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John Charles Walsham Reith, 1st Baron Reith (1889-1971), Administrator; first Director-General of the BBC
Sitter in 42 portraits
Founding director general of the BBC from 1922 to 1938. His book, Broadcast over Britain (1924) outlined four principles of his vision for a broadcasting system: it operated as a public service rather than for commercial motives; it offered national coverage; it depended on centralised control; and it offered high standards of programming. He also insisted on BBC operational independence from political pressures. Under Reith's leadership, the BBC established its headquarters at Broadcasting House in 1932. Until his departure in 1938, Reith steadily broadened the range of its activities. Subsequently he headed British Overseas Airways Corporation and held a number of minor cabinet posts in wartime and post-war governments.