The Day BBC Had No News

Apr 18, 2022 0 comments

You could be idle, but the world is still unfolding. Even in hours of boredom within the four walls of our homes, we are aware of the tremendous developments taking place around the world at any given point. Today, there’s a war banging at our doorstep, a global pandemic has tomorrow in its unpredictable clutches, and every hour despite such morbid details our people are progressing forward in little ways. Could you, in such an environment, imagine a day of no news?

The BBC broadcasting house in Leeds. Photo: mikeyashworth/Flickr

92 years ago on April 18, 1930, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) announced that there was no news to share. Times were clearly different back in that century, for the global news platform breezily came forward during its 8:45pm bulletin and read out a one-line script: “There is no news.” The rest of the 15-minute segment continued playing tunes on a piano. The rest of the BBC radio schedule for the day was populated with poetry readings, weather forecasts, wireless string orchestra and other cultural and religious presentations. The moment of inactivity during the news segment was followed by a broadcast from the Queen's Hall in Langham Place, London where a Wagner opera Parsifal was underway.

According to reporters at the BBC, there was no news worth sharing that day. This was also a time when the radio satellite depended primarily on government announcements for its scoops. Sure, even back then in Britain there were union crises and Brexit conversations that had had the people hooked for months. But back then was also a simpler time when The Times was taking liberties by publishing its first crossword puzzle ever and wireless news reporters at BBC were wearing dinner jackets to work in respect of the performers that entertained between news sessions.

A Callender's Cableworks Band performance undertaken for BBC radio in 1930.

Today, the world of news has progressed in leaps and journalistic snooping brings to light a lot more relevant headlines than were available almost a hundred years ago, even without the pomp and show. But won’t a day of filtering news and not saying too much be refreshing?

# BBC Radio Schedule


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