Despite the optimism of one of its directors, the London Electrophone, which began service in 1895, would cease operations in 1925.
London Times, January 10, 1923, page 8:
ENTERTAINMENT BY WIRELESS.
THE FUTURE OF THE ELECTROPHONE.
(FROM A CORRESPONDENT.)
The broadcasting by wireless of grand opera performances at Covent Garden, which was carried out for the first time on Monday, and repeated last night, suggests two interesting questions. One is what attitude theatrical managers and producers generally are likely to adopt towards the innovation, and the other concerns the future of the electrophone.
Discussing the first point yesterday, Mr. George Grossmith said he saw no reason why managers and producers should hesitate to allow their entertainments to be broadcast, if they were approached and offered satisfactory terms. Something of the same sort was regularly done now in many theatres by means of the electrophone and telephone lines. He did not agree that thousands of potential theatre patrons would be satisfied merely to hear portions of a musical play on wireless receiving sets.
The attendance of vast numbers of people at cinema exhibitions did not adversely affect ordinary theatre receipts. At the cinema one saw without hearing; with a wireless set, or electrophone, one heard without seeing. Neither form of entertainment would ever be comparable with that given actually in the theatre. The effect of broadcasting musical plays should be, if anything, to arouse a desire to see the production "at first hand."
The electrophone has been a luxury to be obtained by telephone subscribers in London for over thirty years, but many people familiar with the principles of broadcast wireless transmission have no acquaintance with the electrophone. Installed in front of a stage, concert platform, or pulpit, it gathers up the sounds of music and speech and carries them over the telephone wires to subscribers in their homes, where special receivers are attached to portable stands. These services are controlled by a private exchange adjoining the Gerrard Exchange.
The latest development of broadcasting seems likely seriously to invade the province of the electrophone. The company which, under a licence from the Post Office, operates the electrophone service is, however, facing the new position optimistically. It would be a long time, one of the directors stated yesterday, before broadcasting by wireless of entertainments and church services attained the degree of perfection now achieved by the electrophone. They served only a limited section of subscribers, numbering some two thousand, throughout the London telephone area, and the electrophone would always prove attractive to people who wish to listen, with a minimum of trouble, to an entertainment or church service of their own choosing. Wireless amateurs at present, it was pointed out, had to be content with what was given them.
The broadcasting programme to-night will include excerpts from the performance of Pagliacci at Covent Garden, beginning at about 9.15. The London broadcasting station will not close down until the conclusion of the opera at about 11. The remainder of the programme is as follows, but is subject to alteration:--
5 to 5.45:--Children's stories, &c.
7.15 to 8.25:--Orchestra.--Selection, Tales of Hoffman (Offenbach); Canzonetta from the Romantic Concerto (Godard); vaise, "Phryne" (Zulueta), Mr. Merlin Vaughan (baritone).--"The Three Comrades" (Hans Herman); "Bois Epais." Orchestra.--Suite, "Impressions Rustiques" (Razigade); Morcean, "Phul-Nana" (Cheyne), Miss Phyllis Evennett (contralto).--"June" (Quilter); "Largo" (Handel). Orchestra.--Selection, Haanon Hall (Sullivan).
8.25 to 8.55:--Orchestra (dance music).
9 to 9.15:--Mr. Merlin Vaughan.--"Bashful Tom" (Kemp); "Messmates" (Hermann Lohr), Miss Phyllis Evennett.--"An Old Garden" (Hope Temple).
9.50 to 10.30:--Orchestra.--Selection, Manon (Massenet); intermezzo, "Toreador and Andalouse" (Rubinstein); "In Downland" (Hewitt).
Manchester (385 metres), Birmingham (425 metres), and Newcastle (400 metres).--Concerts, &c.