Following is a press release, including ordering instructions, for a CD set containing Shaw’s BBC broadcasts:

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September 27 2006 65 | 06
 
“Always glad to wake you up and set you thinking.”
George Bernard Shaw’s BBC broadcasts released on CD
 
 
To
celebrate the 150th anniversary of George Bernard Shaw’s birth, the British Library is publishing a 2-CD set which brings together rare BBC radio recordings of Shaw speaking on a variety of subjects, ranging from drama to social equality to economics. These historic recordings were originally broadcast by the BBC and include a controversial speech entitled ‘A Message to America’, broadcast from London to the United States via the CBS network. The broadcasts span the period 1931 – 1937 and this is the first time these recordings have been made commercially available.
 
Bernard Shaw was a very prominent figure in the early years of radio in Britain and he made regular broadcasts over a period of almost 25 years. Despite a sometimes tense relationship with the BBC, fuelled by his determination to use the new medium to promote some of his more controversial views, Shaw frequently appeared at or near the top of the lists of listener polls and surveys as one of their most popular speakers.
 
The surviving recordings address a characteristically wide range of topics, from social equality and the evils of capitalism to the nature of drama. All of Shaw’s surviving BBC radio broadcasts from his first to his final recording at 91 years old, with the exception of his 1930 speech on Albert  Einstein (which was released last year on the British Library’s  'Albert Einstein  - Historic Recordings'  CD) are collected here for the first time.
 
One of Shaw’s most outspoken radio speeches, ‘A Message to America’ (disc 1, track 1), was broadcast by short wave from London to the United States via the CBS network on 11 October 1931. Shaw addresses the American listeners as ‘dear boobs’, before going on to criticise the American government for its commitment to capitalism, an economic system that Shaw scorns for propagating ‘business incompetence, political helplessness, and financial insolvency’. In contrast, Shaw describes socialist Russia as benefiting from an atmosphere of ‘hope and security for the poorest as has never before been seen in a civilized country on earth’.
 
Richard Fairman, Service Development Officer at the British Library Sound Archive and compiler of the CD, said: “These extraordinary historic broadcasts bring to life one of the leading writers of the 20th century and show us today just how right or wrong he was as prophet of an uncertain future.”
 
The recordings are distributed under licence from the BBC.
 
For further information, contact Ruth Howlett at the British Library Press Office: 020 7412 7112 or ruth.howlett@bl.uk
 
NOTES FOR EDITORS
The Spoken Word: Bernard Shaw, ISBN 0-7123-0531-9. 2-CD set £15.95 inc. VAT.  Published by the British Library. The CD will be on sale at the British Library Bookshop. The CD can also be purchased online at http://www.bl.uk/services/publications/onlineshop.html
 
Albert Einstein – Historic Recordings 1930-1947
The second and third tracks of the CD feature Bernard Shaw and Einstein speaking at a fund –raising dinner on behalf of Jewish charities at the Savoy Hotel, London, in 1930. The survival of this live 35-minute recording, almost in its entirety, is itself a rare event, given its date so early in the history of radio.
Price £9.95 inc VAT. ISBN 0-7123-0521 1. Published by the British Library and on sale through the British Library Bookshop, through UK bookshops, or online at:  http://www.bl.uk/services/publications/onlineshop.html
 
The British Library Sound Archive is one of the largest sound archives in the world.
It holds over a million discs, 200,000 tapes, and many other sound and video recordings. The collections come from all over the world and cover the entire range of recorded sound from music, drama and literature, to oral history and wildlife sounds. Collection material comes in every conceivable format, from wax cylinder and wire recordings to CD and DVD, and from a wide variety of private, commercial and broadcast sources. And of course, the British Library Sound Archive operates a wide-ranging recording programme of its own. 
Full track listings follow
Disc 1
 
1.  A Message to America
Date of broadcast: 11.10.1931
Duration: 9.21
 
2. Rungs of the Ladder No.10 [extract]
Date of broadcast: 11.07.1932
Duration: 6.22
 
3. Address at British Drama League Conference, Edinburgh [extracts]
Date of broadcast: 28.10.1933
Duration: 4.51 + 3.24 = 8.15
 
4. Whither Britain?
Date of broadcast: 06.02.1934
32.26
 
 
Disc 2
 
1. Talks for Sixth Forms: Modern Education
Date of broadcast: 11.06.1937
Duration: 16.12
 
2. As I see it
Date of broadcast: 02.11.1937
Duration: 15.00
 
3. National Theatre – handing over deeds of site
Date of broadcast: 22.04.1938
Duration: 3.00
 
4. Dark Lady of the Sonnets - introduction
Date of broadcast: 22.04.1938
Duration: 8.51 [including introduction]
 
5. Greetings to visitors on his 88th birthday, 26.7.44
Date of broadcast: 26.07.1944
Duration: 0.47
 
6. A televised talk on his 90th birthday
Date of recording: 24.07.1946
Date of broadcast: 26.07.1946
Duration: 9.56
 
7. On receiving the freedom of the borough of St.Pancras
Date of broadcast: 09.10.1946
Duration: 9.54
 
8. Dialogue between Bernard Shaw, C.B. Cochran for ‘London Theatre’
Date of recording: 05.11.1947
Date of broadcast: 12.11.1947
Duration: 9.20