The first radio transmission was successfully sent on Christmas Eve in 1906. Reginald Fessenden and his team broadcasted a Christmas concert to the united Fruit Company in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea; this caused Fessenden to be radio’s first voice. This broadcast foreshadowed the future of radio. Lee DeForest, Edwin Armstrong, Guglielmo Marconi, Nikola Tesla, David Sarnoff, and Fessenden were all considered to be the fathers of radio and radio as we know it now would not be the same without these men and many others.
The first “radio show” was done by Lee De Forest, also known as the father of radio. He broadcasted opera singer Enrico Caruso. In 1916, he transmitted the first radio news show. Later on in the century, President Franklin Roosevelt had a regular program known as his “fireside chats” from the White House. By the 1940’s people were regularly listening to radio programs. People listened to them for news and entertainment. Families would gather around the radio in the evening and listen to broadcasts together. By the 1970’s radio had started losing their audience to television. To make up for their lost audience they started having radio shows that played music. It became quite popular and many people believed it saved radio. In current times, most radio shows are music oriented, but there is also news and talk show.
A detector is defined as a device that recovers information of interest contained in a modulated wave. The term dates from the early days of radio when all transmissions were in Morse code, and it was only necessary to detect the presence or absence of a radio wave using a device such as a coherer without necessarily making it audible. A more up-to-date term is demodulator, but "detector" has a history of many decades of use, even if it is a misnomer. In 1907 the First Crystal Detector, by G. W. PICKARD, was developed. Up to this time the most popular detector was Fessenden’s electrolytic type; the coherer, while still somewhat used, but it has been found unstable and insensitive. The Fleming diode valve was never really popularized because of its insensitivity to weak signals. Consequently the discovery of the crystal detector marks another great stride in the development of radio. The crystal detector was extremely effective in demodulating feeble irregular signals (both modulated CW and damped waves) although somewhat critical in the adjustment of the “cat whisker”. Because of its sensitivity and inexpensiveness it was the most popular of all detectors until the advent of low cost audions, and was, to a great extent, responsible for increased public interest in wireless or radio.
Today’s radio stations broadcast on one of three mediums; Amplitude Modulation (AM), Frequency Modulation (FM), and Satellite Radio. Though there are other mediums of radio transmission, these three dominate the radio broadcasts of today. Radio stations that broadcast on these mediums can be identified by their call sign, a unique four letter identifier. Today’s radio station’s call sign start with either a K or a W. K is for stations west of the Mississippi river, W for those east. There are also different formats that radio stations can broadcast. This can dictate the type of music that is played, forums that are aired, and news that is covered. Examples would be music radio, sports radio, talk radio, etc. Early radio station’s programming consisted mainly of live radio, until recording equipment technology improved. Radio then moved to more pre-recorded shows to help fill in airtime gaps. Today, some radio stations are controlled completely by computers.
Broadcasting is when seeds are scattered over a general area without a specific pattern. Radio broadcasting is when radio messages are send to a wide range of potential listeners without regard for who hears it. During the early years of radio broadcasting there was a lot confusion between stations because they were all broadcasting at the same time. So they made the Radio Act of 1927. The Radio Act of 1927 established the Federal Radio Commission (FRC). The act gave the FRC authority to regulate the industry by enforcing rules, making regulations, and modifying existing ones. Soon, the FRC was abolished by the Communications Act of 1934. The act of 1934 established the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to oversee all electronic media, including wired (telegraph and telephone). Today we still use the FCC to manage radio broadcasting and other large media industries.
A radio personality (also known as a radio host or a radio presenter) is a person with an on-air position in radio broadcasting. A radio personality can be someone who introduces and discusses various genres of music, hosts a talk radio show that may take calls from listeners, or someone whose primary responsibility is to give news, weather, sports, or traffic information. Radio is theater of the mind and air personalities (announcer, jock, DJ or disc jockey) are its actors. To become successful it requires passion, practice, a willingness to learn, ability to read, ego, ability to write, patience, desire, and sacrifice. The institution of radio has a responsibility to entertain and inform. Air personalities anchor the broadcast industry. A microphone is power. Becoming an air personality can lead to a career in or out of radio.
Radio Advertisement did not start to blossom until the 1960’s. Even then, very few local United States stations participated in much promotional activity. Normally, radio stations would use different methods of promotion to separate themselves from the competition. People are commonly interested in radio advertisements due to the large amount of prize giveaways that the radio stations use to lure in customers. Radio stations commonly try to air advertisements during the time span in which customers, who may be interested in the item, will be listening. Up until the late 1940’s, radio advertisement competed with print media and other motion pictures. A commonly used technique was airing item giveaways at a certain time, therefore more people would tune into the radio station. There are many different tactical approaches to radio advertising.
Radio Frequency waves have been recently transformed into spirals to allow different radio stations to use the same frequency for the crowded frequencies from 3 Hertz to 300 gigahertz. This is good news for many people who like a very rare type of music or a type of music that is losing popularity. The changing of radio waves into spirals is done by increasing the bandwidth of the waves by magnitude. This new technology will also help the use of wireless devices, such as cellphones by allowing them to communicate back and forth with less interference. This was first attempted in Italy. Both the signals broadcasted from Venice were 2.4 gigahertz these waves traveled 442 meters. The radio waves were received at an Island where the rulers from Venice once lived. Unwinding these spirals of radio frequency waves took a special parabolic antenna.
There are four types of radio networks that exist in the United States: commercial, non-commercial, state commercial, and religious. Commercial broadcasters according to the Broadcasting Services Act of 1992 have five distinct qualifications. The first is that the programs provided appeal to the public. Second is that equipment to receive the channel must be very accessible, easy to find, and free to the public. Third is that they are normally funded by advertising revenue. Fourth is they operate for profit and last is they meet the qualifications of the Broadcasting Services Act of 1992. Non-commercial broadcasting networks are normally non-profit organization without a specific agenda that is funded through their listeners, they do not advertise. Some examples of non-commercial broadcasting networks are the Corporation of Public Broadcasting (PBS) and the British Broadcasting Service (BBC). State commercial and religious stations are even smaller, more specific markets. The state commercial radio stations are paid for by the state government and are used to announce traffic, weather, and emergency broadcasts in the case of a natural disaster. Religious networks can be commercial or non-commercial, as they can be featured on subscription Sirius or XM satellite radio or on a non-commercial station during typical churchgoing hours such as Sunday morning.
Radio journalists have one of the harder jobs of journalism. They have to writes solely for the ear and paint pictures for their audience. They don’t have the luxury of having the audience rewind an interview if they didn’t hear or understand something, unlike interviews on television. Anya Luscombe wrote an article for the Journal of Media Practice about how radio journalists for BBC Newsroom describe their writing copy. The journalists said that they have certain priorities that make it easier for them to write for their audience: keep the news simple, write it in spoken language, and make sure it’s an interesting story. Radio journalists have more trouble when it comes to writing stories compared to television or newspaper journalists because they have to put more effort into how they say the story than what the story is.
By: Courtney Forsythe