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Archives and Special Collections: Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) Archive

Bournemouth University's Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) Archive and Special Collections

Important notice

*** Important Update - April 2024 ***

Library and Learning Services is currently reviewing our Archives and Special Collections service offer and we are unable to commit to external researcher requests at the present time.

Please continue emailing your queries and IBA Archive File requests to

Accessing BU's IBA Archive Materials:

  • This is not a digitised collection. Access is by pre-arranged appointment only to visit BU's Talbot Campus Library (postcode: BH12 5BB).
  • Please contact
  • We require minimum 20 working weekdays' notice to process and prepare research visit requests; we typically have to negotiate requested visit dates.
  • We reserve the right to defer visitor access to BU's IBA Archive subject to availability of staff resource.

Requesting access to BU's IBA Archive

  • Requesting to visit and research IBA Archive documents - please use the Word document link below. Complete your form and email it to On that form you're being instructed to prioritise your files because it may be the case that we're not able to process and prepare all of the files in readiness for your agreed visit date. You'll be informed before your visit date(s) if any of the files you request are not accessible or missing.
  • Access to the archives is by appointment only. You’ll need to be prepared to arrive on a weekday anytime from 9:30am and leave our Researcher Room at 4:30pm.
  • We require at least 20 working weekdays' notice - ideally longer please - and a completed IBA Request Form (link below this box) before we can confirm your visit date(s). Your form will state your requested visit date(s), to be negotiated case-by-case.
  • Up to 8 IBA Archive files may be researched per visit day (8 files, not 8 boxes: each archive box contains multiple files and each file may contain hundreds of individual documents). This may be negotiable on a case-by-case basis; it depends what you're requesting, where files are located, and whether any of those files need to be redacted.
  • If you wish to access more than 8 files, we may need to negotiate and arrange more than just a one day visit. This would be discussed and considered with you in advance of a visit date(s).
  • We require at least 20 working weekdays' notice of your request to allow processing and prioritisation of workload.
  • Please consider that occasionally we discover that files are missing when we process requests. BU inherited limited / incomplete / inaccurate records of this collection and it is not a meticulously catalogued collection. Plus, this Archive has been subject to various physical moves since BU received the materials in 2008. We will do our best to track down archive boxes and files, but there may be requests that we cannot satisfy due to materials being lost / untraceable / never received from OFCOM.
  • Every single document in each IBA Archive file may be Data Protection checked in preparation for a visit, considering special category data and personal data, and may have to be redacted. This is a very time-consuming procedure that we must complete before your visit. If any archive boxes need to be requested for delivery from our off-site storage facility - the majority of this Archive is held off-site - that also adds to the preparation period for your visit day. Therefore, we require and appreciate your patience and flexibility when liaising with us to arrange your visit date(s).

Searching for BU's IBA Archive materials

Use BU Library's mySearch - includes IBA Archive box catalogue records

Searching Instructions:

Keyword searching examples

  • Enter name of the TV company e.g. granada.
  • Enter name of radio station (in quotation marks if more than one word in title) e.g. capital radio.
  • Enter title of TV programme (in quotation marks if more than one word in title) e.g. "spitting image".
  • If you know the IBA archive box number - which you may have obtained from the reference list of a source that's used BU's IBA archive materials as evidence - you may also search for that e.g. enter keywords 'IBA 3996297' into the search box.

mysearch screenshots with instructions

Introduction to BU's IBA Archive

Please note: The term ‘IBA Archive’ incorporates materials about TV and radio from the Independent Television Authority (ITA), Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) and Cable Authority (CA).

Background on the IBA (ITA, IBA & CA):

  • Independent broadcasting was established in the UK by an act of Parliament in 1954 and as part of this the Independent Television Authority (ITA) was set up to regulate and control this. It was renamed Independent Broadcasting Authority [IBA] as part of the Sound Broadcasting Act in 1972. The cable system, created in 1985, was placed under the control of the Cable Authority.
  • The Broadcasting Act of 1990 substantially reorganized independent broadcasting. It reassigned the regulatory duties of the Independent Broadcasting Authority and Cable Authority to two newly formed bodies: the Independent Television Commission (ITC) and the Radio Authority.
  • The ITC is in charge of licensing and regulating all non-BBC television services, including ITV (renamed Channel 3 in 1993), Channel 4, and cable and satellite services. The Radio Authority has responsibility for granting franchises for up to three new national commercial radio channels and for licensing and regulating local commercial stations.
  • JISC Archives Hub records:
  • History of IBA information on Wikipedia and ITV fandom webpages:

When did Bournemouth University receive this Archive?

Collection size, scope and type:

  • Approx. 1100 boxes in total containing 21,000+ paper files (each file can contain 1 - 400 documents; we predict approx. 1 million documents total).
  • This Archive is a record of the workings of these regulatory bodies and which contains official publications and communication, internal correspondence and reports as well as many letters and communications from members of the public, leading media figures, politicians and literary and cultural figures with relation to both the technical and social implications of broadcasting.
  • This Collection is not digitised, it can be visited and physically used by pre-arranged appointment (more details below).
  • This Collection has never been fully itemised / listed / catalogued - we have records listing the majority of file titles, but BU does have a list or catalogue of every single, individual document contained within each file. Therefore, some items may not always be located as per our records (e.g. we may discover a requested item is missing).

Location of this Collection:

  • Approx. 360 of the IBA Archive boxes are located in Talbot Campus Library's mobile shelves.
  • Most IBA Archive boxes (nearly 800 boxes) are held in an off-site storage facility (BU Library Staff supporting BU's IBA archive have to request delivery of boxes from this facility in advance; that site cannot be visited).

