National Radio Day

Every year, people celebrate one of the greatest and most life-changing inventions of modern society: the radio. The radio is a device that has brought news and information into millions of homes and has been doing so for the better part of the last century.

That’s why August 20th is celebrated annually as National Radio Day—a day on which listeners, broadcasters, and radio stations can celebrate the tool that has brought so many people together.

The History of National Radio Day

No one knows for certain when National Radio Day was first celebrated, but it’s believed to date back to the 1990s. It’s also not known why August 20th was chosen as the date for this holiday.

The History of the Radio

Even though Guglielmo Marconi is often credited with creating the first radio, the first radio transmission demonstration was actually performed by Nikola Tesla in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1893. Marconi receives the credit for this invention because he was issued the first wireless telegraphy patent in England and secured that patent in 1896.

The following year, Tesla filed for patents for his basic radio in the U.S., which were eventually granted in 1900. What places Marconi firmly in the history books, however, is not only his radio but also that he created the very first radio signal. He broadcast on December 12, 1901—sending the first radio signal across the Atlantic Ocean.

From 1900 to 1920, radio transmission was primarily used to contact ships that were out at sea. These messages were usually very primitive and consisted of Morse Code messages because, at that point, radio transmissions weren’t very clear.

During World War I, it became an important tool for sending and receiving messages to troops in the field without having to send a messenger. In 1920, the first commercial radio license was granted to the Westinghouse Company, which led to the creation of KDKA.

This made KDKA one of the first commercially licensed radio stations. KDKA would make its first broadcast on November 2, 1920. Radio sales spiked dramatically during the 1920s, so much so that by 1931, 40% of American homes owned a radio.

This rise in radio use would continue throughout the 1930s, and by 1938, 80% of all American homes owned a radio. The first satellite radio broadcast would occur nearly 79 years later when WorldSpace aired the first satellite radio broadcast in Africa on October 1, 1999.

By the end of 2012, the FCC estimated that there were more than 15,000 licensed radio stations located throughout the United States.

Celebrating National Radio Day

National Radio Day is an easy holiday to observe. All a person has to do is listen to their favorite radio stations and encourage their friends and family to do the same. If they want to remind everyone of this holiday, they can also use the hashtag #NationalRadioDay on their favorite social media platform.

When is it?
This year (2024)
August 20 Tuesday
Next year (2025)
August 20 Wednesday
Last year (2023)
August 20 Sunday
Products & Technology