List of oldest radio stations

List of oldest radio stations

List of oldest radio stations
List of oldest radio stations

It is generally recognised that the first radio transmission was made from a temporary station set up by Guglielmo Marconi in 1895. This followed on from pioneering work in the field by a number of people including Alessandro Volta, André-Marie Ampère, Georg Ohm and James Clerk Maxwell.

The several potential contenders for the title of “oldest radio station” are listed below, organized by sign-on date. These are not restricted to radio broadcasting, i.e., the transmissions were not necessarily intended to reach a wide audience.

AM on Mediumwave and Longwave 

Table of Experimental and Early Radio Stations (AM on Mediumwave and Longwave)
Station
Call-sign
(Original)
Station
Call-sign
(Current)
City/LocationOn AirTransmission Frequency
(AM Radio / FM Radio)
Broadcast Class
Roberto Landell de Mouran/aSão Paulo (between Paulista Avenue and Alto de Santana)1893
Guglielmo Marconin/aBroadcast across his garden in Pontecchio, Italy.1895Experimental
Although Australia’s first officially recognised broadcast was made in 1906, some sources claim that there were transmissions in Australia in 1897, either conducted solely by Professor William Henry Bragg of the University of Adelaide or by Prof. Bragg in conjunction with G.W. Selby of Melbourne.n/a1897Experimental. Disputed in some sources.
Guglielmo Marconi, first trans-Atlantic transmission.n/afrom Poldhu, Cornwall to Signal Hill, St. John’s, Newfoundland.December 1901Experimental
(First official Morse Code transmission in Australia)n/afrom Queenscliff, Victoria to Devonport, Tasmania1906Experimental
(Reginald Fessenden experimental alternator station)VE2CVBrant Rock, Massachusetts, United States21 December 1906 (Audio tests from various locations from as early as 1900)AM 50 kHz (approximately)? W
Lee de Forest, (laboratory in the Parker Building)[?]New York City, New York, United States1907AM ? kHz (approximately)? W
(Beloit College Professor Dr. Charles Aaron Culver)[WBCR, WBNB, WEBW]Beloit, Wisconsin, United States1908.[6]AM ? kHz (approximately)? W
FN/SJN/6XF/6XE/KQW/”San Jose”KCBS (AM)San Jose, California/San Francisco, California1909, 1921 (officially granted experimental license as KQW, become commercial in 1921, and KCBS in 1949)AM 740 kHz (Originally used 15 watts modulated with Carbon microphone)Class-B
XWACINWMontreal, Quebec, CanadaAugust 1914 – 1 December 1919 – May 1922 – 29 January 2010AM 940 kHz (Not original frequency). Considered by many Canadians to be “First scheduled broadcast station;” prior call sign CFCF stood for Canada’s First, Canada’s Finest.Class-A (Clear channel); XWA Experimental and W/T School station license starting end of 1914, regular broadcasting test emissions starting 1 December 1919 with XWA being replaced in May 1922 by private commercial broadcasting license CFCF; AM station CINW ceased operations on 29 January 2010.
2YUWRUCUnion College, Schenectady, New York1915[9]Various Frequencies AM, switched in 1975 to 90.9 FM, & moved in 1983 to 89.7 FMOriginal: Technical & Training School License, Current: Class-A
2XIWGYSchenectady, New York1915?AM 810 kHzClass-A
