Rediffusion was a privately owned company that belonged to a subsidiary of Broadcast Relay Services (Overseas) Ltd., a London-based company which had pioneered the use of cables to broadcast radio services. Rediffusion subscribers were provided with a speaker that came with a selector switch and volume control, which was installed at their premises. As no electricity was required to operate the speaker, no extra costs were incurred by subscribers, who would usually leave the broadcasting on for long hours every day. In 1949, the company expanded into Singapore, adding to its other establishments in countries such as Hong Kong, Malta, Trinidad, Venezuela, Jamaica, Barbados and British Guiana.
Rediffusion (Singapore) Ltd was officially opened by then Governor of Singapore Franklin Gimson on 1 August 1949. It was Singapore’s first commercial and cable-transmitted radio station. Rediffusion’s broadcasting studios were located at the landmark Rediffusion Building along Clemenceau Avenue as well as in another building in Jalan Selanting, off Jalan Jurong Kechil. At a subscription rate of just $5 per month, Rediffusion was more affordable than buying expensive radio sets with poor reception to stations. Rediffusion quickly became a major source of entertainment for people of all ages in the 1960s and 1970s, and reached its peak of around 200,000 subscribers in the 1970s.
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5. National Library Board, 24 Dec 2012.
6. National Library Board. (1999). Clemenceau Avenue written by Cornelius, Vernon. Retrieved March 3, 2014, from Singapore Infopedia; Rediffusion Building sold for $7.6m. (1989, July 26). The Straits Times, p. 38. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. National Library Board, 24 Dec 2012.
8. Cheong, J. (2006, February 12). Redi-rection. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
The information in this article is valid as at 2014 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.