Saturday, 29 September 2018

The Radio Show Exhibition

It was in 1922, just months after the launch of 2MT and 2LO, that the nascent radio industry held its first exhibition at the Horticultural Hall in Westminster. It offered the opportunity for the public to experience the new technology and encouraged the sale of wireless sets and all the various components for building your own receiving equipment. Further demonstrations were held at the Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition in 1923 the Royal Albert Hall in 1925.

Annual shows were established in 1926 coming from the Empire Hall in Olympia organised by the Radio Manufacturers Association. When the BBC came onboard the Radiolympia exhibitions included live broadcasts from the hall and gave listeners the opportunity to meet the stars and to fill their autograph books. After the August 1939 Radiolympia there was an interregnum until 1947.  

In the 1950s the exhibition moved to Earls Court and it regularly generated a special cover on the Radio Times.  From my archive are these editions from 1955, 1959, 1961 and 1962.

These extracts come from the 1956 Radio Show booklet by which time it was organised by the Radio Industry Council. Exhibits and demonstrations weren't confined to radio of course as stands included BBC television and the newly launched ITV.

The Radio Show was discontinued in 1966 but there was a one-off revival in 1988. More on that tomorrow.     

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