

  • £30,000
  • £315,000
  • £630,000

     

    It is believed in well informed quarters that the 1937 figure may be very nearly double that of 1936. 19.

     3.8

    Silvey goes on to put the issue of radio advertising spending into proportion:

     

    It is interesting to compare the relative amounts spent on press and radio advertising. The total in the former is probably of the order of £15,000,000, while the latter, if the estimates I have received are reliable, is rather less than £1,500,000. 20.

     

    In a memo to Maurice Farquharson of the Listener Research Group, dated 4 February, 1938 Silvey reports:

     

    The number and importance of advertisers using commercial radio is considerable. In this coming week on Sunday morning 14 advertisers will be broadcasting from Luxembourg and 12 from Normandie. [sic.] Most of these advertisers are of very well known products, and they include Lever Bros, Rowntrees, Stork Margerine, MacLeans, Carters Liver Pills, and J. Lyons and Co. 31 advertisers will be broadcasting from Luxembourg before 10.45 in the mornings next week. They include such firms as Horlicks, Phillips Dental Magnesia, Carters Liver Pills, Cadbury Bros, Milton, Andrews Liver Salts, Rowntrees, Brooke Bond Tea, Stork Margerine, Reckitts, and `Force’ [breakfast cereal]. 38 advertisers will be broadcasting from Normandie before 10.45am next week. Among them are Horlicks, Drage, Carters Liver Pills, Milk of Magnesia, Phillips Dental Magnesia, Macleans, Odol, McDougalls Flour, Kolynos, Reckitts, Brooke Bond Tea, `Force’, Glymiel Jelly, Borwicks Baking Powder and Wincarnis.

     

    These lists are significant not only because most of these firms would be most unlikely to use an advertising medium which they did not believe to be economic, but also because many of these firms have been using commercial radio for a number of years. 21.


    4.

     

    4.1

    Not all radio advertising took the form of sponsored programmes. There were also a certain number of `spots’ sold. Unlike actual programme material, there is little remaining audible evidence of this, since the `spots’ were usually read `live’ by studio announcers, or transmitted in a similarly transient form; Ingersoll watches, for instance, sponsored `The Ingersoll Time Signal’ on Radio Normandy. Two recorded examples survive however; these were made early in 1932 at Levey’s Sound Studios, then situated in the Quadrant Arcade off Regent Street. The commercials, for Spink’s Jewellers and Renis Face cream are 60" and 90" respectively, and took the form of straight `reads’ by the late Stephen Williams, one of the first presenters on Radio Normandy and subsequently Radio Luxembourg. Given the social and economic climate, (Britain had come off the gold standard in 1931) the Spink commercial has a topicality in that it invites listeners to sell their old gold jewellery and gain "record prices, owing to the enormous increase in the price of gold…By so doing you will help yourself and help your country…" 22. The announcements were highly successful, and continued on Radio Normandy for over a year. 23. The Renis Face Cream commercial is also a straight `read’ by Stephen Williams, offering a free sample jar of the Cream to listeners who wrote to the firm’s Great Stanhope Street headquarters.

     

    4.2

    When interviewed shortly before his death in 1997, Williams recalled the occasionally serial nature of early commercials of this type, and the far-reaching effect of the medium’s storytelling power on advertisers and listeners:

     

    We invented a romantic story concerning the product; Max Staniforth [Senior Announcer, Radio Normandy] started it off with the beginnings of the story, "Long ago in the streets of Persepholis, a beautiful princess was being carried in her litter…"

     24.

     

    4.3

    The next Renis commercial would be by Williams, who continued the elaborate tale about a secret and near-miraculous beauty ungent, the secret of which was long-lost, until its recent rediscovery by archeologists :

     

    "The ingredients have now been identified, purified and gathered together again and presented to the Ladies of Britain in the form of Renis Face Cream…" and so on.

