Although the Detroit News introduced its new broadcast service to its readers on August 31, 1920, the newspaper had begun test transmissions, working with local amateur radio enthusiasts, on August 20th, thus the reports of reception prior to the station's August 31st public debut. 8MK's operating wavelength of 200 meters -- which was the standard wavelength used by amateur stations -- is equivalent to a transmitting frequency of 1500 kilohertz. The transmitter was a De Forest Radio Telephone & Telegraph Co. model 0T-10.
Detroit News, August 31, 1920, pages 1-2:
The News Radiophone to Give Vote Results
Amateurs Over Michigan Are Invited to Give Wireless Parties and Hear "Voices in the Night."
The Detroit News tonight will announce the results as they may be received of the State, Congressional and County primaries over southeastern Michigan, using, as a medium, its newly completed wireless telephone.
The messages will be carried by real "voices of the night." Throughout the lower peninsula possibly, but, more particularly within a radius of 100 miles of Detroit, hundreds of wireless telegraph operators and enthusiasts will listen and get the results, not in telegraphic code but by direct transmission of the human voice.
So far as is known here, this is the first time in the history of radio development that a newspaper will use the radiophone in the transmission of news.
While the voice will be used instead of the telegraphic code, no special apparatus will be needed to get the message. As shown by tests made last night, when an operatic concert with Caruso, Melba, Galli-Curci and all the rest of the Phonograph stars signing their favorite arias was attempted, the results obtained by use of the ordinary wireless telegraph receivers were quite astonishing.
HEARD CARUSO SINGING.
"How do you get it?" The News' operator asked of the night--and back through the darkness over miles of field and stream and roof came numerous thrilling voices, as clear as if someone in the next roof were speaking:
"It's coming fine. That's Caruso singing. We are getting everything loudly and distinctly."
The weather forecast tonight indicates that even better conditions than those of last night will prevail and the operators are expecting better results.
Every wireless operator in Michigan, Ohio and Ontario is invited to open up his receivers and participate in the enterprise. Every community that houses an operator is fortunate, and every man, woman and child invited by an operator to sit in and listen to tonight's demonstration will be specially favored--for they are participating in an event that will be, in a sense, epochal. A hundred years from now, perhaps, all news will be transmitted by wireless telephone; who knows?
Here is the essential data needed by the listening operators to get results:
The wavelength which will be used throughout the demonstration will be 200 metres.
The first messages sent out will start at 8 o'clock tonight. The voting polls do not close until that time, but it is thought best to send miscellaneous matter for some time before the first election results are announced, so that operators may get their instruments into perfect attune.
During the first hour operators wishing to talk with The News for instructions or to report results may do so. The official call for The News is "8  M K."
Beginning at 9 o'clock the first election bulletins will be sent out. Other bulletins will be sent on the hour and half hour then until midnight. As 9 o'clock approaches, operators participating should cease sending and listen, in order to pick up the first of the bulletins promptly.
RULES TO FOLLOW.
The procedure to be followed will be thus. Promptly on the hour and half-hour the News operator will begin transmitting a bulletin containing every salient point regarding the elections received up to that moment--the vote totals, not from the counting booths, how things are going up-state and in the wards as received by The News' telegraph wires. To read each bulletin will require 5 to 10 minutes. At its end The News operator will say: "Bulletin ends!" From then until within two minutes of the next succeeding hour or half-hour, other operators may call into The News, either through wireless telephone transmitters or with telegraphic code to report how the matter is being received.
Note this carefully: Beginning at 9:55 The News operator will cease all sending and other operators are requested to do likewise in order not to interfere with the usual transmission of the time from Washington at 10 o'clock.
The report of the time from Washington will be followed immediately by the News' 10 o'clock elections bulletin.
The News makes a special request of all operators listening to the bulletins to write in a letter stating in detail how the system functioned. Interchange of communications will lead toward better transmission and receiving and the closer acquaintance of the whole radio fraternity in Michigan.
Letters should be addressed to Radiophone Department, The Detroit News, Detroit, Mich."
