A History of Radio
The radio has been one of the most useful inventions in modern times. With the radio, listeners were able to listen to political events, news while it was happening, their favorite music, variety shows, comedy shows and sporting events, all without leaving their house. With the invention of the radio, listeners were exposed to a wider range of entertainment than they had ever been in the past. No longer, did people have to go to events – they now came to the listeners!
The origin of radio goes back into the 1800s, when inventors such as Michael Faraday, William Henry Ward, Thomas Edison and Heinrich Hertz all worked on early wireless transmissions. The work by these inventors paved the way for Nikola Tesla who gave the first wireless radio transmission demonstration in 1891. Other inventors such as Oliver Lodge, Jagadish Chandra Bose and Alexander Popov all contributed to the development. However, the first British patent for the radio, was issued in 1896 to Guglielmo Marconi.
Radio usage continued to evolve until Pittsburgh station KDKA was issued the first commercial radio license in October 1920. In the early days of commercial radio, stations did not have any commercial advertisers. These stations were generally owned by large department stores, who used the stations to sell store merchandise or by newspaper companies who used the stations to sell more newspapers.
In 1933, a patent was issued to Edwin Armstrong, who had invented Frequency Modulation radio or FM radio as it is now known. In 1937, station W1XOJ became the first experimental FM radio station. Beginning in the 1940s FM radio started to expand in North America, and eventually with its better sound quality became the leading choice of radio listeners.
In 1954, the first transistor radio was invented. This was a landmark achievement because listeners could not leave their homes and still listen to radio broadcasts. The freedom that the transistor radio gave listeners created a booming industry and provided the brightest period in radio history.
Over the past fifty years radio has continued to evolve. New technology both in the radio station for the broadcasting of the signal and the content, to the listeners who now can enjoy new technology to receive the signal has changed drastically. In today’s radio world listeners can listen to radio over the Internet, through digital radio, satellite radio and other modern radio inventions.
Radio is over one hundred years old, however, due to technological improvements the sound quality is light years away from the beginnings with scratchy sounding AM broadcasts. With the continuing improvements in radio technology, the industry should continue to evolve and thrive.