In January 2017, RSBC merged with the Royal London Society for Blind People (RLSB). Although we are now called RSBC, there may be some references to RLSB in the following article.
Dorton Broadcasting Corporation was a radio service set up by a band of students.
Here they are in 1953, taking advantage of the sunshine by staging a swing session on the terrace at Dorton House in Aylesbury. Announcer Brian Payne has his microphone at the ready.
Below is an article by H R Nayler published in the 1950s, about how they boys set up DBC:
This is DBC
Some months ago, Brian Johnston came to Dorton to broadcast in In Town Tonight. From our gym he gave a running commentary on how the boys played cricket, joining in their game himself. He appeared to be very impressed by their prowess but he was equally impressed when immediately the broadcast was over, one of the lads said to him: “Would you like to hear how it sounded?”
Wondering what he was in for, Mr Johnston was led away to another room, where on the table was a structure of valves, wires, knobs and dials.
The boy called it ‘a tape recording machine’ – and sure enough he was able to play back the commentary that had gone out ‘live’ from the gym, a few minutes earlier.
If strict truth is to be preserved, it should be stated that it was possible to play back all but the first 15 seconds of the broadcast. Just as the machine was got ready to record, a runner band had jumped off and the first few seconds were missed.
The important thins about this tape recorder is that it had been made by one of the boys. It probably had not the quality of tone and certainly lacked the streamline finish of the many tape recorders now on the market but it has this supreme virtue – it was the product of the owner’s personal initiative, skill and perseverance – and the owner was a totally blind youth of 18.
Tape recorder of Triumph
The tape recorder was but one of the early triumphs of the DBC – the ‘Dorton Broadcasting Corporation’. A number of older boys had banded together to form this ‘Corporation’ which occupied a bid part of their leisure time.
They had scoured Aylesbury Market for bargains, had cajoled parents into giving wireless parts as birthday and Christmas presents, were given a number of obsolete sets by the Bucks Association for the Blind – and so had built up a most impressive array of equipment.
Members of the school staff were badgered for advice – and when their limited technical knowledge had been exhausted, braille radio manuals were eagerly studied.
A small toom was allocated to the DBC. This became Control Room. Cables were run through the floor into the cellar below which, with its microphone and other apparatus, was the studio. Loudspeakers would be placed in whatever room an audience could be assembled and there was no difficulty in finding listeners.
These would be entertained with plays written, produced and acted by the DBC, feature programmes, news bulletins of a somewhat libellous but very topical nature, running commentaries on football or other matches, and interviews with visitors before the roving microphone.