Every Wednesday night at 9p.m. in San Jose, California, Charles Herrold religiously sat in his crowded office surrounded by records that he lay out before him. Charles broadcast his radio show, playing music and reading news, to mostly college students, who were listening on radios they built for themselves. The year? 1912.
He is dubbed the Father of Radio Broadcasting, sending out music and news to listeners before the word, “radio” was invented.
Herrold’s ‘Little Hams Program” broadcast every week, from San Jose, to a growing audience of young listeners, and on a good night, the signal could be picked up 900 miles away. Charles took new and popular records, placed them on a phonograph and pointed a microphone towards the music, so all could clearly hear the sound. The show ran from 1912 to 1917. However,ironically, the San Jose Newspaper criticized the new local new medium, saying it “threatens live entertainment, such as the symphony or theatre”. Radio was new, but it certainly couldn’t replace live theatre. In 1994, the Mayor of San Jose dedicated September 12 to Charles Herrold Day in honor of his great contribution to society.
Guglielmo Marconi, of London, had previously held a patent issued to Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Company on April 26, 1901, which gained Marconi the Patent “for improvements in apparatus for wireless telegraphy”. For that reason, Marconi is know as the inventor of radio, that is, the ability to send a wireless signal. Charles Herrold, however, is the father and inventor of radio broadcasting.