Humble Origins

Two of the UK’s most popular radio stations are currently celebrating their 50th birthdays.  With a weekly audience approaching 25 million listeners it’s worth remembering that Radios 1 and 2 were pushed into existence by unlicensed pirates, determined to shake off the monopoly over popular music held by broadcasters and record producers.


For three years Radio Caroline bounced around in the North Sea broadcasting to the masses, while the authorities on land did all they could to shut it down.  But the station wouldn’t go away and with an ‘if you can’t beat them join them’ change of heart, the BBC launched Radios 1 and 2.


Some similarity then with the extraordinary growth of Christianity in the first centuries of the Roman Empire.  Beginning as an irritating sideshow in a far-flung corner of the empire, the authorities with much to lose spent years trying to shut down this new movement that was proving rather too popular with the masses.  It was the Emperor Constantine who quite literally ‘saw the light’, accepted Christ, and all of a sudden the Christian faith was mainstream.


It just goes to show that sometimes those in authority are not always right and that movements that change the world often start in unexpected places.

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