Start Date
Place
Notes
Source
Jun 1896
UK
Marconi filed patent papers in England for his
wireless invention.
http://timelines.ws August 2006
13 Jul 1898
US
Guglielmo Marconi patented his radio. The U.S.
was concerned that an Italian controlled the
fledgling radio technology.
http://timelines.ws August 2006
1899
US
Associated Press uses Guglielmo Marconi's
wireless telegraph to cover the America's Cup
yacht race off Sandy Hook, New Jersey, the first
news test of the new technology.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Associated_Pres
s March 2010
11 Jul 1901
International
Marconi sent his first transatlantic radio signal
from Cornwall, England to St. John's,
Newfoundland, Canada. The first transmission
failed, but another the next day succeeded.
http://timelines.ws August 2006
1903
New Zealand
The New Zealand Wireless Telegraphy Act
received the Royal Assent from the Governor of
New Zealand on 26 September. It was a pre-
emptive move to give the state a monopoly on
wireless operations, as at this time there was no
activity. The penalty for unauthorized wireless
transmission or reception was £500.
http://www.terramedia.co.uk August 2006
1904
UK
Wireless Telegraphy Act 1904 identifies Post
Office (PO) as regulator of UK radio
transmissions.
http://www.ketupa.net December 2007
1906
US
The process of converting sound to a radio signal
really became possible with the patent in 1906 of
the triode or audicon tube by Lee De Forest
(1873-1961) in the United States.
http://timelines.ws October 2007
03 Oct 1906
International
The first conference on wireless telegraphy in
Berlin adopted SOS as warning signal.
http://timelines.ws October 2007
24 Dec 1906
US
The first known radio broadcast in the United
States was made by Reginald A. Fessenden, a
Canadian, from an experimental station in Brant
Rock, Mass., on December 24, 1906. This
Christmas Eve program consisted of music from
phonograph records, a violin solo, and a speech
by the inventor.
http://timelines.ws October 2007
12 Jan 1908
France
A wireless message was sent long-distance for
the first time from the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
http://timelines.ws October 2007
1909
Italy
Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937), Italian engineer,
won the Nobel Prize for physics for his invention
of wireless telegraphy.
http://timelines.ws October 2007
19 Nov 1911
International
New York received the first Marconi wireless
transmission from Italy.
http://timelines.ws October 2007
1912
US
USA passes law to control radio stations.
http://www.ketupa.net August 2006
1913
Canada
The Canadian Radiotelegraph Act included voice
transmission.
http://www.cbc.ca/history March 2007
21 Oct 1915
International
The first transatlantic radio-telephone message
was transmitted from Arlington, Va., to Paris.
http://timelines.ws January 2007
1919
US
The establishment of the Radio Corporation of
America (RCA) in 1919 and the subsequent
pooling of technical patents among RCA,
General Electric, and other companies opened
the way for the manufacture of inexpensive
receivers for their sale to the general public.
Harvard Dictionary of Music
1920
International
Similar events were occurring in other countries.
In the 1920s, radio stations appeared in Britain,
the Netherlands, Denmark, Canada, France,
New Zealand, Australia, Russia, and India. In
most countries broadcasting was subject to
government control and commercial use was
limited. Despite that, it became a very popular
medium, drawing abundant audiences.
http://gd.tuwien.ac.at August 2006
1920
US
Debate raged over how to make money off radio.
Some supported a European-style tax on radio
owners, others suggested that stations scramble
their programs and sell decoders, like today's
cable TV operators. Many solicited philanthropic
contributions and listener support, but these were
unsuccessful. Over half the stations established
between 1922 and 1925 closed, mostly due to
financial problems.
http://gd.tuwien.ac.at January 2008
1921
Russia
The use of radio broadcasting to influence the
masses begins in the Soviet Union. A powerful
station broadcasts for a few hours every day.
Receivers are expensive and owned by few
people, and the programs are broadcast to
places where people gather. The programs are
described as "spoken newspapers."
http://www.fsmitha.com August 2008
1922
US
100,000 radio sets were manufactured in the
U.S.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu December
2009
1922
US
A ruling was made in 1922 by the by the
Secretary of Commerce to prohibit the use of
phonograph records by larger stations.
