Sri Lanka Brodcasting Corporation


Last updateFri, 20 Jan 2017 7am

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History of English Service

The Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation Colombo, to this day is one of the finest radio station in the world. It also happens to be the oldest radio station in South Asia and third oldest in the world.

On December 16, 1925 the then British Governor Sir Hugh Clifford inaugurated the broadcasting Service in Sri Lanka. It was first known as Ceylon Radio. In 1943 the broadcast station premises were shifted from Torrington to a bungalow named Bower in Cotta Road- Borella due to the Second World War.

The Bower ceased broadcast by midnight of 30st December 1949. The name changed to Radio Ceylon and the station shifted to Torrington Square on January 1st, 1950.On January 5th, 1967 it became a state corporation. Today the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation celebrates its Golden Jubilee.

Commercial broadcasting from Radio Ceylon was inaugurated on September 30, 1950 to which Clifford Dodd was seconded for service via the Colombo Plan. It was a ground breaking experience as far as broadcasting in Ceylon was concerned. Clifford R Dodd is regarded as the “Father of Commercial Broadcasting” in Ceylon.

Dodd was ably assisted by Lankans Tim Horshington & Livy Wijemanne who later moved from the National Service to the Commercial Service.

Vernon  Corea, Greg Rozkowski, Karl Goonasena, Jimmy Bharucha, Eardley Pieris, Percy Bartholemeuz, Norton Perera, Ronald Campbell, Errol Alphonso, Geoff Fruigtneth, Prosper Fernando, Sita Jayawardene, Ferin Rustomjee, Rohna Candappa, Dan Durairaj (the first Tamil Commercial Service Announcer),Shirley Perera, Myrl Walpola (Williams), Vijaya Corea, Leon Belleth, Nihal Bharathi, Stephen Alagarathnam, V. Rajendra , Noeline Honter, Harold Fernando, Bevil Palihawadane, Dudley Jansz, Mahinda Wijesundara, Arun Dias Bandaranayake , Mahes Perera  and few more came over the airwaves of the commercial service.

The newcomers on the English Service after the 1970’s includes some veterans like Indrani Senanayake, Niranjan Abeyasundara ,Tilani Peiris, Kumar Samuel, Chris Bandara, Yusuf Noordeen, Carryl Sella, Richard De Zoysa, Ravi John ,Eric Fernando, Savithri Rodrigo, Rajan Vairavanadan, Krishna Vairavanadan,Sunil Simon, Gladwin Willie ,Dayan Candappa, Viran Corea, Saunthi Thawam ,Lavani Selvanayagam , Virangika ,Steve Morrel ,Shareefa Thahir and a few others.

The above entertained the listeners who looked forward to listen to their presentation and the right pronunciation through the English Service .

The station to the Nation, SLBC English Service offers more local materials for its listeners with more credible programme content, established character, and accurate news. To accommodate growing audience demand for entertainment from SLBC studios we provide lateral program content and music  simultaneously maintaining its identity .The SLBC would enter a more modern realm and foster progressive listener demands for entertainment, acceptable to a wide mix in audience appeal.

The backup music library which includes more than 70,000 records has been quite often described as the best in Asia dating back to those breakable low fidelity 78rpm records with Metadata. Usable substantial materials of the 40s,50s & 60s music on long playing Hi Fi records are still being used. Thanks to the updated maintenance the turntables are still usable. Digital Archiving process is one of the ongoing projects in SLBC since 2009 to present. It helps to protect and preserve existing materials for future use.

The English Service offers a wide music genre from pop, to hip hop, to country, Motown, Jazz and the best classics, other spoken word programmes includes Talk shows, educational interviews, current affairs programmes (Open Forum) ,religious programmes (Buddhist, Hindu ,Catholic & Muslim),Comedy Dramas & Medical Programmes .

Listeners in the Scandinavian countries regularly send letters about the programmes heard in their respective countries via the Shortwaves.

According to the late Jimmy Bharucha the only station Sir Hillary Edmund could tune in to at the Summit of the Mount Everest was Radio Ceylon.

Indians still long for the good old days of Radio Ceylon-so many blogs on the internet share the views of diehard Radio Ceylon fans who hark back to the glory days of the finest radio station in South Asia.

On  5th January 2017  the SLBC celebrates  its Golden Jubilee by  relocating  its core functional Divisions in a new  Administrative Building to be declared open by H.E. President  Maithreepala  Sirisena and the Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe. A major  Project aiming to renovate SLBC’s studio complex will also reach completion by the same date.


CONCERT HALL 10th January 2017


Date of Broadcast      10th January  2017  at 9.00pm




Leo Smit                 -Trio for Clatinet,viola & piano

Sibelius                  -Symphony  No.2 in D Major oP.43


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