9ZP, 9CLSKGFXPierre, South DakotaThe station’s roots date back to 1912 when Dana McNeil, was first licensed as 9ZP. In 1916, he was licensed as 9CLS. According to the FCC’s card file for the station, the broadcast license for KGFX was first issued on 15 August 1927, with the licensee listed as Dana McNeil, The station was originally at 1180 kHz, moving to 580 kHz in 1928. In 1932, it moved to 630 kHz, where it remained until 1967.As of 2018 KGFX 1060AM continues to broadcast local content at 10 kW power in Pierre, SD. With an FM translator broadcasting at 107.1[List entry too long]Various frequencies,
2XGNew York City1916UnknownUnknown
(see also Lee de Forest [above].)
8XK, 8ZZKDKAPittsburgh, Pennsylvania1916AM 1020 kHz75 watts (1916), Class-A (1920–present). Began simulcasting on shortwave in 1923 as 8XS.
Irish rebel stationnoneGeneral Post Office, Sackville Street, Dublin, Ireland24 April 1916morse code only (Despite this claimed by some to be “world’s first broadcast” as transmission not aimed at specific target)converted ship transmitter
9XMWHAUniversity of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin4 December 1916 (regular Morse code weather broadcasts; first voice broadcast in February 1919; regular programming January 1921)AM 970 kHzClass-B
First direct communication Australia to the United Kingdomn/aAmalgamated Wireless (Australasia); Ernest Fisk; Sydney1918AM 21 kHz
7AC/7XCKJRSeattle, WA, USA1919AM 833kHz/619kHz, then various frequencies; currently AM 950kHz & FM 102.9MHz
Rádio Clube de Pernambucosame name as wellRecife, Pernambuco1919AM 720 kHzMade the first radiophonic broadcast in Brazil, but the first radio officially acknowledged was Rádio Sociedade do Rio de Janeiro (actually, Rádio MEC). Also, it is one of the oldest stations in the world.
First Australian experiment in the broadcast of musicn/aAmalgamated Wireless (Australasia); Ernest Fisk; Sydney8 August 1919AM
(Experimental Czech tests)Petřínská rozhledna (Petřín Lookout Tower), Prague, Czechoslovakia28 October 1919 (Experimental),
20 May 1920
AM ??? kHz?? kW
2MT (Marconi experimental station with a regular news service)Writtle, Chelmsford, Essex, England23 February 1920AM 107 kHz15 kW
LOR Radio ArgentinaLORBuenos Aires, Argentina27 August 1920Continued daily commercial broadcast up to 1997AM 857 kHz5 Watts initially, 500 Watts by 1921
6ADZKHJLos Angeles, CaliforniaSummer 1920, granted license 1922AM 930 kHzClass-B
KDKAsame as original.Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania27 October 1920 (May have aired as 8ZZ that night)AM 1020 kHzClass-A (Clear channel)
8MKWWJDetroit, Michigan20 August 1920AM 950 kHzClass-B
9YKWEWSt. Louis, Missouri21 April 1921 (as 9YK); 23 March 1922 (as WEW)AM 770 kHzClass-D
WRRKTCKDallas, Texas4 August 1921 (Unlicensed broadcasts date back to 1920)AM 1310 kHz
WBZSame as original.Boston, Massachusetts19 September 1921AM 1030 kHzClass-A (Clear channel)
KYW (AM)same as originalChicago, Illinois (1921)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1934)
Cleveland, Ohio (1956)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1965)
11 November 1921AM 560 kHz, 570 kHz, 1020 kHz (Chicago)
AM 1020 kHz (Philadelphia)
AM 1100 kHz (Cleveland))
AM 1060 kHz (Philadelphia)
Class-A (Clear channel)
2CMCharles Maclurcan; Sydney1921AM 214 kHzAustralia’s first experimental station
Radio Journal de la Tour Eiffel
(Eiffel Tower Newsreel)
France InterParis, France1921“Long wave”