Harvard Dictionary of Music
1922
US
Many of Edwin Howard Armstrong's inventions
were ultimately claimed by others in patent
lawsuits. In particular, the regenerative circuit,
which Armstrong patented in 1914 as a "wireless
receiving system," was subsequently patented by
Lee De Forest in 1916; De Forest then sold the
rights to his patent to AT&T. Between 1922 and
1934, Armstrong found himself embroiled in a
patent war, between himself, RCA, and
Westinghouse on one side, and De Forest and
AT&T on the other. At the time, this action was
the longest patent lawsuit ever litigated, at 12
years. Armstrong won the first round of the
lawsuit, lost the second, and stalemated in a
third. Before the Supreme Court of the United
States, De Forest was granted the regeneration
patent in what is today widely believed to be a
misunderstanding of the technical facts by the
Supreme Court.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_H._Armstr
ong June 2010
1922
US
The radio license floodgates open, but only three
frequencies in U.S.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu June 2007
1922
US
There were 60,000 radios in the USA.
http://www.scaruffi.com June 2007
1923
US
A half million radio sets are manufactured in the
U.S.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu March
2007
1923
US
Radio Station WEAF, in New York, sponsored by
a battery company, is one of the first
broadcasters.
http://www.magicdragon.com/UltimateSF/tim
eline1930.html December 2010
1924
US
1,400 [radio] stations are broadcasting in the US.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu July 2009
1924
US
There were over 2.4 million radios in American
homes.
http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu June 2007
1926
US
An American Telegraph and Telephone survey in
1926 determined that only 4.3 percent of US
radio stations could be characterized as
'commercial broadcasters.'
McChesney, RIch, P. 191-92
1926
US
Coin-operated radios in public places, 5 minutes
for 5 cents.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu August
2009
1927
Canada
The Prophetic Bible Institute on 8th. Ave. Calgary
- Opened in 1927 by funds raised over Aberhart's
broadcasts over CFCN Radio.
http://www.aberhartfoundation.ca/Pages/Abe
rhartrameSet.htm March 2011
1927
US
In order to prevent frequency overlap, the
Congress, at the behest of Secretary of
Commerce Hoover, passes the Federal Radio
Act. It creates the FRC and requires broadcast
licencees to operate "in the public interest."
http://www.csulb.edu June 2007
1927
US
US Radio Act declares public ownership of the
airwaves on 3 February and creates the US
Federal Radio Commission, which regulates
radio transmission, not content.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu March
2007
1928
Canada
More than 60 radio stations had been licensed to
operate in Canada by 1928.
http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com
February 2008
1929
Canada
In Canada, the Aird Commission recommended
setting up a nationally owned company to
operate a coast-to-coast radio system.
http://www.cbc.radio-canada.ca/history
February 2008
1929
US
The FRC denies the Chicago Federation of
Labor's petition to expand [radio] programming,
arguing that the programming was not in the
public interest.
http://www.csulb.edu January 2007
1930
International
During the 1930s, various politicians realized the
potential of the medium [radio]. The U.S.
president, Franklin D. Roosevelt made extensive
use of radio and it was said to be one of the keys
to his political success.
http://timelines.ws January 2008
1930
US
Most nations use radio to educate. The American
School of the Air is U.S. effort.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu
1931
Italy
In Italy the number of radio sets did not exceed
that of automobiles until 1931 (Isola, 1990).
Hobsbawn, The Age of extremes, P. 195
1931
US
Radios sit in 2 of every five U.S. homes.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu January
2007
1931
US
U.S. Radio Commission flexes muscle - orders
two Chicago stations off the air.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu January
2007
1932
Canada
The Canadian Broadcasting Act creates the
Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission
(CRBC).
http://www.cbc.radio-canada.ca/history
August 2006
1933
Canada
The CRBC [in Canada] acquired CN Radio
facilities, improved coverage and continued a
program development.
http://www.cbc.radio-canada.ca/history
august 2006
1933
Germany
Between 1933 and 1939 over 7 million
Volksempfänger were produced, over 40 per
cent of total radio production in Germany, and
production levels remained high well into the
War.
http://www.transdiffusion.org/rmc/features/hitl
ers_radio.php August 2008
1933
US
FDR begins radio Fireside Chats, bypasses
hostile newspapers.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu January
2008
01 Feb 1933
Germany
On February 1 1933, at 10 pm, Hitler gave his
first speech as chancellor - The Appeal of the
Reich Government to the German People. He
delivered it from his office and it was nationally
broadcast on radio.
http://www.emersonkent.com/history_notes/a
dolf_hitler.htm February 2011
1934
US
Half of the homes in the U.S. have radios.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu January
2007
1935
Ghana
Radio Broadcasting was first established in
Ghana (then known by its colonial name of Gold
Coast) in 1935 with approximately 300
subscribers in Accra.
