One of the most influential forms of media in the history of music is the radio. Almost everyone has one, either at home, at work, or even in the car. Before the CD’s, MTV, iPods, and other portable music players, the radio was one of the means in which music was made available to listeners. In addition to music, the radio is used also to provide information about important events and other topics of interest. It is so popular that it is actually still used today, despite the availability of other forms of media.
Behind this little gadget is an extensive history that involve numerous scientists and diverse applications . So when was radio broadcasting invented and how was it developed?
In the history of the development of radio, there are many contributors who have proposed well-known theories as well as useful inventions that are components of the radio that what we use today. According to the article, “The Invention of Radio” by Mary Bellis, it was during the early 1860s where Scottish physicist, James Clerk Maxwell predicted the existence of radio waves. In 1886, German physicist, Heinrich Rudolph Hertz expanded James Clerk Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory of light by demonstrating that rapid variations of electric current could be projected into space in the form of radio waves.
Then, in 1866, Dentist Mahlon Loomis, inventor of artificial teeth, discovered “wireless telegraphy” when he was making a meter that connected to one kite and caused another one to move. This was the first known application of wireless aerial communication. Since then, the use of radio waves has been developed mainly for providing communication between two points, such as in ship-to-shore communication, and ship-to-ship communication. In 1899, the United States Army started to use wireless communications and two years later, the United States Navy started doing the same thing.
Then there was Guglielmo Marconi, an Italian inventor, who demonstrated the first successful transatlantic radiotelegraph message in 1902. Lee de Forest then invented space telegraphy when he came up with the Audion, a vacuum tube that takes relatively weak electrical signals and amplifies them. The result of his invention was the development of amplitude-modulated or AM radio that allowed for a multitude of radio stations. It was Edwin Armstrong who subsequently invented the modern frequency modulation (FM) radio transmission in 1933. This type of transmission improved the audio signal of radio by controlling the noise static caused by electrical equipment.
Finally, in 1965, the first Master FM Antenna system in the world was established on the Empire State Building in New York City. This system allowed individual FM stations to broadcast simultaneously from one source.
So there you go, a summary of the history of radio. From a dentist who used kites as antennas, to a huge master antenna on the Empire State Building, radio has definitely changed throughout the years. The question now is, will radio still be used years from now despite the development of many other gadgets that provide the same music and information?