115 kHz (2600 m)
N/A
WCATKTEQRapid City, South Dakota1922AM 618 kHz (1922–?)
AM 1200 kHz (?–1952)
FM 88.1 MHz (1971–1982)
FM 91.3 MHz (1982–2000, 2014–present)
Class-A
9-BC, 9-XR, 9-BY, WOCWOCDavenport, Iowa19221420 kHz (1942–present)Class-B
WLBKUOMSaint Paul, Minnesota13 January 1922AM 770 kHzClass-D
WHNWEPNRidgewood, New YorkFebruary 1922,[16] some sources cite 18 March 1922AM 833 kHzClass-A
KLZ (AM)KLZ (AM)Denver, Colorado10 March 1922[17][18][circular reference]AM 560 kHZwww.KLZradio.com, Colorado’s First Station, Class-B
WIPWTELPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania17 March 1922AM 610 kHzClass-B
WWL-AMCall letters are as isNew Orleans, Louisiana31 March 1922AM 870 kHzClass A
WGUWSCRChicago, Illinois13 April 1922Originally AM 833 kHz, became WMAQ at 750 kHz on 2 October 1922, moved to 670 kHz on 2 July 1923Class-A
4XDWBTCharlotte, North Carolina18 December 1920, License granted 10 April 1922AM 1110 kHzClass-A
KZNKSLSalt Lake City, Utah and vicinity6 May 1922AM 1160 kHz(1941–present)Class A (Clear channel)
2LO2LOLondon, United Kingdom11 May 19221 hour daily tests on 350 metres (857 kHz) AM. Full service opened: 14 November 1922
2ZY2ZYManchester, United Kingdom17 May 1922Test TXs: 350 metres (857 kHz) AM. Full service opened 15 November 1922: 375 meters
CKACCKACMontreal, Quebec/Montreal, Québec, Canada12 September 1922AM 730 kHzClass-A
DN4XDDunedin, New Zealand4 October 1922originally AM 1431 kHz, now AM 1305 kHz and FM 99.8 MHz
9BTCFRCKingston, Ontario, Canada7 October 1922AM 1490 (now FM 101.9 MHz)Class-A
5IT5ITBirmingham, United Kingdom15 November 1922Not known
WNAX (AM)Same as isYankton, South Dakota25 November 1922AM 570 kHz
WKAQ (AM)Same as isSan Juan, Puerto Rico3 December 1922AM 580 kHzClass-B
Radio CeylonSri Lanka Broadcasting CorporationColombo, Sri Lanka1923 (experimental), 1925 (official launch) – present“Long wave” 375 kHz1500 W
WKBV
William Knox BrookVille
Same as isRichmond, Indiana
Whitewater Broadcasting
1923AM 1000 kHz 24/7Class B
Radio Chilena (Chile Radio Company)CB66Santiago, ChileOctober 1922 (experimental), 26 March 1923 (official launch) – 2005AM 660 kHz
RadiojournalČeský rozhlas RadiožurnálPrague-Kbely, Czechoslovakia18 May 1923“Long wave”
292 kHz (1025 m)
CYB “El Buen Tono”XEB-AM (Instituto Mexicano de la Radio)Mexico City, Mexico23 September 1923[22]AM 1220 kHzN/A
Finland’s first private public broadcasting station. 3NB3NB, TampereTampere, Tavastia1 November 1923AM kHz
Australia’s first official station. 2SB; 2BL as from 1 March 1924702 ABC SydneySydney23 November 1923. One of six Sealed Set system stations;AM 855 kHz
XROn/aShanghai, ChinaNovember 1923AM 1500 kHz50 Watts (1923). First radio station in China.
2FC2RN, Radio NationalSydney12 December 1923. One of six Sealed Set system stations;AM 273 kHz
Radio IbéricaN/AMadrid, Spain22 December 1923.;AM 729 kHzN/A
19 September 1924Radio BelgradeBelgrade, Serbia19 September 1924.;AM 684 kHzN/A
3AR3RN, Radio NationalMelbourne, Victoria (Australia)26 January 1924. One of six Sealed Set system stations;AM 625 kHz
WESWLSChicago, IllinoisOwned by Sears Roebuck, WLS would come to stand for the World’s Largest Store. Sears ran broadcasts from WMAQ studios as WBBX in March 1924. WES tests were conducted 9 to 11 April 1924. WLS would begin on 12 April and became one of 25 original 50,000 watt “Clear Channel” system stations;Originally AM 870 kHz, AM 890 kHzClass-A
