The global waves of Radio



The English scientist James Clerk Maxwell presented the theory of the existence of electromagnetic waves in 1863. Italian Guglielmo Marconi, in 1894, sent the first radio signals across a room. From then on, this Communication medium causes waves all over the world



Commemorative plaque of the Grand Hotel Miramare, in Genoa, that marks that moment when Guglielmo Marconi broadcast, in that place and for the first time, radio signals across a 150 km distance



From Samuel Morse to the theoretical confirmation of electromagnetic waves

1838 – Samuel Morse asked, in the American records, a patent for a telegraph.

1842 – The Englishman Alexander Bain invents the telegraph based on an electrochemistry recording, that established the facsimile recording principles.

1844 – Samuel Morse transmitted, by telegraph, from Washington to Baltimore, his famous message a “What hath God wrought,” on 24th May.

Edouard Brandly was born in France, the inventor of the radioconductor (cohesor). In other words, the first radio-wave detecting device. In collaboration with the count George Von Arco, who was his assistant in Charlottenburg, founded Slaby-Arco, that ended up being merged with Braun and Siemens, giving birth to the German company Telefunken.

1849 – John Walker Wilkins, a pioneer Englishman of telegraphy, foresaw the possibility of a wireless telegraphy.

- John Ambrose Fleming was born in Lancaster, England, the inventor of the thermionic valve, the first electromagnetic waves electronic detector.

1857 – Heirich Rudolph Hertz is born in Germany, a brilliant physicist and the founder of  the wireless telegraphy.

1858 – The first Transatlantic Submarine Cable comes into operation. This cable failed after a few weeks. The first successful cable was launched in 1966.

1863 – The English scientist James Clerk Maxwell presents the theoretical existence  of electromagnetic waves (Radio).

From the International Telegraph Union to the transmission of the first radio signals

1865 – On 17th May  the International Telegraph Union is created. On this date it is celebrated the World Communications Day.

1874 – Guglielmo Marconi is born in Bologna, Italy, known for his experiences with wireless telegraphy.

1876 – Alexander Graham Bell received the American patent for the telephone.

1877/1878 – Thomas Edison makes the first sound recording, saying the following words: Mary Had a Little Lamb.

1887 – Heirich Rudolph Hertz, German physicist, bases his work on James C. Maxwell’s theories and demonstrates electromagnetic waves through an experiment.

1890 – Professor Édouard Brandly invents, in France, a device capable of detecting radio waves. He called it “Radioconductor,” but became known as  the “Cohesor.”

1893 – The first news report is transmitted to several telephones by the Hungarian Tuvadar Puskas.

1894 – The Englishman Olivier Lodge can receive radio waves from a 36 metres distance.

The first antenna for the reception and emission of electromagnetic waves is idealised by Nathan Stribblefied, in the U.S.

In Italy, a 20-year-old young man, Guglielmo Marconi, joins together the previous discoveries and transmits the first radio signals from his bedroom.

From Alexander Popov to the Marconi Wireless Telegraph

1895 – Alexander Popov, Russian physicist, constructed an electromagnetic waves detector, similar to Brandly’s, and rehearses a wireless telegraph transmission in front of the St. Petersburg Physics Society. He was considered, in the USSR, the father of the Radio.

- Marconi goes to England and registers his experiments’ patents. In the same year he can send signals from a 3 kilometres distance, in Salisbury. In 1896, Marconi transmits from a 2400 metres distance in his father’s propriety in Bologna, Italy.

1897 – The first radio station in Spezia, Italy, is installed. It established the communication with the ships of the Italian navy fleet.

Marconi receives the American patent for the wireless telegraphy system.

1899 – Marconi, who gets the English post offices’ support three years earlier, sends the first messages through the English Channel.

The first maritime “distress signal” is transmitted  through the radio.

The first American Radio company, “American Wireless Telephone and Telegraph Co”, is created.

The “Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co. of America” is created on 22nd November.

From 1900 to the Superheterodyne receiver

1900 – Reginald Fessenden transmits the first words via radio.

Marconi invents the wavelength tuning. 

