Radio Dog

Some more Lorenzo Milam, Sex and Broadcasting: A Handbook on Starting a Radio Station for the Community (available: Prometheus Radio Project | Amazon):

A Brief History of Radio

Radio was discovered some 50 years ago by a dog named RCA Victor. RCA Victor discovered radio accidently by looking into a horn, and discerning the voice of his master. Ever since then, RCA Victor has been a tradition, and many have capitalized on his cocked ear and puzzled face.

In the early days of radio, there were many exciting inventions. The Father of The Tube was Lee DeForest. He evacuated a bulb left by the Gardener (coincidentally, a friend of RCA Victor) and stuck his in his thumb and pulled out some mysterious little bugs called electrons. When he put the whole thing in a wall-socket, he said “Yreka.” And he heard the voice of London Calling. The voice said, “This is London Calling!”

Radio grew apace after that. There were modifications of DeForest’s evacuated tube. One of them was put together with some verve by Maj.-Gen. Edw. Armstrong. He called it the Heartstrong receiver. He was able to hear Trenton on his receiver. He also said ‘Yreka!’ which was a favorite quote of radio inventors.

Television also grew apace. The first signal was a picture of Howdy-Doody sent from Seacaucus N.J. to Weehawken, N.J. The effect was electrifying. Howdy-Doody was seen from as far away as Bayonne. CBS then was invented to steal patents from RCA Victor and his friends.

There were many suits.

The transmission of radio signals is amazingly simple. A voice makes the diaphram (later called the ‘IUD’) tremble because of a basic flow of electrons. Electrons are also fondly called ‘Little Boogers’ by inventors who couldn’t find them too easily.

This amplified signal flows through a series of coils and feeders (The Islets of Langerhans) in the first stage of amplification. The first stage leads to the second stage, which in turn leads to the third, and so forth. Finally the last stage is reached, and everyone goes out for tea. Radio developed apace with the coming of singing commercials.

RCA Victor and CBS bought up everyone and their grandmother, including Saul and Roweena Triode who helped to found the Heaviside Layer, the Aether, and the tube which ultimately became their namesake:

The Pentode.

An unsung hero of these days was Senator Wheatstone, builder of the Wheatstone Bridge connecting Biloxi and W. Biloxi. He stated on the floor of the U.S. Senate that he would die content if he had his rye, Don Ameche, and The Breakfast Club. He was buried with honors in Athens, Ohio.

After the war, radio went into its infancy. The continent was leaped in a single span, and a mother in Regina could hear the same Drano commercials as a truckdriver in Omaha.

Familiar to broadcasters is “The First Time on the Air” also known as “Beginning Stomach”. This quickly changes with experience to “The Oriental Clam”.

With the advent of Television (also called “The Third Eye”), radio came to be transformed into something else again. No longer would listeners depend upon the laughter and songs of G.J. Told of WOOD. No, soon the eyeball had replaced the ear; the cathode tube had put a single white dot on the sentence called radio. Instead of being an instrument for information and commercials, with brief sieges of entertainment, or top pops. New engineering techniques made possible the arousal of HiFi, which in turn led to Quadraportographic Sounds and Stereomagick Musics. The new horizon of radio is cloudy but bright.

And so it is with a friendly wave that we say ‘Goodbye’ and ‘Godspeed’ and ‘Godamercy’ to our old furry friend, Radio. From RCA Victor, through Roweena Triode and The Joy Boys, it has been a fun-filled adventure into the electronic tingling of a whole continent. The Future of Radio is no larger nor smaller than we can imagine. Long may she wave.

—Lorenzo Milam, Sex and Broadcasting: A Handbook on Starting a Radio Station for the Community (available: Prometheus Radio Project | Amazon)

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