EP Trivia and the Birth of Radio - Nov. 2

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EP Trivia and the Birth of Radio - Nov. 2

Postby KarenZ » Fri Nov 02, 2007 10:19 am

"Everything I needed to know
Was breaking through the radio"
-- Ellis Paul in "Breakin' Through the Radio"

Folks,

Radio was born on this date in 1920! Read more below - taken from the KDKA Radio (Pittsburgh, PA) website:

At 6:00pm, on Tuesday, November 2, 1920, a few men in a shack changed the course of history. Four pioneers, announcer Leo Rosenberg, engineer William Thomas, telephone line operator John Frazier and standby R.S. McClelland, made their way to a makeshift studio - - actually a shack atop the Westinghouse "K" Building in East Pittsburgh - - flipped a switch and began reporting election returns in the Harding vs. Cox Presidential race. At that moment, KDKA became the pioneer broadcasting station of the world.

The events that led to KDKA Radio date back before 1920. Dr. Frank Conrad, Assistant Chief Engineer of Pittsburgh's Westinghouse Electric Company, first became interested in radio in 1912. In order to settle a $5.00 bet with a co-worker on the accuracy of his $12.00 watch, Conrad built a small receiver to hear time signals from the Naval Observatory in Arlington, VA. (Conrad won the bet).

Fascinated with this new hobby, Conrad turned next to construction of a transmitter, which he housed on the second floor of his garage in Wilkinsburg. The first official record of this station, licensed 8XK, appears in the August 1, 1916 edition of the Radio Service Bulletin. The Bulletin was a monthly publication by the Bureau of Navigation of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the radio licensing agency of that day. Station 8XK was the forerunner of KDKA Radio.

For several years, Conrad operated experimental broadcasts from 8XK in his garage. Meanwhile, Conrad's boss, Westinghouse Vice President H.P. Davis, saw a newspaper ad stating that Horne's department store was selling, in its basement, radio receivers that could pick up music Frank Conrad was playing several nights a week. Davis had the concept that radio wasn't intended as a private means of communication, but was instead a marvelous medium that could bring all the benefits of mass, instantaneous communication into homes all over the nation.

Conrad began to get deluged with mail from amazed listeners who asked for more broadcasts, more of the music and information he was sending over the airwaves. So, Conrad announced that he would broadcast records for two hours a day on Wednesday and Saturday evenings. When he ran out of his own records, the Hamilton Music Store in Wilkinsburg became the first radio advertiser, by supplying records for airplay, in exchange for on-air promotion.

Westinghouse saw an opportunity and began manufacturing and selling amateur wireless sets so more people could tune in the broadcasts. Westinghouse also submitted a radio station license application in mid-October, 1920 - - and with election night a little more than two weeks away - - targeted the drama of the race results as the official debut of radio.

So, Why KDKA?
Many people ask if our call letters "stand for" anything. The simple answer is: no. KDKA's license - - the first radio license ever - - was issued October 27, 1920. The call letters "KDKA" were assigned from a roster maintained to provide identification for ships and marine shore stations, these being the only regular radio services then in operation under formal license by the Federal Government. When it came time to finalize the license, "KDKA" was simply the next set of call letters on the list.

Arrangements were made with the Pittsburgh Post morning newspaper to secure election returns by telephone. The election night broadcast originated in a tiny, makeshift shack atop one of the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing buildings in East Pittsburgh. There was no studio, just a single room which accommodated transmitting equipment, a turntable for records, and the first broadcast staff mentioned above. The election returns were relayed to about a thousand listeners, who learned through this fantastic new medium, that Warren G. Harding defeated James M.Cox in the race for the White House. The concept of "broadcasting" had been born.


Can anyone name the title of the Ellis Paul CD containing the lines of lyric above? :)

KarenZ
"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.

wendy
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Postby wendy » Fri Nov 02, 2007 11:57 am

That would be Speed of Trees, of course. :D
-wendy


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