COM 4490/01 History of Broadcasting

Broadcast History Timeline

 Ed Bonza

Office: Student Center 233

Work 770-423-6280

1901-1920 | 1921-1940 | 1941-1960 | 1961-1980 | 1981-to present

1901: Marconi sends a radio signal across the Atlantic.
1902: Germany's Zeiss invents the four-element Tessar camera lens.
1902: Etched zinc engravings start to replace hand-cut wood blocks.
1902: U.S. Navy installs radio telephones aboard ships.
1902: Photoelectric scanning can send and receive a picture.
1902: Trans-Pacific telephone cable connects Canada and Australia.
1903: Technical improvements in radio, telegraph, phonograph,
movies and printing.
1903: London Daily Mirror illustrates only with photographs.
1904: A telephone answering machine is invented.
1904: Fleming invents the diode to improve radio communication.
1904: Offset lithography becomes a commercial reality.
1904: A photograph is transmitted by wire in Germany.
1904: Hine photographs America's underclass.
1904: The Great Train Robbery creates demand for fiction movies.
1904: The comic book.
1904: The double-sided phonograph disc.
1905: In Pittsburgh the first nickelodeon opens.
1905: Photography, printing, and post combine in the year's craze,
picture postcards.
1905: In France, Pathe colors black and white films by machine.
1905: In New Zealand, the postage meter is introduced.
1905: The Yellow Pages.
1905: The juke box; 24 choices.
1906: In Britain, new process colors books cheaply.
1906: A program of voice and music is broadcast in the U.S.
1906: Lee de Forest invents the three-element vacuum tube.
1906: Dunwoody and Pickard build a crystal-and-cat's-whisker radio.
1906: An animated cartoon film is produced.
1906: Fessenden plays violin for startled ship wireless operators.
1906: An experimental sound-on-film motion picture.
1906: Strowger invents automatic dial telephone switching.
1907: Bell and Howell develop a film projection system.
1907: Lumiere brothers invent still color photography process.
1907: DeForest begins regular radio music broadcasts.
1907: In Russia, Rosing develops theory of television.
1908: In U.S., Smith introduces true color motion pictures.
1909: Radio distress signal saves 1,700 lives after ships collide.
1909: First broadcast talk; the subject: women's suffrage.
1910: Sweden's Elkstrom invents "flying spot" camera light beam.
1911: Efforts are made to bring sound to motion pictures.
1911: Rotogravure aids magazine production of photos.
1911: "Postal savings system" inaugurated.
1912: U.S. passes law to control radio stations.
1912: Motorized movie cameras replace hand cranks.
1912: Feedback and heterodyne systems usher in modern radio.
1912: First mail carried by airplane.
1913: The portable phonograph is manufactured.
1913: Type composing machines roll out of the factory.
1914: A better triode vacuum tube improves radio reception.
1914: Radio message is sent to an airplane.
1914: In Germany, the 35mm still camera, a Leica.
1914: In the U.S., Goddard begins rocket experiments.
1914: First transcontinental telephone call.
1915: Wireless radio service connects U.S. and Japan.
1915: Radio-telephone carries speech across the Atlantic.
1915: Birth of a Nation sets new movie standards.
1915: The electric loudspeaker.
1916: David Sarnoff envisions radio as "a household utility."
1916: Cameras get optical rangefinders.
1916: Radios get tuners.
1917: Photocomposition begins.
1917: Frank Conrad builds a radio station, later KDKA.
1917: Condenser microphone aids broadcasting, recording.
1918: First regular airmail service: Washington, D.C. to New York.
1919: People can now dial telephone numbers themselves.
1919: Shortwave radio is invented.
1919: Flip-flop circuit invented; will help computers to count.
1920: The first broadcasting stations are opened.
1920: First cross-country airmail flight in the U.S.
1920: Sound recording is done electrically.
1920: Post Office accepts the postage meter.
1920: KDKA in Pittsburgh broadcasts first scheduled programs.
1921: Quartz crystals keep radio signals from wandering.
