NMSAT :: Networked Music & SoundArt Timeline

1919 __ 8XK — Phonograph records broadcasts
Frank Conrad (1874-1941)
Comment : October 17, 1919. Frank Conrad of 8XK begins broadcasting phonograph records. His experimental transmissions of speech and music to the Westinghouse plant in East Pittsburgh were not only well received by other radio amateurs, but by Conrad’s bosses at Westinghouse as well. Conrad’s transmissions led to Westinghouse’s decision to build pioneer station KDKA in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. (Barry Mishkind, “The Broadcast Archives”, [http://www.oldradio.com/ www.oldradio.com])PITTSBURGH, Dec. 11 -- Dr. Conrad devised the only airplane radio set to see much action during the World War. His connection with radio dates back to 1912, when he put together a crude receiving set which picked up time signals sent out at regular intervals by the naval radio station in Washington. After the war Dr. Conrad returned to his garage radio station and started broadcasting two-hour phonograph recordings twice a week. These programs gave the late Dr. Harry P. Davis the idea that regular broadcasts would be the means of creating a new field for radio development. They joined and created Pittsburgh's radio station KDKA. (New York Times, Dec. 12, 1941)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. (KDKA history)In 1919 Dr. Frank Conrad, then Assistant Chief Engineer of the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company, set up, in his own garage in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, a 75-watt transmitter (8XK) from which he broadcast musical entertainment for other radio enthusiasts. This was the first continued scheduled broadcasting in history. The Westinghouse Company realised the potential value of Conrad's work and built KDKA, the first regular commercial broadcasting station in the world, which began its career by announcing the results of the Harding-Cox election returns on the November 2nd 1920. (Norman F. Joly, “THE DAWN OF AMATEUR RADIO IN THE U.K. AND GREECE : A PERSONAL VIEW”)
Source : Bliss, Edward (1991), “Now the news: the story of broadcast journalism”, Columbia University Press, p. 7.
Urls : http://www.oldradio.com/archives/international/argentin.html (last visited ) http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/0504.html (last visited ) http://www.kdkaradio.com/pages/15486.php (last visited ) http://www.nalanda.nitc.ac.in/resources/english/etext-project/history/radio/chapter10.html (last visited )

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