Radio is a mass medium that, according to the United Nations, still reaches the widest audience worldwide. From the first complete functional radio model built by Guglielmo Marconi in 1895, known then as wireless telegraphy; to a product today like HomePod by Apple, a smart speaker inspired by the original concept of radio; we reflect on #WorldRadioDay how audio delivery remains a global force for content creation and absorption.
Other inventors also laid the groundwork for the original invention of radio, including Heinrich Rudolf Hertz, who originally discovered electromagnetic radiation; as well as Nikola Tesla, Amos Dolbear, Reginald Fessenden, and William Crookes. It was Marconi who had the business savvy intent on establishing three companies named American Marconi, British Marconi, and Canadian Marconi to monetize the new technology.
Radio quickly spread to find applications in every conceivable venue, from transmitting information to broadcasting music. After World War I, commercial radio broadcasting began in the 1920s and became an important widespread medium for entertainment and news. David Sarnoff, an early promoter of broadcast radio, spearheaded the Radio Corporation of America to begin an AM broadcasting service, which rapidly grew in popularity.
World War II accelerated development of radio for the wartime purposes of aircraft and land communication, radio navigation, and radar. Stereo FM broadcasting began taking place in the 1930s in the United States, and especially after WWII, as it finally displaced AM as the dominant radio standard by the 1960s, and by the 1970s in the United Kingdom.
In the 21st century, a media convergence began taking place, especially in the 2010s, with platforms like iTunes forging a new digital method of content delivery for music, podcasts, and other file types accessible behind paid walls over the Internet. Services today like Apple Music, Beats 1, and Spotify continually demonstrate a successful growing transition from traditional radio outputs to broadband streaming with millions of paid subscribers, but still for a global audience, especially where Internet access is not readily available, radio remains the most dynamic, reactive, and engaging medium.