A letter received this morning from a passenger on one of the lake boats passing through Whitefish Bay, Lake Superior, says: "We heard your reports of Ray Chapman being killed in a ball game in New York." Whitefish Bay is 300 miles from Detroit as the crow flies. Messages of this kind or from much shorter distances are very gratefully appreciated as they assist materially in the adjustment of instruments to attain better results both in sending and receiving.
BIDS TO RADIO PARTIES.
Many of the wireless operators and enthusiasts roundabout Detroit are away on vacations and their instruments are silent, but, from indications during the last two nights it is estimated that, within a radius of 100 miles of Detroit, about 300 operators will "listen in" tonight; throughout the state, possibly 500. As many of the operators made last night's concert and will make tonight's receipt of election returns a semi-social event, inviting in many neighbors and friends, it is estimated that more than 2,000 persons will tonight get the election results by radiophone for the first time in their lives.
HOW INSTRUMENTS WORK.
Last night's radiophone concert was a great success.
The News' outfit is set up in a room on the second floor of The News Building on Lafayette boulevard at Second avenue. The transmitter of a radiophone is the same as that on the ordinary telephone. Close to this was brought a phonograph, and, by the use of a megaphone, with the large end toward the phonograph and the smaller end fitted to the transmitter, arrangement was made to feed the sound into the radiophone. From there the radiophone transmitted the music out into the night in waves 200 meters long for all to hear who wished to listen with wireless outfits.
While The News operator was sending from The News office, another man raced about town in the homes of many amateur operators to see how the music was coming in. The results far surpassed expectation and gave assurance that the election returns tonight may be heard very audibly, not only by those actually holding receivers to their ears but by persons standing within the room where a receiving instrument is set up.
As promised on Saturday night, The News opened the concert promptly at 8:15 o'clock and announced that the concert was about to begin. At once a "quieting down" was noticed--the scores of amateurs talking through the night ceased their activities and began listening.
SCHOOL BOY HEARS.
Up at his home at 435 Bagg street, Albert B. Allen, a high school boy, was waiting attentively at his station. Suddenly the receiver announced the "Kohala Hawaiian March." At first it was a bit stringy, but Allen's adjustment of his instruments soon toned it, making it more distinct and plainly audible in an adjoining room.
Arthur Hall, 148 West Ferry avenue, another operator was at his instrument. Presently the door bell rang announcing the arrival of a News man.
"Where's the phonograph?" was his first question.
"That's not a phonograph--that's my radiophone!" answered Mr. Hall. The visitor coming in from the street, had caught the music wafted through the open windows, while he was still down on the lawn.
Mr. Hall has a remarkable homemade set of receiving instruments. His experiments have won him a notable achievement in amplification of the radiophone sounds. He had taken an ordinary receiver from a two-piece head-set, placed it flat on a table and, over it, placed the small end of an ordinary horn from a Ford car. This threw the sound upward, against the ceiling, where it rolled in distribution throughout the house and was thrown back with sufficient intensity to carry it to the street.
After a number of selections The News operator spoke through the radiophone calling for Clyde E. Darr, president of the Detroit Radio Association, who has a fine set of instruments at his new home at 137 Hill avenue, far out in Highland Park. The News office had scarcely ceased speaking when--
"Hello, News! hello, News!" shouted the receivers. "This is Mr. Darr speaking. The music is coming very loudly and very distinctly. We are getting it splendidly up here. The results are far above expectations."
The effect of the sudden response was thrilling. The auditors were conscious that they were experiencing, for the first time, one of the greatest achievements of modern science, a development that may revolutionize transmission of human speech.
At the home of William Scripps, son of William E. Scripps, of The Detroit News, at 598 Trumbull avenue, there was found in an upper room, a highly delighted audience gathered around another set of receiving instruments. Here too, the results had been far above expectations. The music came with sufficient intensity that if any had wanted to dance, they would not have wanted for an orchestra.
This morning frequent telephone calls showed that many other delighted audiences "listened in" and enjoyed the electro-aerial concert.
