1922 __ PWX — The first broadcast station in Cuba
‣ Comment : The first broadcast station in Cuba was PWX, October 10, 1922 when AT&T's affiliate Cuban Telephone Company inaugurated a station in Havana. It was on 750 kHz at 500 W. It all started in January of 1922 when American Telephone and Telegraph (ATT) announced their interest to enter the blossoming radio industry in the US. At that time ATT owned the telephone company of Cuba, known as the Cuban Telephone Co. ATT got a license from the US Federal government on April 29th,1920 to operate the radio station WBAY, located at the ATT long lines building, Walker –Lispenard Building, at 24 Walker St., New York. ATT purchased three 500 Watt AM transmitters from Western Electric Co.; one to be installed in 24 Walker Street in New York, the second transmitter to be installed in the Cuban Telephone Co. in Zulueta and Dragones St. in Havana, and the third to be installed in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In reality this was not the first radio station operating in Cuba. As early as 1920, a community of radio experimenters (amateurs) had introduced radio on the island with a few low power transmitters. Frank H. Jones, an electrical Engineer, went to Cuba to work in the Sugar Industry and by 1912 installed and operated a 2000 W spark cw transmitter. Then, early in 1922, he operated an experimental radio station from the Sugar Cane Mill, Tiunicu. His ID was a cuckoo bird and his voice "If you hear the CU of the CUCKOO you are tuned to Central Tiunicu." On October 10th, 1922, PWX the first commercial broadcast radio station was inaugurated. The president of the republic Dr. Alfredo Zayas, from the Presidential Palace in Havana, inaugurated the transmission of PWX delivering his speech in English. He saluted the people of the United States since the inauguration ceremony was also broadcast by WEAF from the Walker-Lispenard Building in New York. Two important achievements happened at once, the first local remote broadcast, as the president was speaking from the Presidential Palace a few miles away from the PWX studios, and the first time a telephone link using overseas long lines was used to send a signal to a foreign radio station. By 1923, a total of 30 radio stations were in operation on the island with a total radiated power of 2625W. (Manuel A. Alvarez & Barry Mishkind) — Music was provided by the orchestra of Luis Casas Romero (1882-1950), featuring a twenty-two-year-old soprano who had barely made her professional debut : Rita Montaner. Much "classical" -- that is, European -- music was broadcast in Cuban radio's early days, but the first dance music on Cuban radio was danzón. Appearing sporadically on PWX, Antonio Maria Romeu's group soon had competition from the orchestra of clarinetist José Belén Puig. Numerous other charangas soon found that appearances on the air enhanced their ability to book live engagements. The radio exposure of the charangas francesas was the final nail in the coffin of the wind-band orquestas tipicas, and after that the danzón belogned to the charangueros. For a time, radio even caused a dip in the popularity of records. (Ned Sublette)
‣ French comment : La station 2LC de Luis Casas Romero a été la première qui a transmis à Cuba, le 22 août 1922. Le 10 octobre 1922 s´a réalisé la première transmission de la PWX, fait qui est considérée officiellement comme l´inauguration de la radiodiffusion à Cuba; il a été transmis le discours inaugural du Président de la République dans ce moment, Alfredo Zayas, en espagnol, et en anglais pour le peuple nord-américain. (Compiled from various sources)
‣ Source : Sublette, Ned (2007), “Cuba and its music: from the first drums to the mambo, Volume 1”, Chicago Review Press, p. 350-351.
‣ Urls : http://www.oldradio.com/archives/international/cuban.html (last visited ) http://www.cuba.to/lecturas/radio_cubana-idioma-fra.htm (last visited )
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