The UK state-owned broadcasting network. It operates television and national and local radio stations, as well as a content-based Web site, and is financed by the sale of television (originally radio) licences. It is not permitted to carry advertisements but it has an additional source of income through its publishing interests and the sales of its programmes. The BBC is controlled by a board of governors, each appointed by the government for five years. The BBC was converted from a private company (established in 1922) to a public corporation under royal charter in 1927. Under the charter, news programmes were required to be politically impartial. The first director general was John Reith 1922–38.
Television Television services began in 1936, although they were suspended from 1939–46 during World War II. A second channel, BBC2, was launched in 1964, aimed at minority interests, and in 1991 BBC World Service Television began broadcasting English-language transmissions round the world. News 24, a 24-hour news channel, was launched as a cable and digital service in 1997, and the expansion into digital television continued the following year with the introduction of BBC Choice. In 2002 further digital channels were launched, including two children's channels and BBC4, a channel devoted to culture and the arts. Under the terms of the 1989 Broadcasting Act, 25% of programmes must be supplied by external contractors. In 2008 BBC1 and BBC2 were also broadcast online.
Radio The BBC has five national radio channels, as well as a number of local regional stations. In 2001, it announced the introduction of five new digital radio channels. Overseas radio broadcasts (World Service) have a government subsidy, and the World Service broadcasts in more than 30 languages.
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