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September 11, 2023 4:30 pm  #1

Was A Cdn. Question On Snow The Very First Words Ever Spoken On Radio?

According to an Ontario newspaper, the answer is yes. The article fleshes out the story of Reginald Fessenden, a name familiar to most radio historians and an early pioneer experimenting with AM radio. 

According to the story, it was Fessenden who spoke the very first words ever uttered on the medium. It was Dec. 23, 1900 in Maryland in a broadcast that went only about a mile.

"The first words carried by “wireless” transmission were, “One, two, three, four. Is it snowing where you are, Mr. Thiessen (his assistant)? If it is, telegraph back and let me know.” Mr. Thiessen replied by telegraph that it was, in fact, snowing. The first words carried by radio, spoken by a Canadian, concerned snow!"

But it wasn't enough just to speak those historic words. He was also said to be the first disc jockey in history, although discs and turntables were still relatively new at the time he did it in 1906. 

"On Christmas Eve of that year, from Brant Rock, Massachusetts, Fessenden, an amateur musician, played the carol “O Holy Night” on his violin as part of a Yuletide broadcast for ships of the United Fruit Company.

The astonished crewmen then heard him play a recording of the operatic piece “Handel’s Largo.” He closed with a Biblical quotation: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will.”

Thus, Fessenden was the world’s first live radio performer and the world’s first radio disc jockey."

Sadly, his ratings weren't great and the station eventually fired him. (OK, so that last part isn't true. But given the state of radio today, it could have been!) 

Inventor of AM radio, world's first radio DJ, lived in Fergus, Ont.