The results last night were all achieved with imperfect instruments. With perfectly adjusted instruments and attachments already developed, such as sound amplifiers, greatly improved results are certain. One fact of great promise for the future development of wireless telephony hereabouts is that much of the apparatus used by Detroiters is "home-made." The units and material for a simple and very effective set have been purchased and put together by Charles Marvin, 293 East Euclid avenue, another high school boy, at a cost of but $30. Mr. Marvin had not known about last night's concert until late in the evening and was quite astonished when a gentle turn of his condenser knob suddenly threw into his ear the powerful intonations of Caruso singing the largo from Handel's "Xerxes."
As a rule the best transmission was found with orchestra or band pieces or the speaking voice. The singing voice did not transmit very well, tending, especially when Caruso was indulging in some of his heavier notes to blur, or when Galli-Curci went into one of her trills to scratch and squeak, sounding much like the first talking-machines put on the market 25 years ago. Perfection of this transmission, however, is but a matter of time and experiment.
After last night's achievement, hundreds of more attentive ears are expected to be listening for the "voices of the night" tonight.
September 1, 1920, page 1:
Land and Water Hear Returns by Wireless
The Detroit News Radiophone Sends Spoken Word on Election to Stations and Ships Out on Lakes.
The Detroit News wireless service for the benefit of the wireless devotees of Detroit will be a regular part of The News service to the public. The service will start nightly at 8 o'clock and will run until 10. Late news developments will be flashed and between bulletins there will be songs and musical selections. Those who have receiving sets should invite their friends and neighbors to enjoy the evening.
One by one the novelists and poets of the ages have watched their dreams come true. Cold, hard, practical science seems always to follow the dream trail through the primeval forests of man's desires, broken first by the dwellers in fiction-land, bringing up in the rear with the paving stone with which to lay the broad highway to the ultimate conquest of all nature.
Jules Verne dreamed of a Nautilus--and the submarine became a fact of terrible reality. He saw the air filled with flying ships, moonward bound--and the airplane played its part in winning the greatest war of history.
SAW DREAM CITY.
H. G. Wells, in one of his earlier and more imaginative works--"When the Sleeper Wakes"--saw a great dream city palpitating beneath its gigantic dome of glass in the glare of a million eternally lighted lamps. And in the city streets, in the market place, wherever gathered the myriads of the fabled city, brazen trumpets reared, from their mouths issuing tidings of the great world that lay beyond the city walls, stories of flood and famine, a ruler overthrown, a peasant become a king.
Marconi thrilled to see the blue sparks crackling from his first rude wireless; Sailor Jack Binns saved a ship by a distress call sent broadcast through the storm. And now the human voice itself gathers itself into a veritable sound-capsule and hurls itself through the night to hundreds of waiting listeners.
AN EPOCH IN HISTORY.
The sending of the election returns by The Detroit News Radiophone Tuesday night was fraught with romance and must go down in the history of man's conquest of the elements as a gigantic step in his progress. In the four hours that the apparatus, set up in an out-of-the-way way corner of The News Building, was hissing and whirring its messages away into space, few realized that a dream and a prediction had come true. The news of the world was being given forth through this invisible trumpet to the waiting crowds in an unseen market place.
Promptly at 8:10 p. m. The News operator threw on the transmission current and called into the mouthpiece that, previous to the arrival of the election bulletin, amateur radio operators were to be treated to an electro-aerial concert. An ordinary phonograph was drawn close to the apparatus and a record started.
APPLAUSE IS GIVEN.
No sooner was the selection finished than the headpiece of the receiver began to click: Wireless
devices, operating with "home-made" sets, began sending in the Continental dot-dash code of the wireless, their thanks and appreciation. Others lacking sending facilities rushed to their telephones to call The News office.
"Your concert is coming fine," they said. "Let's have the election results as soon as they come in. Weather conditions were never better."
A uniformed messenger hurried into the radio room, the familiar yellow envelope of the Western Union in his hand. Speeding through the night the steamer W. A. Bradley had heard over the waters of Lake St. Clair the voices of two singers from the Broadway-Strand Theater and the first tidings of the gubernatorial race.
TWO SHIPS LISTEN.
The W. A. Bradley had heard, had sent by wireless its answer to the Marconi station at Ecorse, and the station had relayed it to Western Union wires.