1921: The word "robot" enters the language.
1921: Western Union begins wirephoto service.
1922: A commercial is broadcast, $100 for ten minutes.
1922: Technicolor introduces two-color process for movies.
1922: Germany's UFA produces a film with an optical sound track.
1922: First 3-D movie, requires spectacles with one red and one green lens.
1922: Singers desert phonograph horn mouths for acoustic studios.
1922: Nanook of the North, the first documentary.
1923: Zworykin's electronic iconoscope camera tube and kinescope display tube.
1923: People on one ship can talk to people on another.
1923: Ribbon microphone becomes the studio standard.
1923: A picture, broken into dots, is sent by wire.
1923: 16 mm nonflammable film makes its debut.
1923: Kodak introduces home movie equipment.
1923: Neon advertising signs.
1924: Low tech achievement: notebooks get spiral bindings.
1924: The Eveready Hour is the first sponsored radio program.
1924: At KDKA, Conrad sets up a short-wave radio transmitter.
1924: Daily coast-to-coast air mail service.
1924: Pictures are transmitted over telephone lines.
1924: Two and a half million radio sets in the U.S.
1925: The Leica 35 mm camera sets a new standard.
1925: Commercial picture facsimile radio service across the U.S.
1925: All-electric phonograph is built.
1925: A moving image, the blades of a model windmill, is telecast.
1925: From France, a wide-screen film.
1926: Commercial picture facsimile radio service across the Atlantic.
1926: Baird demonstrates an electro-mechanical TV system.
1926: Some radios get automatic volume control, a mixed blessing.
1926: The Book-of-the-Month Club.
1926: In U.S., first 16mm movie is shot.
1926: Goddard launches liquid-fuel rocket.
1926: Permanent radio network, NBC, is formed.
1926: Bell Telephone Labs transmit film by television.
1927: NBC begins two radio networks; CBS formed.
1927: Farnsworth assembles a complete electronic TV system.
1927: Jolson's "The Jazz Singer" is the first popular "talkie."
1927: Movietone offers newsreels in sound.
1927: U.S. Radio Act declares public ownership of the airwaves.
1927: Technicolor.
1927: Negative feedback makes hi-fi possible.
1928: Baird demonstrates color TV on electro-mechanical system.
1928: The teletype machine makes its debut.
1928: Television sets are put in three homes, programming begins.
1928: Baird invents a video disc to record television.
1928: In an experiment, television crosses the Atlantic.
1928: In Schenectady, N.Y., the first scheduled television broadcasts.
1928: Steamboat Willie introduces Mickey Mouse.
1928: A motion picture is shown in color.
1928: Times Square gets moving headlines in electric lights.
1928: IBM adopts the 80-column punched card.
1929: Experiments begin on electronic color television.
1929: Telegraph ticker sends 500 characters per minute.
1929: Ship passengers can phone relatives ashore.
1929: Brokers watch stock prices on an automated electric board.
1929: Something else new: the car radio.
1929: In Germany, magnetic sound recording on plastic tape.
1929: Television studio is built in London.
1929: Air mail flown from Miami to South America.
1929: Bell Lab transmits stills in color by mechanical scanning.
1929: Zworykin demonstrates cathode-ray tube "kinescope" receiver, 60 scan lines.
1930: Photo flashbulbs replace dangerous flash powder.
1930: "Golden Age" of radio begins in U.S.
1930: Lowell Thomas begins first regular network newscast.
1930: TVs based on British mechanical system roll off factory line.
1930: Bush's differential analyzer introduces the computer.
1930: AT&T tries the picture telephone.
1931: Commercial teletype service.
1931: Electronic TV broadcasts in Los Angeles and Moscow.
1931: Exposures meters go on sale to photographers.
1931: NBC experimentally doubles transmission to 120-line screen.
1932: Disney adopts a three-color Technicolor process for cartoons.
1932: Kodak introduces 8 mm film for home movies.
1932: The "Times" of London uses its new Times Roman typeface.
1932: Stereophonic sound in a motion picture, "Napoleon."