6WF720 ABC PerthPerth, Western Australia4 June 1924. One of six Sealed Set system stations;AM 240 kHz
N/ARadio BloemendaalBloemendaal, Netherlands15 June 1924originally AM 1500 kHz (200m)
later AM 1223 kHz (245 m)
currently AM 1116 kHz (269 m)
various
URI (Unione Radiofonica Italiana), 1-RORai Radio 1Rome, Italy6 October 1924AM 705 (425m)  kHz
KOA (AM)Same as isDenver, Colorado, United States15 December 1924 One of 25 original 50,000 watt “Clear Channel” system stationsAM850 kHz
StatsradiofonienDR P1Copenhagen, Denmark1 April 1925 (experimental), license granted April 1926, Regular broadcast from April 1926“Long wave”N/A
WCSHWZANPortland, Maine1925“Long wave”
N/ARadio PolandWarsaw, Poland1 February 1925 (experimental), Regular broadcast from 18 April 1926“Medium wave”N/A
N/ARadio RomaniaBucharest, RomaniaSummer 1925 – 1927 (experimental), license granted March 1928, Regular broadcast from 1 November 1928“Long wave”N/A
2BE. Australia’s first commercial station. Burgin Electric Company.n/aSydney7 November 1924 to 6 November 1929AM 870 kHz. (Wavelength later taken by 2GB.)B Class, Commercial.
WEBKWOODGrand Rapids, Michigan, United States16 September 1924AM 1130 kHz, presently on 1300 kHz,Class-B
3LO774 ABC MelbourneMelbourne, Victoria (Australia)13 October 1924. One of six Sealed Set system stations;AM 175 kHz
5MAn/aAdelaide, South AustraliaApril 1924 to early 1925. One of six Sealed Set system stationsDoes not appear to have actually broadcastsee Arthur William Jarrett
2UE. Australia’s third commercial station, and the oldest commercial station still operating.2UESydney26 January 1925AM 1025 kHzB Class, Commercial. Was originally going to broadcast as 2EU, but the callsign was reversed prior to the licence being issued on 7 November 1924
JOAKsame as isTokyo, Japan22 March 1925AM 594 kHz
CHRCCHRCQuebec City, Quebec/Quebec City, Quebec, Canada1 April 1926AM 800 kHzClass-B
Lietuvos RadijasLRT RadijasKaunas, Lithuania26 June 1926AM 1961 kHz
XOH, later COHBn/aHarbin, China1 October 1926AM 1071 kHz100 Watts, 1928 1 kW. First radio station founded by Chinese.
CFCOsame as isChatham, Ontario/Chatham-Kent, Ontario, CanadaSeptember 1927AM 630 kHzClass-B
JODKHLKASeoul, South Korea1927AM 711 kHz
GOW, ZBWRTHKHong Kong30 June 1928 (GOW, now RTHK 3)
1XEbecame WGI February 1922 (and WARC March 1925)Medford, Massachusetts1916 sporadically, then 1919–1920 till April 1925? – later on 833 kHz
2XNCity College of New York, New York City1913; 1920
2ZKNew Rochelle, New York1916
NSF/HDO, later ANDO and AVRONPOHuizen (transmitter), Hilversum, (studio), Netherlands21 July 1923, from 1930 part of Dutch Public RadioAM 279 kHz, 1927 also 1004 kHz, today FM network500 W, 1927 5 kW
2RN (Irish Free State radio)RTÉ (Irish national radio & television)General Post Office, (O’Connell Street), Dublin, Ireland1 January 1926AM 380 kHz, and from Cork AM612 kHz,
NDO, 50% time KRO, 50% NCRVNPOHuizen (transmitter), Hilversum, (studio), Netherlands1927, from 1930 part of Dutch Public radioAM 160 kHz,1935 transmitter moved to Kootwijk, 1938 also Jaarsveld 722 kHz, today FM network and 747/1251 kHzHuizen 15 kW, Kootwijk day 15 kW, evening 120 kW, Jaarsveld 20 kW
2TM2TMTamworth NSWAustralia27th February 19351287 Khz

