The radio has evolved over time. The radio we listen to today has a different format, purpose, viewer reach, and clarity than it did before the 1950s. The radio has survived the threat of the television industry by changing with the times. It has been dealt with in the law through acts and the creation of the government regulating agency (FCC). Today the radio is the cheapest and most affective way to communicate with everyone around the world. It began with the invention of the telegraph by Samuel Morse in 1844 and developed as the knowledgeable minds of inventors and engineers worked from the late 1800s to the present to create the powerful communications medium we know today as the radio.
The radio was developed through the collaboration of many inventions and ideas from the minds of experts in the scientific fields. As early as 1844 messages were being transmitted from person to person by telegraph, which was invented by Samuel Morse (Vivian 252). By 1861 the messages could be sent from coast to coast and only five years later wires beneath the ocean floor allowed trans Atlantic communications. This development was still only point to point voiceless communication but placed the framework for future thinkers to expand on it (Campbell 113). In the 1860’s James Clerk Maxwell theorized the existence of electromagnetic waves. His theories were proven by Heinrich Hertz in 1887. Hertz name became adapted to the measure of radio frequencies (Keith 2). All of these men’s inventions and theories led to the wireless technology of radio.
Up until 1901 the ability communicate was only possible from land to land through wires. It was necessary to create a method for ships to communicate with each other and land for their own security. It was an Italian engineer Guglielmo Marconi who made it possible to communicate through space, bringing Hertz’s discoveries to life (Ditingo 15). Wireless communication, or radio, was a big step, but still there was a desire for one to many communication.
The next step in radio development was allowing many listeners from one sender (voice and music) over the radio waves. Lee De Forest became interested in the advancements of his predecessors. He patented over 300 inventions, one of the most important being the vacuum tube. It both detected and amplified radio signals. His work was “essenti...
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...ications funding. Radio since then has been dependent on donations, which have put them back in a situation of worrying about criticizing their supporters (Campbell141-142).
The radio of the twenty-first century has changed considerably since the early broadcasts in the 1920s. It has faced the threat of the television and monopolies. It grew as a business, an entertainment, a technology and a means of communication. Although it has changed it still serves as a mass medium by which millions of people in the United States and around the world get and give information and more commonly entertainment.
Campbell, Richard. Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2002.
Ditingo, Vincent M. The Remaking of Radio. Boston, Focal Press, 1995.
Keith, Michael C., and Joseph M. Krause. The Radio Station. Boston, Focal Press, 1986.
Smulyan, Susan. Selling Radio: The Commercialization of American Broadcasting 1920-1934. London: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994.
Soley, Lawrence. Free Radio. Boulder Colorado: Westview Press, 1999.
Vivian, John. The Media of Mass Communications. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1997.
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