Last week marked the 100th anniversary of radio when KDKA Pittsburgh made history by broadcasting the returns of the 1920 US Presidential Election. Since then, radio has grown and changed countless times over, from the golden age of the 1950s to the rise of talk radio in the 1990s to the digital revolution of our time. Commercial radio doesn’t look anything like it did at its birth 100 years ago, and you can be sure it will look completely different 100 years from now. But you can also be sure that audio will always remain an essential form of entertainment, communication, and connection for listeners all over the nation.
KDKA launches in Pittsburgh as the nation’s first commercial radio station. They report the returns of the 1920 Presidential election, Warren G. Harding vs James M. Cox.
KDKA broadcasts the first live sporting event, a boxing match between Johnny Ray and Johnny Dundee.
Temporary station WJY broadcasts a title boxing match for the first time to 300,000 people. The fight is advertised as the match with “the largest audience in history.”
FM (frequency modulation) radio is developed as a hi-fi alternative to AM (amplitude modulation) radio throughout the decade.
FDR delivers his first Fireside Chat. Over the next 11 years, he would address the nation 30 times on the air, supporting a troubled nation through the Great Depression and WWII.
CBS broadcasts a one-off hour-long special called My Favorite Husband, starring Lucille Ball. The show is a hit, and eventually evolves into the iconic sitcom I Love Lucy.
Regency Electronics releases the TR-1, the first commercially available transistor radio. Thanks to its simplicity and small size, listeners could now carry radio around in their pockets.
Preceding debut of TR-1, portable radio spreads across the country thanks to transistors and affordable car radios. By 1965, 80% of cars have radios.
Entercom is founded on the conviction that FM broadcasting, then in its infancy, would eventually surpass AM broadcasting as the leading radio band.
Nationally syndicated countdown program American Top 40 debuts with host Casey Kasem.
NPR airs its first broadcast, covering the US Senate hearings on the ongoing Vietnam War.
MTV launches, video attempts to kill the radio star.
The AM format comes roaring back thanks to talk radio programming covering sports, politics, and anything in between.
The FCC licenses Sirius and XM to operate satellite radio stations featuring little to no commercials. They broadcast for the first time in 2001.
Adam Curry launches Daily Source Code, widely considered to be the first breakout podcast.
Apple launches the iPhone 4S, featuring Siri, a virtual assistant powered by voice technology. Siri marks the onset of smart speaker technology.
Radio completes its evolution into “audio,” as online radio stations logging 143 million monthly listeners.
Entercom merges with CBS Radio creating a leading, integrated media and entertainment company and one of America’s top radio broadcasters.
Entercom announces RADIO.COM as the exclusive streaming provider for all of its stations.
Pineapple Street Media and Cadence13 become part of the Entercom family, making award-winning, original podcasts and partnering with the biggest brands in the world.
We toast to another 100 years of Radio.
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