For much of the period from the 1920s to the 1960s the BBC not only dominated broadcasting, but became a major publisher. The Radio Times was to be found in every home that had a wireless, The Listener and the Talks Pamphlets were bought by culture vultures, and every school had hundreds of BBC leaflets covering a range of subjects to support School Broadcasting. There were magazines for those wanting to tune into foreign broadcasting stations and for those overseas wanting to listen to the BBC. There were Year Books on BBC activities and plans and books relating to BBC programme series. Demand was such that a separate plant had to be built to print The Radio Times. The majority of these publications carried illustrations, not only to attract buyers by their covers, but in the inner pages as well. In the years covered by this book over sixty artists were commissioned for these from artists such as Edward McKnight Kauffer, Edward Ardizzone, Ronald Searle, and Eric Fraser. Artists commissioned by the BBC considered it an honour, they were joining an elite club. For the period covered by the book the BBC can be bracketed with the likes of Shell and London transport as a major patron of artists, and, possibly, the one that gave its artists the most freedom to experiment and to exhibit their individual eccentricities.
Art For The Ear
Forty Years of Illustrations for BBC Radio Publications