“We interrupt this program to…”
Imagine a world without radio. Without television. Without all of the programming, we have grown accustomed to the push of a button. Imagine not being able to listen to your favorite programs, favorite musicians.
The reality is, without radio and public broadcasting many of the electronic services we have today would not exist!
January 13 is National Public Radio Broadcasting Day and we want to celebrate by sharing the history of public broadcast.
A Condensed Timeline of Radio
Radio and in turn, television, brought about major social change in the world, connecting people all over the globe. But how did this come to be?
- 1895: Guglielmo Marconi sends a wireless signal from his family estate in Italy.
- 1906: On Christmas Eve, Reginald Fessenden transmits a voice and music program in Massachusetts that is picked up in Virginia.
- 1910: The first public radio broadcast in history took place with a live opera from the Metropolitan Opera House.
- 1912: Morse code is used by Iowa State College’s station 9YI.
- 1920: The first scheduled commercial radio programmer is created with KDKA in Pittsburgh. They aired Warren Harding and James Cox presidential election returns and some music. Throughout the broadcast, they issued the message: “Will anyone hearing this broadcast please communicate with us, as we are anxious to know how far the broadcast is reaching and how it is being received?”
- 1933: Edwin Howard Armstrong develops frequency modulation, or FM radio to deal with the static issue of AM broadcasting.
- 1954: Regency Electronics introduces the TR-1, the first all-transistor radio.
Did you know in 1938, Orson Welles’s “The War of the Worlds” was broadcast over radio waves, causing mass panic that Martians had invaded earth? It began with, “The Columbia Broadcasting System and its affiliated stations present Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater on the air in ‘War of the Worlds’ by H.G. Wells.” However, some listeners missed the part about it being a production–not a news announcement.
According to History Channel, “Welles introduced his radio play with a spoken introduction, followed by an announcer reading a weather report. Then, seemingly abandoning the storyline, the announcer took listeners to “the Meridian Room in the Hotel Park Plaza in downtown New York, where you will be entertained by the music of Ramon Raquello and his orchestra.”
Yikes. While no laws were broken, radio stations were more careful in announcing their theatrical productions after that.
While we now live in an age where radio is regulated to ensure havoc does not ensue and we use profanity delays to protect young listeners, radio has given us so much more.
Listening to music on the radio is great. But seeing them live is So. Much. Better.
ROCK AND ROLL AT RIVER STREET JAZZ CAFE ALL DECADE LONG.
WE LOOK FORWARD TO SERVING YOU AT ALL OF OUR FINE ESTABLISHMENTS: