Timeline of the BBC
From Academic Kids
- 8 January - First outside broadcast.
- 18 January - The UK Postmaster General grants the BBC a licence to broadcast.
- 13 February - First broadcast from Cardiff (station 5WA).
- 6 March - First broadcast from Glasgow (station 5SC).
- 28 September - First publication of the Radio Times listings magazine (price 2d).
- 10 October - First broadcast from Aberdeen (station 2BD).
- 17 October - First broadcast from Bournemouth (station 6BM).
- 16 November - First broadcast from Sheffield (station 2FL).
- 4 May - The General strike begins. The BBC broadcasts five news bulletins a day as no newspapers are published.
- 25 July - The previously experimental long-wave station 5XX moves from Chelmsford to Daventry and becomes the first station to achieve near national coverage. The Daventry station will later become the main transmitter of the National Programme.
- 1 January - The British Broadcasting Company becomes the British Broadcasting Corporation, when it is granted a Royal Charter. Sir John Reith becomes the first Director-General.
- March - The BBC coat of arms is adopted
- 21 August - The first high-powered regional station (5GB), forerunner of the Midland Regional Programme, opens at Daventry.
- 1 May - Broadcasting House, the BBC's headquarters and home to its main radio studios, is opened.
- 22 August - First experimental television broadcast from Broadcasting House.
- 19 December - The Empire Service (precursor of the World Service) launches.
- 25 December - King George V becomes the first monarch to deliver a Christmas Day message by radio, on the Empire Service.
- 3 January - The BBC begins broadcasting its first foreign-language radio service, in Arabic.
- 30 April - The BBC broadcasts television coverage of the FA Cup for the first time.
- 27 September - Start of the European Service on radio, broadcasting in French, German and Italian. Portuguese and Spanish are added before the start of the Second World War.
- 1 September - The BBC Television Service is suspended, at the conclusion of a Mickey Mouse cartoon (Mickey's Gala Premiere), due to the imminent outbreak of the Second World War, amid fears that the VHF transmissions would act as perfect guidance beams for enemy bombers attempting to locate central London - also, the technicians and engineers of the service will be needed for war efforts such as the RADAR programme. On radio, the Home Service replaces the National and Regional Programmes.
- 25 December - First TV broadcast of the Queen's Christmas Day message.
- 28 August - Experimental stereo radio broadcasts begin.
- 1 May - The General Overseas Service is renamed the BBC World Service.
- 25 June - The first worldwide live satellite programme, Our World, is televised.
- 1 July - Regular colour TV transmissions (625 lines) begin on BBC2, starting with the Wimbledon tennis championships.
- 30 September - BBC Radio 1 is launched, as a response to the threat from pirate radio station broadcasts of popular music. At the same time the Light, Third and Home services are renamed Radios 2, 3 and 4.
- 8 November - BBC Local Radio starts. The first station is BBC Radio Leicester.
- March - Experimental CEEFAX teletext transmissions begin.
- BBC adds stereo capability to Radios 2 & 4, with new technology called Pulse Code Modulation.
- 3 April - Regular radio broadcasts from Parliament begin.
- 23 November - The BBC's radio stations switch medium wave frequencies: Radio 1 moves from 247m (1214 kHz) to 275 and 285m (1089 and 1053 kHz), Radio 2 moves from 1500m (200 kHz long wave) to 330 and 433m (909 and 693 kHz), Radio 3 moves from 464m (647 kHz) to Radio 1's old frequency, and Radio 4 moves to Radio 2's old frequency.  (http://www.vintagebroadcasting.org.uk/bbcchanges.htm)
- 27 January - Radio 2 is the first BBC radio station to broadcast 24 hours a day. Its final nighttime closedown is at 2.00 on this date; from the next day onwards, "You, the night and the music" fills the "small hours" between 2.00 and 5.00.  (http://www.vintagebroadcasting.org.uk/r2goes24.htm)
- 2 September - Subtitling of television programmes on CEEFAX begins.
