I Heart Radio

My son and I were on our way home from a grocery store run a while ago and he was letting me know how much he wanted to see the movie Independence Day. During our conversation I was reminded that I first saw that movie on July 4th in the theater back in 1996 with a friend. I told Kai, “My friend won tickets to the premier on the radio! Isn’t that cool?”

Astonished, he asked, “They had radio when you were younger?” [pause, while I try to interpret what the hell I just heard] “Oh, yeah… ‘the weather today is sunny with a chance of rain'” he proceeded to spout in a mock old-man-nerdy voice. Then he asked if they also had echoing sounds like: “Car sale on Sunday ( ( Sunday ( ( Sunday ) ) ) )!”

Malakai is nine years old; I’m 30-something; Radio has been around for over 100 years. Perspective… I feel better now. I was sharing this story with a co-worker during our carpool one day and he said something that put it into an even better perspective, “Things change so fast these days that his understanding is probably skewed about how long things can take.”

Thank you, Chad.

In the second half of the 1800’s through the turn of the century, a handful of scientists and inventors were all working on creating the technological pieces that would soon make “wireless telegraphy” a viable, practical commercial reality, originally for the benefit of ships out at sea. Among them were: James Maxwell, David Hughes, Thomas Edison, Heinrich Hertz, Nikola Tesla, Alexander Popov, Guglielmo Marconi and Reginald Fessenden.

There’s some dispute over who actually invented radio as we know it today, but we all know Tesla was a freakin’ genius; Edison already has that whole light bulb thing; Marconi established the world’s first radio station on the Isle of Wight, England in 1897 and has been called the Father of Radio; and Fessenden, the Father of Radio Broadcasting who on Christmas Eve in 1906, used a synchronous rotary-spark transmitter for the first radio program broadcast, from Ocean Bluff-Brant Rock, Massachusetts. Ships at sea heard a broadcast that included Fessenden playing “O Holy Night” on the violin and reading a passage from the Bible. This was, for all intents and purposes, the first transmission of what is now known as amplitude modulation or AM radio.

I’m smart… I can find stuff on Wikipedia.

This has nothing to do with Independence Day but we now have a plethora wireless technologies like FM, Wi-fi, 3G, HD Radio and online virtual radio stations that don’t really exist. And you can download for free the “I Heart Radio” app for your mobile wireless devices (iPhone, Blackberry, etc.) to pick up digitized broadcasts of radio stations around the country!

Now, if only I could install the I Heart Radio app on my boom box.

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