FM or Shortwave

Table of Experimental or Early Radio Stations (FM and Shortwave)
Station
Call-sign
(Original)
Station
Call-sign
(Current)
City/LocationOn AirTransmission Frequency
(AM Radio / FM Radio)
Broadcast class
PCGGN/AThe Hague, Netherlands6 November 1919 – 11 November 1924Narrow-band FM, 570 mN/A
WWV US Government Time ServiceWWVFort Collins, Colorado“6 months before KDKA” (May 1920)2.5 MHz, 5 MHz, 10 MHz, 15 MHz and 20 MHzHF (Shortwave)
XS (1921-1929),
W8XK (1929-1939),
WPIT (1939-1940)
Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaNovember 1920 — December 1939
Owned and operated by Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Used to relay KDKA signal to AM rebroadcasters in other cities. Broadcast programming from KDKA, and also broadcast Northern Messenger to the Arctic. Merged with WBOS (1940) and became a VOA transmitter (1942).
15,210 kHz, 11,880 kHz, 6,140 kHz[34]40kW (1937)[35]
PCJJRadio Netherlands WorldwidePhilips Laboratories at Eindhoven, Netherlands, moved to Hilversum in 1933.The first shortwave station in Europe. 25 June 1926 (test transmissions began), and the first shortwave station in the world with its own dedicated programming rather than being a simulcast of an AM/MW or LW station such as KDKA. Regular broadcast from 30 May 1927 to May 1940 when the station went dark due to the German occupation of Holland; resumed after liberation October 1945 – 1946 when Philips and other shortwave radio stations taken over by Radio Netherlands Worldwide. Sister station PHI broadcast in Dutch to the Dutch East and West Indies from 1928 to 1930 and 1934 to 1949.30.2 metres shortwave
G2NMCaterham, Surrey, England11 September 1927.23 and 33 metres1 kW
CKUACKUA Radio NetworkEdmonton, Alberta
(broadcast province-wide)
27 November 1927500-watt (Original)
AM 580 kHz (Edmonton)
Various FM frequencies province-wide
B
VE9GWCRCXBowmanville, OntarioApril 1930 — 1938 – used to relay CRCT (later CBL) to northern Ontario, northern Manitoba and the Canadian Arctic6.095 MHz (primarily), 11.810 MHz, 24.380 MHz25 watt (initially), 200 watts (1031), 500 watts (1932)
HVJVatican RadioVatican City12 February 193110 kW (originally)
HCJBHCJBQuito, Ecuador25 December 193150.26 metres, later 6050 kHz, 9745 kHz, 11775 kHz and 15155 kHz.200 watts (initially), 1,000 watt (1937), 10,000 watt (1940), 100,000 (1967), 500,000 (1981)
W8XHBuffalo, New York18 March 1934 – July 1939. Replaced in 1944 with an FM station, now known as WTSS.51.4 & 41.0 MHzApex (ultra-shortwave)
W1XOJPaxton, Massachusetts/Boston, Massachusetts1937Unknown
W1XPW, briefly W65HWDRC-FMHartford, Connecticut1939102.9 FM
W2XDA (Schenectady)/W2XOY (New Scotland), later WGFMWRVESchenectady, New York1939, 20 November 1940 as WGFMOriginally on FM 48.5 MHz, now FM 99.5Unknown
W47NVN/ANashville, Tennessee1941 to 1951Unknown

Networks

Table of Early Radio Networks
NameFull nameLocationOn AirNotes
British Broadcasting CompanyUnited Kingdom1922–1926Private commercial company made up of 26 stations by 1926. Nationalised to become the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC Radio) in 1927.
CNR RadioCanadian National Railway Radio DepartmentCanada1923–1933First national radio network in North America. Developed by the Canadian National Railway to provide en route entertainment for train passengers but also available to anyone within signal range. Consisted of 27 stations (3 owned and operated and up to 24 “phantom stations” – time leased on affiliated radio stations.
WEAF chainBroadcasting Company of AmericaNortheast and Midwest United States1923–1926Regional network of AT&T-owned radio stations with New York City radio station WEAF as its hub. Grew to 27 stations (WEAF and 26 affiliates) stretching from Boston to Kansas City by the end of 1925 under the name Broadcasting Company of America, Sold to RCA in 1926 and merged with RCA’s WJZ chain to form the National Broadcasting Company (NBC)

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