“I’d sit alone and watch your light
My only friend through teenage nights
And everything I had to know
I heard it on my radio.
You gave them all those old-time stars
Through wars of worlds invaded by Mars
You made ‘em laugh, you made ‘em cry
You made us feel like we could fly… Radio!”
(Lyrics of Radio Ga Ga by Queen)
Way back in the 60’s, when I was a kid, radio was king!
My generation had no TV and the whole family looked forward to being informed (the news) and entertained (music/entertainment programmes) on the “magic box” called ‘radio’.
On rainy days you would find us gathered around the radio to listen to Saturday Date and the Bournivita Quiz Contest and Hawa Mahal on AM radio.
All of us listen to the radio and take it for granted, but when did radio first start and who invented it?
It all started with Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) who is generally considered the Grandfather of Radio Communication.
As with anything new, radio was initially perceived in a very negative way, with many people saying it was just a passing trend and would die a quick death.
“The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular,” said David Sarnoff in 1920.
“The radio craze will die out with time,” predicted famous inventor Thomas Edison in 1922. But as we can see, most of these people had to eat their words.
Noel Keymer is an ex-RJ AIR & 93.5 RED FM, who now lectures on Radio & Communication to post-graduates at leading colleges. He is also a freelance writer and author who has written and published four books; the latest, an e-book Dal Bhat for the Indian Soul.