Commercial Radio Born

Today in 1920, Westinghouse established the first commercial radio station, KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When Harry P. Davis, a Westinghouse executive, saw an ad for amateur radio apparatus describing concerts broadcasts by Frank Conrad, an amateur wireless radio operator, he realized: “The efforts that were then being made to develop radio telephony as a confidential means of communication were wrong… instead its field was one of wide publicity, in fact, the only means of instantaneous communication ever devised.” Susan Douglas in Inventing America Broadcasting: “[Davis] now comprehended that… the amateurs were a simply the forerunners of a much larger market for radio receivers.”  By 1923, 500 radio stations operated in the United states. In 2010, there were 11,202 commercial radio stations in the U.S., up from 10,257 in 1996. According to this handy guide from the FCC, digital radio is “the sound of the future.” But radio advertising is projected by MagnaGlobal to grow worldwide from 2011 to 2016 by only 4.1% annually, better than newspapers (1.7%), but far less than TV (12.1%), Mobile (19.4%) or online video (19.6%).


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1 Response to Commercial Radio Born

  1. Pingback: Plan to Make Radio Household Utility | The Story of Information

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