This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Saturday, 13 January 2018

Saturday Rave: Public Radio.

Today sees the 108th anniversary of the first public radio broadcast: hurrah!

The programme featured those non-identical twin operas Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci.

Well, when I describe it as a broadcast, it's true its reach was broader than ever before (when Dr Nussbaumer made the very first musical radio transmission in 1904, yodelling a folksong, it could mercifully only be picked up in the room next door) but the recipients of the transmission of New York's Metropolitan Opera's production of Cav and Pag were just a few people wearing earphones in expensive hotels in New York, ships in the harbour, and a few enthusiastic early adopters in their own homes. 

The cast bit of the broadcast didn't work that well, either: the microphones were too far away to pick up much of the singing on stage, and interference drowned out much of the rest.

Still, it was a beginning, and we must thank Lee de Forest for arranging it.

And who was it whose singing was sort-of heard, on that memorable 13 January in 1910?

Only Caruso, that's all.

I really think some of the success of the system must be put down to him.

Word To Use Today: radio. This word is short for radiotelegraphy. The radio- bit comes from the Latin radius, which means ray and is the same as the word that describes part of a circle.





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