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First Radio Broadcast on Christmas Eve



The world's first radio broadcast took place over a hundred years ago on

 Christmas Eve 1906.


The broadcast, a program of live music, readings and phonograph

 recordings, was transmitted to ships in the Atlantic Ocean by

 Reginald Fessenden – a prolific inventor largely forgotten by



In the early 1900s, people communicated by radio using Morse code.

 Fessenden, a Canadian rival of Marconi, decided to broadcast a voice

 message. His invention of AM radio was years ahead of its time.


On 24 December 1906, radio operators at sea were startled to hear a

 voice coming over their receivers. Before the word broadcast had

 even been invented, they heard a mix of speech with live and recorded

 music – including a rendition of 'silent night'. However,

 Fessenden's innovation failed to take off commercially and it wasn't

 until the 1920s that the massive potential of radio for entertainment

 was realised.


Fessenden originally planned to broadcast across the Atlantic to

 Scotland. With considerable effort, masts and equipment were built

 at the small hamlet of Brant Rock near Plymouth, Massachusetts and at

 Machrihanish on the west coast of Scotland. When, at the last

 minute, a storm destroyed the Scottish installation, he decided to

 broadcast to ships at sea instead.


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