1932: Zoom lens is invented, but a practical model is 21 years off.
1932: The light meter.
1932: NBC and CBS allow prices to be mentioned in commercials.
1933: Armstrong invents FM, but its real future is 20 years off.
1933: Multiple-flash sports photography.
1933: Singing telegrams.
1933: Phonograph records go stereo.
1934: Drive-in movie theater opens in New Jersey.
1934: Associated Press starts wirephoto service.
1934: In Germany, a mobile television truck roams the streets.
1934: In Scotland, teletypesetting sets type by phone line.
1934: Three-color Technicolor used in live action film.
1934: Communications Act of 1934 creates FCC.
1934: Half of the homes in the U.S. have radios.
1934: Mutual Radio Network begins operations.
1935: German single lens reflex roll film camera synchronized for flash bulbs.
1935: Also in Germany, audio tape recorders go on sale.
1935: IBM's electric typewriter comes off the assembly line.
1935: The Penguin paperback book sells for the price of 10 cigarettes.
1935: All-electronic VHF television comes out of the lab.
1935: Eastman-Kodak develops Kodachrome color film.
1935: Nielsen's Audimeter tracks radio audiences.
1936: Berlin Olympics are televised closed circuit.
1936: Bell Labs invents a voice recognition machine.
1936: Kodachrome film sharpens color photography.
1936: Co-axial cable connects New York to Philadelphia.
1936: Alan Turing's "On Computable Numbers" describes a general purpose computer.
1937: Stibitz of Bell Labs invents the electrical digital calculator.
1937: Pulse Code Modulation points the way to digital transmission.
1937: NBC sends mobile TV truck onto New York streets.
1937: A recording, the Hindenburg crash, is broadcast coast to coast.
1937: Carlson invents the photocopier.
1937:Snow White is the first feature-length cartoon.
1938: Strobe lighting.
1938: Baird demonstrates live TV in color.
1938: Broadcasts can be taped and edited.
1938: Two brothers named Biro invent the ballpoint pen in Argentina.
1938: CBS "World News Roundup" ushers in modern newscasting.
1938: DuMont markets electronic television receiver for the home.
1938: Radio drama, War of the Worlds," causes national panic.
1939: Mechanical scanning system abandoned.
1939: New York World's Fair shows television to public.
1939: Regular TV broadcasts begin.
1939: Air mail service across the Atlantic.
1939: Many firsts: sports coverage, variety show, feature film, etc.
1940: Fantasia introduces stereo sound to American public.
1941: Stereo is installed in a Moscow movie theater.
1941: FCC sets U.S. TV standards.
1941: CBS and NBC start commercial transmission; WW II intervenes.
1941: Goldmark at CBS experiments with electronic color TV.
1941: Microwave transmission.
1941: Zuse's Z3 is the first computer controlled by software.
1942: Atanasoff, Berry build the first electronic digital computer.
1942: Kodacolor process produces the color print.
1943: Repeaters on phone lines quiet long distance call noise.
1944: Harvard's Mark I, first digital computer, put in service.
1944: IBM offers a typewriter with proportional spacing.
1944: NBC presents first U.S. network newscast, a curiosity.
1945: Clarke envisions geo-synchronous communication satellites.
1945: It is estimated that 14,000 products are made from paper.
1946: Jukeboxes go into mass production.
1946: Pennsylvania's ENIAC heralds the modern electronic computer.
1946: Automobile radio telephones connect to telephone network.
1946: French engineers build a phototypesetting machine.
1947: Hungarian engineer in England invents holography.
1947: The transistor is invented, will replace vacuum tubes.
1947: The zoom lens covers baseball's world series for TV.
1947: Holography invented.
1948: The LP record arrives on a viny disk.
1948: Shannon and Weaver of Bell Labs propound information theory.
1948: Land's Polaroid camera prints pictures in a minute.
1948: Hollywood switches to nonflammable film.
1948: Public clamor for television begins; FCC freezes new licenses.
1948: Airplane re-broadcasts TV signal across nine states.
1949: Network TV in U.S.
