National Radio Day

Next Tuesday, 20 August 2024

National Radio Day is observed on  August 20th  every year to honor one of the world's greatest inventions - the radio.

It has not only been a great source of entertainment for years but the military and police also use it for communication. The radio is also a great asset for pilots and captains for navigation. 

vintage radio

The History of the Radio

The invention of the radio was a joint effort from researchers across the world so the credit should not just belong to one person. 

It was a long process of each scientist discovering small radio components, such as electric conduction, electromagnetic induction, and radio waves. 

An International Invention

From Scotland to America, the invention of the radio was based on research and technology being developed across the world. It truly was an international invention:

  • The Scottish mathematician James Clerk Maxwell formulates the mathematical theory of electromagnetic waves in his publication "A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field."
  • German inventor, Heinrich Hertz discovered radio waves, proving that electricity could be transmitted wirelessly.
  • The Italian Guglielmo Marconi in the 1890s discovered a way to communicate long-distance using a radio. 
  • The Tesla coil, a patent by American Nikola Tesla was also crucial when building the radio. Another American, Lee de Forest invented the Audion vacuum in the 1900s, allowing for live broadcasting to be made through the radio. His company also made the first commercial radio. The first radio news was broadcasted on August 31, 1920, in Detroit. 

Here is a timeline of some of the key moments in the creation of the radio:


Mahlon Loomis, an American dentist and inventor, inspired by the work of James Clerk Maxwell, successfully demonstrates wireless communication over a distance of several miles using kites and telegraph wires. 


Guglielmo Marconi conducts his first successful wireless transmission over approximately 1.5 miles using a radio telegraph system. This marks the birth of practical wireless communication.


In The UK the BBC is founded and began to air radio for a few hours every day. They start with a news bulletin at 6 pm, but soon other programs, including content for children are also launched.


The world's first transistor radio is brought to the domestic market by the American company Texas Instruments. The Regency TR-1 was a popular, but expensive luxury. 


DAB (digital audio broadcasting) radio is born in Norway. The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) launched the world's first DAB station, a station called NRK Klassisk playing classical music 24/7.

HD radio is created and developed in America, as a method of improving the clarity of AM and FM radio stations. The technology is adopted by radio stations the following year, and over the next two decades becomes mainstream in cars and homes across the world.

What to do on National Radio Day

Over the years, with the arrival of television and the internet with streaming websites, radio has decreased in popularity. On this day, show your support and appreciation for your favorite radio station, and spend the day listening to the radio. Encourage others to do the same. 

If you want to find out more about how radio shows are made, contact a local radio station and ask them if you can come to visit them and learn more about their work. 

National Radio Day
National Radio Day

National Radio Day - Next years

Wednesday, 20 August 2025

Thursday, 20 August 2026

Friday, 20 August 2027

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