Following the disagreement with the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of the printing of radio schedules (see previous post) Reith and the BBC were determined to take matters into their own hands. In May 2023 the Board of the BBC minuted that “it was resolved that the General Manager make the appointment of an individual to deal with propaganda publicity and the production of a magazine. ”
John Reith sought a deal with a publisher on the basis of a share of profits and a minimum annual sum guaranteed to the BBC. That deal was with George Newnes Ltd who already published Tit-Bits and it was that magazine’s editor, Leonard Croscombe, who became the first editor of the Radio Times. More accurately he was the first joint editor as an article recently added to the Radio Times Archive website notes the BBC also made their own internal appointment for editor in the person of Herbert Parker.
Croscombe’s grandson, journalist and broadcaster Justin Webb, writes about him There’s also a nod to the magazine’s colourful third editor, “songwriter, spy, Hollywood screenwriter and more” Eric Maschwitz in an article by Paul Hayes (aka Radio Norfolk’s Questmaster).
Finally Caroline Frost recounts how the Radio Times stills proves indispensible to the National Grid, the police and continuity announcers.