1924 to 1946 Radio Broadcasts

1920   First experimental Radio transmission in the UK. One half hour a week entertainment.  

1922   More broadcasting stations set up around the UK.  BBC was formed. First daily transmission from 2LO (London).


First Radio Times published. The newspapers see radio as competition and refuse to print programme schedules, so the BBC launches the Radio Times in September 1923.

Broadcasts first Orchestra concert, talk programme, dance music and regular news from London.

Radio receiver licences grows to 500 000 countrywide. Annual licence fee 10 shillings (50 pence)


Samuel’s first Radio broadcast with the Kutcher String Quartet .

 The  Batley News of November 22nd  referring to the first radio broadcast of 19th Nov  with some technical advice on how improve the quality of reception.

 London Review Broadcasting News Nov.  21



FebruaryKutcher String Quartet becomes  established as a well known chamber music ensemble on  the radio


April   – A new ensemble play on the Radio. The London Piano Quartet: Samuel Kutcher (violin), Harold Berly (viola), John Barbirolli (‘cello) and Ethel Bartlett (piano) (1)

September Radio broadcasts from London being heard throughout Europe.  Radio listing La Vanguardia –  Cuarteto de cuerdas de Kutcher (top right hand corner)

1927  May.  The Kutcher String Trio. An ensemble that performed on Radio until 1940 consisting of Samuel Kutcher,  Edward Robinson and Cecil Bonvalot.

 How popular was Chamber music on the Radio? The amount of time devoted to its broadcasting might give a clue.  A survey of one week in October revealed the percentage of time given to classical other serious music from a total of ~ 77- 80 hours transmission.  (2)

1927 1928 1929                   1930
% % % % %
classical music 15.79 19.40 19.32 14.69 20.01
   opera (whole or part, not excerpts) 6.22
   orchestral (with soloists) 10.10 5.63 7.38 7.45 6.59
   chamber music 0.64 3.13 3.27 1.83
   instrumental recitals 4.73 5.94 4.12 2.98 5.37
   song recitals 0.32 1.15 0.95 3.30



January. The earliest contract from the BBC from Samuel’s archives.  It is not clear whether this is for Samuel only or the Quartet.

June 7th . Radio Times.   Orchestra Concert with Samuel Kutcher (violin) and Theresa Ambrose (soprano).

In curious description of Samuels’ early career it it revealed that Samuel ‘played half the night at dances to keep himself; going’, presumable meaning this was how he made a living at some point.

This is most probably true and alludes to the period when he left school until he joined the Army in 1917 and would have been  ~ 17 / 18 years old . Around this period many older musicians would have been called up for military duty and there would have been a demand for younger able musicians to take their place.

In Barbirolli’s biography by Michael Kennedy,  he describes leaving school at the end of the summer term in 1916 ‘ and was able to obtain a fair amount of freelance work’ playing in everything from Henry Wood’s Queen’s Hall Orchestra to a pantomime at the old Surrey music-hall.

May 5thSamuel Kutcher plays Delius. Was Delius listening in ?

1931  Kutcher String Quartet. Over 30 broadcasts in the previous two years.


1932 Empire Service launched (later to become the World Service)

The first transmission is aimed at Australia, and soon there are broadcasts occupying several hours a day to five different areas of the Empire.

1934- 1938 – Transmission time had increased to over 92 hours a week. The percentage of time devoted to classical music stays about the same ranging from 14 – 20%. No data on chamber music (3)

1939 Two sample contracts with the BBC.


The Kutcher Trio September 1939


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