Timeline of Radio and Television History

The history of radio and television at a glance including related electronics, computers and satellites.

1757-1775Benjamin Franklin works in London
1799Volta invents electrical battery
1838Morse demonstrates telegraphy
1861Transcontinental telegraph by wire
1866Transatlantic cable

County Kerry transatlantic cable station
1876Bell invents telephone
1883Edison invents the Edison effect
1886Hertz produces and detects electric waves
1894Lodge invents Coherer with 200 mile range
1897J.J.Thompson discovers the electron
1899Wireless telegraphy
1901Reception of transatlantic radio signals in Newfoundland from Marconi in the U.K.
1902Poulsen-Arc radio transmitter
1903Triode invented
1904Radio alternator designed
1906Catwhisker crystal detector invented

Sound broadcast combines voice and music

RF Continuous-wave alternator developed
1909Shoshone transmission line
1912RF generator invented
1914American Radio Relay League founded
1918Superheterodyne receiver invented
1920Westinghouse radio station KDKA broadcasts at Pittsburgh
1924RCA superheterodyne sold in stores

Directive shortwave antenna invented
1925Human features transmitted by television

Pioneers work on radar
1927Working television demonstrated
1928One-way police radio communication
1931Radioastronomy founded by detection of radio waves from the center of our Milky Way galaxy

Voice of Australia first broadcaster in Southern Hemisphere
1932Radio is important in U.S. Hoover vs. Roosevelt presidential campaign
1933Two-way police radio communication

German Ministry of Popular Education and Propaganda controls broadcasting

FM invented by Edwin H. Armstrong
1934Long range shortwave voice transmission from Byrd Antarctic Expedition

Law limits broadcasting in India

U.S. Federal Communications Act sets up FCC
1935Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay radio agreement

International Wireless Committee code of good conduct for international broadcasts

Japan broadcasts to America
1936BBC airs first news story -- fire at London's Crystal Palace
1937U.S. Radio Code

Radios have pushbuttons

The first experimental FM radio station, W1XOJ, construction begins.

Radiotelescope used to find the first discrete radio sources beyond Earth and map the natural radio signals across the Milky Way
1938CBS broadcasts Orson Welles' "Invasion From Mars" from H.G. Wells's "War of the Worlds"
1939Baseball televised

Germany transmits internationally in 26 languages, while listening in Germany to foreign broadcast is a capital offense

Atanasoff-Berry computer developed

Television displayed at the New York’s World Fair at Flushing Meadows, Queens.
1940sWorld War II brings radar and other electronics which stimulate radioastronomy
1940FM police radio communication

French General de Gaulle broadcasts from BBC to France

Sudan radio serves World War II Allies

News broadcasts in six languages on African Gold Coast
1941U.S. Col. W. Donovan commission combats Axis radio propaganda

Switzerland broadcasts support International Red Cross

Opana radar site built
1942Voice of America shortwave broadcasts in English, French, Italian, German
1942-1945US Naval Computing Machine Laboratory
1943BBC broadcasts English lessons

American Forces Network on the air
1944BBC broadcasts coded messages to Fench resistance before D-Day
1945Yugoslavia broadcasts

Military controls broadcasting in Soviet-occupied Germany

Astronomers develop radioastronomy

Japan's Emperor announces his country's surrender in his first radio broadcast
1946First and brightest radio source beyond our galaxy, Cygnus A, discovered

U.S. Army Signal Corps bounces radar beam off Moon

Transistor invented will make small radios commercially feasible

Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) turned on
1946-1953Black-and-white television reaches a broad American viewing audience in their homes.

U.S. develops monochrome-compatible electronic color television
1950-1969Electronic technology applied to spaceflight
1951Color television introduced in U.S.

Transistors manufactured

Electromagnetic radiation discovered coming from interstellar hydrogen at a radio wavelength of 21 cm
1953FCC approves color television system

First amateur radio moonbounce
1956Germanium transistor commercialized
1957Beeping radio signal from Sputnik 1, Earth's first artificial satellite
1959Radio signal from first human-made object to leave Earth, USSR probe Luna 1

Radio signal from first human-made object to reach another world, USSR probe Lunik 2 on the Moon

Radio-photos from first spacecraft to go behind the Moon, USSR probe Lunik 3

The integrated circuit (IC) is introduced

First communication satellite, Echo, launched by US
1960First radio-photos of Earth weather from orbit
1961First human communication from space

First amateur radio satellite
1962Transatlantic reception of television signal via satellite

Radio signal from first human-made object to reach another planet, Mariner 2 at Venus

Telstar communications satellite
1963First female human communication from space

Arecibo radiotelescope
1965Radio signal from human-made object at Mars, Mariner 4
1969Human communication from the Moon

The Internet begins
1971Human communication from a space station
1973Radio signal from human-made object at Jupiter, Pioneer 10
1974Radio signal from human-made object at Mercury, Mariner 10
1976Personal computer market is born
1979Radio signal from human-made object at Saturn, Pioneer 11
1981Human communication from a space shuttle

Sony introduces consumer synthesized radio receiver
1983Radio signal from spacecraft leaving the Solar System, Pioneer 10

Direct broadcast TV
1986Cellular phones become international business

Radio signal from human-made object at Uranus, Voyager 2
1989Radio signal from human-made object at Neptune, Voyager 2
World Wide Web invented
1992XM Satellite Radio
1993 Mosaic Web browser and Web pages
Internet radio broadcasting
Internet television broadcasting
Digital signal processing receiver
1999Sirius Satellite Radio
Apple iPod
Kazaa file-sharing service
Software radio chips
2003iTunes music service online
Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) – digital AM radio with FM-quality sound
Second Life
Sources:   ARRL,   IEEE,   Monitoring Times,   Popular Communications,   K3RXK

Chart of Morse Code

Alexander Graham Bell's telephone in 1876
Alexander Graham Bell's 1876 telephone

Vibroplex Radiotelegraph Key
Vibroplex radio telegraph key

ARRL logo

Response to David Sarnoff when he asked friends to invest in radio

President Franklin D. Roosevelt at network radio microphones in Washington, D.C.
FDR at radio microphones circa 1933-1944

1950 Bush television receiver
1950 Bush television receiver

cell phone circa 1984
Cellphone circa 1984

Motorola Digital Audio Receiver in 2002
2002 digital receiver by Motorola

NASA artist concept of orbiting satellite
Space satellite

Fuzion Podcast Network
Fuzion Podcast Network

Sirius Satellite Radio Boombox in 2006
2006 Sirius satellite radio boombox

ESPN Sports Center Television Studio
ESPN Sports Center Television Studio

Grace Mondo Internet Radio 2010
Mondo Internet Radio 2010

YouTube video of Second Life
YouTube video of Second Life
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© 2011 Dr. Anthony Curtis, Mass Communication Dept., University of North Carolina at Pembroke    910.521.6616    e-mail    home page
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