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Impact Of The Radio In The 20th Century

1584 words - 6 pages

Images like this one are quintessential American, the view of a family or even an individual huddled around a radio listening to anything and everything. It could be a baseball game, a radio drama, a commercial or even the president of the United States for that matter. The fact is the radio has serious impact on the lives of American’s as well as other people’s lives all around the globe.
The radio in its current version as with many other technologies like it, evolved into the profile it now holds. Born out of the development of the telegraph, the radio was a kind of wireless telegraph. Its root date back to the mid-1800, when Rudolph Hertz demonstrated varying electricity can generate radio waves, around the end of the 1800’s. Besides the radio technology itself, the world patent system was being tested as well. Two inventors where fighting for the right to say they were the first to patent the radio technology. Marconi and Tesla both transmitted radio signals; Tesla eventually won the fight in court in 1943. The technology was further expanded by the introduction of the Radiotelegraph and Spark-Gap Transmitter. These technological improvements were used in ship to ship and ship to shore communications. Further development followed and changed the radio into the likeness we know and love even today. The AM radio coined by Lee Deforest, soon after this development with the release of the U.S. patents commercial broadcast by civilians started to be made. True broadcast started showing up around the globe in New York and Paris (at the Eiffel Tower) for example. The last and most significant improvement in my opinion was in the development of FM transmissions (About.com Inventors n.d.). The radio has survived in this form for almost a hundred years and can be argued that it’s still relevant even with the introduction of the television. I and many Americans still listen to radio broadcasts on a daily basis; personally I mostly listen to AM programming.
The Radio, even if America can’t take ownership for its development alone, definitely had a large role on America’s storied past. Since its inception Americans gravitated to this new form of communication that helped write the history of this important technology. One of the first iteration of the radio was in the world wars that plagued the early 20th century. They were used as two way communication for the soldier at war (Boot 2006). Additional to the feature of being an asset at war, the radio also served as a morale booster for troops in the field; the Armed forces radio or AFRS was a pivotal part of a soldier’s life. The programing that the U.S. soldier would listen to on the radio motivated them and made them think of America; ultimately the radio made for a tangible as well as an intangible asset to the U.S. war efforts (J. R. Pieslak 2009, 47). These benefits would prove to be not only in the battle field but also back home.
Politically the radio was a tool for many politicians in...

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