In the fall of 1921, Westinghouse's radio station, WJZ in Newark, New Jersey, made its debut by carrying play-by-play coverage of professional baseball's championship series. But WJZ's program had been anticipated by an earlier program service, the Telephone Herald, also based in Newark, which exactly ten years earlier had done the same thing over telephone lines for its subscribers.
 
Telephony, March 30, 1912, pages 391-392:

The  Telephone  Newspaper--New  Experiment  in  America *
Description  of  Operating  Methods  of Organization  which  Transmits  to  Its  Subscribers,  via  Telephone,  News  of  Day,  Advertisements  of  Importance  and  Varied  Entertainment--A  Plan  Transplanted  from  Budapest,  Hungary,  Where  It  Has  Long  Operated
By  Arthur  F.  Colton
family listening
    While all the rest of the nation had to stop work and hang around the newspaper bulletin boards waiting in an agony of suspense for news from the Polo Grounds, in New York, last October, for half an hour, or perhaps thirty-three minutes, after the epoch-making innings there were ended, a privileged few in Newark, N. J., were able, while sitting in their own homes, to follow instantaneously, play by play, the demonstration of the fact that the Giants were next to the best baseball experts. These Newark folk who received news more promptly than that commodity had ever before been served in America were the first subscribers to the Telephone Herald, a newspaper which is independent of the Typographical Union and the Allied Printing Trades Council, for it is published over wires instead of upon paper. In other words, the subscriber does not read the Telephone Herald, but merely listens to it. He may listen to as much or as little of it as he likes ; but whether he listens or not the Herald grinds on in one continuous edition from 8 o'clock in the morning until 10:30 o'clock in the evening. Its news is constantly on tap, like water or gas, for the small sum of $18 a year, or five cents a day. Additional news taps in one house are installed for $7 a year, or two cents a day. The Telephone Herald gets out a Sunday paper seven days a week with all the usual "magazine" features, fiction, fashions, children's stories and all the rest of it. Its one redeeming feature is that it has no comic supplement, thank Heaven!
    In the evening the Herald ceases to be a newspaper and becomes an entertainer, furnishing a varied programme of instrumental music, songs, recitals, lectures or anything else that can be transmitted by wire.
    While the telephone newspaper is a novelty on this side of the Atlantic one has been published regularly for eighteen years at Budapest, Hungary, under the name of "Telefon Hirmondo." Hungary seems a strange place in which to seek for anything novel in the telephone line, for next to Italy, which has 62,000 telephones to serve a population of 33,500,000, Austria-Hungary has the worst telephone service and the least of it to be found in all Europe. The dual empire has not yet begun to supply a modern, well-developed telephone service, and judging by present indications, it will be many years before there will be even a moderate degree of development. In the whole empire there are but 145,156 telephones. If there were as many per thousand inhabitants as in the United States there would be 2,950,000 telephones. European telephone service is not a thing to be discussed in the language of polite society. Under government monopolies the installations are antiquated, the service execrable and the rates terrific. For the whole of Europe the average is only 6.4 telephones per thousand inhabitants ; in the United States the ratio is 78 telephones per thousand population. Europe has 2,584,000 telephones for a population of 400,000,000 ; at the American ratio the number required would be 31,000,000. musical selection
    As for the telephone newspaper, there is some comfort in the fact that the inventor, Theodore Puskas, a Hungarian electrical engineer, was once employed by Edison. Whether he originated the idea in America or not he went from here to his native land to develop the one great dream of his life. It did not do him much good, for he died three months after the Telefon Hirmondo was established. Emil von Szveties as technical director developed the invention and the service until the Telefon Hirmondo had 15,000 subscribers, including the Emperor Francis Joseph, at eighteen florins ($7.20) a year. The original telephone newspaper had to install its own wires ; and as press services, like the telephone are not very well developed in Hungary, it also had to maintain a large editorial staff including two principal editors, six sub-editors and a dozen reporters, besides eight "stentors" as the men who read the news into the transmitters are called. The rates for advertisements which of necessity were preceded and followed by pure reading matter, was fifty cents for twelve seconds.
    One of the American tourists who discovered the Telefon Hirmondo was M. M. Gillam, formerly advertising manager of the New York Herald. He obtained the American rights and organized the United States Telephone Herald Co. to dispose of State rights. The company that obtained the New Jersey privilege decided to try it on the dog at Newark. To lay its own wires would have required a prohibitive amount of time and capital so wires were leased from the telephone company. All was ready for business last March when the telephone company sought to cancel the lease. After six months' delay the Public Utilities Commission ordered the telephone company to carry out its original agreement. The Herald does not use the regular telephone lines, but extra wires.
