“The growth and influence of radio broadcasting in the United States is one of the most dramatic chapters in the history of communication. In less than three decades 90.7 percent of…families..have acquired radio receivers. This means 33,998,000 “radio homes” or about 130,000,000 potential listeners” (Bartlett). For countless years in the United States, Americans have turned on the switches of their radios, whether in their cars, in their homes, or in their workplaces, and they have been greeted with the sound of the most popular music at the time and radio hosts discussing the most controversial topics of the time. The radio has become a common household object in homes across America creating a culture of its very own. The use of the radio has made a significant impact in American culture from its early beginnings, to its amateur recreational use, to its professional broadcasting companies, and its use in connected the country as a whole.
The radio works because of sound waves being transmitted from one receptor to the next. Electrons moving through a wire create a magnetic field and when a second wire is placed next to the first the electrons are transmitted. The second wire is then able to turn the moving electrons into an electrical current which produces the same sound that created the moving electrons in the first wire (Gugliotta). Italian inventor, Gulielmo Marconi received the British patent for the radio in 1897. In 1901, Marconi discovered that radio wires did not have to be close to each other to work and that radio signals could be transmitted over very large distances. On December 13, 1901 Marconi successfully transmitted a radio wave 2,000 miles across the ocean from Poldhu, England to St. John’s, Newfoundland. Using the scientific theories of his time, Marconi worked to increase the signal and would soon find out that his discovery could benefit many people all over the world (Hong).
Before the radio was introduced into American homes, it was used for numerous purposes in the military. In the early 1900s, radios began to appear on United States navy ships. They were used not only to communicate between land and sea, but to communicate between ships. Radio increased safety on the seas as ships were able to communicate, especially in times of distress. During World War I, radio became both a benefit to the military and a threat. International signals were censored by the government and in order to stop messages from being transmitted to enemies, the government created a monopoly on American radio. It became treasonous to own for a US citizen to have a transmitter or receiver in their possession as radio signals were reserved for the war effort. While radio transmission was banned from civilian society, military persons had no such restrictions. It was during World War I that military troops began entertainment radio as they started to broadcast music and talk shows over military radio.
At the end of World War I, in 1918 and...