"The Puffin" Laytonville's Original Radio Station

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Radio 1911 - 1926


Remember way,way back to last week? We were talking about the invention of radio..Some folks may wonder where all these gadgets got started. Radio. Your cell phone,your t.v.,your computer. Anything and everything that produces a "Sound" got it's start  from radio. Once the first human voice was broadcast out of a box that sat on your table. BANG!!  We were and still are,,,off and running. Quite a ways in a short stretch of time.

When the Titanic hit an iceberg on the evening of April 15th 1912.. The wireless operator immediately began sending distress signals. The California was less than 20 miles away.with a wireless operator sound asleep because the captain had shut down all the engines running at night in an icefeild. Another freighter 30 miles away didn't have a wireless at all.The Carpaithia,58 miles away picked it up. Only because the ships operator went back to the wireless room to check a time signal after he had finished work for the day.If the California had a wireless operator awake that night? Almost all the passengers could have been saved. It took the Titanic less than three hours to sink.

The signal from the Titanic reached New York as well.Hundreds of amatuer wireless operators( I should have mentioned this way back a couple weeks ago,but. For our younger and not so younger readers. The "Wireless" I refer to throughout these articles. Was a telegraph device that sent a series of dots-n-dashs. Long and short sparks of harnessed electro-magnetic energy.That connected in relay denoted letters to sentances. Wireless communication, sorry about that) Again,tons of reports began to flood the news wires with all kinds of stories and allegations on what was said to have happened.. One of the results of the tragedy was radio regulations. Licensing amatuers and limiting them to 200 meter wavelengths or less..

Along side the industrial age was the corporate  age & rage. Corporations sprung up tenfold almost daily with people using the vacum tube. The big guys like the big five auto makers.Were corps. like G.E,Westinghouse,AT&T. Remember Marconi. The govt. was dealing with him and all the British patents which the US hated more than anything,dealing with the Brits for anything. The US encouraged AT&T,GE,&Westinghouse to form Radio Corporation of America RCA in 1919. Mostly to control all the international transmissions. Like any corporation,control is the name of the game.We were at war! Nobody knew what the govt. was doing.David Sarnoff did. Remember him? He used to work for Marconi Before the war.He was head of advanced technology for Marconi and knew the potential of broadcasting. Sarnoff was a business man who knew how to make radio pay,. From an extremely poor immigrant,he became president of RCA


Now this other cat Lee deForest we read about last week.He got sued,lost his business and had a really bad time of things.Well he did alright.He sold his patent on the "Audion"(radio) to AT&T but retained the rights to the patents on broadcasting news and music. His dream was to bring opera into everybody's home that couldn't afford to attend. In 1916 he broadcast the Yale/Harvard football game. People went crazy buying radios. The money train was raging at Westinghouse and G.E. the makers of these radios

Between 1912 and 1916 thousands of amatuer radio operators were in play here in the states,.When the US declared war on Germany.The U.S. tried to close down  all the amatuer radio stations and get the operators into the war machine which was in short supply of operators.

At the end of the war there was still a ban on transmitting. The ban was kept in place by the govt. till it's buddy corporations had control. Westinghouse was the biggest money maker right with General Electric. They owned the stations and they were the biggest makers of radio's.Now the two largest owners of defunct nuclear power plants in the world

In the 1920's 1/3 of all furniture sales were radio's In 1926 Sarnoff created the first broadcasting network,NBC. Thanks for staying tuned to this regular scheduled broadcast. Next week I will get to the first radio station KDKA Pittsbugh,just didn't fit the flow this week. Also,women in radio.Stay tuned
Kevin Marsh
Bella Opus

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