NMSAT :: Networked Music & SoundArt Timeline

1921 __ KDKA - the birth of a broadcast studio
Comment : For the first six months of its existence, KDKA was a radio station without a studio. There had been little need for one, since all programs were originated either as phonograph records played in the "shack" atop the Westinghouse plant, or churches, theaters, hotels, or other remote points. However, in May of 1921, it was decided to pitch an experimental tent on the roof next to the transmitter room. This tent-studio served admirably all summer long and left its lessons to guide engineers in the use of drapes and acoustical board in building future indoor studios. Early radio listeners came to expect the whistle of a passing freight train which, in the days of the tent studio, became a regular 8:30pm feature on KDKA, no matter what the program. In the next several years, KDKA had studios in Pittsburgh's William Penn Hotel and in the Westinghouse building in East Pittsburgh. Starting in 1934, KDKA studios occupied the entire third floor of the Grant Building -- and in 1956, KDKA Radio moved to the newly-constructed Gateway Center -- where KDKA Radio and TV are still today. (KDKA radio website)Afro-Americans on Earl Radio.There are mentions of the jazz pianist Earl "Fatha" Hines making an appearance over KDKA, Pittsburgh as early as 1921, but this may not have been the first instance of a black performer on radio.defining "firsts" in the earliest days of radio is a very risky proposition, because there's so little solid documentation available. I've seen a Ethel Waters-Fletcher Henderson joint appearance over WGV New Orleans dated 1921 or 1922.although WGV wasn't licensed until March of '22, the appearance could have taken place over an experimental transmitter prior to the granting of the license. Also in 1922, newspaperman Jack L. Cooper made his radio debut over WCAP in Washington DC as a "one man minstrel show." Cooper went on to become a towering figure in African-American broadcasting.appearing as an actor, a master-of-ceremonies, a comedian, a newscaster, a sportscaster, and a disc-jockey on various Chicago stations until 1961. He wrote, produced, directed and sold advertising for all of his various shows, and eventually established Jack L. Cooper Radio Productions Inc. By the 1940s, Cooper was taking out ads in Variety proudly promoting himself as "The Highest Paid Negro In Radio." I've also seen mentions of Bert Williams, the legendary Ziegfeld star, making at least one broadcast in 1921, possibly in connection with his role in the Broadway revue "Shuffle Along," but I've not seen any documentation for this. Williams died in early 1922.had he lived longer, he undoubtedly would have been a significant figure in broadcasting. Duke Ellington was involved in radio very early on.his orchestra was being heard regularly over WHN in remote broadcasts from the Cotton Club as early as 1924, and these were probably the first regularly-scheduled broadcasts by African-American performers in New York. (Elizabeth McLeod, 2007)
Urls : http://www.kdkaradio.com/pages/15486.php (last visited ) http://jeff560.tripod.com/am8.html (last visited )

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