As regular readers of my blog (if there is such a thing) probably know, I’m a bit of a radio junkie – spending many hours every day listening to Old Time Radio dramas, public radio, AM radio and podcasts. Therefore it shouldn’t come as a surprise that 20 August is a pretty big deal to me because it was on this day, back in 1920, that the first radio station began regular broadcasting. Back then, 8MK (now WWJ) began operation in Detroit, Michigan and in doing so it became (by my definition) the first real radio station -- regularly and ultimately continuously broadcasting news, religious and sports programing.
BIRTH OF RADIO
The idea of using radio waves to transmit information was first proposed by Serbian-American inventor and geek god, Nikola Tesla, in 1892. He applied for the first radio patents in 1897. Tesla’s main rival, Thomas Edison, backed Guglielmo Marconi, who in 1901 conducted the first successful transatlantic experimental radio communications. As a result, Tesla’s patent was reversed, thus depriving him of royalty payments. On Christmas Eve of 1906, Reginald Fessenden reportedly (accessible documentation is questionable) broadcast the first radio program, consisting of some violin playing and passages from the Bible and thus invented AM radio. Shortly after, in 1907, Marconi went on to establish the first transatlantic radio service between Clifden, Ireland and Glace Bay, Canada.