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History of Radio Part One

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(This will be a two part story as there is a lot of historic information.)

Radio has been a part of most people’s lives for a long time. We have radios in our cars, sometimes in our homes, although today radio has to compete with television, smart phones and computers.

However, before all these more modern forms of communication, it was radio.

Next year Sheridan’s KWYO Radio turns 90 years old. According to an internet Wikipedia article, was Sheridan’ first radio station, signing on the air in 1934, and the second radio station in Wyoming, after KTWO in Casper, which signed on the air in 1930.

In many parts of rural Wyoming, including Northeast Sheridan County, many ranchers did not receive electric service until late in the 1960s, sometimes the early 1970s. Television was something one watched when they went to town, but nearly everyone had a battery operated radio in their homes. Radio brought weather reports, sports, market news, local and national news, and music.

Radio also brought educational programs. In the Austrailain outback beginning in 1951, youngsters learned by “School of the Air,” shortwave radio classes.

On display at Trail End Kendrick Manison

This from the Bridger Valley Enterprise (Bridger Valley), May 1, 1917

Radio and the Farmer – Radio broadcasting stations in some states are sending out on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings with each week, tabloid talks on agriculture, and the last word of the scientist and the scientific farmer expressed in crisp and interesting form. When it is considered that with proper methods of agriculture and, with proper preparation of the soil, the revenue from farms might be doubled, the value of the movement is quite apparent. Agents of experimental farms – preaching this doctrine of scientific agriculture are making much headway, but the dissemination of such knowledge requires ceaseless effort and constant pounding. The tabloid talks by radio thus come to the assistance of the county agents and the farmers.

The radio station will present these facts not only to the farmer, but to the boys and girls on the farm. It will aim to make the farmer appreciate to the fullest extent his investment in his acres.

News has always been a part of radio. Radio also runs various public service announcements, such as snow days for schools, Amber or Silver Alerts, or updates on forest fires and road conditions.

Wyoming State Tribune, May 7, 1922

During the 30s, 40s and 50s, before television was in nearly every home, there were many different radio shows. Gunsmoke actually started as a radio show that ran from 1952 to 1961.

Long-time Clearmont resident Terry Foster, who with her husband Ralph ran a ranch for many years, had an old cabinet-style radio and Terry said.

Antiques at the Virginian Motel in Medicine Bow

From The Riverton Review, April 26, 1922, there is a timeline of radio development.

Progress Of Radio Through The Years – Wireless Research Began Long Ago, But Development Has Been Swift Lately. Wireless research started many years ago, as far back even as 1827. Even the radio telephone is not a recent perfection; rather it is that introduction to the layman of the human voice and music hue suddenly popularized something that wireless men had thought a pastime or amusement. Here is the chronological record of wireless : 1827—It was found that the magnetic discharge from a Leyden Jar would magnetize a steel needle.

1881 — Electro-magnetic induction was discovered between two entirely separate circuits by Michael Faraday. 1837 —Cooke and Wheatstone of London, England, and Morse of the Unlted States take out first patent for electric telegraph. 1838-K. A. Steinhell of Munich suggested that a system of wireless telegraphy could be established after his discovery of the use of the earth return. 1840—Joseph Henrv (U. S. A.) produced the first high-frequency electric oscillations, and stated that the condenser discharge Is oscillatory. 1842 — Wireless experiments were made by S.. F. B. Morse by electric conduction through water across Washington canal and across wide rivers.

1843 —A wireless system for transatlantic communication was suggested. 1845—Water was used as a conducting medium in wireless experiments across a wide river. 1849 —Intelligible signals were actually sent across a river 4.500 feet wide In India, but the cost was found prohibitive for commercial use. 1867—The electric waves that are now utilized in wireless telegraphy and telephony were predicted in an address before the Royal Society In London, England.

1880—The sending of an electric current through earth was systematically studied by John Trowbridge of Harvard. It was found that signaling might be carried on over large distances between places not connected by wires. 1885—It was found that telephonic speech could be conveyed by induction over a space of quarter mile. This experiment took place in England. 1889—Electric waves were suggested as being particularly suitable for the sending of signals through fogs. 1892 —An instrument for the detection of electro-magnetic waves was discovered which was given the name of a “coherer.”

1894—A scientist of Berlin signaled through three miles of water. 1895— High frequency waves excite curiosity of Senatore Marconi. 1896—First patent for practical wireless transmitting system is taken out in London by Marconi. Afterward, successful signaling was carried out over distances as great as one and one-quarter miles. Sir William Preece of the British post office system interested his cohorts In Marconi’s wireless experiments.

The Cody Enterprise, June 13, 1923

1897—Marconi establishes communication between points four miles distant. Balloons were used to suspend antennae. Marconi demonstrates his wireless system before the king of Italy, communicating with two Italian warships nine miles distant. The first Marconi station is erected on the Isle of Wight and experiments conducted over a distance of 14 miles. Near the end of the year the first floating wireless station was successfully operated. 1898— The first paid marconigram was sent from the Isle of Wight station.

1899 — Reports made on lighthouse accident by radio. First French gunboat Is fitted with radio apparatus. In Vienna communication between two balloons Is established. New York Herald receives radio r port of International yacht races. The British war office Introduces Marconi apparatus Into the South African battlefields.

1900 — German vessel communicates a distance or 60 miles by radio signals. 1901—Radio communication started with five Islands in the Hawaiian group. The first British ship la fitted with the wireless telegraph. 1902—Radiograph signals received aboard vessels at sea at 1,500 statute miles. Signals received from a distance of 2,000 miles.

Radio was used to connect heads of state, such as the King of England to US Presidents.

1903—King Edward receives a radio message from President Roosevelt. High-power stations were ordered by the Italian government. First transatlantic radio message sent. Telegraphic news service for ships at sea is started. Marconi knighted in Russia. 1904— The first press message was sent across the sea. 1905— Patent suit started in New York between the Marconi and De Forest company. Patent for horizontal directional aerial Is taken out This was a great step forward In long distance work.

1906— International conference is held in Berlin, at which most of the countries of the world are represented. 1907 — The use of steel disks for producing notes were successfully tested. Radio stations In Ireland and Nova Scotia were opened for limited public service. 1908— Radio stations opened for unlimited public service between Great Britain and Canada.

1909— Steamship in collision with another off the coast of Florida succeeds in calling assistance by radio. 1910 — Marconi receives messages 6,700 miles while on board ship going to South America. Spanish radio company formed. 1911— Canadian government leased radio stations for 20 years. 1912 — Radio distress signals from the Titanic bring assistance and save lives of 700 passengers.

(This timeline will be continued next week, as well as a few problems the early radio stations faced, like moths.)

1970s radio

At one time, many radio stations, including those in Sheridan, only operated in the day time, called daytimer stations, and signed off each night. KROE sign off message went something like this, “From the Land of the Crow to the North, to the Land of the Black Gold to the South, this is KROE Radio, signing off.”

Today, Sheridan has 24-hour stations, offering something for almost every taste. County and Rock Music, talk radio, local and national news. People can listen at home, on a radio, or streaming on computers and phones, and in their cars. Radio, even with television, smart phones and the internet, is still as relevant today as it was over 100 years ago in Wyoming

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