National Radio Day in the United States Date in the current year: August 20, 2024

National Radio Day in the United States August 20 is the perfect day to turn on the radio and listen to some music or the news, since it is National Radio Day. This holiday was created to celebrate the communication technology and medium that has been around for over a century and isn’t going anywhere.

Radio is the technology of signaling and communicating using electromagnetic waves with frequencies between 30 Hz and 300 GHz. It is used in a wide range of modern technologies including radio communication, radio navigation, remote control, etc. Italian electrical engineer Guglielmo Marconi is typically credited as the inventor of radio. He made the first radio transmission in 1895.

Most people primarily associate radio with radio broadcasting, which is transmission of sound by radio waves to radio receivers. Inventors began experimenting with broadcasting talk and music using radio waves to a dispersed audience around 1905. However, the first commercial radio stations hadn’t emerged until 1920.

By the 1950s, most countries had a government-owned broadcasting system, a primarily commercial broadcasting system, or a dual broadcasting system comprising both state-owned and commercial radio stations, and practically every family in developed countries owned a radio. Today, most countries have a dual radio broadcasting system.

The introduction of portable transistor radios, which were small and inexpensive, was a real breakthrough because it made radio much more accessible to the general public. Another breakthrough in radio broadcasting was the introduction of digital radio in the 2000s.

National Radio Day in the United States is celebrated annually on August 20. The origins of the holiday are somewhat muddy, but it it has been celebrated since at least the early 1990s. The date of August 20 was chosen to commemorate the first commercial radio station in the United States; WWJ, formerly known as MK, began broadcasting from Detroit, Michigan on August 20, 1920.

Over the past few years, National Radio Day events have been organized by Sabrina Roach of Brown Paper Tickets in partnership with non-commercial radio broadcasters from all over the country. Their main goal is to boost the visibility of non-commercial radio stations and celebrate the unique role of radio in our lives.

However, National Radio Day is a grassroots celebration, so there are no “official” events. You can participate in the celebration by throwing an event of your own, reaching out to your local radio stations and collaborating with them, listening to your favorite radio station all day long, donating to a non-commercial radio broadcaster, or simply spreading the word on social media with the hashtag #NationalRadioDay.

The United States isn’t the only country that celebrates a National Radio Day. Similar holidays are celebrated on February 25 in Thailand, on September 11 in Indonesia, and on May 7 in some former Soviet republics. There’s also World Radio Day, which was established by the United Nations in 2012. It is celebrated on February 13 to commemorate the launch of UN Radio on this day in 1946.

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