3 November, 2017
The Radio Changed the Fabric of Communication
There have been numerous inventions created since the beginning of time that have brought about major advancements in the lives of people and our culture. Inventions like the wheel, the printing press and the lightbulb changed the way the world lived, communicated, and experienced life. One of those such inventions of the last 100 years is the radio.
It started out as an abstract idea that was carried by invisible waves in the air. It was hard to comprehend back then, but in a short amount of time radio transformed from just a scientific discovery to an invention that would change the way people were entertained and how they received their information. It was also a catalyst for the creation of new industries and jobs.
What Did the Radio Bring to the American People?
The radio was the first form of mass media that the world had ever seen. The radio made it possible, for the first time, for messages to reach the masses in a simple and effective way. This invention led to the expansion of various industries and celebrities in a way that the world had never seen before.
One of the ways that the radio changed the world was through its ability to facilitate the communication of important information with the masses. The radio now gave various businesses and corporation a brand-new advertising medium. The radio allowed businesses to reach potential customers that they had never been able to reach before. This facilitated a huge growth in the advertising industry. The radio also served a governmental purpose as well. It changed the way the government communicated with their people and it was also a new way for candidates to use to gain supporters and votes. For the first time ever, companies, community leaders, and politicians could get their messages out to people without ever having to look them in the eye
One of the other ways that the radio changed the world was in the creation of a new mode of entertainment. The radio stations would air weekly episodic radio shows, local and breaking news, sporting events, and the latest music of the day. This new entertainment industry was what would bolster the creation of, what we know as, modern day celebrities. It was a way for people to learn about world news and happenings in a way that they had never heard before. This was a mode of entertainment that crossed various industries, ranging from advertising to superheroes.
Historical Happenings on the Radio
It took a little while for the radio to pick up steam but by the 1920’s it had begun to be a staple in homes everywhere. The first licensed radio station was KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where in 1920 the first election results were broadcasted live, after they received a phone call from the local newspaper. The American people were told that Warren G. Harding had just been elected President of the United States.
In 1921, there were only 5 licensed radio stations throughout the US and by 1924 that number would grow to nearly 500 stations. This popularity was also reflected in the number of radios that were sold in the United States. By 1930, approximately 40% of American households had a radio, by 1940 that number more than doubled to 83%, and by 1950 that number was near 100%. Aside from election results, other very historical moments did take place on the radio.
The radio brought so many things right into people’s homes, and it became so many things and served so many purposes. The radio was also used at important moments to help further the social and scientific movements of the time. Albert Einstein, a German born physicist and genius, was interviewed on the radio where he discusses his theory of relativity with the entire world. This would become his theory that he is most famous for. Also, the famous speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “I Have a Dream,” was broadcast all over the world in 1963 to help spread his teachings of equality. The radio allowed his speech to be heard by far more people than were present in Washington, D.C. that day.
Before the radio, comic books were a major source of entertainment for kids everywhere. Beloved comic book and silent movie characters were now being brought to life on the radio. The radio brought them weekly episodic shows like “Superman” and it spawned the first celebrities.
Shopping for Vinyl
Vinyl Vintage is a great place to start if you are looking for a vintage sound for your music, but the radio throughout history was so much more than just music. It created a deeper sense of interconnectedness between American citizens and citizens of the world. Instead of only understanding what was going on in your neck of the woods, the radio allowed people to learn and understand what was going on in the rest of the world. This tiny invention made the world seem much smaller than it really is.