Radio Broadcasting

In: Film and Music

Submitted By simpleminds
Words 825
Pages 4
On January 13, 1910, tenor Enrico Caruso prepared to perform an entirely new activity: sing opera over the airwaves, broadcasting his voice from the Metropolitan Opera House to locations throughout New York City. Inventor Lee deForest had suspended microphones above the Opera House stage and in the wings and set up a transmitter and antenna. A flip of a switch magically sent forth sound.

The evening would usher out an old era—one of dot-dash telegraphs, of evening newspapers, of silent films, and of soap box corner announcements. In its place, radio communications would provide instant, long-distance wireless communication. In 2009, America celebrated the 40th anniversary of the creation of National Public Radio; thanks to deForest, 2010 marks the centennial of the true birth of the era of public broadcasting.
Wireless telephony had been several decades in the making. European experimenters (including Heinrich Hertz, for whom the radio frequency unit hertz is named) had contributed to the field in the late 1800s by experimenting with electromagnetic waves. In the 1890s, Guglielmo Marconi invented the vertical antenna, transmitting signals of ever-increasing distance; by 1901, he could send messages from England across the Atlantic Ocean to Newfoundland. Thanks in part to these advances, in December 1906, Canadian inventor Reginald Fessenden was able to arrange a holiday broadcast to operators off the Atlantic seaboard. His singing, violin playing and biblical verse reading were heard on ships from New England to Virginia.
In the decade after deForest’s broadcast, popular interest in radio technology grew. Amateur devotees became known as “fans,” rather than “listeners” or “listeners-in,” which were terms used derogatorily to indicate that a person was not actively engaged in both sides of radio broadcast. “Every radio at the time—or all the good ones—could both…...

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