1949: RCA offers the 45 rpm record.
1949: Community Antenna Television, forerunner to cable.
1949: Whirlwind at MIT is the first real time computer.
1949: Magnetic core computer memory is invented.
1950: Regular color television transmission.
1950: Vidicon camera tube improves television picture.
1950: Changeable typewriter typefaces in use.
1950: A.C. Nielsen's Audimeters track viewer watching.
1951: One and a half million TV sets in U.S., a tenfold jump in one year.
1951: Cinerama will briefly dazzle with a wide, curved screen and three projectors.
1951: Computers are sold commercially.
1951: Still camera get built-in flash units.
1951: Coaxial cable reaches coast to coast.
1952: 3-D movies offer thrills to the audience.
1952: Bing Crosby's company tests video recording.
1952: Wide-screen Cinerama appears; other systems soon follow.
1952: Sony offers a miniature transistor radio.
1952: EDVAC takes computer technology a giant leap forward.
1952: Univac projects the winner of the presidential election on CBS.
1952: Telephone area codes.
1952: Zenith proposes pay-TV system using punched cards.
1952: Sony offers a miniature transistor radio.
1953: NTSC color standard adopted.
1953: CATV system uses microwave to bring in distant signals.
1954: U.S.S.R. launches Sputnik.
1954: Radio sets in the world now outnumber newspapers printed daily.
1954: Regular color TV broadcasts begin.
1954: Sporting events are broadcast live in color.
1954: Radio sets in the world now outnumber daily newspapers.
1954: Transistor radios are sold.
1955: Tests begin to communicate via fiber optics.
1955: Music is recorded on tape in stereo.
1956: Ampex builds a practical videotape recorder.
1956: Bell tests the picture phone.
1956: First transatlantic telephone calls by cable.
1957: Soviet Union's Sputnik sends signals from space.
1957: FORTRAN becomes the first high-level language.
1957: A surgical operation is televised.
1957: First book to be entirely phototypeset is offset printed.
1958: Videotape delivers color.
1958: Stereo recording is introduced.
1958: Data moves over regular phone circuits.
1958: Broadcast bounced off rocket, pre-satellite communication.
1958: The laser.
1958: Cable carries FM radio stations.
1959: Local announcements, weather data and local ads go on cable.
1959: The microchip is invented.
1959: Xerox manufactures a plain paper copier.
1959: Bell Labs experiments with artificial intelligence.
1959: French SECAM and German PAL systems introduced.
1960: Echo I, a U.S. balloon in orbit, reflects radio signals to Earth.
1960: In Rhode Island, an electronic, automated post office.
1960: A movie gets Smell-O-Vision, but the public just sniffs.
1960: Zenith tests subscription TV; unsuccessful.
1961: Boxing match test shows potential of pay-TV.
1961: FCC approves FM stereo broadcasting; spurs FM development.
1961: Bell Labs tests communication by light waves.
1961: IBM introduces the "golf ball" typewriter.
1961: Letraset makes headlines simple.
1961: The time-sharing computer is developed.
1962: Cable companies import distant signals.
1962: FCC requires UHF tuners on tv sets.
1962: The minicomputer arrives.
1962: Comsat created to launch, operate global system.
1962: Telstar satellite transmits an image across the Atlantic.
1963: From Holland comes the audio cassette.
1963: Zip codes.
1963: CBS and NBC TV newscasts expand to 30 minutes in color.
1963: PDP-8 becomes the first popular minicomputer.
1963: Polaroid camera instant photography adds color.
1963: Communications satellite is placed in geo-synchronous orbit.
1963: TV news "comes of age" in reporting JFK assassination.
1964: Olympic Games in Tokyo telecast live globally by satellite.
1964: Touch Tone telephones and Picturephone service.
1964: From Japan, the videotape recorder for home use.
1964: Russian scientists bounce a signal off Jupiter.
1964: Intelsat, international satellite organization, is formed.
1965: Electronic phone exchange gives customers extra services.
1965: Satellites begin domestic TV distribution in Soviet Union.
