His Royal Highness Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales and his wife HRH Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall will fly to Colombo to open the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka in November 2013. Also flying to Sri Lanka for CHOGM 2013 will be the British Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague.
Vernon Corea’s family have called on Her Majesty’s Government to recognise the contribution made to world broadcasting by a GREAT BRITON, Edward Harper who is widely regarded as the ‘Father of Broadcasting’ in Sri Lanka. If not for Edward Harper and his ground breaking wireless experiments with the Ceylon Wireless Club there would be no Radio Ceylon/Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. Vernon Corea was enthralled by radio and the legacy of Edward Harper resulted in Sri Lankan broadcasters mastering the ‘art of radio.’ Vernon had a broadcasting career of 45 years culminating in being appointed the BBC’s first ever Ethnic Minorities Adviser and presenting the hugely popular ‘London Sounds Eastern,’ on BBC Radio London 206 in the 1970s and 1980s.
Broadcasting enthusiasts are hoping that His Royal Highness Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales and Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron will give due recognition to the work of Edward Harper when they are in Sri Lanka to attend CHOGM 2013. This man deserves full credit for what he did for broadcasting in Asia. His achievements should be up there alongside others in terms of innovation. Harper was Chief Engineer with the Ceylon Telegraph Office from 1921 – 1931. During this time he lived in Colombo.
This is what Wikipedia says about Edward Harper –
Edward Harper was an engineer who travelled to Colombo in 1921 to work in the Ceylon Telegraph Department. Harper was appointed Chief Engineer. He had an innovative mind and his passion was broadcasting. Edward Harper is known as the ‘Father of Broadcasting,’ in Ceylon.
Harper together with Ceylonese and English radio enthusiasts founded the Ceylon Wireless Club. They experimented with radio broadcasts in 1923 the first experiments took place from a tiny room in the Central Telegraph Office – gramophone music was broadcast with the aid of a small transmitter captured from a German submarine. The transmitter was built by Ceylon Telegraph engineers.This was historic because it happened three years after the inauguration of broadcasting in Europe. Ceylon plays an equal role in the early beginnings of broadcasting alongside Europe and the United States of America.
On December 16, 1925 a regular broadcasting service was launched in Colombo. The radio station was known as Colombo Radio, adopting the call sign, ‘Colombo Calling.’ As a result of Edward Harper’s efforts and that of the pioneering Ceylonese engineers, Radio Ceylon came into being – it is the oldest radio station in South Asia. Radio Ceylon ruled the airwaves in the region and became an established brand where international broadcasting was concerned.
The inauguration of radio, changed Ceylonese society. Families used to get together in the morning or in the evening and listen to the radio. Radio Ceylon enjoyed unique status as the market leader in South Asia from the 1950s – 1960s. Sri Lanka now has several radio stations and television stations. The media revolution was made possible by those early experiements conducted by Edward Harper and the Ceylonese radio enthusiasts who changed the face of communication on the island. Sri Lanka occupies an important place in the history of broadcasting – radio services were launched just three after the inauguration of the BBC in London.