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August 20, 2019 3:08 pm  #1


What Was The First Real Radio Station? Detroit Outlet Claims The Title

For years, I'd heard that KDKA Pittsburgh was the first regularly programmed radio station in the world, signing on with an election report in Nov. 1920, while Marconi's XWA (later CFCF) in Montreal was the first on the air in 1919.

But another contender is congratulating itself on being the world's oldest radio station at 99 years. 

It's WWJ Detroit, the longtime all-news station from Motown. Then called 8MK, it claims it was on the air with a show on this date (August 20) in 1920. If that's true, then the long believed wisdom of who really was first has been called into question again. 

Happy Birthday WWJ! World's First Radio Station Turns 99

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/ECaVVYrXUAAyhts?format=jpg&name=small
 

 

August 21, 2019 9:26 am  #2


Re: What Was The First Real Radio Station? Detroit Outlet Claims The Title

these days, is it worth going out of your way to promote the fact that you're old, especially in an industry that's fighting the "obsolete" moniker?

Last edited by the original hank (August 21, 2019 9:27 am)

 

August 21, 2019 9:36 am  #3


Re: What Was The First Real Radio Station? Detroit Outlet Claims The Title

I'm guessing that's the same reason CFRB said nothing when it quietly turned 90 in 2017. Quite a milestone but you'd never know it on a station that definitely has done everything to shed its "your parents and grandparents" status from years gone by.

Kind of sad, though. I hope when both WWJ and KDKA turn 100 next year - surely a significant milestone - they both make a big deal about it. 

     Thread Starter
 

August 21, 2019 1:08 pm  #4


Re: What Was The First Real Radio Station? Detroit Outlet Claims The Title

I looked at Dale Patterson's 2017 post of the June 1965 full page CFRB new studio location ad in the Star. Of the 24 personalities pictured, only 5 I did not recognize. At that time, my parent's kitchen radio had only two knobs. CFRB and off.

 

August 21, 2019 4:28 pm  #5


Re: What Was The First Real Radio Station? Detroit Outlet Claims The Title

mace wrote:

At that time, my parent's kitchen radio had only two knobs. CFRB and off.

I can identify with that memory too, mace!
 

 

August 21, 2019 4:55 pm  #6


Re: What Was The First Real Radio Station? Detroit Outlet Claims The Title

mace wrote:

I looked at Dale Patterson's 2017 post of the June 1965 full page CFRB new studio location ad in the Star. Of the 24 personalities pictured, only 5 I did not recognize. At that time, my parent's kitchen radio had only two knobs. CFRB and off.

Here it is:

http://sowny.net/viewtopic.php?id=34

How many of these people are still with us, I wonder. I believe Bill McVean still is. They were quite a station, the very definition of "full service."

 


"The radio craze ... will soon fade." - Thomas Edison, 1922
 

August 21, 2019 9:21 pm  #7


Re: What Was The First Real Radio Station? Detroit Outlet Claims The Title

Speaking of CFRB, and remembering Gordon Sinclair's "The Americans", I wonder what Sinc would think of tRump's America?



 

 

August 21, 2019 9:24 pm  #8


Re: What Was The First Real Radio Station? Detroit Outlet Claims The Title

Dale Patterson wrote:

mace wrote:

I looked at Dale Patterson's 2017 post of the June 1965 full page CFRB new studio location ad in the Star. Of the 24 personalities pictured, only 5 I did not recognize. At that time, my parent's kitchen radio had only two knobs. CFRB and off.

Here it is:

http://sowny.net/viewtopic.php?id=34

How many of these people are still with us, I wonder. I believe Bill McVean still is. They were quite a station, the very definition of "full service."

 

I worked with two second generation broadcasters from that page of 24.

A certain Mr. Hesketh

And a fellow with the last name of Sinclair (Junior) 


"I'll kick your ass down Yonge Street"... CFTR's Robert Holiday circa 1979...
 

August 26, 2019 9:44 am  #9


Re: What Was The First Real Radio Station? Detroit Outlet Claims The Title

RadioActive wrote:

I'm guessing that's the same reason CFRB said nothing when it quietly turned 90 in 2017. Quite a milestone but you'd never know it on a station that definitely has done everything to shed its "your parents and grandparents" status from years gone by.

Kind of sad, though. I hope when both WWJ and KDKA turn 100 next year - surely a significant milestone - they both make a big deal about it. 

Here's one station that seems to be touting its age with pride...from Broadcast Dialogue

CKNW Vancouver celebrated its 75th Anniversary with listeners and staff, past and present, at the Anvil Centre in New Westminster last Thursday, steps from where the first broadcast took place on Aug. 15, 1944.
 

 

September 15, 2019 3:50 pm  #10


Re: What Was The First Real Radio Station? Detroit Outlet Claims The Title

And another new contender gets into the race for bragging rights as the oldest radio station on the planet. And this is one that you might say is very time sensitive. It's WWV, the shortwave station out of Ft. Collins, Colorado that will be celebrating its 100th year on the air on October 1st. 

The station is planning special programming (how you do that on a place whose only format is broadcasting a time signal 24 hours a day should be interesting) but there will be some sort of on-air acknowledgement of the milestone.

By comparison, CHU Canada, which broadcasts a similar time signal on SW, except in English and French, has only been around since 1923.   

How fitting that a station that monitors time should be the first one to celebrate a centenary. 

WWV and WWVH to Broadcast Defense Department WWV Centennial Greeting  

http://wwv100.com/images/banners/banner3/DSCN0377.JPG
  

     Thread Starter
 

September 16, 2019 9:01 pm  #11


Re: What Was The First Real Radio Station? Detroit Outlet Claims The Title

Yet another candidate shows up celebrating the big 99. It's KNX in Los Angeles, which went on the air as the city's first ever test station on Sept. 10, 1920. It means a number of radio veterans will be marking their 100th year in 2020. 

If you think the early days of radio were the Wild West, check out this sentence from the linked article about what was going on when KNX marked its first anniversary.

"By this time there were 23 local stations in town including KNX and they all shared the same frequency, broadcasting at assigned days and times during the week." 

Imagine all those stations sharing one frequency! What a mess that must have been. Although rarely has the phrase "Don't touch that dial" been more accurate!

LA station celebrates 99 years on the air this month

     Thread Starter