The Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation celebrated 40 years in
broadcasting on the 5th of January 2006
This is another historic milestone for the radio station formerly known as Radio
Ceylon. The SLBC is the oldest radio station in South Asia and celebrated eighty
years in broadcasting in 2005.
On December 16, 1925 the then British Governor Sir Hugh Clifford inaugurated the
broadcasting service – It was first known as Colombo Radio. The name was changed
to Radio Ceylon and the radio the station shifted to Torrington Square on
October 5, 1949.The Colombo radio station at ‘The Bower’ ceased broadcasts by midnight on 31st
December 1949 and Radio Ceylon came into being on 1st January 1950. On January
5, 1967, it became a state corporation – the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation.
Dudley Senanayake who was the Prime Minister of Ceylon in 1967 ceremonially
opened the newly established Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation along with
Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa and the Director-General of the SLBC, Neville
Jayaweera who was a distinguished civil servant.
The SLBC had some of the most talented broadcasters in South Asia, among them,
Livy Wijemanne, Vernon Corea, Jimmy Bharucha, Thevis Guruge, A.W.Dharmapala,
Karunaratne Abeysekera, H.M.Gunasekera, S.P.Mylvaganam, Gnanam Rathinam,Nihal
Bhareti, Leon Belleth, Eric Fernando and Vijaya Corea to name a few. They
entertained millions of listenera across the Indian sub-continent.
The Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation made so many musicians household names by
featuring their music – among them, Bill Forbes, Des Kelly, Nimal Mendis,Cliff
Foenander, Clarence Wijewardene, Annesley Malewana, Desmond de Silva,
C.T.Fernando, Mignonne Fernando and The Jetliners, Indrani Perera to name a few.
The Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation has been described as a ‘national
treasure of Sri Lanka’ by Ivan Corea, Sri Lanka born writer.
SLBC Chairman Sunil Sarath Perera said since started 80 years ago, the SLBC has
made a tremendous impact on the Sri Lankans.
“SLBC broadcasts in seven languages for listeners in Sri Lanka, Asia and the
Middle East. SLBC became a corporation in 1967. SLBC has ancient equipment and
even the BBC does not have such equipment. We preserve them for the Nation and
for the future generations’ use,” he told newsmen in Colombo.
A new museum, a disaster communication room and a language lab were opened at
the SLBC to mark its 40th anniversary. Tharanga, a magazine published by the
SLBC was re-launched during the ceremony in Colombo.