1965: Computer time-sharing becomes popular.
1965: Color news film.
1965: Communications satellite Early Bird (Intelsat I) orbits above the Atlantic.
1965: Kodak offers Super 8 film for home movies.
1965: Cartridge audio tapes go on sale for a few years.
1965: Most broadcasts are in color.
1965: FCC rules bring structure to cable television.
1965: Solid-state equipment spreads through the cable industry.
1966: Linotron can produce 1,000 characters per second.
1966: Fiber optic cable multiplies communication channels.
1966: Xerox sells the Telecopier, a fax machine.
1967: Dolby eliminates audio hiss.
1967: Computers get the light pen.
1967: Pre-recorded movies on videotape sold for home TV sets.
1967: Cordless telephones get some calls.
1967: Approx. 200 million telephones in the world, half in U.S.
1968: FCC approves non-Bell equipment attached to phone system.
1968: Intelsat completes global communications satellite loop.
1968: Approx. 200 million TV sets in the world, 78 million in U.S.
1968: The RAM microchip reaches the market.
1969: Astronauts send live photographs from the moon.
1969: Sony's U-Matic puts videotape on a cassette.
1970: Postal Reform Bill makes U.S. Postal Service a government corporation.
1970: In Germany, a videodisc is demonstrated.
1970: U.S. Post Office and Western Union offer Mailgrams.
1970: The computer floppy disc is an instant success.
1971: Intel builds the microprocessor, "a computer on a chip."
1971: Wang 1200 is the first word processor.
1972: HBO starts pay-TV service for cable.
1972: Sony introduces 3/4 inch "U-Matic" cassette VCR.
1972: New FCC rules lead to community access channels.
1972: Polaroid camera can focus by itself.
1972: Digital television comes out of the lab.
1972: The BBC offers "Ceefax," two-way cable information system.
1972: "Open Skies": any U.S. firm can have communication satellites.
1972: Landsat I, "eye-in-the-sky" satellite, is launched.
1972: Sony's Port-a-Pak, a portable video recorder.
1972: "Pong" starts the video game craze.
1973: The microcomputer is born in France.
1973: IBM's Selectric typewriter is now "self-correcting."
1974: In England, the BBC transmits Teletext data to TV sets.
1974: Electronic News Gathering, or ENG.
1974: "Teacher-in-the-Sky" satellite begins educational mission.
1975: The microcomputer, in kit form, reaches the U.S. home market.
1975: Sony's Betamax and JVC's VHS battle for public acceptance.
1975: "Thrilla' from Manila"; substantial original cable programming.
1976: Apple I.
1976: Ted Turner delivers programming nationwide by satellite.
1976: Still cameras are controlled by microprocessors.
1976: British TV networks begin first teletext system.
1977: Columbus, Ohio, residents try 2-way cable experiment, QUBE.
1978: From Konica, the point-and-shoot camera.
1978: PBS goes to satellite for delivery, abandoning telephone lines.
1978: Electronic typewriters go on sale.
1979: Speech recognition machine has a vocabulary of 1,000 words.
1979: Videotext provides data by television on command.
1979: From Holland comes the digital videodisc read by laser.
1979: In Japan, first cellular phone network.
1979: Computerized laser printing is a boon to Chinese printers.
1980: Sony Walkman tape player starts a fad.
1980: In France, a holographic film shows a gull flying.
1980: Phototypesetting can be done by laser.
1980: Intelsat V relays 12,000 phone calls, 2 color TV channels.
1980: Public international electronic fax service, Intelpost, begins.
1980: Atlanta gets first fiber optics system.
1980: CNN 24-hour news channel.
1980: Addressable converters pinpoint individual homes.
1981: 450,000 transistors fit on a silicon chip 1/4-inch square.
1981: Hologram technology improves, now in video games.
1981: The IBM PC.
1981: The laptop computer is introduced.
1981: The first mouse pointing device.
1982: From Japan, a camera with electronic picture storage, no film.
1982: USA Today type set in regional plants by satellite command.
1982: Kodak camera uses film on a disc cassette.
