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FCC chair marks 100 years of commerical radio

On Nov. 2, 1920, KDKA in Pittsburgh aired what is widely recognized as the nation’s first commercial radio broadcast, airing the results of the presidential election on Westinghouse Electric’s newly established station. This month, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai marked the anniversary.

“Today we celebrate the 100th anniversary of our nation’s first widely recognized commercial radio broadcast that took place on Nov. 2, 1920. The broadcast … set the stage for a long line of radio broadcasts that have shaped the story of America.

“As the earliest electronic mass communications medium, radio has allowed us to listen in on some of the most momentous occasions in American history, from President Roosevelt’s famous ‘fireside chats’ to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. It has entertained us, from ‘The War of the Worlds’ to ‘The Jack Benny Program’ to ‘American Top 40’ with Casey Kasem to ‘The Steve Harvey Morning Show.’ And radio still keeps millions of Americans company on long drives, enthralls us with coverage of our favorite sports teams and, when disaster strikes, is one of the most valuable resources for life-saving information.”

Pai said radio has brought people together, both in times of triumph and in times of strife.

“On behalf of myself and the FCC’s dedicated staff, it is my honor to join all Americans in recognizing this milestone,” Pai said. “Congratulations to radio broadcasters on a century of excellence. We look forward to the stories that radio will continue to tell.”

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