Watch: Rediffusion in Malta started 80 years ago today

On this day 80 years ago, Rediffusion Malta Ltd began operating as a radio station for Malta and Gozo by means of a license issued by the British Governor, since in 1935 Malta was still a British colony.

The service consisted of two channels – one which used to transmit BBC programmes originating from the UK which used to arrive in Malta via short wave, while the other used to broadcast programmes from other foreign stations, especially Italian ones.

On 11 November 1935, the Rediffusion had broadcast a series of programmes to commemorate Remembrance Day.

During the war, the Rediffusion in Malta and Gozo played an important role because they used to transmit air raid warnings. After the war, broadcasting in Malta started to become more organized. One of the two channels used to transmit only Maltese language programming while the other continued to transmit the BBC and other foreign stations.

The popularity of this medium grew when the news in English and Maltese also began to be transmitted.

Rediffusion PBS (1)Twelve years after radio broadcasting began in Malta in 1947, the concept of advertising began. In 1955, the Rediffusion was also introduced in Gozo where a small station was opened.

In the 50s, broadcasting started to give more importance to female listeners  by dedicating special programmes for them. In fact, Carmen Carbonaro started these women’s programmes 65 years ago.

In the 50s and 60s there was a musical explosion as great singers with different styles emerged.

On 23 January, 1958, broadcasting in Malta had its first official building with the opening of Rediffusion House in Guardamangia,the same building which today houses the PBS Creativity Hub.

In 1962, Television Malta was introduced, which at first used to transmit from the same building which housed the radio station, as the building known as Television House, did not yet exist. This was completed 16 months later, on 6 February 1964.

Rediffusion PBS (4)Among the various personalities who mesmerised Maltese and Gozitan listeners with their voices was Charles Arrigo, who used to read novels on air, described by many as a broadcaster per excellence. 

In the 70s, the Maltese islands experienced historical events which were conveyed to the nation through radio and TV transmissions, while  in the 80s and 90s, developments in the broadcasting sector continued to grow especially with the introduction of pluralism.

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