Here are some links to the history of Radio and Broadcasting in general. Please note, these links are not affiliated with Airchexx except where noted.
Sheldon Swartz runs a great tribute site to RKO General’s WRKO Boston. Its been online since 1998, and there’s a wealth of great information and audio from what was known as “The Big 68!” Click THIS LINK to check out “WRKO The Big 68 Remembered” at WRKO.org. Not affiliated with today’s 68 WRKO “The Talk of Boston”.
The Boston Radio Archives – Probably the nation’s most complete historical database dedicated to the history of radio in greater New England. Researched and Edited by Garrett Wollman, Donna Halper (MIT) (yes, THAT Donna Halper) and Scott Fybush of fybush.com.
Early Radio History – More of a collection of links, this website is a nice starting place for those wishing to go way back to the beginning of the art of radio. Note: There’s more information out there as to how radio and broadcasting evolved than most people have time to devote to study!
Full Disclosure: Airchexx.com is based in the United States. It should, therefore, be of no surprise to anyone that any basic understanding of how American Top 40 radio evolved has got to include an at least BASIC understanding of the licensing body which regulates radio in the United States. Click Here to learn about the FCC and it’s history. Understand, that of all developed countries in the 20th century, the United States was one of the very few which allowed private radio ownership and private radio broadcasting. Everywhere else in the world, governments decided what ‘listeners’ were going to hear, and that largely continues on today.
Here’s something you’ll be interested in! Located in San Francisco (of course, there’s only ONE Bay Area!), it claims to be from the Birthplace of Broadcasting – a point of contention, since many claim that, or claim to be the ‘first’ to send a friendly “Hello” to listeners who never had a receiver to hear it… digressing here, you’ll undoubtedly be amused for quite a while when you visit the California Historical Radio Society.
“A Tour of WLW Radio” by Barry Mishkind. Study of the history of American Broadcasting MUST include a discussion and study of the most powerful radio station that the government ever allowed on the air! WLW didn’t stand for “Whole Lotta Watts”, but some in Cincinnati thought so! Built by radio manufacturer Powell Crosley, WLW was the first and ONLY American radio station to run half a million watts on the medium wave (AM) band frequency of 700 Khz. Enjoy the old pictures!
Jim Hawkins was the Chief Engineer of WLW on December 31, 1999 when he put the old 500 KW General Electric rig back on the air for a few hours. Want to learn more about the WLW 500,000 watt beast of a power plant that operated at full power during the late 1930s? Click Here!
ARRL.org – The American Radio Relay League, while not a broadcasting entity, is an important link to broadcasting’s past. It pre-dates ‘broadcasting’, back to the days of early transmitters; spark-gap rigs where one simply — oh you have to read it for yourself! ARRL is today, the voice, and ‘face’ of America’s Amateur Radio Operators. Your webmaster is a ‘Ham’. My call sign is K1FRC (can you guess after what broadcast radio station I selected my novelty calls from?)
Radio Luxembourg – One who comes here, really should visit this link. Radio Luxembourg used to call itself, “Planet Earth’s Most Powerful Radio Station”. And for good reason. Broadcasting at 208 meters (which is how Europeans referred to their radio stations, by wavelength of the radio wave, instead of by the actual frequency), or, 1440 Khz, Radio Luxembourg, for a time, ran ONE MILLION, THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND WATTS of power! I can’t even wrap my head around that amount of RF energy zapping through the bodies of those within a mile of the transmitter plant! But, it’s all true, and all part of a tremendous amount of broadcasting history, from wartime use by both the Allies and the Nazi Propaganda machine during WWII, to the Top 40 years of the 1960s, 70s and 80s. (PROGRAMMING NOTE: CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO AIRCHECKS OF RADIO LUXEMBOURG) This is a FASCINATING website, one of a few paying homage to this former terrestrial broadcaster.
Today: Luxembourg broadcasts on the web only. No shortwave, no mediumwave.. just the internet. As of this writing, the following link appears to work properly, for those interested: Click Here.
The News Music Search Archive – Well, why not? When you’re bored and want to hear something important or interesting and can’t find it on your normal media website, maybe you’ll find it here.
American Radio History – This is my go-to resource lately when I need to find info on a radio station in the distant past. The resources provided here are so vast that if you’re looking for people, places and things related to radio, you’ll probably find SOMETHING on it here.
Submit YOUR history site to ours. Simply send an email (no self-addressed, stamped postcard required) to the site webmaster HERE. Wait a few years and see if it appears on this page. (We really hope you have a sense of humor right now!)
More coming soon.
Last updated on 1/3/15.