Christmas 2005 double issue
|577,087 (January – June 2018)|
|First issue||28 September 1923|
Radio Times is a British weekly magazine which provides radio and
Radio Times was first issued on 28 September 1923, carrying details of
Initially, Radio Times was a combined enterprise between the BBC and the publisher
In 1928, Radio Times announced a regular series of 'experimental television transmissions by the Baird process' for half an hour every morning. The launch of the first regular 405-line television service by the BBC was reflected with television listings in the Radio Times edition of 23 October 1936. Thus Radio Times became the first television listings magazine in the world. Initially only two pages in each edition were devoted to television. However, in January 1937 the magazine published a lavish photogravure supplement and by September 1939, there were three pages of television listings.
Britain declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939 and television broadcasting ceased. Radio listings continued throughout the war for a reduced service, but by 1944, paper rationing meant editions were only 20 pages of tiny print on thin paper.
After the war television resumed and the Radio Times expanded too. Regional editions were introduced. In 1953 the television listings, which so far had been in the back of the magazine, were alongside the daily radio schedules. During the mid-50s Radio Times covers featured television rather than radio more and more, and on 17 February 1957, television listings were moved to a separate section at the front; radio listings were relegated to the back.
By the 1950s Radio Times had grown to be the magazine with the largest circulation in Europe, with an average sales of 8.8 million in 1955.
Until the deregulation of television listings in 1991, the Radio Times carried
Radio Times is published on Tuesdays (its publication day having gradually moved forward from Fridays over many years) and carries listings for the following Saturday through to Friday (this began in 1960, before which issues ran Sunday to Saturday; the changeover meant that Saturday 8 October 1960 was listed twice).
Since Christmas 1969, a double-sized issue has been published each December containing listings for two weeks of programmes. Originally, this covered Christmas and New Year listings, but in some years these appear in separate editions, with the two-week period ending just before New Year. The cover of the 'Christmas Number' (as this issue came to be called) dating from the time when it contained just a single week's listings, usually features a generic festive artwork, atypical for the magazine, which since the 1970s has almost exclusively used photographic covers for all other issues.
From April 2010, each day's television listed over ten pages or five double-page spreads: two pages of reviews of highlights ("Choices") followed by two pages of terrestrial TV listings (one column for daytime television, and five columns for the evening television), then six pages of listings for digital channels.
Before digital channels became commonplace, a terrestrial day's television was sometimes spread over up to three double-spreads mixed with advertisements, but this format was phased out when independent publishers were allowed to publish television programme schedules.
After television listings were deregulated in 1991, there was strong criticism from other listings magazines that Radio Times was advertised on the BBC (as well as on commercial channels), saying that it gave unfair advantage to the publication. The case went to court, but the outcome was that as the Radio Times had close connections with the BBC it would be allowed to be advertised by the BBC; however, it must be a static picture of the cover, and that the clear disclaimer "Other television listings magazines are available" be given (leading to the phrase entering common public usage for a time).[
The latest circulation figure (January 2013 – January 2014) for the Radio Times is 831,591 ( 6.9%) making it third in the TV listings magazine market behind