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A short history of the Radio


We have radios everywhere in this day and age. We have them in our cars, and in our homes, and we even listen to music on the radio, each time we walk into a grocery store. It is easy to forget that this now almost invisible technology is just a little over one century old. That said, it serves to know a few things about how the radio came into being, and how the technology has been improved over the decades of its existence.


Who invented the radio?

There was a bit of a controversy in regards to who the inventor of the radio was, for a while, at least. We all know today that Guglielmo Marconi is considered to be the one who came up with the idea, but it seems that history can be tricky sometimes.

It is true that Marconi was the first person ever to receive a wireless telegraphy patent. That was happening in 1896, in England. But, three years prior, Nikolai Tesla, on American soil, had proven that a wireless radio could be a reality and even filed for the required patents in the US in 1897. However, because Marconi managed to transmit a wireless signal across the pond in 1901, he will always be the one who people consider the rightful inventor of the radio.


A time for amateurship

Today, when you go shop for a radio, you expect a plethora of manufacturers to jump to the occasion of vying for your attention, in the hope that you will purchase your new radio unit from them. But it was not always so.

Before the First World War, only a handful of enthusiasts were trying to make sense of the new technology and use it, guided by passion alone. Hobbyist magazines were filled with information on the machinery and technology, and that is why it is safe to say that hobbyists were the first to embrace the radio.


The First World War and the Morse code

During World War I, the new invention served for contacting the ships that were in the middle of the ocean. There were no speech broadcasting operations involved, as the radio was used mainly to transmit information in Morse code. While it was still far from the widespread sensation that it was going to become, the radio proved its usefulness in times of need.


The first broadcasts

While during the amateurship period, one can hardly speak about genuine broadcasting, that was going to change. In 1921, the Westinghouse’s KDKA-Pittsburgh started by broadcasting regular radio programs, and commercial radiotelephony became a reality in 1927.


After World War II

The next major conflict the humankind lived through found the radio even more useful than before. But it was after the war that the radio gained incredible popularity, with everyone listening to their favorite songs on the radio, and the rise of the first celebrities to be made such by Marconi’s invention.


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