PS AUDIO / Paul McGowan
One hundred years ago, three seminal events of 1923 changed the world forever:
The first commercial radio station in the United States, KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was launched while in that same year, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) began its radio programs. On the recording side, 1923 saw the Victor Talking Machine Company’s introduction of the first electrical recording process using microphones and amplifiers, setting the stage for every technological advance we have today.
Both radio and phonographs were instant hits that, by the mid-1930s, became commonplace household items throughout Europe and the United States.
Music was no longer restricted to those who happened to be attending a live concert.
Here and gone in an instant.
For musicians, this transition meant a massive shift in the way they worked. No longer did they have to rely solely on live performances to make a living. They could now record their music and distribute it to a wider audience. This opened up new opportunities for musicians to develop their craft and reach new listeners.
Radio shows featuring live performances, like the Grand Ole Opry and the NBC Symphony Orchestra, became popular across the United States, and they provided a platform for musicians to showcase their talents to a national audience. Many artists became household names thanks to their radio performances.
But it wasn’t just musicians who were impacted by these new technologies. For listeners, the ability to enjoy music in their homes was a game-changer. Radio shows and recorded music gave people access to music they may not have been able to experience otherwise.
100 years ago, the world changed forever and we are all better for it.