The concept of "radio" has dramatically evolved in the digital era. Nearly all media electronic gadgets are wireless, planning to be wireless or wish they could be wireless. In order to be wireless, it needs radio "waves" to function. It needs a "transmitter" and a "receiver".
Today, there are more than 33,000 radio stations around the world, with more than 12,000 in the US alone. Worldwide there are 2.24 billion radio sets, or one radio for every 2.5 persons. There's FM and AM stations. In addition, there are still people who use short-wave band radios to hear stations around the world. CB and "Ham" radios are mainly an artifact of Americana from a few generations ago, with a few clubs still in existence.
The world's first radio was actually invented in 1896, some 20 years after Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone.
Stop and think about it for a moment: what is radio today?
A lot has changed.
While "traditional" forms of radio still exist, there are tens of thousands of internet radio stations and podcasters; cable and dish TV music streaming channels like Music Choice or Galaxie; and, of course, satellite radio sources like XM and Sirius. iPods are really custom radio stations. Cell phones are radio stations, too...storing downloads and streaming radio formats. The concept of digital/HD Radio began in Canada, Europe and Asia beginning in the mid-90s and is now beginning to happen in the US.
With all this going on with radio, I've got a wild thing for you to check out if you love music and history.
Edison Records. Ever hear of it? It was all the rage...more than 100 years ago.
Thomas Alva Edison of New Jersey patented and created thousands of designs and ideas. One idea he often doesn't get much credit for is the birth of the electronic media industry.
While Nikoli Tesla invented the concept of radio and Guglielmo Marconi patented the world's first radio in 1896 (or really the "wireless telegraph"), it was Mr. LightBulb who invented the first commercially-produced sound recordings which got played on the radio. Back then, they were made on cylinders and used on his phonographs. He recorded and preserved for the first time live performances to be played back later. This ability to play audio over and over at your leisure has been part of media culture now for more than a century, which later spawned Top 40 overkill and payola.
...but that's another subject...
There are organizations trying to preserve the original electronic media history, including many popular recordings from the Edison Record label. These libraries are organizations are making them available to stream online and even podcast on your iPod. Take a trip back and listen to very early forms of radio, popular speeches and styles of music before the automobile was invented...and listen to it on your COMPUTER or your iPod.
Yet another evolution for what defines radio...and where old media meets new media.
History of Cylinders with huge library of old music and radio recordings to stream here
More than 6000 cylinder recordings here
Article on radio history here
Wikipedia entry on radio here
Wikipedia entry on phonographs here
Subscribe to an RSS feed for Cylinder Radio and get notified in your news aggregator when a new show has been added here
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Sunday, March 19, 2006,