Carlton House, Lower Regent Street
London SW1. Tel. Whitehall 0221-30
BROADCAST RELAY SERVICE LIMITED
Associated Companies in over 175 towns in Great Britain and in Barbados, Bermuda. Canada, Ceylon, Guyana,
Hong Kong, Jamaica, Malaya, Malta, Singapore, South Africa, Trinidad and West Africa etc.
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BROADCAST RELAY SERVICE.
These are the minutes from the AGM held in June 1939, a couple of months before the outbreak of WW2.
The annual general meeting of Broadcast Relay Service, Ltd, was held yesterday at Winchester House, London EC1.
Sir H. Brent Grotrian (the chairman) said that they had made provision in the accounts for a final dividend at the rate of 7.5 per cent, making 12.5 per cent. For the year, as compared with 10 per cent for the last three years.
GOVERNMENTS DESIRE FOR RAPID EXPANSION OF RELAY SERVICES
As regarded the company‘s operations, he was pleased to say that the Government, through the Postmaster-General, announced
in Parliament on 30th March their intention to extend the licences for wireless relay exchanges for a period of ten years from 31st December, 1939.
DIRECT LINES From BBC.
The Postmaster-General had stressed the usefulness of such services as those of this company from the point of view of national defence, and stated that power would also be taken in the licences to require the relay exchanges to be connected by wire with a B.B.C. station, thus enabling programmes to be transmitted, if so desired, entirely by wire. The directors attached great importance
to that decision. They would now be able to offer to their subscribers a service hitherto unattainable, enabling a subscriber to be connected by wire all the way from his loud speaker to the actual performance in the studio and consequently free of atmospheric
or other disturbances.
There was another reason why that decision was Important. The Postmaster-General had said that the new licences issued to relay companies would provide in time of emergency that companies should transmit any special announcement ordered by the local air
raid precaution service, the national service, or the police authorities, and had gone on to say that although it was the intention that wireless broadcasting should be continued in the event of war, the service would be liable to deterioration or occasional interruption
as a result of interference, from which a wired service would be immune. He meant by that that it normal transmitting services
became liable to interruption by jamming or damage, or if it were necessary in the national interest temporarily to shut down transmission through the air, subscribers to a relay service, because of their land-line connection to the B B.C. studios, would still
be assured of their broadcasting news and announcements without interference.
DEFENCE ASPECT OF SERVICE
The Government had decided to introduce a wired broadcast service over the Post Office telephones and were expected to make a
start about the end of the year with the Post Office telephone broadcasting, service covering the Central London area and practically the whole of Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester. In the opinion of the directors this would not conflict with the operations of the company as the new P.O. service would necessitate a subscriber having both a telephone and a wireless set. A very small
percentage of the company's subscribers had a telephone. Moreover, it would be largely superfluous for the Post Office to initiate a
service of that kind in those areas where an efficient alternative wired service was in operation, for, as the Postmaster-General
had stated, the Government had decided that the public interest would be best served by the development of both systems.
RAPID EXPANSION PROGRAMME
The Government, having come to the conclusion that wired broadcast reception should be developed to the greatest possible extent and that relay companies should expand their services as rapidly as possible, they had now taken active steps for the development
of the business in every possible direction.
The Postmaster-General had stated that the Government had no power to grant wayleaves to relay companies, as that rested with
the local authorities, a few of whom had refused to allow relay services to operate in their towns, but he had expressed the hope that
in future, in view of the importance of the matter from the point of view of defence, they would give favourable consideration to those
applications, after satisfying themselves that applicants were suitably qualified technically and financially to initiate such services.
He was pleased to be able to state that their company was pre-eminently qualified, both technically and in all other respects, to
meet such requirements for the operation of relay services.
As to the defence aspect of the company’s service, it was possible, with certain additions of plant in their stations, for their service
to continue to operate independently of both electricity mains and the telephone exchanges in the event of damage to either. That should be of inestimable value to the A.R.P. organisation. The installation of a microphone at A.R.P, headquarters connected to the relay company's central control stations would enable A.R.P. officers to issue instructions to all subscribers. It would be arranged
that by the installation of a relay service in wardens' houses and/or air-raid action posts instructions given from A.R.P. headquarters could be made exclusive to A.R.P, posts.
A VITAL LINK TO THE HOME
In addition to the general advantages of broadcast relay as a means of entertainment, subscribers to the relay services or to the proposed Post Office Telephone relay service, because ot their direct wire connection to the B.B.C. studios, would be assured of
their broadcast news and announcements, even though broadcasting through the air was interrupted in time of emergency. Apart
from the advantages of having relay in the home as a means of entertainment, the A.R.P. aspect could not be over-emphasised. It
was the intention of the board to institute a policy of urging members of the public in the towns in which they operated to make early application for connection to their service as lt would obviously be impossible to connect hundreds of thousands of homes simultaneously in the event of emergency arising.
Immediately the news was announced of the new licence they had lost no time in arranging for expansion, and had acquired the
whole of the share capital of several well-established relay undertakings. In addition, they were making arrangements to extend the operations of the company in its existing and surrounding areas, and were also endeavouring to arrange for the commencement of
their business in entirely new towns. It was for those reasons that they required increased authorised capital. The acquisition of the established undertakings referred to should increase materially their earnings in the current year.
PROPOSED NEW ISSUE
It was proposed to increase the authorised share capital of the company from £500.000 to £1,000.000 by the creation of £300.000
5.5 per cent Redeemable Cumulative Preference share capital and £200.000 other share capital. The Redeemable Cumulative Preference capital was to be redeemed at 21s per share by the operation of a sinking fund commenclng in 1942, which was
calculated to redeem the whole of the shares in 18 years from that date. In addition, the company had the option to redeem such further amounts of these shares as it might desire at any time after June 30, 1944.
Within a day or two after this meeting it was the intention of the directors to issue an invitation to the public to subscribe part ot the new capital now to be created. In the offer contemplated arrangements would be made to issue pink application forms to existing
shareholders, and the directors would give preferential consideration to applications received from shareholders on these forms.
The report and accounts were adopted and the proposed increase of capital was approved.
BRS Public Service Announcement from March 1943