The dawn of radio

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: For a look back at this week in business history, we open the Marketplace Vault. Oh, look what we have here, our favorite thing in the whole world: a radio.


STACEY VANEK-SMITH: This week back in 1920, Pittsburgh radio station KDKA broadcast the results of the presidential race between Warren G. Harding and James Cox.

It was the nation's first major public news broadcast.

Broadcast: The Republican ticket of Harding and Coolidge is running well ahead of Cox and Roosevelt. At the present time, Harding has collected more than 16 million votes, against some 9 million for the Democrat.

The station asked listeners to send in postcards to confirm they'd picked up the signal.

Evidently, they did. Americans spent $10 million on radios the following year, and by 1922 about 500 stations were broadcasting programs.

I'm Stacey Vanek-Smith.

About the author

Stacey Vanek Smith is a senior reporter for Marketplace, where she covers banking, consumer finance, housing and advertising.

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