An  Ekco model radio in phenolic plastic case. Image CC BY-NC-SA courtesy The Science Museum


Interwar Radio Programmes for Women: the challenges of being a 'periodical' on the air

Hosted by the LSE Library

Online public event


Dr Kate Murphy

Visiting Fellow at Bournemouth University

From early 1923, just a few months after its inception, the BBC began to broadcast talks aimed at its female audience. Dr Kate Murphy (University of Bournemouth) presents an overview of the challenges for the BBC of entertaining this audience on radio.

The subject matter would be familiar to anyone flicking through the pages of an interwar woman’s magazine - infant care, cookery, fashion, homecrafts, beauty, gossip, amongst much else - but whereas the publishers of a woman’s magazine could tailor their content to a specific readership, for producers at the BBC, a single radio programme had to suffice. ’Cultured woman’, ‘young industrial woman’, ‘modern mother’, ‘Devon village woman’, ‘lonely spinster’, ‘Miss Mayfair’, ‘professional woman’ are just some of the ways that female listeners were described in Radio Times. So how did the BBC make programmes that catered to them all?

With live closed captions.

The British Library of Political and Economic Science (@LSELibrary) was founded in 1896, a year after the London School of Economics and Political Science. It has been based in the Lionel Robbins Building since 1978 and houses many world class collections, including The Women's Library.

Banner and social media image is an Ekco model radio in phenolic plastic case. Image CC BY-NC-SA. This image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence courtesy The Science Musuem.

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