Scientific contribution to the early development of radio
South African researchers Alfred Jennings and Hendrik Johannes van der Bijl gained international recognition for their pioneering work in developing the technology leading to radio broadcasting.
Broadcast radio in South Africa
Amateur radio broadcasts
Their work was followed by the endeavours of the radio amateurs in Cape Town and on the Witewatersrand, who transmitted music and speech to othe amateurs in the early 20th century. Friends and family gathered around sets at night to listen to these "broadcasts". As a result, a variety of institutions began functioning as radio stations in the 1920's. The first were radio broadcasts by the South African Railways in 1923 and this was followed in 1924 (?*EC) /1927(?*PF) by broadcasts organised by the Johannesburg Scientific and Technical Club (known as JB) on 1 July, the Cape Peninsula [Publicity] Broadcasting Association (15 September) and the Durban Municipality (Durban Calling on 26 November).
Commercial broadcast radio begins
In 1927 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. 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) in the same year. This sparked off a tremendous interest in radio drama as a medium. ABC was active till 1936. *
Founding of the SABC
In the meanwhile a number of investigations and commissions had been studying the potential and regulation of radio broadcasting with the view of making recommendations to the government. In 1934 Sir John Reith (Director General of the BBC) was approached to advise the government on the future development of radio in South Africa. The advice was that the government found a public broadcaster for the country. This was done with the publication on 1 August 1936 of the Broadcasting Act (No 22). In terms of this act the ABC was taken over by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), which was to broadcast in English and Afrikaans on two separate services. The first broadcast in Afrikaans would only occur in 1937, while 1940 saw the first broadcast in an African language and 1950 the introduction of a commercial service (Springbok Radio?*). * The SABC was to be the public broadcaster (also of television) for the rest of the century and beyond, and by 1996 was in charge of 22 indigenous radio stations broadcasting in 11 languages, plus an external service (Radio RSA) broadcasting to Africa and Europe in 10 languages. In 1976 the SABC also began broadcasting television.
Commercial and Community radio
Besides the public broadcasting service, provision was gradually made for a number of commercial broadcasting stations. ***** *** as well as community radio and television stations * **** By the year 2000 there were more than 80 community service broadcasters in the country.
Regulation of broadcasting and the media
Besides the original Broadcasting Act of 1936, other important acts governing radio broadcasting in South Africa were the Radio Act no 3 of 1952, which regulated broadcasting signals and signal distribution; the South African Broadcasting Act No 73 of 1976, which also introduced television broadcasting; the Independent Broadcasting Authority Act of 1993, which provided for the regulation of broadcasting through the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) and paved the way for independent community and other stations; and the Independent Media Commission Act No 148 of 1993, which was to institute the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa - a non-statutory regulatory body which judicates complaints against the electronic media in terms of a Code of Conduct. This idea resurfaced in 2010 when the government tried to introduce a new media law**
(EC & PF) (See Eric Rosenthal, 1974; J.Schutte, 1978; Eben Cruywagen, 2000; ****)
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