First Public Radio Broadcast

Prior to the birth of the television, the radio was the public’s main source of entertainment.  Decades later, radio broadcasting is still an important source of news, music and sports coverage for the world.  Today, it is hard to imagine a world without constant radio broadcasts, but in the early 19th century, this was just the case.  The long, colorful history of radio broadcasting actually began with one experimental transmission.

On this day, January 13th, in 1910, the first public radio broadcast was held.  The transmission was conducted from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.  The “birth” of public radio was heard in several areas in New York City, including hotels along Times Square. However, the first broadcast was actually considered unsuccessful, as the early microphones were unable to pick up most of the opera singing.

Although the first radio listeners were not able to hear a majority of the Metropolitan Opera House production, the importance of the broadcast was not tarnished.  Public radio would quickly become a staple of American households a few years later.