http://chapterone.freewebspace.com/index.ht
ml May 2011
1936
US
33 million radio sets in the U.S.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu August
2006
1937
Canada
New transmitters in Toronto and Montreal
increased national [radio] coverage to 76 percent
of the population [in Canada] from 49 percent.
http://www.cbc.radio-canada.ca/history
January 2007
1937
US
More than half of American homes now have a
radio.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu March
2008
1937
US
NBC [radio] refuses government talk on venereal
disease.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu March
2008
1937
US
NBC had 111 affiliate stations; CBS had 105.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu January
2007
1938
US
50 million radio sets in the U.S.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu June 2007
1938
US
Radio surpasses magazines as a source of ad
revenue in US.
http://www.caslon.com January 2008
1939
Germany
Radio in 75 percent of German households.
http://www.ketupa.net February 2008
1939
US
U.S. radio networks pledge minimum of horror,
excitement in war coverage.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu March
2008
1940
Ghana
During the 1940s, broadcasting began in four of
the major Ghanaian languages - Twi, Fanti, Ga
and Ewe
http://chapterone.freewebspace.com/index.ht
ml May 2011
1940
US
80 percent of US homes have radio.
http://www.caslon.com April 2007
25 Mar 1940
US
The Supreme Court rules the FCC need not
consider the impact on compeition when it issues
a new radio license.
Leonard, The Forties
17 Nov 1940
US
NBC announces the extension of rebroadcasting
rights to include 20 Latin American republics 'to
speed the development of Pan-American
solidarity.'
Leonard, The Forties
1941
Canada
A total of 43 hours of French and English
programs were broadcast daily [in Canada by
CBC], compared with 10 in 1936.
http://www.cbc.radio-canada.ca/history
1941
US
13 million radios manufactured in US. War will
shut down production.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu March
2008
1941
US
FDR war declaration had largest audience in
radio history: 90 million.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu January
2007
1942
US
U.S. Office of Censorship (war censorship code)
banned any mention of weather in baseball
broadcasts and outlawed man-in-the-street
interviews as well as any other ad-lib interviews.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu July 2006
01 Jan 1942
Netherlands
Dutch radio was nazified. Publication of the only
authorized program guide, De Luistergids,
began.
http://www.terramedia.co.uk March 2008
1943
Brazil
The first factory was Invictus, which really started
the electronic industry in Brazil in 1943. Prior to
1943, all radio sets in use in Brazil were
imported.
http://www.earlytelevision.org/brazil_tv_histor
y.html June 2011
1944
US
First U.S. radio network censorship: sound cut on
Eddie Cantor show song.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu June 2006
1945
US
Generally, the 1945 FCC order was bad news for
the infant FM industry and the independent
elements of AM radio. Its new wattage guidelines
made obsolete 400,000 FM radio sets that
consumers had already bought and required
every FM station to buy a new transmitter.
Wu, Master Switch, P. 133
11 Jun 1945
US
The House Un-American Activities Committee
(HUAC) put seven US radio commentators under
investigation.
http://www.terramedia.co.uk March 2007
18 Jun 1945
UK
Lord Haw-Haw (William Joyce) was arrested and
charged with treason for making pro-Nazi
broadcasts to Britain during the war. He was
retained in Hamburg while the English law on
treason was amended to allow prosecution of
persons of Irish descent, Joyce having been born
in New York of Irish parentage before the
creation of the Irish Free State.
http://www.terramedia.co.uk March 2008
1946
Germany
Following the war and German partition, each
Germany developed its own international
broadcasting station: Deutsche Welle, using
studios in Cologne, West Germany, and Radio
Berlin International (RBI) in East Germany. RBI's
broadcasts ceased shortly before the
reunification of Germany on October 3, 1990,
and Deutsche Welle took over its transmitters
and frequencies.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_broa
dcast#World_War_II February 2010
1946
US
A record 97 percent of all AM stations in U.S.
were affiliated with a network.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu March
2008
1946
US
After WW II freeze, U.S. radio manufacturers turn
out 15 million sets this year.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu April 2008
1946
US
U.S. has 1,000 licensed AM radio stations.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu March
2007
1950
US
Average U.S. home has two radios.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu March
2008
13 Apr 1950
US
FCC warns radio stations which present their
own editorial opinions on controversial issues
that they have a 'duty to seek out, aid and
encourage the broadcast of opposing views.