1983: Cellular phone network starts in U.S.
1983: Lasers and plastics improve newspaper production.
1983: Computer chip holds 288,000 bits of memory.
1983: Time names the computer as "Man of the Year."
1983: ZIP + 4, expanded 9-digit ZIP code is introduced.
1983: AT&T forced to break up; 7 Baby Bells are born.
1983: American videotext service starts; fails in three years.
1984: Trucks used for SNG transmission.
1984: Experimental machine can translate Japanese into English.
1984: Portable compact disc player arrives.
1984: National Geographic puts a hologram on its cover.
1984: A television set can be worn on the wrist.
1984: Japanese introduce high quality facsmile.
1984: Camera and tape deck combine in the camcorder.
1984: Apple Macintosh, IBM PC AT.
1984: The 32-bit microprocessor.
1984: The one megabyte memory chip.
1984: Conus relays news feeds for stations on Ku-Band satellites.
1985: Digital image processing for editing stills bit by bit.
1985: CD-ROM can put 270,000 papers of text on a CD record.
1985: Cellular telephones go into cars.
1985: Synthetic text-to-speech computer pronounces 20,000 words.
1985: Picture, broken into dots, can be transmitted and recreated.
1985: U.S. TV networks begin satellite distribution to affiliates.
1985: At Expo, a Sony TV screen measures 40x25 meters.
1985: Sony builds a radio the size of a credit card.
1985: In Japan, 3-D television; no spectacles needed.
1985: Pay-per-view channels open for business.
1986: HBO scrambles its signals.
1986: Cable shopping networks.
1987: Half of all U.S. homes with TV are on cable.
1987: Government deregulates cable industry.
1988: Government brochure mailed to 107 million addresses.
1989: Tiananmen Square demonstrates power of media to inform the world.
1989: Pacific Link fiber optic cable opens, can carry 40,000 phone calls.
1990: Flyaway SNG aids foreign reportage.
1990: IBM sells Selectric, a sign of the typewriter's passing.
1990: Most 2-inch videotape machines are also gone.
1990: Videodisc returns in a new laser form.
1991: Beauty and the Beast, a cartoon, Oscar nominee as best picture.
1991: CNN dominates news coverage worldwide during Gulf War.
1991: Live TV news switching between world capitals during Gulf War looks simple.
1991: Denver viewers can order movies at home from list of more than 1,000 titles.
1991: Moviegoers astonished by computer morphing in Terminator 2.
1991: Baby Bells get government permission to offer information services.
1991: Collapse of Soviet anti-Gorbachev plot aided by global system called the Internet.
1991: More than 4 billion cassette tape rentals in U.S. alone.
1991: 3 out of 4 U.S. homes own VCRs; fastest selling domestic appliance in history.
1992: Cable TV revenues reach $22 billion.
1992: At least 50 U.S. cities have competing cable services.
1992: After President Bush speaks, 25 million viewers try to phone in their opinions.
1993: Dinosaurs roam the earth in Jurassic Park.
1993: Unfounded rumors fly that cellphones cause brain cancer.
1993: Demand begins for "V-chip" to block out violent television programs.
1993: 1 in 3 Americans does some work at home instead of driving to work.
1994: After 25 years, U.S. government privatizes Internet management.
1994: Rolling Stones concert goes to 200 workstations worldwide on Internet "MBone."
1994: To reduce Western influence, a dozen nations ban or restrict satellite dishes.
1994: Prodigy bulletin board fields 12,000 messages in one after after L.A. quake.
1995: CD-ROM disk can carry a full-length feature film.
1995: Sony demonstrates flat TV set.
1995: DBS feeds are offered nationwide.
1995: Denmark announces plan to put much of the nation on-line within 5 years.
1995: Major U.S. dailies create national on-line newspaper network.
1995: Lamar Alexander chooses the Internet to announce presidential candidacy.

Content copyright © 1995-1996, Irving Fang. Graphics and HTML conversion by Kristina Ross. All Rights Reserved. Communication Timeline by Irving Fang, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455 ·

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