The rise and decline of AM radio in Pittsburgh

A portrait of Frank Conrad in 1921; holding a microphone in his hand (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

A portrait of Frank Conrad in 1921; holding a microphone in his hand (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Many thanks to Jeff Brady who shared this article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. While this article focuses on Pittsburgh’s AM radio scene, it’s certainly reflective of a common theme throughout the US and in other countries.

(Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

By Adrian McCoy and Maria Sciullo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Radio, as we know it, may have begun on a bet.

Frank Conrad, assistant chief engineer for Westinghouse in the early 20th century, wanted to see whether a new watch was keeping correct time. In 1912, he made a $5 wager with colleague Thomas Perkins. But how to verify his claim?

Tinkering with materials in his Wilkinsburg garage, Conrad created a small receiver capable of picking up time signals from the U.S. Naval Observatory in Arlington, Va.

He won his bet and went on to design bigger and better radios for Westinghouse. In turn, Westinghouse became a key player in turning the hobby of a few radio enthusiasts into an industry that changed the world.

Pittsburgh’s radio history is the history of modern radio.

For AM radio — and the radio industry in general — the hits just keep coming. Rapid technological changes, government legislation, aging demographics and a shifting media landscape have combined to erode AM’s once massive audience. Better clarity through FM, HD and satellite, and more diverse programming have resulted in AM leaning heavily on two formats: talk and sports.

Still, it all started here.” [Continue reading…]

For more information about Frank Conrad, check out this biography on Wikipedia. Read the full Gazette-Times article The Rise and Decline of AM Radio by clicking here.

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2 thoughts on “The rise and decline of AM radio in Pittsburgh

    1. Thomas Post author

      Absolutely, Steve! Please upload it to Archive.org, if possible, and I’ll post it. Here’s the link, though you might have to create an Archive.org account if you don’t already have one: https://archive.org/upload/

      Just send me the URL when you’re done!

      Thanks!
      Thomas

      Reply

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