London Office " 58, Frith Street, London, W.l.
Edited by COMPTON MACKENZIE
TELEPHONE: Regent 7977, 7978.
Parma.xto, Westcent, London.
WITH this number we begin the seventh volume of THE GRA~1:OPHONE, and I am anxious to put before our readers a project of mine in which I hope they will be interested. The fact is, I now want to start another paper. This sounds a threat in these days when papers that nobody wants are continually being started and then forced on the public by the facilities for distribution at the disposal of the large Press combines which put this unnecessary strain on the wastepaper basket. I t may be remembered by some of our original supporters that in the first number of THE GRll1:OPHOl\TE I expressed some doubt whether THE GU,ll1:OPHONE was wanted and apologised in advance for inflicting i t on the world, should i t prove to be only one more unwanted periodical. Well, i t turned out that THE GRAMOPHONE was wanted, and now I believe I know of another periodical badly wa,nted at the present time, and that is one which witi devote itself to a consideration of radio in the S~Lme spirit of frank but always friendly criticism which has characterised the attitude of THE GRAl~OPHONE toward the great industry from which i t takes i ts name. At present the radio is served by a number of technical periodicals, all excellent no doubt, but all catering chiefly for the man who is more interes ted in the mechanics of wireless than in the application of this mighty new influence, the far-reaching effect of which on contemporary and future thought, action and behaviour has not even yet, I venture to say, been fully realised. The attitude of the Press in general toward radio is one of ill-concealed jealousy and alarm, or rather the attitude of the Press toward the B.B.C. is such, for the jealousy and alarm of the Press is caused by the monopoly that this new influence has acquired in this country more than by the influence itself. The result of such an attitude is that, except the Obsm·ver, the SatunZay Review and one or two provincial journals still independent of the great Press combines which permeate the whole of our national life, no paper pays any attention to the programmes of the B.B.C. unless occasionally to indulge in an outburst of petulant and tendencious fault-finding.
One danger in starting this new periodical, of which the t i t le would be The Radio Critic, will be the possibility of a success with which our present resources would be unable to cope. The first and obvious step to take seems to be to launch a companion monthly to THE GRAMOPHONE, but a l i t t le reflection will suggest first of all that a monthly review of radio programmes would be too stale to be effective and furthermore that the circulation of a periodical like THE GRAlIlOPHONE would be too small to exer t an influence in the wider field of radio. Taking all things into consideration, I have made up my mind that if The Radio Critic is to come into being, i t will have to appear as a twopenny weekly. A twopenny weekly paper, however, is a very different proposition from a shilling monthly; and, since the whole value of such , a paper would be i ts complete independence of any existing Press combine, the problem of finding the necessary capital to launch such a publication successfully and enable i t to preserve that blessed independence must be solved first of all . Now, bearing in mind the vital importa,nce of such independence to the success of my scheme, I have decided to offer readers of THE GRAl\'lOPHONE an opportunity to help me bring my plans to a practical issue and', as I think, do something really valuable toward promoting and maintaining the freedom of opinion.
The prospectus of any company we may decide to form will be issued later i f after due consideration the chances of this new paper appear likely to meet with the material success that sometimes makes the pursuit of ideals so encouraging. So I do not want anybody who reads this Editorial of mine to suppose that I am doing anything more just now tha,n initiating a discussion upon the possibility of setting to work to put into being a plan which at present is only in my head. First of all, is there any need for The Radio Critic? Do not the annotated programmes in The Radio Times, the reprint of talks in The Listener, and the technical pa,ges of the Wireless Press generally, supply all that the public wants in the way of radio reading ¥ Well, I venture to think that honest, straightforward and, what is most