World Radio Day
When you consider how difficult it was to transmit information from one place to another, the world used to seem much larger. We had to first communicate by walking and talking to each other. Then we could write letters and exchange information. Ideas and music were spread at a snail’s speed around the globe, compared to modern times. The radio was created, and it became possible to transmit ideas across hundreds of miles. It was the beginning of the Internet, and it wouldn’t be the same. Let’s celebrate radio’s history and all the interconnectedness that it has brought us.
Heinrich Hertz was the first to discover radio waves. This discovery came on the heels his discovery of electromagnetic radiation. Radio waves operate at frequencies of 30 hertz to 300 gigahertz. A transmitter is the device that generates these waves. The transmitter is connected with the antennas, which allows radio waves to radiate. These radio waves are then received by a radio receiver attached to another set of antennas.
Although experiments were made to transmit information using Hertz’s discovery, the term radio was not first used until 1890 when Edouard Branly, a French physicist, invented the radio-conducteur. Before this, all forms of communication that used Hertz’s discovery to transmit information were known as wireless communications. But radio eventually became the most popular term in the world.
Radio quickly grew in popularity and was used for everything from broadcasting information to music to transmitting stories. Radio Theater existed long before TV. (Incidentally, it also led to the creation of Foley artists. But that’s another story). Radio waves can operate wirelessly or wired. In the 19th century, radios and other technologies were described as “wireless communication”. Wireless radios can transmit information without the need to be connected to cables or conductors. Wireless radio waves can be used to transmit information from devices such as smartphones, printers, and laptops. Wired devices are connected by a cord that sends data between the two items, such as cable TV, microwaves and ovens.
Radio was recognized for its profound influence on the world, and the Spanish Radio Academy requested that February 13th be declared ‘World Radio Day’. This will take place on September 20th 2010. The UNESCO declared that the World Radio Day would be celebrated on February 13, 2012. The first World Radio Day was observed on February 13, 2012. The radio is described by UNESCO as “a powerful medium to celebrate humanity in all its diversity, and constituting a platform of democratic discourse.”
Radio has come in many forms over the years: AM/FM, Shortwave, HAM and many others. You probably have one or more of all these radios in your home, even if it’s not an AM/FM radio.
World Radio Day offers a chance to remember the years spent on the road with Walkman, and listening to the latest music from your local radio station. Put aside your MP3 and CD players and think back to the times when you found new music listening to radio.
To reconnect with your local radio community, grab your old boom box and take it to the beach or park. You’ll be able to recall what life was like before music was available to everyone. You can also listen to AM/FM radio while driving to work or on the commute to celebrate your finds. You can listen to your iPod or MP3 while you exercise or do other activities.
Perhaps you’ll discover that we are better because of it. Or maybe you’ll see how the news broadcasts helped you stay in touch with your local community. The voice of local celebrities was there to guide you, bring a sense of home to your commute, lunchtime break, and even your road trip. Perhaps you’ll be able to recall those road trips you took with your family as you listened to your MP3 or the time you tuned in to your favorite radio station as a child.
Since Hertz’s wave experiments, 130 years ago, the term radio was used for the first time. The radio, 130 years later is still one of the most important inventions that allows us to stay connected with our loved ones far and near. To celebrate World Radio Day, grab your old or new radio and start playing your favorite song. Happy listening!