- 1 September - BBC External Services is renamed the World Service, and Radio 1 starts regular broadcasts on VHF in Scotland (http://www.radiorewind.co.uk/sounds/New_Tmitter_88_LQ.wma), northern England (http://www.vintagebroadcasting.org.uk/audio/35.mp3), the Midlands, and south Wales, Avon and Somerset, between 97-99 MHz.  (http://www.vintagebroadcasting.org.uk/r1vhf.htm) (Crystal Palace has been broadcasting R1 on 104.8 MHz since October 1987, and would later switch to 98.8 MHz at 11.00 on 19 December 1989.  (http://www.transdiffusion.org/rmc/features/width.asp))
- 20 September - The Radio Data System (RDS) launches, allowing car radios to automatically retune, display station identifiers and switch to local travel news.
- 15 April - The World Service Television News service is launched. Unlike its World Service radio counterpart, WSTV is commercially funded and carries advertising, which means that it cannot be broadcast in the UK.
- 31 July - The BBC's Lime Grove Studios close.
- 31 August - BBC television starts officially broadcasting in stereo using the NICAM system. (Some transmtters had been broadcasting in stereo since 1988, but these were classified as tests.)
- 14 October - World Service TV launches its Asian service.
- 7 June - The BBC is restructured by the Director-General, John Birt. In the new structure BBC Broadcast will commission programmes, and BBC Production will make them.
- 25 December - The Christmas Day episode of Only Fools and Horses is watched by 24 million viewers, the largest TV audience in two decades.
- The BBC broadcasts the much praised "Perfect Day" corporate advertisement, featuring 27 artists singing lines of Lou Reed's original. The song later becomes a fund-raising single for Children in Need.
- 28 February - The BBC sells its transmitters and transmission services to Castle Transmission Services for £244 million, to help fund its plans for the digital age.
- 4 October - Current corporate identity adopted. At a repored cost of £5m the new logo was introduced due to the increase in digital services, as it is designed to be more visible at small size it is better suited for use in websites and on screen "DOGs."
- 8 November - The last ever closedown on BBC1. From the following day, BBC1 broadcasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with BBC News 24 filling the early hours.
- 9 November - BBC News 24, the Corporation's UK television news service, is launched at 17.30.
- BBC News Online, a web-based news service, begins to expand and become more popular.
- August - The BBC's domestic TV channels become available on Sky Digital's satellite service. An unintended consequence of this is that people in the rest of Europe can now watch BBC1 and 2, using viewing cards from the UK, as the signal is encrypted for rights reasons. This applies even within the UK: people in England can now watch BBC channels from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and vice versa.
- 23 September - The BBC launches BBC Choice, its first new TV channel since 1964, available only on digital TV services. The BBC Parliament TV channel also starts broadcasting on digital services.
- 15 November - Public launch of digital terrestrial TV in the UK.
- 10 May - BBC network news relaunched with new music, titles and a red and ivory set. This design was used for the October 25 relaunch of News 24 - enhancing cross-channel promotion of the service.
- 20 May - The BBC's digital teletext service starts.
- 1 June - BBC Knowledge starts broadcasting on digital services.
- 15 September - Final edition of Breakfast News on BBC1, the last conventional news broadcast in the morning.
- 2 October - The first edition of Breakfast is broadcast, the new morning show on BBC One and News 24 from 6.00-9.30. (9.00 on BBC News 24), from Sunday to Friday.
- 13 October Final edition of the Nine O Clock News on BBC1.
- 3 March - Bomb explodes outside Television Centre. The blast was later attributed to dissident Irish Republican terrorists and it is suggested the BBC Panorama programme which named individuals as participants in the Omagh bomb was the motive.
- 1 October - BBC LDN is launched, and Kent and Sussex get their own news programme, South East Today. Oxfordshire, once part of the South East, becomes part of South Today.
- January 28 - Publication of the Hutton Inquiry, and subsequent resignation of the Chairman Gavyn Davies.
- January 30 - Resignation of the Director General, Greg Dyke. Mark Byford takes over as acting Director General.
- 16 February - Network news titles relaunched in the style of BBC News 24, introduced two months earlier.
- May 17 - Appointment of Michael Grade as new Chairman
- May 21 - Appointment of Mark Thompson as new Director General
- July 5 - 50th Anniversary of television news broadcasts.
- October 1 - BBC Technology, incorporating the BBC's Broadcast Engineering division, is sold to Siemens AG Business Services for approximately £200m, and a £2bn, 10 year outsourcing contract.