    Speaking of buying a pig in a poke, the Telephone Herald has done something of that sort. The newspaper telephone, which is not like the ordinary telephone, since it will carry messages in only one direction, has never been patented. Instead, the secret of its construction has been carefully guarded. When the New Jersey company was ready to install its Newark plant a young Hungarian engineer was sent from Budapest to do the work. The internal arrangement of the switch board is kept under lock and key. All that an outsider can find out about it is what he can see. This includes an ordinary looking switch board in a room by itself. In another room are two ordinary sound proof telephone booths. Instead of the usual telephone set there are two very large microphone transmitters mounted opposite each other some six inches apart. With his mouth between the transmitters the stentor reads an item, says "change," then immediately begins upon another. As the stentors have had special courses in distinct enunciation every word can be clearly heard. The work is so exhausting that one man only reads fifteen minutes, then rests for forty-five minutes while others take his place. The music room where the evening entertainment is provided has sound proof walls hung with green baize with a pair of transmitters for each instrument, and each singer. editorial office
    The editorial offices measure up to the finest traditions of journalism. There is the usual barn-like room, meagerly furnished, with dirty windows guiltless of shades, the floor littered with waste paper, and the regulation paste pot that has not been cleaned since the year one. In these familiar surroundings a couple of editors smoke cigarettes and clip the morning papers, go through press reports, proofs from a local evening paper and correspondents' manuscripts, and receive telephone messages, condensing everything to the uttermost, two hundred and fifty words being the maximum limit for the most important items.
    The subscriber gets a little wooden disk to be attached to the wall, with a little hook on which to hang the receivers when not in use. Ordinarily a receiver is held to each ear, though in a great crisis, such as one of the big football games, one will suffice for one listener. There is no transmitter for the subscriber. He cannot talk back nor ask the stentor to repeat nor ask questions nor interrupt the service in any way. His only way of expressing disapproval of bad news is to hang up the receivers, though if circumstances warranted he might slam them against the wall.
    In order that no one may wait in vain for the kind of news in which he is interested, everything is classified and sent out over the wires according to an exact schedule. The subscriber has a program tacked up beside his instrument so that he always knows when to expect certain things. When a bit of news of unusual importance comes in, the regular service is interrupted while a bulletin is sent out, the subscribers being called by a whistle signal. Here is the daily program:
  8:00        -    Exact astronomical time.
  8:00-   9:00    Weather, late telegrams, London exchange quotations ; chief items of interest from the morning papers.
  9:00-   9:45    Special sales at the various stores ; social programs for the day.
  9:45- 10:00    Local personals and small items.
10:00- 11:30    New York Stock Exchange quotations and market letter.
11:30- 12:00    New York miscellaneous items.
Noon    Exact astronomical time.
12:00- 12:30    Latest general news ; naval, military and congressional notes.
12:30-   1:00    Midday New York Stock Exchange quotations.
  1:00-   2:00    Repetition of the half day's most interesting news.
  2:00-   2:15    Foreign cable dispatches.
  2:15-   2:30    Trenton and Washington items.
  2:30-   2:45    Fashion notes and household hints.
  2:45-   3:15    Sporting news ; theatrical news.
  3:15-   3:30    New York Stock Exchange closing quotations.
  3:30-   5:00    Music, readings, lectures.
  5:00-   6:00    Stories and talks for the children.
  8:00- 10:30    Vaudeville, concert, opera.

    In a Newark department store which installed a number of instruments to draw trade the innovation was so successful that a restaurant next tried it. Patrons became so interested in the news that they forgot to find fault with their victuals. Then the clubs took up the Telephone Herald. Altogether there were over 1,000 subscribers by the middle of November, though only a part of these were actually receiving the service because the switchboard could only accommodate a limited number at that time. New subscribers then came in so fast that the company felt encouraged to extend the service to the Oranges, Paterson, Passaic, and other surrounding towns, and to plan a plant for Atlantic City and vicinity. Indeed these subscribers came in so fast, at the rate of forty or fifty a week, that the solicitors were temporarily laid off.
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* Reproduced from a recent issue of the Technical World Magazine, Chicago, through the courtesy of the editors.