African Broadcasting Company
The first commercial broadcaster
The country's first radio station, 'JB Calling', began broadcasting in Johannesburg on the 1st of July 1924, followed by a second Cape Town-based station in 1924 and another in Durban in the same year. These three stations later combined to form the African Broadcasting Corporation on the 1st of April 1927 when I.W. Schlesinger obtained permission from the South African government to establish a commercial organisation, the African Broadcasting Company (ABC). ABC offered a number of novel services, including time signals, reports on market prices, news, sports reports, weather forecasts, and advertisements. Music was also provided by a live studio orchestra. The ABC was active till 1936, when the African Broadcasting Company was dissolved and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) was established by an Act of Parliament as the new public service broadcaster.
By 1928 an ABC Drama Company had also been formed and it broadcast its first production - The Marriage ... will not take place by Alfred Sutro (1863-1933) - in the same year. This sparked off a tremendous interest in radio drama as a medium.
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