Part 4 in a series.
One way to get the measure of a person – their temper, as in mood, their dispositions, both emotional and intellectual, what they glean from life, how they “see” the world this way rather than that way – is by understanding those other voices to whom they listen, about whom they think, and from whom they draw.
Most immediately and obviously for Reith his father, George Reith, a minister in the Free Church of Scotland, was a powerful influence. Reith told Boyle that from beyond the grave his father had had a profound effect on public service broadcasting. (38)
There were other influences, though – or put somewhat differently, two individuals with whom Reith identified, in one case somewhat paradoxically. In 1929 Reith was asked by the former Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin – who had been elected Rector of St. Andrew’s University in Scotland – if he had any ideas that he might use in his inaugural address. Reith recommended Tyndall’s 1874 address to the British Association, and urged him to study the ideas of Dr. Thomas Chalmers, “in his view one of the greatest Scotsmen who ever lived…” Continue reading