The 1920s. It was the dawn of a new era with the latest technology capable of delivering entertainment and information to the public. The problem in the early days though was that whilst there were lots of radios no one was producing the programmes.

The big question being asked on every continent was “who is going to pay for the production of the programmes?” and two very different solutions emerged.

In the new (and at times chaotic) radio service in the United States, stations were allowed to carry advertising.

In the United Kingdom, the Government decided that the fledgling British Broadcasting Company would be funded, not by commercials, but by the introduction of a compulsory radio licence. Anyone wanting to listen to radio programmes had to have one … a situation that lasted until 1971 !

This website looks at the history of the UK Radio Licence and includes many examples of early licences and associated memorabilia.

Look at the history by decade under “licences” and see our entire archive under “the collection”