The early BBC was devoted to individual and social uplift through the dissemination of ‘culture’, which the Victorian cultural theorist Matthew Arnold had defined as ‘the best that has been thought and said in the world’. Histories of the BBC understandably tend to reduce the impetus to public service broadcasting’s mission to inform, educate, and entertain to an Arnoldian influence. Aesthetically and ethically speaking, the situation was more complex. The work of early radio theorists and administrators, and of creative writers and producers such as Tyrone Guthrie and Lance Sieveking, bears within it the traces, sometimes ghostly, sometimes bold, of another, and competing, Victorian discourse—namely, aestheticism, whose roots lie in the work of Arnold’s contemporary Walter Pater. Through a closer attention to radio modernism’s aestheticist inheritance, this essay also introduces a new phrase into the lexicon of modernist ‘moments’—Sieveking’s ‘moments of hearing’—and shows how the BBC created a space not only for ‘moderately adventurous’ aesthetic experiments, but also for artistic efforts that were as radically experimental, and as thoroughly in the aestheticist tradition, as works by prominent modern novelists.