1901 – In December, Marconi successfully transmits the Letter S from the Morse code, the first transatlantic signal from Poldhu, Cornwall, England. It was received in St. John, Newfoundland (Canada).

1902 – Kaiser Wilhelm II from Germany proposes the implementation of an international radio conference.

Henry B. Jackson, at the time captain in the British Navy, publishes the first propagation in land and sea quantity measures in the transmission of radio waves.

1903 – The first U.S. radio message is transmitted  to the United Kingdom.

The first International Preliminary Wireless Telegraph Conference is held in Berlin.

1906 – In January, Fessenden successfully transmits messages in both ways between Massachussets, U.S.A. and Machrihanish, Scotland.

The North-American scientist H. C. Dunwoody discovers that crystals like Galena (Lead sulfide) could “detect” electromagnetic waves in a more effective way than the Brandly’s cohesor.

On 24th December, Reginald Fessenden constructs a transmitter constituted of a high frequency especial alternator and transmits what it is considered the first Radio programme. Fessenden read some Bible words, played the violin and wished a Merry Christmas to all listeners. This emission was transmitted in a wireless station in Massachusetts, U.S.A. His musical emission was listened by radio operators in ships throughout the shore.

1908 – Lee DeForest makes the first experimental transmission from the top of Eiffel Tower with voice and music.

1909 – Marconi and Braun receive the Nobel Prize in Physics due to their contribution for the development of wireless telegraphy.

1915 – The human voice crosses, via radio, the Atlantic ocean for the first time. The transmission is made by American Telephone and Telegraph Company, through a wireless radio station from the U.S. War Navy, located in Virginia, and it is received by the Eiffel Tower’s French military station.

1916 – The first Amateur Wireless Radio Stations regulation is published in Portugal.

1917 – Marconi makes experiments with wireless radio transmissions. This wavelength would be experimental until 1936, when the first television broadcast began.

1918 – Edwin Armstrong, U.S. Army Major, invents the Superheterodyne, a type of Radio receiver that is practically the only one used today on the Analogue Radio.

The first communication between England and Australia is made.

From the first programmed emission to the descovery of FM

1919 – Emission of the first programmed Radio emission by the station 9XM in the Wisconsin University, U.S.A.

The company RCA – Radio Corporation of America is created on 17th October. In 1921 the company already had more than two thousand radio-related patents.

1920 – On 2nd November, Westinghouse was the first company to establish an important Radio station, KDKA.

1921 – The Eiffel Tower’s radio station emerges with regular emissions.

On 2nd July the first boxing report was transmitted by the Old Post Road Garage Radio Station from New Jersey, U.S.A.

1922 – A six-company Consortium, including Marconi, started the British Broadcasting Company (BBC). It became a public company in 1927, as British Broadcast Corporation.

The radio station WEAF, from New York, begins to be financed with advertising.

Warren G. Harding becomes the first North-American President to speak through the radio, firstly on the North-American Navy NSF station, and then, two weeks later, on the commercial radio station WEAR in Baltimore.

1923 – Hans Bredow sets up the first Radio station in Berlin.

Short waves are recognised as being the more effective ones to long-distance communications. A KDKA’s programme was sent in short waves to KDPM, from about a 160 km distance in Cleveland, Ohio. In the same year, KDKA transmits to London, England, the first short wave programme crossing the Atlantic.

C. Francis Jenkis transmits via radio the first photographs between Washington and Philadelphia.

1924 – Transmission of the first transatlantic photograph from New York to London.

1925 – The U.S. Navy Research Laboratory develops an equipment using the compulsory continuous waves. This equipment would become important to the Radar development.

1926 – Foundation of NBC – Nacional Broadcasting Co. on 9th September. It started with 24 full functioning stations from 15th November of the same year.

1927 – The first World Radio Conference is held.

The Radio service between London and New York is established on 7th January.

The first Radio Law is approved (Radio Act 1927) in the United States, with a year validity.

1930 – The first world radio transmission from New York, U.S.A. This emission was possible through several retransmission points.

1932 – Blaupunkt conceives the first auto radio. The first radio-equipped car was a North-American Studebaker.

1933 – Transmission on an international level of the inauguration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, via Radio.