     

    4.4

    The storytelling style, with listeners gaining the latest instalment each time they tuned in has been developed much more recently by television, for example the well-known Gold Blend coffee advertisement series of the 1990's. In his interview, Stephen Williams went on to underline the effectiveness of the Renis campaign:

    I think it’s interesting to note that this preparation was so successful that it became a viable commercial proposition entirely on the back of Radio advertising and I believe was marketed for a good many years following our campaign from Radio Normandy. The success of the campaign also helped greatly in the development of radio advertising – commercial broadcasting – because we were able to prove that a product that was advertised only on the air and in no other medium at all could and would sell profitably to the public. Up to this time advertising agents had been very dubious about whether we could sell; they knew we could attract listeners, they knew we could engender interest, but they were very doubtful as to whether we could actually SELL anything. From that moment onwards I think one can safely say that radio advertising became a successful and recognised medium.

    25.

     

    4.5

    The availability of `spot’ advertisements such as this made radio as a medium available to smaller firms as well as to the large organisations who were to seize the opportunities afforded by more sophisticated programming as the 1930’s progressed.

     

    The BBC commissioned its own survey from Legion Information Services, 26. examining the commercial activity on Three of the Continental stations, Luxembourg, Normandy and Poste Parisien. The sample month was October 1935, and the survey reveals a huge number of advertisers and a wide of airtime prices, presumably based on time of transmission. For instance on Luxembourg Brown and Poulson’s Cornflour bought 4 x 15 minute programmes for £480, while California Syrup of Figs bought the same amount of airtime on the same station for £220.

     

    Lux Normandy Paris Total

     

    Trans. Time 106.5 hrs 238 hrs 32.5 hrs 377 hrs
    Est. time sold 68.75hrs 114.5 hrs 22 hrs 202 hrs
     % time sold  65%  48%  68%  54%
     Spots  74  256  45  375

     

    Est. Cost £28,993 £13,298 £3,764 £46,055
    No. Advertisers 57 61 18 136

     

    4.6

    Luxembourg had a major advantage over the IBC stations in that it had pirated longwave nationwide coverage in the 1930's, whereas Radio Normandy had only sporadic reception in the North of England. To its advertisers it sought to counter this by claiming deliberately to "Target the prosperous South". Nevertheless these figures show Luxembourg was clearly far and away the most successful of the Continental stations, a factor that may well have been crucial in its re-emergence after the war.

     

    5.1

    The success of Commercial programming in the 1930s was very much a partnership between the Agencies and the stations, and the latter part of the decade saw a major and concerted effort to convince advertisers that the medium of radio had `come of age’ in this respect. The IBC issued a record for the industry, demonstrating how much expertise had been accumulated in a set up `documentary’ narrated by Bob Danvers Walker, following a programme through from contract to air. In 1938 the J. Walter Thompson Organisation issued a sample recording to prospective clients that is an exercise in the demonstration of audience targeting, or as the announcer calls it, "programme architecture." 27.

     

    5.2

    The record, entitled There's Something of Importance in the Air was narrated by a presenter with a distinctly "BBC" style of delivery, who announced that:

     

    The Radio Department of the J Walter Thompson company brings to your ears extracts from its principal programmes. Frankly we understand that you as a business man may not find all our programmes entertaining. You may say that the `selling talks' would not sell you. But we ask you to remember that quite deliberately we have avoided to try to entertain or `sell' men like you. Most of our programmes - like radio itself - are designed specifically for the great middle classes… 28.

     

    5.3

    This message is repeated throughout the recording; later the announcer again underlines the point:

     

    Though it may not suit your own particular taste, it is chosen by entertainment experts who know what appeals to the mass of people who buy the products. Entertainment linked to a sales message, presented in a highly dramatic and personal way, made possible by this new advertising medium - commercial broadcasting.

