10. British Broadcasting Company (BBC)
The first BBC (British Broadcasting Company) broadcast, one of the top 10 oldest radio stations in the world, began from the Marconi House on The Strand in London in 1922. Radio hams, or groups of radio enthusiasts, had previously experimented with radio transmissions to see how far they could send and receive signals. These “radio hams” were the ones who appealed in 1920 when the radio licensing organization suspended the Marconi Company’s license at the time, The General Post Office. The Marconi Company’s transition from morse code to the more interesting fields of music and speech infuriated the General Post Office.
Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi established the Marconi Company in 1897. Due to his development of the early technologies that made radio possible, Marconi is considered the father of radio. The General Post Office renewed Marconi and several engineers’ licenses in 1922 due to the protest against the Marconi company’s ban. They received a broadcasting monopoly in the UK this time and established the BBC, then known as the British Broadcasting Company. After its nationalization, the British Broadcasting Company became the British Broadcasting Corporation. Today, BBC Radio has a diverse range of stations. But listeners can understand that what they’re listening to is a continuation of the UK’s oldest station.
9. WBZ : Included in the Top 10 Oldest Radio Stations in the World
WBZ was one of the first American radio stations to receive a commercial radio station license on September 15, 1921. It transmitted three days later from East Springfield, Massachusetts. Though the signal was unable to reach Boston, then established a Boston studio a few years later, resulting in the formation of a new station, WBZA. WBZA and WBZ switched call letters in 1927 when the Federal Radio Commission was in charge of classifying radio stations because the Boston station was more significant. It is one of the rare stations that has maintained the same call letters throughout its broadcasting history.
KTCK transmits these days as a commercial sports radio station. Henry “Dad” Garrett led a group of radio enthusiasts who saw a chance to develop radio technology to interact with the police and fire services. For contact with police and fire forces as well as other amateur stations, offering a limited commercial license with the call letters WRR in 1921. Sports, “lectures,” and police reports were all part of the early programming, which was pretty varied. KTCK, one of the top 10 oldest Radio stations in the world, moved to an all-news format in the 70s. When acquired the station in the 1990s, it changed to “The Ticket,” an all-sports station that it continues to air as today.
7. WEW : Stands in the Top 10 Oldest Radio Stations in the World
Early 20th-century radio experimentation is where WEW got its start. In the case of WEW, a university employee served as the station’s founder. In order to communicate data with other researchers and the US meteorological bureau, Saint Louis University meteorologist Brother George Rueppel began investigating radio in 1912. As the hub of these experiments, Rueppel built station 9YK. Rueppel maintained the station’s technical operations for more than 40 years as 9YK eventually developed into WEW. Missouri’s Saint Louis University continues to have a WEW license.
The first radio station in America to be granted a commercial license was KDKA in Pittsburgh. The Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company employees are responsible for its creation. Vice-President Harry P. Davis recognized the radio’s potential, and engineer Frank Conrad had already succeeded by using ham radio to broadcast music, sports, and talking scores. The business took advantage of Conrad and Davis’ interest and constructed a small shack on top of their building for broadcasting. Leo Rosenberg delivered the first broadcast, covering the Harding-Cox presidential election results on November 2, 1920. Fortunately, KDKA, which stands in the top 10 oldest Radio stations in the world, continues to transmit as a news station today.
5. WWJ : One of the Top 10 Oldest Radio Stations in the World
It is currently a commercial, news-based radio station owned by Audacy, Inc., WWJ, similar to KDKA. It began as 8MK, a radio station for the Detroit News’ broadcasts from the newspaper’s headquarters. WWJ was formed due to amateur radio transmission enthusiasm and visionary people who saw the potential, like many other early radio stations. In this case, his son’s radio hobby piqued the newspaper’s vice-president and managing director, William E. Scripps,’ interest in news broadcasts.
On August 31, 1920, 8MK published an advertisement in the newspaper for transmission with information for radio operators after Scripps campaigned the board of directors for the equipment needed to construct a radio station. This was thanks to successful trial broadcasts prior. It gave it the call letters WBL at first. However, it changed WBL’s call letters to WWJ after listeners had trouble hearing WBL. Today, WWJ is the only radio station in Detroit and Michigan that only transmits news.
Fred Christian sold radio components to amateurs in 1920. He initially worked as a radio operator before switching to a sales representative for an electric business. Fred wanted to show buyers how things like phonographs would sound. So, he began a small radio station in his back bedroom. Two years later, Fred’s station received the call letter KNX. Fred was forced to sell the station since he had few options for making it financially sustainable. Guy Earle, a Los Angeles Evening Express publisher, was the purchaser. Earle grew the station and experimented with various radio formats. In particular, they were recreating courtroom scenes with actors and court transcripts. Due to the turbulence of the 1960s, KNX changed to an all-news format later in the century. KNX rebranded under Audacy Inc. in 2021. However, it still broadcasts news to Southern California and Los Angeles.
3. Rádio Clube : Included in the Top 10 Oldest Radio Stations in the World
Online sources suggest that Rádio Clube in Brazil began broadcasting in the 1910s or 1920s. As a result, Radio Clube is among the very oldest radio stations ever. Once again, a group of radio enthusiasts formed the Rádio Clube de Pernambuco, who was interested in experimenting with the new technology. Today, the channel airs news, sports, and entertainment programming.
In Pierre, South Dakota, Dana McNeil received a special amateur license for a radio station in 1912. As radio technology advanced over the ensuing nine years, Dana would apply for new licenses. Furthermore, Dana’s wife Ida joined the operation at this time. The McNeils received a commercial license and the call letters KGFX in 1927. It was Ida, though, who was responsible for the station’s success of the station. Ida, a well-known member of Pierre, used the station to broadcast community news.
In addition, Ida provided weather forecasts and patient updates from the neighborhood hospital to her listeners. She quickly established herself as a renowned Pierre’s broadcaster. She managed the station entirely independently after Dana passed away in 1936. Until her retirement in the early 1960s, Dana led the station to continued success. She then decided to sell the station. As a classic country station, KGFX continues to transmit from Pierre.
1. KCBS (AM) : One of the Top 10 Oldest Radio Stations in the World
As early as 1909, engineer Charles Herrod began broadcasting. But Charles’ broadcasts are what give the station the title of being the oldest radio station in the world. Around this time, many radio enthusiasts were transmitting in morse code. Charles frequently broadcast news snippets and records from his own engineering college. Sybil, Charles’ wife, expanded the KQW audience. For the mostly young audience, she borrowed current records. She held competitions where participants could submit their listening location. It changed the station’s call letters to KQW after Charles received a limited commercial license in 1921. In the 1940s, CBS acquired KQW. Yet again, it received new call letters, this time KCBS, under which it is still in transmission today. KCBS discontinued all music programming in 1968 in favor of an all-news format. And it continues to deliver only news to the Bay area of California today.