The Transdiffusion Broadcasting System was founded in 1964 by a group of school children led by Kif Bowden-Smith. They wanted to run their own radio station. They decided to collect continuity, theme music, jingles and broadcasting paraphernalia and memorabilia in order to learn about broadcasting and have enough material ready for when their radio station launched.
The radio station never happened, but a large tape correspondence group did. Transdiffusion put together radio programmes that were swapped on reel-to-reel tape amongst listeners and hospital radio stations. Eventually, the Transdiffusion radiotapes got so full, the “System” was split into two networks – a General Network for speech matter and the Music Network for records and performances.
In the 1970s and 1980s the fad for exchanging tapes faded away and Kif packed the Transdiffusion Broadcasting System’s thousands of hours of audio and video tapes and tonnes, literally, of printed material away into boxes to be something he would look at in retirement.
And then the internet appeared. Starting in the late 1990s, Transdiffusion was reborn online, with a huge site consisting of thousands of articles talking about television and radio of the past and specialising in ignoring the programmes in favour of the type of archive collected all those years ago.
That archive has now spilled over out of the main website and into this new venture: Transdiffusion’s Televault – a huge and fast growing collection of broadcasting material divided by subject for academics, enthusiasts and researchers to use to expand the world’s knowledge of early broadcasting.