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Simon Potter

Simon Potter

Professor of Modern History, University of Bristol
My research focuses on British imperial history and on media history, including the history of newspapers and the periodical press, radio broadcasting, and television. I seek to bring research in these different fields together, to reveal the connections between empire and the mass media during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

I am currently leading a Leverhulme Trust International Research Network 'Connecting the Wireless World: Writing Global Radio History' (running 2016-2019) bringing together a group of scholars from around the world to think about global perspectives on the history of international broadcasting. In parallel with this, I am working on early British initiatives in global radio broadcasting in the 1920s and 1930s. I'm interested in exploring transnational perspectives on British broadcasting, the impact of radio on global news flows, the history of listening and audience responses, and in piecing together the incomplete record of past programmes broadcast for international listeners.

I am also currently developing a project on the history of press freedom and regulation in Britain and the British empire.

My earlier research examined the role played by newspapers and news agencies in linking up the component parts of the ‘British world’ (Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa) in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. More recently, I have written on the role of the BBC in building and strengthening imperial connections since 1922, and the BBC's response to the decline of the British world after the Second World War.

I have also published on the wider historiography of the British empire and the British world.

Why the BBC has a licence fee and what might happen if it were scrapped

Apr 08, 2024 06:13 am UTC| Insights & Views Business

The TV licence is as much part of British life as the BBC, which it helps to fund. But in an era of increased media choice much of it available online, through voluntary subscriptions or even for free BBC director...

Rupert Murdoch and the rise and fall of the press barons: how much power do newspapers still have?

Sep 23, 2023 00:49 am UTC| Insights & Views

Global media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has announced his retirement as chairman of Fox and News Corp, making way for his son Lachlan. He has been demonised as a puppet master who would pull the strings of politicians behind...

The BBC has a long history of failed attempts to rid it of political influence

Feb 06, 2023 09:08 am UTC| Politics

Most people probably dont know who the BBCs chairman is, or even that the BBC has a chairman. Yet this normally obscure figure has recently hit the headlines. Richard Sharp, BBC chairman since February 2021, is a former...

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