Category Archives: Radio History

Today: National Radio Day

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tom Ally, who notes that today is National Radio Day:

(Source: National Radio Day)

About

National Radio Day is a time to honor one of the most longstanding electronic media and its role in our everyday lives. Radio delivers information, news, entertainment and company to millions of Americans every hour of every day. We invite listeners, broadcasters, producers and stations to celebrate on August 20.

History

Although there is not one authoritative source on the history of National Radio Day, it has been celebrated since the early 1990s on August 20. Perhaps it was decided that August 20 would be an appropriate day because 8MK (now WWJ) in Detroit, first broadcast on August 20, 1920.

According to Wikipedia, WWJ debuted as the “Detroit News Radiophone” and was “the outgrowth of interest in radio technology by the publishers of The Detroit News, combined with inventor Lee de Forest’s longtime promotion of radio broadcasting.”

Regular annual recognition didn’t quite take off until 2011 when NPR brought renewed attention to the day.

Now

National Radio Day is organized by Sabrina Roach, a Doer at Brown Paper Tickets, in partnership with non-commercial radio stations across the United States.

In July 2015, Roach called a meeting of radio broadcasters, producers and enthusiasts to discuss initiating a project to raise the visibility of non-commercial radio across the country. That effort put fresh energy behind the celebration of National Radio Day.

It’s also an ideal time to initiate a common project for full-power and low-power FM (LPFM) stations as hundreds of new LPFMs are getting on the air made possible by the Local Community Radio Act.

Click here to visit the National Radio Day website.

KGEI’s role in WWII

(Source: The Daily Journal via Richard Cuff)

KGEI: A forgotten WWII radio story

Sometimes history is hidden in plain sight or site — as is the case of a blockhouse-shaped building located, appropriately, on Radio Road in the Redwood Shores area of Redwood City.

There is no plaque to remind the few visitors to the area that the two-story building played an important role in World War II: It housed the transmitter for shortwave radio station KGEI, which was the only voice from home for GIs fighting from island to island in the Pacific.

Among other accomplishments, the station broadcast Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s “I have returned” speech that fulfilled his promise to return with victorious American troops to the Philippines, occupied by Japanese forces since 1942.

Today, the building of about 7,000 square feet is owned by Silicon Valley Clean Water, the wastewater plant operated jointly by Redwood City, San Carlos and Belmont. The plant is adjacent to the KGEI building, which itself is right next to a much larger transmitter building used by KNBR. Ground was broken in late 1940 for the KGEI structure made of reinforced 3-foot thick concrete walls designed to withstand bombing.[…]

Continue reading the full article at The Daily Journal…

Radio: “One of history’s most important inventions”

(Source: CNN)

There are few more important inventions in the history of the world than the radio.

While in recent years it may have become less popular than television or the internet, it could be argued that the radio was the first electronic gadget to play a prominent part in people’s lives.

Radio is where the world first heard Britain declare war on Germany, where Orson Welles accidentally fooled the public into believing a real alien invasion was under way in his “War Of The Worlds” serial and where young people first heard Billy Haley’s “Rock Around The Clock,” spreading popular music around the world.

But it is not just an aural medium. Like all important pieces of technology, design has had an essential part to play in its evolution.[…]

Continue reading the full article on CNN’s website…

Lennart’s Radio FAX QSL card and letter

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Lennart Weirell, who shares the following

I read the posting about Radio FAX, and I heard the station 1988-10-23, but on MW 1611 kHz a frequency they also used.

[Please see above and below] a copy of the QSL-card and stencil from Radio FAX.

Back of QSL Card

Thanks so much for sharing your report with us, Lennart!

Click here to read our previous post about Radio FAX.

Radio Caroline at 50 years

Radio Caroline circa 1960’s.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, William Lee, who shares this item from ABC News:

Radio Caroline: Golden age of British pirate radio remembered, 50 years on

They were the pirates of the open seas — bringing rock and pop music to a new generation.

And the British government was furious.

Back in the 1960s, when pop and rock were taking over the music scene, British teenagers had to turn to pirate radio stations to hear bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

Barred from broadcasting from land, stations such as Radio Caroline and Radio London had taken to the water, using rusty old ships moored in international waters to broadcast to millions of eager listeners across the UK.

The government wasn’t happy and 50 years ago, on August 14 1967, the Marine Offences Act made it illegal to support the ships or broadcast from them.[…]

Continue reading…

William note that this story can be found on multiple news sources, but the ABC has more photos.

Other sources include:

Many thanks for the tips, William! Like many Post readers, I do love Radio Caroline!