Merritt, Fifties, P. 35
1952
International
Radio suggests levelling influence - powerful
effect of country on city - advertisers appealing to
country compelled to tone broadcasts to
listeners.
Innis, Idea File, 11-38 (1952)
1955
US
Network affiliation of AM radio stations in U.S.
dropped to 50
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu January
2007
28 Nov 1955
US
FCC withdraws the broadcasting license of radio
station WWBZ in Vineland NJ on grounds that it
has given too much prominence to racing
information.
Merritt, The Fifties
20 Mar 1957
US
NY radio station WNEW is sold to the Du Mont
Broadcasting Corporation for $7.5 million,
highest price paid to date for a radio station.
Merritt, The Fifties
25 Nov 1960
US
CBS radio's last and oldest soap opera Ma
Perkins goes off the air after 28 years and 7,200
installments. The end of the radio soaps is
attributed to competition from TV and local radio
disc-jockey programs.
Nelson and Parker, The Sixties
1964
International
England and America had their "shots" against
radio in the form of long exposure to literacy and
industrialism. These forms involve an intense
visual organization of experience. The earthier
and less visual European cultures were not
immune to radio. Its tribal magic was not lost on
them and the old web of kinship began to
resonate once more with the note of fascism.
McLuhan, Understanding Media, P. 247
(1964)
1964
International
The original telegraph line between Baltimore
and Washington promoted chess games
between experts in the two cities. Other lines
were used for lotteries and play in general, just as
early radio existed in isolation from any
commercial commitments and was, in fact,
fostered by the amateur hams for years before it
was seized by big interests."
McLuhan in Essential McLuhan, P. 288
(1964)
1964
UK
"Pirate" ships broadcast off English coast,
challenge BBC monopoly.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu March
2007
1965
US
Another corporate practice in the realm of ideas
and education is illustrated by the story of radio,
as found in most textbooks. Lawrence Lessing, in
Man of High Fidelity, describes how successful
the steady pressure of AT&T, RCA, and a few
other large corporations has been in securing in
most textbooks recognition of Lee De Forest as
the 'father of radio.' They have succeeded in
pushing aside claims of rival Edwin H. Armstrong,
who was kept in court by RCA and by Mr. De
Forest for most of the latter years of his life.
During much of his life he also had to fight off their
efforts to discredit his inventions not mentioned in
RCA publications. Their readers and subscribers
had little opportunity to know of him and his work.
Skornia, Television and Society, P. 26
(1965)
1965
US
Radio stations across the country banned the
Rolling Stones hit ""I Can't Get No Satisfaction""
because of sexually suggestive lyrics.
http://www.aclu.org/freespeech/censorship/
March 2007
1967
International
Leonard Marks, the director of the United States
Information Agency, reminded his listeners at the
national press club in early 1967 that … radio
receivers numbered well over half a billion and
international broadcasting, increasing steadily,
has now reached 24 thousand hours weekly.
Schiller, Mass, P. 12
1967
US
There were 3,895 AM and 1,336 FM stations in
the US.
http://www.trivia-library.com January 2007
21 Aug 1968
Russia
After 5 years Russia once again jammed Voice
of America radio.
http://timelines.ws August 2006
1970
International
In the 1970s, LORAN became the premier radio
navigation system. Soon, the U.S. Navy
experimented with satellite navigation,
culminating in the invention and launch of the
GPS constellation in 1987.
http://www.fact-index.com/r/ra/radio.html
December 2010
1971
UK
Radio receiver license fee abandoned.
http://www.ketupa.net August 2006
1973
UK
BBC loses radio monopoly, with authorization of
Independent Radio.
http://www.ketupa.net March 2007
1973
US
George Carlin's "Seven dirty words" results in
court slap for Pacifica Radio.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu August
2006
1978
US
Cellular radio gets spectrum allocated to cable
channels 70 to 83.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu March
2007
1978
US
In FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, the Court upheld
a law requiring that no broadcast speech be
"obscene, indecent, or profane." Known also as
the "seven dirty words" case.
http://www.csulb.edu February 2007
1982
Germany
John Cage wrote a 75-minute play for German
radio called "James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp,
and Erik Satie: An Alphabet."
http://timelines.ws June 2008
23 May 1983
Russia
Radio Moscow announcer Vladimir Danchev
praised Afghanistan Muslims standing up to
Russia. He was removed from the air.
http://timelines.ws June 2007
1986
Canada
Radio [in Canada] was forced to redefine its
strengths with the advent of TV. It is again
successful as an advertising medium.
