Each year on August 20th, National Radio Day recognizes the great invention of the radio.
In the late 19th century, it became clear that wireless communication was possible.
There were several inventors who had a part in the invention of the radio in the late 1800s and not just one person can be credited with its beginning. To make the radio a reality, it required a number of different inventions and discoveries including both transmission and reception methods as well as technology.
It was in the 1920s when the first broadcast stations began airing programs. These first programs were those of news and world events.
- Radio ownership grew from two out of five homes in 1931 to four out of five homes in 1938.
- According to FCC statistics, at the end of 2012, there were more than 15,000 licensed broadcast radio stations in the U.S.
The Titanic disaster was a turning point for radio use: Did you know that the use of radio transmission allowed 700 people to be saved from the sinking Titanic? At the time, radio use on the seas was still very new. Until then, believe it or not, carrier pigeons were used to send out long-range distress calls.
Original consumer radios required no power: “Crystal set” radios, which are still popular among hobbyists today, use a crystalline mineral to receive radio waves. Those receivers are powered by the wave alone, but declined in popularity with the advent of radio receivers that use amplifiers.
The first radio station started in a garage: The world’s first commercial radio station originated outside Pittsburgh. Frank Conrad, who worked producing radio received during World War I, installed a radio station on the top floor of a two-story garage adjacent to his home. (Turns out that it’s not just Silicon Valley pioneers who invented things in garages.) Shortly after, in 1920, this station live broadcasted the results of the US presidential election.
- There are currently more than 15,000 licensed, full-power radio stations in the United States, more than double the number of stations in existence in 1970. That figure represents nearly one-third of all the stations in the world.
- Although a number of inventions and discoveries were required to make radio broadcasting possible, Guglielmo Marconi and Nikola Tesla have both been called the “Father of Radio”. Marconi who, at age 23, sent a radio signal across the English Channel in 1899, but Tesla was a major player in the research, experimentation, and development of radio. [radiohistory.com]
- According to newsgeneration.com, radio reaches more than 90% of the people in the United States on a weekly basis.
- In 1922, Warren G. Harding was the first president to have his voice heard on the radio. He was addressing a crowd at a dedication for a memorial site for Francis Scott Key, composer of “The Star Spangled Banner.” Three years later, Calvin Coolidge became the first president to issue a radio-specific address to the American people.[History.com]
- Around the world, there are more than 2 billion radio sets in use. That’s about one radio for every 3 people. [Did You Know]
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