Radio Fever

The Roaring 20s

The beginning

Radio as we know it today was started as a hobby and eventually was made profitable.

Frank Conrad, an engineer for Westinghouse, set up a small radio station in the attic of his garage in a Pittsburgh suburb. In the Late 19th century Guglielmo Marconi, invented wireless technology which brought lots of enthusiasts into this hobby. The first radio broadcasting's consisted of high school singing groups, phonograph records, news, and baseball scores.

The Industry

Eventually a better transmitter was made and that brought many more listeners. The owners of Westinghouse saw the potential of this and helped make it profitable, so a new industry was created. In 1920 on the radio they announced that Warren G Harding would be the next president, it was heard all along the east coast. The federal government gave the station the name KDKA.


KDKA was a monopoly for about a year but by 1923 over 500 new stations were made and the KDKA had some competition. For a while it was chaos on the radio, stations were fighting over lots of things such as frequencies and names. After a while in 1927 Congress made the Federal Radio Commission which made everything a little more formal.

The Popularity

For listeners once they bought the radio itself it was free. Advertisers loved the radio. The opportunity of their ad being heard by millions of listeners was very appealing to them. By 1930 over $10,000 dollars was being paid by advertisers for only an hour of air time. Radio made the entertainment industry boom, because of the radio even people that lived far away from any sports had the opportunity to follow them.