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KDKA still going as first commercial radio station

Posted by: | September 27, 2011 | No Comment |

Radio's first report was on the 1920 election. (Photo courtesy of "Google Images")

Harry P. Davis had a vision when he convinced his electric company, Westinghouse, to try something that never had been done before.

On Nov. 2, 1920, the first commercial radio station, was launched. The station is KDKA, a CBS affiliate that is still running today in Pittsburgh. The first broadcast reported on the returns of the 1920 presidential election, which Warren G. Harding would eventually go on to win.

This risk led to an explosion of radio expansion and use. Only two years later, there were 576 radio stations operating in the United States. Also, in 1922 alone, over 100,000 radios were purchased.

This helped ignite the successful economy and mood of the Roaring Twenties. It also completely changed the manner in which people found out their news.

For those who could not read, they now had an alternate source from word of mouth and a print newspaper to consume news. The audience could get a more realistic sense of the news they were obtaining with a direct human element involved.

Radio’s emergence would help set the stage for the Great Depression, where citizens gathered as one to listen to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s, “fireside chats,” showing the influence radio would have on the nation’s mindset.

under: Comm 455
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