domenica 2 gennaio 2022

54th anniversary of SLBC

On December 5, 2021 marked the 54th anniversary of the transformation of the former Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) into a Corporation. Accordingly, 54 years have passed since the official establishment of the radio station. The Ceylon Broadcasting Corporation was officially established on January 5, 1967 due to the difficulties encountered in functioning as a department and the need for a quality radio service. The then Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake officially opened the Ceylon Broadcasting Corporation. Neville de Jayaweera was the first Chairman and Director General of the Corporation. After the adoption of the Republican Constitution in 1972, it was renamed as the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. From February 9, 1978, two posts of Chairman and Director General were created. Accordingly, Eman Kariyakarawana was appointed as the Chairman and Thevis Guruge as the Director General. Radio became a breakthrough in the history of world communication due to the social change it brought about.

Shortly after the beginning of world radio broadcasting, radio was introduced in Sri Lanka as well. Discussions had been held on the introduction of radio to Sri Lanka since about 1920.

The Ceylon Wireless Association was established in 1922. In 1923 the name was changed to Ceylon Amateur Radio Club. This required licenses for radio broadcasting in Sri Lanka. Accordingly, a committee headed by Edward Harper, then Chief Engineer of the Department of Posts and Telecommunications in Sri Lanka, was appointed to look into the matter.

The committee looked into the following matters. However, the Government did not want to outsource radio broadcasting to the private sector. Therefore, the Government decided that radio in Sri Lanka should be started under the Department of Posts and Telecommunications.

It was against this background that Edward Harper began to develop a radio transmitter. Accordingly, on June, 27, 1924, the then Governor-General of Ceylon, Sir William Henry Manning, issued a message to the Ceylon Society of Engineers, marking the first radio broadcast in Ceylon.

First broadcast

The broadcast went down in history as the first radio broadcast in the British colonies and the first in Asia. Sri Lanka’s first radio station was established on December 16, 1925. Programs aired include Western music, weather reports, and trade information. During that time, radio licences began to be obtained.

Accordingly, in July 1925, 129 radio licenses were issued. Eventually, drama began to be broadcast on the radio. “Wireless Derma” was the first play to be aired. In 1927, sports information and news coverage began. In the same year, the first live Sinhala music program was aired.

Among the announcers who represented the early era of Ceylon Radio were Anderson, L.R. Wijemanne, D. M. Colomboge, D. T. L. Guruge, Karunaratne Abeysekera, and S. Nataraja.

English became the mother tongue of radio, which was created to meet the needs of the British rulers.

Until 1932, Harper was the chief engineer. By 1935 the number of radio licensees in Sri Lanka had increased to 3053. Sri Lankan radio-based programs aired on the British model followed the same pattern. Many of the programs broadcast on the radio were in English. Music programs broadcast on the radio were also in English. These programs were broadcast in Sinhala and Tamil medium long after the inception of the radio.

Western music discs were sourced from England and Tamil discs were obtained from India, while CDs containing Sinhala songs were sourced from companies such as Cargills and Millers. Among the singers who sang Sinhala songs in the early period were B.H. De Silva, Kokila Devi, Susila Jayasinghe, Rukmani Devi and S.A. Latif.

An eminent figure in Sri Lankan society, he has risen from humble beginnings to become the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. He is responsible for the revival of the SLBC to its current glory. Popular for his outspoken and open radio programs, Hudson Samarasinghe has transformed radio broadcasting in Sri Lanka.

He is a person who has worked closely with four Presidents of this country and has been an elected Member of Parliament. He comes with a multitude of experiences both as a veteran journalist and politician.

Hudson Samarasinghe joined the National Radio around 1969. He is a graduate of Vidyalankara University and was born on October 24, 1944 in Peradeniya. He joined the Corporation as a Radio Program Producer and was appointed to various posts in the Corporation.

In 1989 he was appointed Chairman and Director General of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. In 1991, he was elected to Parliament as a Member of Parliament from the Colombo District, representing the United National Party.


After the then President Chandrika Kumaratunga took over three ministries in 2003, he was re-appointed as the Chairman of the National Air Force. In 2007, President Mahinda Rajapaksa re-appointed (for the third time) the Chairman of National Radio.

Hudson Samarasinghe was instrumental in compiling the new program of the National Radio. Hudson Samarasinghe is the founder of City FM, the first FM channel in the annals of Sri Lankan radio.

An accomplished communicator, Hudson Samarasinghe is a senior journalist with extensive experience in the Sinhala, Tamil and English languages. He has an understanding of Pali and Sanskrit languages. Chairman Hudson Samarasinghe is engaged in revenue generation, giving new hope to the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation in the year 2021. His Dasa Desin Hatha program have garnered the maximum response from the audience.