Wednesday, April 25, 2018

April 25 Radio History

➦In 1874...Guglielmo Marconi was born in Bologna, Italy.

His father was a wealthy landowner and his mother was a member of Ireland’s Jameson family of distillers. Marconi was educated by tutors and at the Livorno Technical Institute and the University of Bologna.

Marconi 1901
In 1894 Marconi became fascinated with the discovery by German physicist Heinrich Rudolf Hertz of “invisible waves” generated by electromagnetic interactions. Marconi built his own wave-generating equipment at his family’s estate and was soon sending signals to locations a mile away. After failing to interest the Italian government in his work, Marconi decided to try his luck in London.

The 22-year-old Marconi and his mother arrived in England in 1896 and quickly found interested backers, including the British Post Office. Within a year Marconi was broadcasting up to 12 miles and had applied for his first patents. A year later, he set up a wireless station on the Isle of Wight that allowed Queen Victoria to send messages to her son Prince Edward aboard the royal yacht.

By 1899 Marconi’s signals had crossed the English Channel. The same year, Marconi traveled to the United States, where he gained publicity offering wireless coverage of the America’s Cup yacht race from off the coast of New Jersey.

Marconi joined the Italian Fascist party in 1923. In 1930, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini appointed him President of the Royal Academy of Italy, which made Marconi a member of the Fascist Grand Council.

Marconi died in Rome on 20 July 1937 at age 63, following a series of heart attacks, and Italy held a state funeral for him. As a tribute, all radio stations throughout the world observed two minutes of silence on the next day.  His remains are housed in the Villa Griffone at Sasso Marconi, Emilia-Romagna, which assumed that name in his honor in 1938.

In 1943, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a decision on Marconi's radio patents restoring some of the prior patents of Oliver Lodge, John Stone Stone, and Nikola Tesla.  The decision was not about Marconi's original radio patents and the court declared that their decision had no bearing on Marconi's claim as the first to achieve radio transmission, just that since Marconi's claim to certain patents were questionable, he could not claim infringement on those same patents.

➦In 1908...Iconic radio and TV newsman Edward R. Murrow was born. He is the most distinguished and renowned figure in the history of American broadcast journalism. He first came to prominence with a series of CBS radio news broadcasts from London during World War II.  He hired a top-flight cadre of war correspondents and was noted for honesty and integrity in delivering the news. A pioneer of television news broadcasting, Murrow produced a series of TV news reports that helped lead to the censure of Senator Joseph McCarthy.  A heavy smoker, Murrow died of lung cancer Apr 27, 1965 at age 57.

➦In 1949…An article in LOOK magazine predicted that radio was doomed and that within three years TV would overshadow radio completely.  As it turned out, radio reinvented itself as a local service & became bigger than ever, while LOOK disappeared in 1971

Don Wilson

➦In 1956...Elvis Presley scored his first Number One hit with "Heartbreak Hotel."

➦In 1960...actress Hope Emerson, who was the voice of Elsie the cow in radio commercials, and had feature roles in TV’s Peter Gunn & The Dennis O’Keefe Show, died of liver failure at age 62.

➦In 1982...Jack Benny’s announcer and comic foil for more than 30 years on radio & TV Don Wilson died following a stroke at age 81.

➦In 1995…Television game show host (Jeopardy!, The All New Jeopardy!)/actor (International Detective, The Californians, MacArthur)/TV announcer (Pantomime Quiz)/radio host (KMOX-St. Louis) Art Fleming died of pancreatic cancer at age 70.

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