Early Beginnings: Nobody knows exactly when the story of the radio begins. Many early scientists will have witnessed and contributed to the discovery and evolution of the modern day radio, including Edison who would have witnessed the electromagnetic fields during conduction testing. For the purpose of this article, we shall be focusing on the radio itself rather than the radio waves and their development.
1893: The very first radio as we know it to be today was an invention of Nikola Tesla. While there were radios before this time, they were of a very basic standard and not notable enough to be classified as what we now know to be a radio.
1939: This year saw the launch of the very first FM station and a radio with an FM switch. Created by Edward Armstrong, the radio allowed you to quickly and easily switch between AM & FM stations with AM stations playing radio-plays, spoken words etc, and the FM station focusing on music. Nowadays there are many websites Frequency Finders, here are one website for England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland – browse around this site.
1950: The 1950’s saw the introduction of the portable radio. While much of its workings remained unchanged from earlier models, the smaller radio enables the listener to carry the unit from room to room with ease.
1970: The 70’s sawed the emergence of the music radio. Radio was previously used mainly for listening to weekly shows, news reports and written for radio stories. However, the recent trend for a liking of rock and roll music saw a radio designed that was tailored for this reason. Even smaller than the past ‘small’ radios, the music radio could be carried everywhere the listener went.
1980’s: The 80s was an iconic decade for music and one where music was enjoyed as loudly as possible. The BoomBox was completely portable and designed to be carried on the shoulder. Think of it as a giant iPod … minus the headphone and with an added tape deck.
2000 onwards: The noughties welcomed the introduction of digital radio. It was from this time on that users could access hundreds of radio stations of crystal clear quality. Radio was no longer limited to analog stations and music charts started to include digital downloads. Not only were radios stand-alone electrical items, they were now embedded into cell phones, iPods, and available to live stream online.
Of course, there are plenty of different types of radio, including those used for communication such as the ones used by the emergency services, airlines, and fisheries. Radio enabled global communication and helped mold the music industry, thus launching the careers of many a global superstar. Without radio, we would live in a world deprived of music, arts, and entertainment.