KPFT Founder Ray Hill and history of FM Radio

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“About my returning to The Prison Show this Friday: www.kpft.org is in its Fall fund raising mode and I want all of you to consider offering your $$$ help. In 1968 in a small office on Bissonet four of us: Larry Lee, Don Gardner, Debra Danburg (then just a child prodigy U of H student) and I were plotting to give Houston a vehicle of free speech on the radio. From that came KPFT. The station became the vehicle for Wilde n Stein our pioneering GLBT program (evolved now into Queer Voices and After Hours) In 1980, I became the first openly gay and first ex-convict to be authorized to be general manager of an FCC licensed station in the country and began The Prison Show, an iconic effort at expanding to an otherwise neglected audience. The station needs and deserves your tax deductible support and you can support The Prison Show now on the KPFT web page or listen Friday and call a pledge into the station.”
~Ray Hill

Tune in Houston’s community public radio station- KPFT 90.1 FM
May 9, 2014
This today from KPFT founder, Ray Hill:

“I borrowed this note from Writer’s Almanac and would add that in 1949 Lewis Hill and a few friends began non-commercial FM broadcasting in the San Fransisco Bay Area leading to the founding of KPFT, Houston in March 1970. She is still there globally at www.kpft.org Where The Prison Show will be broadcast tonight at 9:00 pm Houston Time. Listen up and support.

On May 13, 1939, the oldest commercial FM radio station in the United States made its first broadcast from Meriden, Connecticut. FM — or “frequency modulation” — radio was the brainchild of Edwin H. Armstrong, a radio pioneer who had been designing technical improvements to radio broadcasters and receivers for many years. Radio signals were transmitted using “amplitude modulation,” and although AM radio signals traveled great distances, they were full of static and the quality was poor. Armstrong tried varying the frequency of the radio waves, rather than their amplitude, and the signal became much clearer. Armstrong received a patent for FM radio in 1933, and in 1934 he broadcast an organ recital from the top of the Empire State Building over both AM and FM frequencies, so people could hear the difference for themselves.

While FM was being perfected, a few experimental radio stations were trying to increase the quality of the AM signal. These were known as “Apex” stations, in part because their transmitting antennas were so tall. One of these Apex stations, W1XPW, was licensed to Franklin Doolittle in 1936. He built his station atop West Peak, in Meriden, Connecticut, and first began his test broadcasts on this date in 1939. By the time the station began full public programming six months later, it was broadcasting on the new FM band, under the call letters WDRC-FM. It’s still on the air, serving listeners in the Hartford area, 75 years later.”

Edwin Joseph Jesús Johnston's photo.
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