Thursday, March 19, 2009

Charles Herrold, Pt. 1

Originally published in the February, 2009, Old Radio Times.(

Charles Herrold: A Father of Broadcasting
Barry Mishkind

Long before anyone even thought about the question of who was the first broadcaster, a long list of young men around the world were experimenting with the new technology that Marconi had brought forth, the wireless transmitter.

Fessenden, De Forest, Tesla, Hertz, Edison, Conrad, Herrold, Stubblefield, and many more were out there. When the Department of Commerce began issuing licenses in 1911, a number of amateurs applied for licenses to cover their experimental stations constructed over the previous five or six years. (By the way, the first license was issued to George Lewis of Cincinnati, OH.)In the main, Marconi, Fessenden, Hertz, Edison, even De Forest, came to be better known as scientists and inventors, rather than broadcasters. And, while KDKA truly has its place in history as the earliest of licensees with the word "commercial" attached (even though commercials as we know them, were still several years off), several stations trace their history before November 1920, and even before KDKA's predecessor 8XK. Hence, trying to specify "The Father of Broadcasting" may not be a reasonable assignment. For example, what about Charles D. Herrold?

- Barry Mishkind, aka RW's "Eclectic Engineer," can be reached at 520-296-3797, via the Internet. You can find his home page at


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