National Radio Day is believed to have started in the 1990s, becoming more popular after 2011 because of the attention of NPR (National Public Radio). The National Radio Day website credits 8MK radio (The Detroit News Radiophone) for the Aug. 20 date—8MK first broadcasted on Aug. 20 1920, and 10 days later the station transmitted the first radio news broadcast, according to Wired. The primary election returns were announced over radio to the public.
It’s possible National Radio Day occurs on Aug. 20 to commemorate 8MK for its achievements that advanced radio toward being a mass medium. After the broadcast, The Detroit News reported that “In the four hours that the apparatus, set up in an out-of-the-way corner of The News Building, was hissing and whirring its message into space, few realized that a dream and a prediction had come true. The news of the world was being given forth through this invisible trumpet to the waiting crowds in the unseen marketplace." Sabrina Roach from Brown Paper Tickets currently organizes National Radio Day, encouraging the celebration to focus upon raising the visibility of non-commercial radio across the United States. National Radio Day is for all radio listeners and producers to celebrate the radio and to celebrate and support radio stations and programs.
More About Radio
Radio was first founded in the late 1800s.
Are you familiar with the different types of radio—analog and digital?
Analog radio is AM and FM radio; the radio program is transmitted from an antenna by carrier waves, which are adjusted by either amplitude modulation (AM) or frequency modulation (FM), and arrive to your receiver. AM and FM are separated into band frequencies to prevent interference.
Digital radio offers better quality, causing many countries to ditch FM in favor of digital. A transmitter antenna sends fragmented and encoded signals numerous times to ensure its chance of being received, and the receiver in turn assembles the fragments. The digital signals are sent on broader bands of frequency, which further reduces possible interference while providing more information than analog by “multiplexing,” or blending together multiple signals, such as artist or song name, which appears on your digital radio display.
By adjusting your radio, you can access different frequencies and pick up different signals.
Ways to Celebrate Radio Day and Uniting with People
Celebrate National Radio Day by connecting to your favorite radio stations and connecting with fellow radio listeners:
Check your local radio stations for special programming they may be running for National Radio Day.
While listening, try tuning into different types of radio programs, such as a local AM broadcast or a different music channel—something you haven’t listened to before.
Check out the video below from List25 to browse the most popular radio stations and find and support your new favorite radio programming from across the country.
Go old-school and listen to your favorite DJ or host through an old radio or stereo you may have tucked away in the attic or sitting unused in your cabinet.
Record and submit a Sonic ID (a vignette) to National Radio Day. Upload and submit through National Radio Day’s online form: http://www.nationalradioday.com/submit-a-sonic-id/.
Donate to support your local non-commercial radio program.
National Radio Day encourages tagging and promoting your favorite radio station, channel, or host with the hashtag #NationalRadioDay on twitter.