     

    5.4

    The announcer might well have been talking to an audience of BBC listeners. His message however was that there was another band of listeners tuning in to other stations, consumers of a different style of programmes altogether, and with a purchasing power which could be harnessed by radio. . To understand this material is to become aware of how the commercial possibilities of radio in Britain were understood and exploited. Further, to examine the memories of listeners is to understand how effective these policies proved. For all the vast spend that Horlicks invested in their nightly show, the Commercial from the 1930's that almost everyone remembered was from a weekly programme, targeted carefully to a predominantly children's audience, evidence that a memorable and well-produced message broadcast at the right time is measured in more than air-time; the League of Ovaltineys was broadcast during the late 1930's at 5.00pm on Sunday evenings on Radio Luxembourg 29. :

     

    We are the Ovaltineys, happy girls and boys,

    Make your request, we'll not refuse you,

    We are here just to amuse you…

     


    Endnotes

     

    Note 1. Dutch Radio Museum pamphlet: Steringa Idzerda pp 1- 3. BACK TO DISCUSSION (1.3)

    Note 2. Ibid. p 7 BACK TO DISCUSSION (1.4)

    Note 3. Sykes Report on Broadcasting, 1923, quoted in The Shocking History of Advertising, ES Turner, Michael Joseph, 1952 p.284. BACK TO DISCUSSION (1.5)

    Note 4. BBC Memo, 28 January 1930. BBC Written Archives Centre, Caversham, WAC E2/2/1 BACK TO DISCUSSION (1.7)

    Note 5. Wireless Magazine November 1930, p.394 BACK TO DISCUSSION (2.1)

    Note 6. Radio Times, December 5 1930. BACK TO DISCUSSION (2.2)

    Note 7. But we talk a Different Language. US "models" in the History of British Radio, 1922-1954. Unpublished Ph.D thesis, University of Westminster, 1990, p.89

    Note 8. Frank A. Arnold, Broadcast Advertising – The Fourth Dimension, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1931, p. 87. BACK TO DISCUSSION (2.3)

    Note 9. This is the IBC, promotional booklet, 1938. BACK TO DISCUSSION (2.6)

    Note 10. Thomas, Howard, 1977, With an Independent Air, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1977 p.34. BACK TO DISCUSSION (2.7)

    Note 11. J. Walter Thompson Archive, unpublished ledgers and accounts, kindly loaned by the Organisation. BACK TO DISCUSSION.(2.8)

    Note 12. Gillian Dyer: Advertising as Communication Routledge 1982 pp 46-47. BACK TO DISCUSSION (2.9)

    Note 13. Ibid. p.47. BACK TO DISCUSSION (2.10)

    Note 14. Findings based on figures in J. Walter Thompson Archive. BACK TO DISCUSSION (2.11)

    Note 15. Ibid. BACK TO DISCUSSION (3.1)

    Note 16. Radio Pictorial 10 December 1937. BACK TO DISCUSSION (3.2)

    Note 17. Radio Pictorial 22 January 1937. BACK TO DISCUSSION (3.4)

    Note 18. Roy Plomley: Days Seemed Longer Eyre Methuen, 1980, p 104. BACK TO DISCUSSION (3.6)

    Note 19. Memo, RJE Silvey to C.(PR) 21 October 1937. WAC E2/2/2. BACK TO DISCUSSION (3.7)

    Note 20. Ibid. BACK TO DISCUSSION (3.8)

    Note 21. Memo, RJE Silvey to M. Farquharson, 4 February 1938. WAC R34/960. BACK TO DISCUSSION (3.8)

    Note 22. Commercial, Spink and Son, February 1932, Radio Normandy. BACK TO DISCUSSION (4.1)

    Note 23. Interview with Stephen Williams, 1995. BACK TO DISCUSSION (4.1)

    Note 24. Ibid. BACK TO DISCUSSION (4.2)

    Note 25. Ibid. BACK TO DISCUSSION (4.4)

    Note 26. Legion Information Services Survey, October 1935, BBC Written Archives, Caversham WAC. BACK TO DISCUSSION (4.5)

    Note 27. J. Walter Thompson Sampler Record, There's Something of Importance in the Air, 1938. BACK TO DISCUSSION (5.1)

    Note 28. Ibid. BACK TO DISCUSSION (5.2)

    Note 29. Radio Luxembourg, League of Ovaltineys broadcast, 1938. BACK TO DISCUSSION (5.4)


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