Tag Archives: Radio History

Lavina Shaw: History of a Canadian railway brass pounder

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Eric McFadden (WD8RIF) who shares the following post by James Wade (WB8SIW) from the QRZ.com forums:

The CBC recently interviewed Lavina Shaw, Past International President of the Morse Telegraph Club. In this biographical documentary, Lavina talks about her experiences working as a railroad and commercial telegrapher as well as her experiences as a woman working in a man’s world. Like many telegraphers of her era, Lavina had a front-row seat to history.

In addition to railroad and commercial operations (telegrams, cablegrams), the telegraph was widely used in a variety of applications such as stock brokerage operations, commodities and board of trade work, press operations, and so forth. Even the telephone company used Morse telegraphy extensively for its internal operations well into the post war era.

Radio amateurs in general, and CW operators in particular, will undoubtedly find this video interesting, not just for the human interest content, but for its insights into the antecedents of radiotelegraphy.

The Morse Telegraph Club is a non-profit historical and educational association dedicated to preserving the history and traditions of telegraphy and the telegraph industry. MTC members and chapters demonstrate telegraphy at historical events, design and construct historically correct museum exhibits and conduct presentations on the history of telegraphy. MTC also publishes an excellent quarterly journal entitled “Dots and Dashes, which includes articles on telegraph history and first-person accounts of telegraph industry employees.

Click here to view on YouTube.

For more information on MTC membership, please contact James Wades (WB8SIW).

Thanks, Eric, for sharing this fascinating piece about Lavina Shaw!

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The Audimeter: A 1939 solution for measuring radio audiences

Photo showing off the inside of an Audimeter, a device for measuring what people were listening to on radio (Photo: February 1945 issue of Radio-Craft via Gizmodo)

(Source: Gizmodo)

[…]The February 1945 issue of Radio-Craft magazine included an article titled “Radio Audience Meter” which looked at the machine that was revolutionizing audience measurement. First installed in homes on a trial basis in 1939, the Audimeter was placed next to a family’s existing radio.

The article included photo cutaways that showed how the Audimeter worked. Back in those days, radios had dials. Fitted with a series of gears, the Audimeter was a standalone device connected to a radio. It had an arm that moved whenever the radio dial was turned. So whenever the radio station was changed, the Audimeter’s arm would swivel along a long tape that was slowly rolling inside this gadget. The tape inside was about 100 feet long and three inches wide and reportedly lasted for about a month of recording.

The market researchers would collect the tapes by visiting each house monthly and shipping the tapes to a plant in Chicago. Once there, the tapes were processed by dozens of laborers feeding the tapes into tabulation machines.

“The Audimeter made it more scientific,” Buzzard noted about the measuring device. “They got automatic readings.”

And words like “scientific” and “automatic” were all the rage for gadgets of the 1940s, even if by today’s standards there was quite a bit of legwork involved.[…]

Click here to read the full story.

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2019 Marks the 100th Anniversary of Radio in the Netherlands

Former RNW headquarters in Hilversum, Netherlands (photo coutesty: RNW)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill (WD9EQD), who shares the following:

Hi Thomas,

You probably already know this, but 2019 is the 100 anniversary of radio in the Netherlands

Jonathan Marks of the Media Networks programs has a nice article about some of the history of radio Netherlands:

View at Medium.com

Click here to view.

There’s also the Media Networks Vault where you can listen to many of the original Media Networks programs:

https://jonathanmarks.libsyn.com/

For real Radio Netherland Fans, from the archives, there is an eight part audio series on the 50th anniversary:

Click here to read.

The Internet Archive is probably an easier place to down load the eight part series [we’ve also embedded each audio file below]:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

Part 7:

Part 8:

Click here to listen via the Internet Archive.

Fascinating Listening.

Thanks so much for sharing this, Bill! Indeed-these are some amazing resources to explore the rich history of radio in the Netherlands!

 

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Book Review: “Radio Reader: Essays in the Cultural History of Radio”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Kolesar, who shares the following review:

Just finished another excellent read: Hilmes and Loviglio’s collection “Radio Reader: Essays in the Cultural History of Radio.”

Very little scholarship exists about the cultural impact of radio in America, and this volume explores the history highlights (long partial list): the initial fight over the nature of broadcasting in the 1920s and 30s (educational vs. commercial), stratification of programming and channels with regards to representation of women, people of color, and gays during the Depression, WWII, and the pre-televison era, the discovery of the teenage market in the 1950s that led to the Top 40 format, the commerical Underground radio movement of the 60s, the creation of NPR and the associated decimation of student-run university stations, the rise of commercial (in everything but name) religious broadcasting and and its corrupting effects on the religious experience and political discourse, the 1980s male-dominated talk radio genre as an effort to roll back feminism, the 1996 Telecom bill and the creation of LPFM and the proliferation of pirate radio as responses to it, and finally, the digital radio future and its public service obligations.

For those who love the medium, this is a great reminder of why we work in it, how it’s succeeded and yet failed to live up to its potential, and what the future may hold as new technologies enter the audio landscape.

Thanks, Dave—sounds like this collection spans a wide variety of radio cultural histories. I did some searching and found that, of course it’s on Amazon.com, but also available used on a number of sites including Barnes and Noble.

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The curious history of the Foxhall Transmission Station

Foxhall Towers (Source: Steve from geograph.org.uk via Wikimedia Commons)

(Source: Southgate ARC)

John Norman writes in the East Anglia Daily Times about the Foxhall transmission site just outside Ipswich which played a key role in WW2 and the Cold War

Getting a coded signal back to the States, both during the Second World War and the Cold War, proved incredibly difficult. The solution was Operation Tea Bag: a scheme to connect telephone switching stations from across Europe, as far south as Italy, to Foxhall for forward transmission across the Atlantic.

Read the article at
https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/ipswich-icons-when-the-cold-war-was-played-out-right-on-our-doorsteps-in-suffolk-1-4947730

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