Radio: History Review of Creating and First Usage

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A radio is a machine that is producing or receiving inaudible waves, and that transforms it into a sound that human beings can understand. The range of the band is from 87.5 to 108 MHz. It is intended to be received directly by the public and applies to both individual and community reception. How does it work? The radio link is possible thanks to a transmitter and a receiver which are both connected to an antenna. It is a communication system that works based on the spatial distribution of electromagnetic waves.

In the 1930s, the first mainstream radio stations emerged around the world, notably with the birth of Radio Tour Eiffel in 1921. Consumer radio receivers were also beginning to appear, the first stations being rectangular boxes made of more or less precious wood decorated with various types of marquetry. The evolution of radio led us to digital station display, and digital radio to arrive at podcasts and internet radio in the 2000s. Today there are thousands of web radio stations with a wide range of programming available and on demand online radio that now accompany the radio landscape in addition to the pioneering radio stations that still use the AM and FM bands.

Although development of the first radio wave communication system is attributed to Guglielmo Marconi, it was the practical application of more than 80 years of scientific advancement in the field of wireless telegraphy.After the discovery of these 'Hertzian waves', many scientists and inventors experimented wireless transmission. Among them, the inventor Nikola Tesla proposed in 1893, before the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and the National Electric Light Association, that this wireless power technology could incorporate a system for the telecommunication of information.

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In the same time, the young Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi built the first engineering complete, commercially successful wireless telegraphy system based on airborne Hertzian waves. After a succession of complaints and debates about the use of different patents with Tesla, the United States Supreme Court stated that Marconi was “the man who first achieved successful radio transmission”. Then, on December 12, 1901, Marconi for the first time transmitted and received signals across the Atlantic Ocean.

From 1901 to 1920, radio waves were used exclusively for person-to-person text communication for commercial, diplomatic and military purposes. Broadcasting did not exist until the birth of the first radio news program in the 1920s (first broadcast on August 31, 1920 by station 8MK in Detroit, Michigan). It was the beginning of the Golden Age of Radio with the radio as the dominant electronic home entertainment medium (music, comedy show, adaptation from comic strips, soap opera, radio drama…)

This era lasted through the 1950s, when television gradually superseded radio as the medium of choice for scripted programming, variety and dramatic shows (radio was used to transmit pictures visible as television in the 20s, and commercial television transmissions started in North America and Europe in the 1940s.) Radio had to reinvent itself with the development of the transistor radio and the introduction in 1954 of the pocket TR-1 of Regency. But it was the Sony TR-63 (small enough to fit in a vest pocket, durable, powered by a small battery) that led to the mass-market penetration of transistors radio in 1957. Contextually, it also benefited from the baby boom post-World War II, a period of prosperity and the growing popularity of rock 'n' roll music.

New uses were found especially in the field of navigation system in the 1960s with Transit whose operation was based on the Doppler effect (the satellites travelled on well-known paths and broadcast their signals on a well-known radio frequency). In 1987, the Global Positioning System (GPS) constellation of satellites was launched. With the evolution of the digital world and the growing trends towards online technology, the company WXYC launched in 1994 the first internet radio station. Almost the same year, Scott Bourne founded the site, which became the first radio network that broadcast on the internet alone.

By the late 1990s, the potential of internet radio had already attracted a considerable amount of attention from potential marketing teams and investors. Companies were keen to see how they could expand their reach by getting involved with internet broadcasting, just as they had invested in FM/AM channels before. As a symbol of this expansion, the first version of iTunes, promotionally dubbed 'World’s Best and Easiest To Use Jukebox Software' was announced on January 9, 2001 and released in 2003. 

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