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1919 __ XWA (CFCF) — A broadcast concert by vocalist Dorothy Lutton
Comment : Canadian experimental broadcast with a concert by singer Dorothy Lutton. (. Barry Mishkind, “The Broadcast Archives”, [http://www.oldradio.com/ www.oldradio.com])May 20, 1920 was the first scheduled broadcast in North America, XWA (CFCF) Montreal. A concert by vocalist Dorothy Lutton was broadcast. (. (Count Guido Roberto Deiro)Radio's first "concert promo" did much more than simply tell listeners when they could expect to hear a future broadcast. It also determined the world's first radio station. When Montreal's XWA began broadcasting experimental voice transmissions in the fall of 1919, it came at a time when radio listeners would switch on their sets and either hear something... or nothing. Listeners never knew what to expect. XWA changed that when it promoted an upcoming concert broadcast by vocalist Dorothy Lutton that was scheduled for May 20th, 1920. By being the first station to pre-promote and successfully air a feature as it had promised, XWA fulfilled the criterion as the world's first real radio station. Since the "X" in the call letters denoted "Experimental", the following November, XWA changed its calls to CFCF (Canada's First, Canada's Finest). (Wray Ellis, “Creative Ear - Episode 22: Live and in Concert…”, Creative Director RMB, Radio Marketing Bureau, 2004)1. The Beginnings of Radio Broadcasting in Canada.On 20 May 1920, the members of the illustrious Royal Society of Canada gathered in the ballroom of the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa to hear a concert performance featuring vocalist Dorothy Lutton. The unusual feature of the event was that Miss Lutton was singing in a small room in the factory of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of Canada over one hundred miles away in Montreal and her voice was being transmitted to Ottawa through the air, without wires. This specially arranged demonstration was, some scholars argue, the first regularly radio broadcast ever, and gives XWA, the Marconi experimental radio station, the distinction of being the first broadcasting station in the world. Whatever the strength of that claim, many Canadians first became aware of radio broadcasting through reading press reports of this remarkable concert. (Mary Vipond)Illustrating the early record of radio broadcasting in Canada is the reproduction of an article from the Montreal Daily Star, of Friday, May 21st, 1920, describing a broadcast, conducted the previous evening between the Canadian Marconi Company's plant in Montreal and the Chateau Laurier, Ottawa. An article in the Canada Year Book, 1934-35, page 787, also records this human voice in Canada. In reports of early broadcasting appear conflicting statements and some confusion regarding the term "wireless telephony" and "broadcasting". This is, no doubt, due to the fact that early stages of broadcasting were not as we know them to-day. Organized programming and regular schedules were not practiced at that time, because that phase of the radio science was still in the experimental stage. The Canadian Marconi experimental broadcasting activities took place during the summer of 1919, when they put into operation the first broadcast transmitter ever to be used in the Dominion of Canada. This experimental station's call letters were "XWA", and the station was located in their factory on William Street in Montreal and operated on 1200 meters. Walter A. Rush, Controller of Radio, Ottawa, writes: "The first time we have any record of broadcasting' in Canada is when the Canadian Marconi Company were authorized to transmit programs on an experimental basis during the latter part of 1918 and, also, in the winter evenings of 1919 over their station XWA in Montreal. These early transmissions were, of course, heard only by amateurs and others technically equipped to receive them, but the publicity thus obtained created a demand for regular service. Application was, therefore, made by the Marconi Company for permission to broadcast regular advertised programs and official authority to this effect was granted on November- 4, 1920, and a regular service was immediately inaugurated by the company. At that particular time, the production of transmitters for broadcasting purposes was in the development stage, but it was not until 1922 that there was a general demand for broadcasting services in other parts of Canada. Accordingly, for the fiscal year 1922-23 provision was made in our regulations for a special type of licencee for broadcasting stations. It then became necessary also to open a new block of call letters in order to take care of this new group of stations and accordingly advantage was taken at that time to change Canadian Marconi's call letters for their, Montreal station from XWA to CFCF.". (WESTON WRIGLEY, “EARLY CANADIAN BROADCASTING RECORDS”, from the October 1941 issue of Canadian Radio Data Book)
Source : Vipond, Mary (1992), “Listening in: the first decade of Canadian broadcasting, 1922-1932”, McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, p. 3.
Urls : http://www.guidodeiro.com/radio.html (last visited ) http://www.oldradio.com/archives/international/canada.htm (last visited ) http://www.rmb.ca/WorkArea/linkit.aspx?LinkIdentifier=id&ItemID=10424 (last visited ) http://www.hammondmuseumofradio.org/early-lic.html (last visited )

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