The BBC's radio studio in Birmingham, from the BBC Hand Book 1928, which described it as "Europe's largest studio".

5IT was a British Broadcasting Company (later BBC) radio station which broadcast from Birmingham, England, between 1922 and 1927.

Birmingham was the first British city outside London to have a radio service from the newly formed British Broadcasting Company, with 5IT starting regular broadcasting from its Witton base at 17:00 on 15 November 1922,[1] one day after 2LO started daily BBC broadcasting from London[2] and one hour before the 18:00 launch of Manchester's 2ZY.[3] 5IT pioneered many innovations in early broadcasting, launching Children's Hour in 1922,[4] developing sophisticated methods of programme control and employing the first full-time announcers in 1923.[5] The station's first announcer on its opening night was its general manager Percy Edgar,[6] who was to be the dominant figure in Birmingham broadcasting and the BBC's most influential regional director until his retirement in 1948.[7]

5IT moved its studios from Witton to a former cinema in New Street in 1923, moving again in 1926 to a completely new building in Broad Street with two studios – one of the largest the country,[8] if not Europe. The Broad Street studios now controlled and made programmes for a region stretching across central England from The Potteries to Norfolk.

From 21 August 1927 the low-powered city station 5IT was replaced by the 5GB (the BBC Midland Region) – the first of the BBC's regional services[9] – broadcast from the new high powered Daventry transmitting station at Borough Hill near Daventry.[10]


  1. ^ Hennessy & Hennessy 2005, p. 207
  2. ^ Hennessy & Hennessy 2005, p. 157
  3. ^ Hennessy & Hennessy 2005, p. 161
  4. ^ Crisell, Andrew (2002), An Introductory History of British Broadcasting, Routledge, p. 20, ISBN 0-415-24792-6, retrieved 31 December 2009
  5. ^ Briggs 1961, p. 190
  6. ^ Briggs 1961, p. 190
  7. ^ Briggs 1965, p. 311
  8. ^ Hudson, Kenneth (1981), The archaeology of the consumer society: the second industrial revolution in Britain (illustrated ed.), London: Heinemann (published 1983), p. 100, ISBN 0-435-32959-6, retrieved 1 January 2010
  9. ^ Briggs 1978, p. 80
  10. ^ Briggs 1965, p. 282