Radio History

  • 1888

    Heinrich Hertz Detects and Produces radio waves.
  • 1894

    Marchese Guglielmo Marconi builds his first radio equipment, a device that will ring a bell from 30 ft. away.
  • 1899

    Marconi establishes first radio link between England and France.
  • 1900

    American scientist R. A. Fessenden transits human speech via radio waves.
  • 1901

    Marconi transmits telegraphic radio messages from Cornwall to Newfoundland.
  • 1903

    Valdemar Poulsen patents an arc transmission that generates continuous radio frequency of 100 kHz and receivable over 150 mile.
  • 1904

    First Radio Transmission of music at Graz, Austria.
  • 1905

    Marconi Invented the directional radio antennae.
  • 1906

    First radio program of voice and music broadcast in the U.S. (by R.A. Fessenden)
  • 1907

    Fessenden invents a high-frequency electric generator that produces radio waves with a frequency of 100 kHz.
  • 1908

    GE develops a 100 kHz, 3 kW alternator for radio communication.
  • 1910

    Radio communications gain publicity when the captain of the Montrose alerts Scotland via radio of an escaping criminal.
  • 1913

    The cascade-turning radio receiver and the heterodyne receiver are introduced.
  • 1914

    Edwin Armstrong patents a radio receiver circuit with positive feedback. Part of the amplified high-frequency of 100 kHz.
  • 1918

    Armstrong develops the suber-heterodyne radio receiver. The principle for this receiver is the basis for the all radio receivers now in use. A 200 kW alternator starts operating at Station NFF, the Naval station in New Brunswick NJ, which was the most powerful radio transmitter of the time.
  • 1919

    1) Shortwave radio is developed.
    2) RCA is founded.
  • 1920

    KDKD broadcasts the first regular licensed radio broadcast our of Pittsburgh, PA.
  • 1921

    1) RCA starts opening RADIO CENTRAL on Long Island.
    2) The American Radio League establishes contact via a shortwave with Paul Godley in Scotland, proving that shortwave radio can be used for long distance communication.
  • 1922

    WWJ, an AM station in Detroit, offers the University of Michigan broadcasting rights for extension lectures.
  • 1923

    UM's Professors Dreese submits a proposal for several UM operated stations. His proposal was tabled by the Regents, who were not concerned with radio at the time.
  • 1924

    Dreese instead runs experimental station WCBC as a project in the basement of West Engineering. This project died at the end of the academic year.
  • 1925

    WJR-AM offers educational broadcasting spots to the UM. The UM continued to broadcast WWJ as well.
  • 1928

    A radio station in NYC, WRNY begins to broadcast television shows.
  • 1931

    The UM School of Music pursues the idea of radio as education. It taught school band lessons via radio.
  • 1933

    1) Educaional programing originating at the UM grows.
    2) The Regents of the UM become interested in radio.
    3) WJR cuts the un UM's educational broadcasts for commercial broadcasting.
    4) Edward Armstrong patents wide-band frequency modulation (FM radio).
  • 1935

    FM Radio is born, but not only in mono.
  • 1938

    The FCC sets aside educational/non-profit bandwidth on FM.
  • 1941

    Columbia University's Radio Club opens the first regularly scheduled FM radio station.
  • 1943

    The UM decides it needs an FM station, and expresses a commitment to radio broadcasting.
  • 1945

    Televison is born. FM is moved from its original home 42-50Mhz to 88-108 Mhz to make room for TV.
  • 1946

    There are six TV stations in the nation.
  • 1948

    1) The UM starts its first station, known as Michigan Radio or WUOM.
    2) The Regents publish a mandate for broadcasting.
    3) WOUM is no outlet for student broadcasting radio clubs form and create small studios in East Quadrangle and West Quadrangle. These studios broadcast on AM to their respective buildings via carreir current
  • 1950

    A small studio is created in the newly-erected South Quadrangle.
  • 1952

    1) Sony offers a miniature transistor radio. This is one of the first mass-produced consumer AM/FM radios.
    2) The studios in the UM dormitories join forces, and "The Campus Broadcasting Network" is born as WCBN-ÅM.
  • 1953

    Advertising is accepted on WCBN-AM.
  • 1954

    The number of radio receivers in the world rexceeds the number of newspapers printed daily.
  • 1956

    WCBN host the first National Association of College Broadcasters.
  • 1957

    1) CBN moves into the new Student Activities Building, and its studios start to become centralized.
    2) Allan Ginsberg's controversial poem "Howl" is broadcast for the first time.
  • 1961

    FCC approves FM stereo broadcasting, which spurs FM development.
  • 1962

    United States radio stations begin broadcasting is stereophonic sound.
  • 1965

    WCBN studios are completely centralized in the SAB. CBN's identity becomes stronger as its programming becomes increasingly eclectic and challenging.
  • 1969

    1) WCBN starts to think about purchasing an FM transmitter.
    2) Fm is deemed necessary to reach off-campus students and the community at large. CBN's audience is a different audience for WUON's so there would be no competition.
    3) February; WCBN's Program Director announces that programming will be designed to meed the needs of the audience, not the needs of the air staff.
  • 1970

    The Inter-Cooperative Council (ICC) has a CBN carrier current loop installed into its North Campus residence.
  • 1971

    1) FM plans are finalized for WCBN.
    2) February; The UM Regents approves for WBCN-FM, and building begins.
  • 1972

    1) January 24; WBCN-FM 89.5 is born, broadcasting at 10 watts.
    2) WBCN-AM is maintained, and adopts a "60's Gold' format.
  • 1977

    1) Frequency change for WBCN take place (89.5FM to 88.3FM).
    2) November; The Sex Pistols 'Never Mind the Bolocks' is released. 'Things Change' -- Ken Freedman.
  • 1978

    U-M President Robben Fleming urges that WCBN should only be used for educational purposes and restricted for students only.
  • 1979

    First WBCN fundraiser is organized by Ann Rebentisch, and raises $5,000.
  • 1980

    CBN plays "It's My Party" by Leslie Gore for 18 hours straight the day after Reagan is elected.
  • 1981

    FCC complaint against CBN filed by disgruntled staffers. The FCC takes it very seriously but does not level a fine.
  • 1986

    In Europe, FM radio stations begin to use the subcarrier signal of FM radio to transmit digital data. This RDS (radio data system) is used to transmit messages on display screens to radios.
  • 1987

    At WJJX (WCBN's AM counterpart), a student DJ is fired for broadcasting as series of racist jokes.
  • 1988

    1) The U-M decides to oust non-students for WCBN.
    2) WCBN airs Allan Ginsberg's Howl.
  • 1992

    In Pairs an experimental digital FM transmitter begins operation.
  • 1993

    In the US, FM radio stations begin to use the RDS already in place in Europe.