The BBC, group listening, and ‘The Changing World’

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This article examines the content and impact of a series of BBC lecture courses broadcast in the early 1930s. The Group Listening Scheme was established in 1928: experts working in a variety of fields were invited to broadcasts a series of evening lectures. Adults across the country were encouraged to gather for the lectures and stay on afterwards to discuss them. ‘The Changing World’ consisted of half-hour talks over six evenings a week during a six-month period. The broadcasts amounted to a two-term syllabus, with 24 talks devoted to each of the six themes (the modern dilemma, industry and trade, literature and art, science, the modern state, and education and leisure). This article will sample some of these broadcasts and explore the listener response to the series in order to reach an understanding of the BBC’s achievements in adult education during the interwar period.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)279-291
JournalMedia History
Issue number3
Early online date29 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2019


  • BBC
  • adult education
  • wireless university
  • The Changing World
  • extramural
  • cultural impact

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