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Birth Of The Bbc Essay

1963 words - 8 pages

Birth of the BBC

In 1920 the first true radio station (KDKA) began regular broadcasting
in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the United States. Within two years
the number of stations in America reached into the hundreds, concerts
were being broadcast regularly in Europe from The Hague, and in
Britain, Marconi stations broadcast from Chelmsford, Essex, and then

It was in Britain that fears over the "chaos of the ether" led to the
Post Office and leading radio manufacturers setting up the British
Broadcasting Company (BBC). The first programmes by the BBC were
broadcast in November 1922. In 1926 it changed from a company into a
public corporation, with a monopoly of broadcasting in the country. By
this time, radio manufacturing in America had for a brief period been
growing faster than the car-making industry, and the number of
listeners on both sides of the Atlantic ran into many millions. Radio
had moved rapidly from being an attic experiment to a household


In the last quarter of the 19th century many scientists were
attempting to transmit messages over distances without wires. They
were not searching for a means of mass-communication, but simply
exploring the possibility of using electromagnetic waves in order to
communicate between two fixed points. Nevertheless, the history of
"wireless" communication eventually became largely the history of

Radio had no single inventor, but grew out of several international
developments. The pioneers of radio drew on the work of the British
physicist James Clerk Maxwell, who published his theory of
electromagnetic waves in 1873. However, it was the German physicist
Heinrich Rudolf Hertz who first generated such waves electrically.
Hertz managed to create an oscillatingelectric discharge, which
radiated some of its energy in the form of electromagnetic waves.
However, the waves produced were incapable of travelling great
distances, and the problem of creating effective transmitters and
receivers remained.[2]

Radio Frequencies

Because of their varying characteristics, radio waves of different
lengths are employed for different purposes, and are usually
identified by their frequency. The shortest waves have the highest
frequency, or number of cycles per second; the longest waves have the
lowest frequency, or fewest cycles per second.

Heinrich Hertz's name has been given to the cycle per second (hertz,
Hz), with 1 kilohertz (kHz) being 1,000 cycles per second, and 1
megahertz (MHz) being 1 million cycles per second. Low and medium
frequencies (30 to 3,000 kHz) are used by radio broadcasters
transmitting on those parts of the spectrum traditionally described as
long or medium wave, and most early transmissions in Europe and the
United States were solely of this type. Because...

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