telecommunications and radio

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The Radio Transmits Information Through Sound

The radio transmits information through sound by modulating the frequency, pulse duration, amplitude, and phase of electromagnetic energy waves in space. As radio waves strike an electrical conductor, oscillations occur and an alternating current is produced in the conductor. A transmitter is used in radio systems to adjust the frequency modulation of a transmitted signal. It, therefore, necessitates the use of an antenna, which allows the device to transform radio waves into electrical charges and electrical current into radio waves (Douglas 264). A radio antenna is needed for both transmitting and receiving. The essay below will discuss the factors that have enabled radio system to survive in the telecommunications landscape despite being controlled heavily by the emergence of television, the internet, and mobile services. These factors include instant news, the rise of public radio, high-fidelity counterculture, and radio transition.

The Invention of Radio

An inventor called James Clerk Maxwell indicated mathematically in 1864 that electromagnetic waves could pass through space. Joseph Henry (1842), Thomas Edison (1875), Luigi Galvani (1791), Edward Hughes (1878), and Peter Samuel (1835) amongst other inventors observed and verified Maxwell’s experiment. The effect that resulted from the experiment was named “etheric force” by Edison; Hughes used a receiver to detect a spark impulse which was 500 yards away (Horten 49). The cause of the phenomenon was not identified by these inventors, but they only concluded that it was an electromagnetic induction. Heinrich Rudolf Hertz noticed a spark impulse in 1886 when conducting his experiments and later confirmed Maxwell’s theory of existing electromagnetic waves. In the early 20th century, radio systems used continuous wave code to transmit information and messages.

Factors That Have Allowed Radio to Survive in a Telecommunications Landscape

Instant News

Radio broadcasting had the ability to attract its audiences’ attention both emotionally and physically through its captivating news that evoked great responses and made the audience develop greater interest than printed newspapers. For example, when a national event takes place or is taking place, be it a matter of national security or a social event, mobile stations are set for radio networks to broadcast the events and the activities as they unfold for listeners to be updated (Horten 51). Due to advancement in technology, radio reporters gained the advantage of recording activities and occurrences in the field and bringing them to the studio for airwave broadcasting. Another example is when a radio reporter finds himself or herself in the middle of certain events that require national attention and is lucky enough to get firsthand information to take to the studio after recording for broadcasting. In 1940, a journalist from England known as Edward R. Murrow was present during the German bombing in London and broadcasted the events as they took place, calling it an act of war. It was because of the radio broadcasting that the attack on Pearl Harbor became public news and made the United States engage in World War II. Radio broadcasting gave instant news to its listeners which made it unique and exciting. Therefore, most listeners still believe in radio broadcasting in the telecommunications industry.

Rise of Public Radio

There was a time when radio was losing its listeners and audience. Not even the radio shows and programs could draw back the listeners. During the 1960s, Ford Foundation and other organizations had funded media sources, but were withdrawing their funds because they believed that radio was losing its listeners and audience. In 1967, the federal government decided to step in and established the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 which created the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). The corporation was in charge of allocating funds for radio outlets and in 1970, it created the National Public Radio (NPR) to provide programs that were already operating in various radio stations. The rise of public radio led to the creation of entertainment programs, cultural programs, cooking and quiz shows, documentary genre, and local public forum programs among others (Douglas 266). Most of these emerging public programs from radio stations drew back radio listeners who described the programs as fascinating and captivating. This was one of the reasons why radio survived in the telecommunications industry.

High-Fidelity Counterculture

The growth of music was slowly taking over radio stations and, as it became evident that music was ruling the airwaves, FM radio got more listeners and audiences because it had high-fidelity sound capabilities. When radio had engaged in drama programs and talk-oriented shows, sound quality was not an important feature at the time. In the entertainment industry, purchasing an FM receiver a lot easier compared to purchasing a new television because the FM receivers were much cheaper, which made stereo recording very popular. On the other hand, the FM receiver could not do the trick alone. Therefore, the high-fidelity trend generated more market for FM radio stations. Most consumers got interested in the stereo recording technology and started purchasing stereos with the aim of getting the highest quality of sound in music (Horten 52). AM radio had programs that were predictable and there was over-commercialization and poor quality of sound, hence, most listeners preferred the FM spectrum because of its high sound quality.


Despite the emergence of television and mobile media that took over the audience because of the dramas and the variety TV shows, radio networks are still doing better than other media in playing music. Technology introduced better recording formats which increased business for radio by enabling it to focus on shows and programs that played prerecorded music for its listeners. In the past, radio advertisers could not go to the media market that was mostly operated by white performers. Hence, radio stations created most black programs and played black disc jockeys in most of these programs to encourage equality (Douglas 271). The black disc jockeys later improvised and created rap and hip hop music which has the greatest audience in the music industry today. Due to this transition, radio networks have been able to survive despite competition from television and mobile media.


In summary, telecommunication is growing with the growth of technology. Television media has created shows and programs that interest not only kids, but adults as well. These shows include news, discussion programs, sports, TV shows, entertainment, and various educating programs. The internet has also taken over the telecommunication industry. People can be updated on the news, sports, and entertainment from anywhere they are where there is internet access by using their phones or any portable device. Despite these innovations in telecommunication, radio has been able to survive because of its instant news which can nowadays be conveyed with different languages, a remarkable feature for mass media. Also, radio is capable of producing high-fidelity sound in the entertainment industry, especially in music.

Works Cited

Douglas, Susan. Listening In: Radio and the American Imagination. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004.

Horten, Gerd. Radio Goes to War: The Cultural Politics of Propaganda During World War II. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2002.

January 05, 2023

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