Edwin Armstrong discovers the frequency modulation (FM, UKW). Before this date, every radio emission was made in Amplitude Modulation (O.M., MW; O.C., SW; O.L., LW).

From the first radar to the War of the Worlds

1934 – The U.S. Navy Research Laboratory constructs the first Radar.

1937 – Inauguration, in Salamanca, of the first radio station, National Radio of Spain.

1938 – On 30th October, a version of The War of the Worlds, of H. G. Wells and reported by Orson Welles, is transmitted live through CBS radio station, from the Mercury Theatre. The impact was such, that the American people believed they were really being attacked by aliens. The programme had to be interrupted. It was the first time that the radio showed its true influence.

Installation of the first radar on a North-American Navy ship. From the “announcement” of Second World War to “Echo 1”

1939 – Edwing Armstrong begins the emissions in Frequency Modulation in Alpine New Jersey, U.S.A.

The Invasion of Poland by the German troops is reported through the radio, an event that would start the Second World War.

1942 – The National Bureau of Standarts begins the first tests with Printed Circuit Boards. These enter the mass production in 1945.

1948 – Bardeen and Brattain announce the discovery of the transistor radio, from the Bell Telephone laboratories.

1949 – The first atomic clock of the world is presented by the National Bureau of Standarts.

1954 – Alan Freed, a disc-jockey from the WINS radio station in New York, invents the words Rock N’ Roll.

The company Regency develops, in the United States, the first transistor radio, followed by Sony in 1955. The first devices only received medium and long waves.

1956 – William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Houser win the Novel Prize in Physics due to their work on semiconductors and transistors.

1957 – The Bell Telephone Laboratory develops the first parametric amplifier and oscillator, which main characteristic was to produce a very low-noise.

1960 – “Echo 1”, the first satellite intended to transmit radio signals, is launched.

The U.S. Navy shows publically the possibility of using the Moon as a radio signal reflector, sent from the Earth.

From the first stereo emission to the pluralization of the United Kingdom’s stations

1961 – The first stereo emission is made in the United States. The system was developed by the companies Zenith and General Electric

1964 – The first pirate radio stations arise in old boats anchored outside the territorial waters of the United Kingdom. The most famous one was Radio Caroline. This radio station innovated the way of making Radio, shutting off the formality heard on BBC.

1970 – In this decade, pirate radio stations arise in Italy, France, Holland, etc.

1972 – BBC is no longer the only radio station legally transmitting in the United Kingdom.

From pirate radio stations to France Info – 24h of information transmission

1977 – The World Administrative Radio Communications Conference decides to liberalise  the band intended to the Frequency Modulation. This decision causes the emergence of pirate radio stations all over Europe.

1982 – The stereo radio broadcast in A.M is allowed in the U.S.A.

1987 – France Info is created, the only radio station in France with the transmission of information 24 hours a day.

R.D.S. (Radio Data System) starts to be commercialised.

From radio generator to iTunes

1991 – The Englishman Trevor Baylis invents the generator radio, a device that generates its own energy with no need for battery or electrical connection.

1996 – The first steps to the D.R.M. (Digital Radio Mondiale) are taken, a system that foresees the digitalization of A.M. (Medium Wave, Long Wave and Short Wave).

The most important pirate radio station in the United Kingdom, Kiss FM, is legalized.

1997 – The first digital radio licenses in the United States emerge. The system – F.M. Digital – is a whole lot different than the one used in Europe and Japan.

The D.A.B. (Digital Audio Broadcast) appears, the radio digital system aiming to substitute the F.M. analogue emissions.

2003 – On 16th June, the world attended the first emission in D.R.M. (Digital Radio Mondiale) during the World Radio Communications Conference (WRC 2003) of the International Telecommunications Union, in Geneva.

2004 – In an article in “The Guardian” newspaper, the journalist Ben Hammersley uses the term “podcast” to define the use of MP3 players to listen to radio content produced online by amateurs. The author’s term was not inspired on Apple’s product (iPod) for this definition.

Adam Curry develops a method to gather the RSS feed to iTunes, through a script previously created by Kevin Marks. 

2005 – A new update of the iTunes player programme allows to upload and download Podcasts directly to the Apple devices.