14 Jun 2014
Transdiffusion developed in 1964 from a school-based tape-recording club known as the Transdiffusion Networking Association (TNA). Founded by Kif Bowden-Smith and based in the Wirral, its members communicated by sending letters to each other on reel-to-reel tape.
In 1966, Transdiffusion began the National Radiotape Network, which provided private subscribers and hospital radio stations with regular ‘Radiotapes’ of general entertainment programmes created by the contributor members, who had developed individual brand names for themselves. These programmes were then edited together centrally for redistribution.
As time progressed, Transdiffusion split NRN into two services, the General Network providing drama, comedy and light entertainment, and the Music Network, which provided a melody-based format.
In 1972, Transdiffusion merged with Electromusications, another school-based tape recording network, running in the English midlands. Over 20 years, Transdiffusion, with Electromusications, built up a large collection of music, jingles and TV and radio presentation material.
As the 1970s gave way to the 1980s, the fashion for circulating tapes diminished, and the National Radiotape Network closed. Transdiffusion was left with its own archives, together with the archives of its defunct contributing member organisations, and the archives of the Round the Horne Appreciation Society.
The organisation was largely dormant from the mid-1980s until 1998, when it was relaunched as a result of the growth of the Internet as a new organisation unrelated (except for the founder, Kif Bowden-Smith) to the original Transdiffusion.
Run on a not-for-profit basis and staffed entirely by volunteers, Transdiffusion is dedicated to using modern methods of communication to educate and inform on broadcasting history. We do this by making available Transdiffusion’s broadcasting archive for research and educational purposes.
The television and radio presentation archive makes up around 15% of the collection as a whole.
You can read more about the early life of Transdiffusion in Kif’s Story, over on the MHP, one of our affiliated sites.