Comparatively inexpensive, it is useful to
advertisers who want to repeat their messages
frequently. Used creatively, it can invoke the
listener's own imagination. Canada's 346 private
radio stations earned $610 million in advertising
revenues in 1986, 761f that from local
advertisers. In fact, commercials provide most of
the revenue for private radio stations.
http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com
1991
Brazil
Radio La Colifata (Loony Radio) began
broadcasting in Buenos Aires. The weekly radio
show was broadcast from inside a psychiatric
hospital.
http://timelines.ws June 2011
1991
US
Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Systems
(MMDS) get more spectrum space. [Note:
Analogue wireless technology. - SM]
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu April 2007
1992
Brazil
In Brazil Radio La Colifata, roughly translated as
"crazy one," began operating in Buenos Aires to
help mentally ill patients communicate with their
peers. Initially taped segments were broadcast,
but by 2007 live programming reached over 30
stations in Argentina and elsewhere in Latin
America.
http://timelines.ws June 2011
1992
Egypt
The radio program "Nocturnal Confessions"
began.
http://timelines.ws April 2007
1994
US
The most popular radio format in the U.S. was
country music.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu January
2008
1995
US
The average U.S. home has nearly six radios.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu march
2008
1995
US
The FCC allows radio stations to operate with no
one there.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu March
2008
02 Sep 1995
US
Infinity Broadcasting Corporation, the company
that employs Howard Stern, agrees to pay
$1.715 million to settle charges brought by the
FCC in the largest settlement ever involving
allegation of indecent broadcasts.
Avasthi, Nineties, P. 775
2000
US
FCC authorizes low power, non-commercial FM
radio stations.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu January
2007
18 Jan 2002
US
A train carrying hazardous materials derails at
1:30 a.m. in Minot, North Dakota, spilling 210,
000 gallons of anhydrous ammonia in an incident
federal regulators call "catastrophic". Clear
Channel Communications owns six out the seven
commercial stations in Minot. Minot authorities
say when they called with the warning about the
toxic cloud; there was no one on the air who
could've made the announcement. Clear Channel
says someone was there who could have
activated an emergency broadcast. But Minot
police say nobody answered the phones. (The
Associated Press, January 14, 2003 - "A year
after derailment, the land has healed, mostly, but
what of the people who live in Minot?" by Blake
Nicholson). (At the Senate Commerce
Committee hearing on January 14, 2003,
Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) cites Minot as an
example of how consolidated media can
negatively affect a local community.
http://www.pbs.org/now/politics/mediatimelin
e.html October 2008
2004
Afghanistan
In Afghanistan Radio Watanda began
broadcasting from a basement in a suburb of
Kabul. Listeners soon discovered that they could
use it as a platform to harangue the authorities.
http://timelines.ws January 2010
2005
Canada
Airtime sales by private radio broadcasters
jumped by 8.7 1632376n 2005, to $1.3 billion, the
largest annual increase since 1988. In 2005, the
industry also achieved its highest profits in recent
history. For each dollar of revenue, private radio
stations recorded profits of 20.6 cents, before
interest and taxes. Comparatively, profits had
been 17.7 cents on average since the start of the
current decade, and 6.6 cents during the
previous decade.
http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien June
2007
2005
US
In 2005, the PPFM community launched a major
campaign to bring grassroots lobbyists to
Washington, to tell the FCC and the Congress
about America's community radio and to demand
that the service be expanded to license more
stations. Their demands are backed by the
congressional study ordered in 2000, which
completely discredits the NAB's interference
charges.
The Future of media, P. 36
25 Jul 2008
US
US Federal regulators formally approved the
merger of Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. and rival XM
Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., the nation's only two
satellite radio operators. The companies first
applied for permission to combine in March
2007.
http://timelines.ws/subjects/Television.HTML
19 Mar 2010
Ethiopia
The United States opposes Ethiopian Prime
Minister Meles' decision to jam Voice of
America's Amharic Service and condemns his
comparison of their programming to Radio Mille
Collines of Rwanda. Comparing a respected and
professional news service to a group that called
for genocide in Rwanda is a baseless and
inflammatory accusation that seeks only to
deflect attention away from the core issue.
http://nazret.com/blog/index.php/2010/03/21/
united_states_strongly_criticizes_ethiop May
2011
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