Radio communications throughout the years

  • Start of radio communication

    Start of radio communication
    Guglielmo Marconi builds on the work of German physicist H.R.Hertz to obtain the first ever patent for the wireless telegraphy. In doing so, Marconi proved the feasibility of radio communication. Information sourced from:
    Picture attributed to:
  • First radio

    First radio
    By 1900 America inventor Nikolai Tesla used Marconi's work on radio waves to patent the first basic radio in the United States. Information sourced from:
  • First transatlantic transmission

    Marconi was the very first person to send and receive transatlantic radio signals. The letter 'S' was transmitted in Morse code.
    Prior to this, radio signals had only been utilised for short distance communication. This propelled radio communication to a new height. For the first time international communication could be immediate. source:
  • HEAR Morse code

    Click the following link to hear Morse code. Marconi heard the letter 'S' transmitted from Britain to the United States in 1901. Youtube clip: 'See and hear Morse code' by DavHimslef, published 27 April 2009.
  • First weather updates using radio transmission

    Radio was soon utilised by weather bureau's to quickly communicate weather updates and condition notices. Prior to this, the telegraph was the main form of communication used. Wireless radio communication gained popularity for its versatility. Source:
  • Radio is established as mass communication medium

    Radio is established as mass communication medium
    American Lee Forest - first to broadcast the voice of an operatic performer, short distance, via the Radiophone to a large number of people. Additionally, radio was introduced to aviation. This development cemented the versatility of radio communication. The introduction of such technology was a major milestone for the aviation industry.
  • Radio on the RMS Titanic

    Radio on the RMS Titanic
    Transmitter on board the RMS Titanic is used to transmit a mayday call after hitting an iceberg. Developments in long distance transmission are praised for saving hundreds of lives. Government bodies recognise the need for licensing radio operators - allocating long distance radio airwaves to the licensed, leaving amateurs to utilise short distance airwaves.
  • First long distance broadcast of speech

    The first long distance broadcast of speech was recorded between New York and Paris. Source:
  • WWI and radio

    WWI and radio
    National security concerns, particularly in the United States, forced the government of the time to nationalise radio and restrict all radio activity to wartime communication only. This ensured information, both outgoing and incoming, could be monitored by the government. It also kept airwaves open to government should they need to issue emergent safety warnings or general wartime information to the public. Source (including photo):
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    Growth in commercial popularity of radio

    Radio saw strong growth around the world. In Europe the British Broadcasting Company was established. Australia's first commercial radio licence was issued in Sydney. Westinghouse obtained the first commercial radio licence to sell radios to the public. In 1924, US President Calvin Coolidge was the first politician to broadcast political speech on radio, validating the influence and relevance of the medium.
  • First political speech on radio

    First political speech on radio
    The first political speech on radio, by US President Calvin Coolidge, can be heard by clicking the following link - -

    Around the time Coolidge made this speech, radio's were in over one third of households in the United States. Radio was subsequently considered one of the most effective means to communicate to a mass audience. YouTube clip: 'President Coolidge (1924)', by Paul Chikuma 6/9/07
  • Introduction of FM frequency

    Introduction of FM frequency
    Audio signals were improved by the introduction of the FM frequency. FM frequency provided clarity and sharpness to broadcast audio given the consistency in radio wave transmission when compared other frequencies. The difference in frequencies is demonstrated in the above picture. Source:
  • Using radio to educate

    Using radio to educate
    During the 1930s, Australia begun to utilise radio as a means of education (as well as entertainment) to women and children at home throughout the day. Informative programs would play via the government commissioned station - Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC).
  • Power of radio revealed

    Power of radio revealed
    One of the most infamous events in radio's history is the broadcast of Orson Welles adaptation of sci-fi horror novel 'War of the World's' on US radio. The broadcast - about a hostile alien invasion - simulated a news bulletin and caused mass panic among citizens as they believed it to be true. Around this time radio was often used for breaking news event, increasing the legitimacy of the broadcast.

  • 'The War of the World' radio broadcast

    A snippet from Orson Welles, 'The War of the Worlds', radio broadcast can be accessed via the following link:

    To gain an understanding of how the play was interpreted as fact, skip ahead to 1.55 of the clip and continue listening. At the time, radio was the only public communication platform to break news as it happened.
    YouTube video: 'The War of the Worlds Radio Broadcast - Short Version', by Bobby Jay Kennerley, published 15 Nov 2013.
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    WWII and radio

    Journalists around the world heavily relied on radio broadcast throughout WWII to communicate wartime information. Unlike broadcasting restrictions during WWI, stations were used by governments to play music and entertain in order to maintain morale. Radio became the only news source as TV stations were shutdown. In the US, it was a Hawaiian radio station that broke the news of the attack at Peal Harbor. Source:
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    Radio becomes synonymous with music

    Following WWII radio stations started compiling and broadcasting 'Top 40' playlists to attract younger audiences. Music genres such as rock and roll gained popularity. FM stations become more popular than the traditional AM stations and it remained the favoured platform to break news given its high accessibility and immediacy. Source:
  • Radio's becomes easily portable

    Radio's becomes easily portable
    Release of Sony's transistor radio (TR-55) was a major development in radio communication. The radio was small enough to fit into a pocket and was powered by a battery. For the first time radio became portable. Source (including photo):
  • Australia launches first youth targeted radio station

    Australia launches first youth targeted radio station
    Triple J (formally Double J) first launched. It was one of the first music specific stations to solely broadcast Australian music. Triple J injected diversity into the Australian radio industry and was one of the first stations to broadcast live music from festivals.
  • Radio moves online

    Radio moves online
    The first ever online radio station - 'Internet Talk Radio' - is created by Carl Malamud in 1993 just after the internet is opened to the public. This is the first time radio has been made available via another platform.
    Source (including photo):;
  • Online streaming begins

    Online streaming begins
    Created by Scott Bourne, is the world's first internet only radio network. Webcasting and streaming services are made available to the public and quickly gain popularity.
    Source (including photo):
  • Digital audio broadcasting (DAB)

    By the end of the 1990s, DAB has been made available in most countries around the world. Digital radio provides audiences with more station choices and better quality audio when compared to analogue AM and FM frequencies but competes with online and streaming radio services.
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    Radio in the 21st Century

    During the 2000s radio continues to be largely accessed online and via streaming services. In 2003, DAB+ was released in Australian capital cities to compete with these services. Audiences have moved away from the traditional methods of accessing radio content. The instantaneous nature of radio communication continues however audience's, now more so than ever, have the ability to choose when and how they access their content.