Radio's in the Roaring Twenties

By: Justin shoufer

The roaring 20’s changed radio history for the better. Radio’s in the 1920’s varied, there were big ones and also small ones. One of the great attractions to the radio listener was that once the cost of the original equipment was covered, radio was free. Stations made money by selling airtime to advertisers. The possibility of reaching millions of listeners at once had advertising executives scrambling to take advantage. By the end of the decade advertisers paid over $10,000 for an hour of premium time.

Frank Conrad

On May 4, 1874, Frank Conrad was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Conrad is widely known as the father of radio broadcasting and was responsible for the founding of the first broadcast station in the world, KDKA. Conrad was a son to Herbert M. Conrad, a railroad mechanic, and Sadie Conrad. His formal education ended when he left the seventh grade at the Starrett Grammar School. At the age of 16, Conrad filled his desire to work with tools as a bench-hand in the Westinghouse plant on Garrison Alley in Pittsburgh. By working as a bench-hand for Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company, he began working toward his future career as an engineer and inventor.

On the night of November 2, 1920, Conrad and his Westinghouse associates announced that Warren G. Harding had defeated James Cox to become the next President. The message was heard as far north as New Hampshire and as far south as Louisiana. 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 exercised no regulation over the nascent enterprise, and the result was complete chaos. Stations fought over call letters and frequencies, each trying to out broadcast the closest competitor. Finally in 1927, Congress created the Federal Radio Commission. to restore order.

Big image


In 1930, the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) selected Frank Conrad as the recipient of the Edison Medal. He was cited For his contributions to radio broadcasting and short wave radio transmission. Earlier, in 1925, he had received the Morris N. Liebmann award from the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) as recognition for his research on radio receivers and short waves. He also was awarded the Lamme Medal by the AIEE in 1936 For his pioneering and basic developments in the field of electric meters and protective systems. He is remembered especially as the designer of the transmitter of the famous pioneering radio station KDKA.

Reflection of the Era

This reflects the 1920’s because is shows what great accomplishment a person had at the time. Also it shows that the 1920’s was a time for development and a new inventions that changed history. The 1920s was a decade of new inventions. This was the time directly after World War I, and when soldiers were eager to return to a more prosperous life. To help them enjoy their new lives new technologies such as the radio, silent movies and Henry Ford's automobile industry were invented.


"Another popular invention found in almost every home was the Radio. Radios sold at 400 to 850 dollars. The first public station was known as KDKA station, at first located in Pittsburgh. Radio had become a national pastime and many listeners gathered in their living rooms to listen to sports news, concerts, sermons and "Red Menace" news”( This shows that the 1920’s was a significant time period in U.S. history and that inventions started to create thing they thought would never be real. It also gave men that served in WW1 something that would entertain them and stop them from thinking of the war they served in when they got home.
Big image

The Radio's Effect

This has had a huge impact on America. People all over our country and even all around the world use radios. They can communicate from radio to radio. They can broadcast live sports over the radio. "Cell phones work by sending signals to (and receiving them from) nearby cell towers (base stations) using RF waves. This is a form of electromagnetic energy that falls between FM radio waves and microwaves. Like FM radio waves, microwaves, visible light, and heat, RF waves are a form of non-ionizing radiation"( This shows that because of the discovery of radio waves people came out with cellphones. cell phones were invented in the 1990’s. Today almost everyone has a cell phone, even children. "64% of American adults own a smartphone."( Calling people would not be available today if no one took the time to study and invent the radio. The radio has and will always have a great and positive impact towards America.
Big image