Radio Fever

By: Shawnee

Radio Fever

"Frank Conrad, an engineer for Westinghouse, set up an amateur radio station above his garage in a Pittsburgh suburb." "After World War I, Conrad began broadcasting a variety of programming from his "station." High school music groups performed phonograph records that were played. "Conrad had dramatically improved the transmitter, and soon hundreds of people in the Pittsburgh area were sending requests for air time." "The bosses of Westinghouse knew that Conrad was on to something and convinced him to make his hobby commercially profitable."

KDKA on the Air

To become the next President, on the night of November 2, 1920, Conrad and his Westinghouse associates announced that Warren G. Harding had defeated James Cox. "The federal government granted the call letters KDKA to the Pittsburgh station and a new industry was born." For nearly a year, KDKA monopolized the airwaves, but competition came fast and furious. "By the end of 1922, there were over 500 such stations across the United States." The federal government excercised no regulation over the nascent enterprise, and the result was complete chaos." Each trying to outbroadcast the closest competitor, stations fought over call letters and frequencies. "Finally in 1927, Congress created the Federal Radio Commission to restore order."

Ad Time

"One of the great attractions to the radio listener was that once the cost of the original equipment was covered, radio was free." By selling air time to advertisers, stations made their money. "By the end of the decade advertisers paid over $10,000 for an hour of premium time." "The Radio Corporation of America created a new dimension to the venture in 1926." "By licensing telephone lines, RCA created America's first radio network and called it the National Broadcasting Company." "Regional differences began to dissolve as the influence of network broadcasting ballooned." Baseball games and boxing matches could be reached far away from the stadiums and arenas.

Mercury Super 10

"One of the early radios to use peanut tubes was the Mercury Super 10." The lower A and B battery drain was a feature of the Mercury. "The H.M Kipp Company of Toronto Canada, was one of only a few manufacturers who experimented using the early peanut tube technology. "

Works cited

"46g. Radio Fever." Radio Fever [ushistory.org]. Independence Hall Association, 1942. Web. 14 May 2013.Waterloo, Kitchener."The Hammond Museum of Radio: The Roaring Twenties." The Hammond Museum of Radio: The Roaring Twenties. Hammond Museum of Radio, 10 Feb. 2004. Web. 14 May 2013.Google images