“Tuning In” Radio 4 documentary on the history of early radio in Britain

Tuning In, a history of early radio in Britain, will be broadcast November 3rd on BBC Radio 4. If you don’t live in the UK, you can listen live on the Radio 4 website where they will also post an archive of the show. (Note that some archived shows are only available for a limited time.)

(Source: Radio 4)

The press fulminated, the enthusiasts were frustrated, and the radio manufacturers fumed. Despite the fact that Marconi had invented radio before Queen Victoria had celebrated her Diamond Jubilee in 1897, radio in Britain took another 25 years to begin an official service to listeners. But when, on November 14th 1922 the British Broadcasting Company’s station at Marconi House radiated to an awaiting nation “This is 2LO calling” for the first time under the company’s name, it marked the start of the first and most distinguished public-service radio station in the world.

As part of the celebrations to mark nine decades of the BBC, historian Dominic Sandbrook explores the long and involved pre-BBC history of radio in Britain, how Britain’s broadcaster got going and developed into an institution dedicated to entertainment, education and information, discovers why Australian diva Dame Nellie Melba was involved, and how the improbably-named Captain Plugge made his first British commercial broadcast from the roof of Selfridges department store in London. From Marconi to Savoy Hill via an old army hut in Essex, the story of the early radio in Britain.

National Radio Day 2012

Click to enlarge. (Source: NPR)

Today in the US, it’s National Radio Day–a day to acknowledge the significance of radio technology and the way it has shaped our past, shapes our present, and continues to shape our future.

National Public Radio and its member stations typically celebrate with some fanfare. I especially love their vintage-inspired graphic this year, featuring Guglielmo Marconi.

In fairness, we should also acknowledge Nikola Tesla, whose 17 patents may have helped Marconi win his Nobel Prize as the father of radio.

Is radio a Canadian invention?

Today is Thanksgiving in Canada–and perhaps we should all thank this fine country for its contribution to radio as we know it today.

In this short audio documentary, Radio Canada International focuses on the innovative work of Canadian Reginald Aubrey Fessenden. As this piece points out, though Marconi receives recognition as the father of radio, Fessenden played a stronger role in making it possible to hear the human voice over the air.

Click hear to listen to LITTLE KNOWN CANADIAN FACTS: Radio, a Canadian invention at Radio Canada International.

For a full biography of Reginald Aubrey Fessenden, check out the Hammond Museum of Radio‘s website.

Thanks to RCI’s The Link for the tip & Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!