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The History of Radio

Edwin Howard Armstrong is featured in Ken Burns “Empire of the Air Documentary”.  Click Here

Ken Burns: Empire of the Air; The Men Who Made Radio

PBS
Ken Burns: Empire of the Air - The Men Who Made Radio

For 50 years radio dominated the airwaves and the American consciousness as the first “mass medium.” In Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio, Ken Burns examines the lives of three extraordinary men who shared the primary responsibility for this invention and its early success, and whose genius, friendship, rivalry and enmity interacted in tragic ways. This is the story of Lee de Forest, a clergyman’s flamboyant son, who invented the audion tube; Edwin Howard Armstrong, a brilliant, withdrawn inventor who pioneered FM technology; and David Sarnoff, a hard-driving Russian immigrant who created the most powerful communications company on earth.

Against the backdrop of radio’s “Golden Age,” Empire of the Air relates the history of radio through archival photographs, newsreels of the period and interviews with such well-known radio personalities as Garrison Keillor, the late sports commentator Red Barber, radio dramatist Norman Corwin and the late broadcast historian Erik Barnouw.


For a Brief Time in the  1930s, Radio Station WLW in Ohio Became America’s One and Only “Super Station”

HUMANITIES, May/June 2015, Volume 36, Number 3

“When President Franklin Roosevelt, sitting in the White House, pushed a ceremonial button on his desk in May 1934, a five hundred thousand-watt (500 kW) behemoth stirred in a field outside Cincinnati. Rows of five-foot glass tubes warmed. Water flowed around them at more than six hundred gallons per minute. Dozens of engineers lit filaments and flipped switches, and, within the hour, enough power to supply a town of one hundred thousand coursed through an 831-foot tower.

Thus began WLW’s five-year, twenty-four-hour-a-day experiment: a radio station that used more power and transmitted more miles than any station in the United States had or would. The so-called super station—licensed by the new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on a temporary basis—amped up the debate among broadcasters, government regulators, and listeners about how radio should be delivered to serve the “public interest,” a mandate laid out in the Radio Act of 1927, and influenced legal, programming, and technical decisions that shape the broadcast system we know today.”    Cnt’d on this link   America’s One and Only SUPER STATION

 

 

 

 

Appalachian  Journey with Alan Lomax

 

 

Go inside one of the greatest-ever untold stories: how the ordinary people of America were given the opportunity to make records for the first time.

Click on phonograph photo to go to PBS’  page

AMERICAN EPIC three-part historical documentary will air in the U.S. on PBS on Tuesdays May 16, 23 and 30 at 9 p.m. (check local listings).

British documentary about record making.

 

 

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