PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – The world’s oldest radio communications association, The Radio Club of America, hosted its Technical Symposium and Annual Banquet in Pittsburgh over the weekend. As Pittsburgh is the birthplace of radio, the Club made it a point to take a tour of the world’s first commercial radio station, Pittsburgh’s KDKA-AM.
Founded in 1909, the Club’s purpose is “to promote cooperation among those interested in the advancement and scientific study of radio communications.”
Over 60 members of the club boarded buses and headed to the studios of KDKA, where they were treated to a tour of the broadcast facility and its broadcast theater, where they watched a video tribute to the 97-year history of radio station KDKA.
From there, the tour headed to the KDKA transmitter location, situated on a hill in Allison Park, Pennsylvania. Built and launched in November of 1939 on the station’s 19th anniversary, the site houses the original 50,000 watt Westinghouse transmitter and intricate electrical system that powered it. Also on display were multiple historic artifacts from former KDKA Radio Engineer Mel Check.
Items such as a crystal set constructed by KDKA’s founding engineer Dr. Frank Conrad, vintage microphones, audio speakers dating back to the 1920s, various radios from crystal, tube to transistor were on loan from the Check Radio Museum and showcased during the transmitter portion of the tour.
KDKA Program Director Jim Graci hosted an event for the Radio Club of America, along with chief engineer Vic Pasquarelli and engineer Ron Honeychuck. KDKA transmitter chief engineer Chris Hudak conducted a video tour of some of the highlights at the historic transmitter site.
KDKA Radio celebrates the 100th Anniversary of its first regular broadcast, radio’s 100th anniversary on Nov. 2, 2020.