Egalitarian Imperialism

Anne Spry Rush

in Bonds of Empire

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199588558
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728990 | DOI:
Egalitarian Imperialism

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This chapter examines the BBC's dual role in early Caribbean radio (1920s–1940s) as a broadcaster to the region through its Empire Service, and in developing West Indian–based radio. In this era the BBC's explicit goal was to ‘project Britain’ and through this process to cement colonials’ loyalty to the empire. Before the Second World War the BBC's projection of Britain was largely insular, as was its understanding of who were Britons — programs were thus designed to appeal only to a white middle-class audience. Yet wartime circumstances and the ethereal nature of radio itself led BBC officials to embrace a more inclusive idea of who could be considered British. Although still focused on the middle-class, in both programming and staffing, the BBC began to include the empire and colonial subjects themselves as an integral part of its own, and, by extension, British culture.

Keywords: audience; BBC; British culture; broadcast; Caribbean radio; colonial subjects; Empire Service; middle-class; programs; projection of Britain

Chapter.  10016 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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