Any questions?

Citing and Referencing BU's IBA Archive materials

If you're going refer to any Bournemouth University IBA Archive materials in your work - published or unpublished, for research or teaching - please email to follow our permissions process.


Our permissions process and procedures take time to negotiate and factor into team member's workloads. Therefore, it is vitally important to please ensure you contact us well in advance of any draft submission or publication deadlines.


Examples showing how to cite IBA Archive materials in the main part of your work:

The following guidance is based on BU Harvard style of referencing, so if you're using a version of a Harvard referencing style, this will apply (and will require minor adjustments).

If you're using a different referencing style to Harvard's author date method in your research work or publication, then you'll need to mention this in communications with, as part of your case when you're negotiating permission to publish using IBA Archive materials. We the liaise with you to consider adjustments and alternative ways of citing and referencing IBA materials, more in line with your publisher's referencing style.

This process takes time, therefore, please ensure you contact us well in advance of any draft submission or publication deadlines.

  • from the local community members and local politicians to start community radio services (IBA 1989).
  • [Insert document description here] from an Independent Broadcasting Authority Archive (IBA 1989) reveals...
  • In a letter to the Independent Television Authority's [Employee's job title stated ***] from a member of the public living in England dated February 1970 (ITA 1970), the individual comments on an episode of the TV programme...

*** Stating the name of an IBA employee for example or an individual depends on your ethical responsibility as a Researcher, Data Protection / redaction considerations, and permission from BU's IBA Archive and Special Collections Team. Please liaise with us by emailing if you're going to be referring to any IBA Archive materials in your work.


Adding IBA Archive materials to Reference List / Bibliography at end of your work:

The following guidance is based on BU's referencing guidance: Unpublished sources (e.g. lectures, internal documents, leaflets, posters etc.) - open point o.

Details to include, order and format:

Organisation, Year of file / document. Title of IBA Archive file: description or title of document within file that's being referenced. Place: Organisation. Archive details (IBA Archive box number, IBA Archive file number). Unpublished.


  • IBA, 1989. IBA Incremental Contract Application Sunset Radio, 11 Nov 1989. Bournemouth University. IBA Archive (File 3995473, 0480/28). Unpublished.
  • ITA, 1970. TV Programmes Jan 1970 - Dec 1971: Letter from member of public to ITA's [Job title stated here ***], 12 Feb 1970. Bournemouth University. IBA Archive (File 3996159, 5081/2/93). Unpublished.

*** Stating the name of an IBA employee for example or an individual depends on your ethical responsibility as a Researcher, Data Protection / redaction considerations, and permission from BU's IBA Archive and Special Collections Team. Please liaise with us by emailing if you're going to be referring to any IBA Archive materials in your work.

BU's IBA Archive details


IBA / ITA / Cable Authority Archive

Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) Archive incorporates the Independent Television Authority (ITA), Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) and Cable Authority (CA) archives.

Dates 1954-1990
Physical Description and Location 232m. of shelving. Paper documentation in files, multiple files per box. Some IBA Archive boxes are located in Talbot Campus Library's mobile shelves. Over 900 IBA Archive boxes are held in an off-site storage facility (that cannot be visited - box delivery service to Talbot Campus Library is arranged).
Arrangement The archive is arranged in approx. 1100 archive boxes, 21,632 separate files approx. 1 million+ documents.
Finding Aids From December 2021 the IBA Catalogue was introduced as a new discovery tool. From 22 June 2022 IBA archive catalogue records were integrated to become available via BU's new Library Management System OCLC. Previously, an IBA PDF database document was used which became out of date and is now an internal use only document.
Access/Reproduction Restrictions

If you wish to consult this archive please fill in an IBA Archive Request Form. Viewing material is by prior arrangement only. Consultation will be in The Sir Michael Cobham Library. All researchers will be required to sign disclaimer forms before viewing material.

Contents and Scope This is a large archive containing among other items Authority committee minutes and papers, Authority papers, Cable franchise applications, Director General's correspondence, Engineering Director's correspondence, Policy files, Programme contractor files, Programmes files, Radio Consultative Committee minutes and papers, Radio contract applications, Radio Director's correspondence, Research for reports, Television Director's correspondence, Feedback letters from members of the public relating to programmes.
Source of Acquisition OFCOM
Administrative / Biographical History

The Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) 1972-1990 was the successor to the Independent Television Authority (ITA) 1954-1972. The IBA amalgamated with the Cable Authority 1984-1990 to become the Independent Television Commission (ITC) in 1990. In 2003 the ITC became part of OFCOM - the Office of Communications.

The Independent Television Authority (ITA) was constituted under the provisions of the Television Act 1954, with the function of providing television broadcasting services additional to those of the BBC; and under the provisions of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 the Postmaster General granted the ITA a broadcasting licence. In March 1971 in Command paper Cmnd 4636 the government signalled the introduction of commercial radio broadcasting, and its intention to expand the remit of the ITA to cover commercial radio, and to rename it the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA). In November 1983 the government announced that it did not intend to licence operators other than British Telecommunications and Mercury to provide basic telecommunications over fixed links, whether cable, radio or satellite, both domestically and internationally, during the following seven years. The policy subsequently became known as the duopoly policy. In November 1988 in Command paper Cm 517 the government signalled the establishment of the Independent Television Commission, to supervise a more liberal approach to delivery of television services, and of a Radio Authority for radio services.

Language English
Archival History The archive remained in the custody of OFCOM until transfer to Bournemouth University in Oct 2008.
Control Number M0069052DO