Samuel Morse successfully transmitted the words “what hath God wrought?” along a 17-kilometre telegraph wire between Baltimore and Washington.
Alexander Graham Bell patented a device capable of transmitting a voice signal by modulating the electric waves travelling along a wire.
Heinrich Hertz created the world’s first man-made radio waves.
Gugliemo Marconi found that he could increase the distance at which wireless waves could be detected by using an aerial for reception and another for transmission.
Marconi receives the first transatlantic wireless siignal (the letter s) at Signal Hill, Newfoundland from Cornwall, England.
Reginald Fessenden, a Canadian working for Edison, delivers the first radio broadcast on Christmas Eve from Brant Rock, Massachusetts.
Lee De Forest, an American, broadcasts the voice of Caruso through the De Forest radiophone. The emission was picked up by S.S. Avon and wireless amateurs. Radio’s future as a mass communication medium was established.
Titanic sinks. Radio is credited for helping to save hundreds of lives.
Radio station XWA (later CFCF) Montreal signs on. It was operated by the Marconi Wireless Company. It is regarded as the oldest station in the world.
On November 13, 1923 2SB Sydney (Broadcasters (Sydney) Limited) provided the first commercial radio service in Australia. Initial programming was a concert featuring a soprano, a bass, a contralto, a cellist, a baritone and quartet. The baritone, George Saunders, was the station’s first announcer. In the 1930s he was prominent as Uncle George who conducted the Children’s Sessions at 2GB. 2FC followed with its first public broadcast on December 5, 1923, also in the form of a concert. 2FC, owned by department store Farmer & Co. Ltd., took it's name from its owners. The studio was on Farmer’s roof garden and the transmitter was at Willoughby.
After several months of transmission it was evident that listeners were confused by the similarly-sounding call signs of 2SB and 2FC. In March 1924 2SB became 2BL.
After calling for tenders, the Government granted a three-year contract to the Australian Broadcasting Company, consisting of Greater Union Theatres, Fullers Theatres and music publishers J. Albert & Son. They were to take over all A-class stations and produce programmes on a national basis.
FARB (Federation of Australian Radio Broadcasters) established.
Groups of radio players were operating from the ABC studios in both Sydney and Melbourne. The 1930s saw the beginning of radio drama with stage plays and books being adapted into radio plays. Also original plays and serials were written for the medium. Techniques of radio production were being perfected through these dramas.
The Australian Broadcasting Commission was established.
Commercial radio won, probably, the greatest scoop of its young career when the England versus Australia cricket Test Match series was played in England. Commercial radio owners came up with the idea of broadcasting matches from overseas. Before the year's series was completed manypeople bought a set and new new licences were taken out. Australian commercial radio had established a unique reputation for sporting broadcasts that were immediate (ball-by-ball) and highly entertaining.
By now radio programmes were fully-sponsored, with the sponsor’s name in the show's title. Advertising agencies, which has large radio departments, had involvement in the production of these shows. The Lux Radio Theatre began in Australia on March 19, 1939, after five years broadcasting on American radio. The programme was a one-hour play on a commercial network, relayed to all states. It went out at 8pm on Sunday nights, which was peak listening time. Produced in conjunction with J. Walter Thompson and the head of JWT’s radio department, Phil Mygatt, it was brought to Australia to guide the Lux Radio Theatre through its first months of its life in Australia.
The outbreak of World War Two saw radio viewed as the immediate information source on war news. News became more important. Radio networks had correspondents in the field and the deeds and voices of the men in the Second AIF were recorded and sent back to Australia. Australian radio programmes were also sent to the troops. Music, drama and entertainment was also very important throughout the war years as a way of keeping up morale of the Australian people.
On February 2, 1942 the serial Big Sister went to air over 2UW in Sydney and a national network of stations, sponsored by Lever and Kitchen. Australia’s first nationally sponsored morning serial, it was heard five mornings a week throughout Australia. The scripts were American. Throughout its five-year run it held top-rating position among daytime programmes and was the forerunner of many other daytime serials in that genre.
Grace Gibson set up her own production company in Sydney to produce radio plays.
During the 1950s sponsored dramas continued their popularity as did panel shows such as Leave it to the Girls which began in 1951 and ran for many years on radio and television. Quiz programmes such as Pick-A-Box and The Quiz Kids were also very popular.
On August 27, 1955, radio history was made when 2GB’s Ted Harris, aided by the US’s Ted Schroeder, became the first man to give a direct ball-by-ball description of the Davis Cup from Forest Hills to Australia.
Television was launched in Australia to coincide with the Olympic Games, held in Melbourne. Popular wisdom was that radio would die because television was only radio with pictures. Which, at the time, it was. All the quiz shows, plays and variety were transferred across. Radio began to reinvent itself and become more of an information and music medium.
Top 40 music was huge. This was the era of the Beatles and a generation of music that changed society Radio drove this. Radio was very much a young person’s medium and everyone had a transistor. Most cars also featured radios as standard equipment. Portability changed the way we listened.
Talk and open-line radio were popular. Radio continued to be a vital part of the community and, with talk-back, listeners felt even closer. Sydney gained a new radio station with 2WS going to air on November, 23, 1978.
Commercial FM stereo radio commenced in Australia with test broadcasts in 1979 . The first commercial FM radio station in Australia, 3EON (now Triple M), commenced broadcast on July, 11, 1980.
The federal parliament enacted the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act.
This was a stable period for commercial radio with FM stations delivering a variety of music programming and AM stations delivering a variety of music, talk, news and sport. Audience reach for commercial radio throughout the 90s was steady at 78% and people spent about 20 hours a week listening.
The Broadcasting Services Act came into effect in October 1992. The Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) replaced the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal.
Two new commercial FM stations in Sydney and Melbourne, Nova 969 and Nova 100, commenced operation. Testing of digital radio transmissions, which began 1999, continued.
Consumer-focussed digital radio trials of Eureka DAB commenced in Sydney on L-Band and VHF. FARB formally changed its name to Commercial Radio Australia Ltd at its AGM.
The Digital Radio Trial were officially launched by the Minister for Communications. Two new commercial FM station went to air, Hot 91.1 (Sunshine Coast) and Hot Tomato (Gold Coast). The Commercial Radio Brand Campaign was launched.
Two new Commercial FM stations commenced operations, Star 1045 (Gosford) and Nova 91.9 (Adelaide). Auction of licences in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne were held and the successful bidder was DMG Radio for all licences. A new player in regional radio, Macquarie Regional Radioworks puchased the RG Capital Radio Network (32) and 57 of DMG owned Regional Radio networks stations.
Digital Radio switches on in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.