NMSAT :: Networked Music & SoundArt Timeline

1916 __ 8XK
Frank Conrad (1874-1941)
Comment : As part of a war effort development for the Navy of a radio-telephone transmitter, Westinghouse Electric engineer and ham radio operator Frank Conrad begins experimental transmissions from a shed behind his house in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh. The station call letters were 8XK. (Barry Mishkind, “The Broadcast Archives”, [http://www.oldradio.com/ www.oldradio.com])Although AM radio broadcasts were tested in 1906 and used for voice and music broadcasts up until WW1 it wasn't until 1916 in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania when 8XK began regularly scheduled broadcasts. 8XK would receive the first official broadcasting license in 1920 with the call sign KDKA. At 6:00 PM on November 02 1920 the US presidential election returns were announced from a shack in East Pittsburgh by Leo Rosenberg and KDKA became the world's first commercial radio station. Conrad first became interested in radio in 1912 when, in order to settle a bet on the accuracy of a watch, Conrad built a radio in order to hear time signals from the Arlington, Virginia Naval Observatory. He then constructed, in his garage, a new transmitter, licensed in 1916 as 8XK, whose signal could be heard throughout the Pittsburgh area. In response to popular demand, Conrad began broadcasting for two hours each Wednesday and Saturday night. When all civilian amateur radio operations ceased in 1917, Conrad began using his radio for military purposes during World War I. Conrad resumed his amateur radio broadcasts in October 1919. Most of the content of these early broadcasts was music: Conrad's sons were talented musicians and Conrad played numerous songs from his record collection. He soon ran out of records, however, and struck a deal with a local music store: if the store would supply him with records, he would give the store on-air promotions. This exchange is arguably the first broadcast commercial in airwave history. There are also reports of football scores reported, as well as some talk programming. The vice-president of Westinghouse soon saw an ad in the newspaper for a toy store advertising radio sets that could receive Conrad's broadcasts. He saw the potential for mass communication that radio offered, and Westinghouse began manufacturing radio receivers. (Compiled from various sources)
Urls : http://www.oldradio.com/ (last visited ) http://www.kdkaradio.com/pages/15486.php (last visited )

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