A wireless operator in the cabin of another lake vessel sprang to life at the sound of an operatic aria coming from the instruments. He listened and when the selection was done, back came the call in wireless code:
"The 'WGN' talking. The 'WGN' talking. News concerts coming in clear."
"Just listen to this. I'm going to place my radio receiver to the mouthpiece of the phone," said Arthur Nall, calling from his home, 148 Kirby avenue west. Back through the ordinary telephone receiver came the sounds, clear cut and distinct, which seemed, at that very instant, to be issuing from the phonograph in the radio room beyond.
HUNDREDS LISTEN IN.
Despite the number of replies received, it is believed hundreds of other operators were listening-in but were unable to reply through lack of the proper sending equipment. A hurried visit to the homes of several radio enthusiasts disclosed them listening eagerly to the sounds that came over the spaces of the night, like homeless birds, perching on the wires of the slender antennae, translating themselves into meaningful and intelligible phrases.
Elsewhere in the city and the state sundry aspirants to public office waited and watched. The results of the election were slow to come. But up in their attic rooms or in shed loft, the radio amateurs within 300 miles tuned up their receivers and listened to the fate of the candidates being settled long before the office-seekers themselves could know the result.
INTEREST IS STIMULATED.
The sending of the news by radiophone Tuesday night is the culmination of a long series of experiments on the part of The Detroit News. With the perfection of aerials and amplifiers, the not too distant future may see the installation of regular news service. Interest in wireless telephony has received an added impetus, proved by numberless telephone calls to The News office asking for details of the apparatus.
To facilitate the receiving of messages by wireless operators, The News proposes to keep an index of the names of all those listening-in Tuesday night, the distances at which the sounds were heard and the conditions under which transmission was made possible. Operators are asked to fill out blanks, printed elsewhere in this issue, and to mail them promptly to The Radiophone Department, The Detroit News.
September 2, 1920, pages 1-2:
Wireless Stations Praise New Radiophone Service
THERE came to The Detroit News today from many amateur devotees of the wireless, unanimous expressions of delight over the radiophone concerts and news service instituted by The News radio department as a nightly feature for all who wish to hear.
Letters received told of excellent results obtained in catching out of the air, Tuesday night, the first Michigan election news ever sent out by means of wireless telephony.
Tuesday night a series of election bulletins and a program of phonograph music were supplied. Wednesday night, in addition to the music the bulletin service was enlarged to include late local, telegraph and cable news. The radio operators who might be listening on the ships plying the Great Lakes heard in the first bulletin at 8 p. m. the decisive tabulation of returns in Tuesday's primary, giving the apparent nominees for all important offices.
SENDS BASE BALL NEWS.
The second bulletin, heard by the amateurs' stations in surrounding cities, as well as by the professionals on land or water, echoed in 200-meter sound waves the news of the Tigers' double defeat at Philadelphia, including runs, hits, errors and batteries.
While the bulletins were being read by The News operator into the transmitter, now and then some enthusiastic amateur, with a receiver for waves but no transmitter, would call The News by wire and exclaim his delight with the uncanny results obtained by his instrument in picking distinctly all these echoes
of intelligence out of the night.
"CONCERT IS ENJOYED."
"Hello, The News," called one voice. "I'm talking from my wireless station in Dearborn. The concert and the bulletins are coming fine. We are hearing every word and enjoying the concert. Say, to prove that my home-made outfit is getting the stuff, I have a dictaphone attached to my receiver and am canning a record of the voices and music, and I am going to bring the record down tomorrow and run it off on a phonograph so you can hear your own bulletins and music all over again."
When the news was flashed that Dr. Aaron S. Watkins, the Prohibition Party candidate for the Presidency, had announced his intention of using the airplane instead of the stump, and would fly over all states in the West during his campaign, one listener to the news-by-echo sent back this message: "It is indeed appropriate that the first news of this unique and newest method of campaigning should be received by a unique method of news transmission."
COMMENTS BY RADIOPHONERS.
The News bulletins included the latest from the Polish-Russian front, the latest moves of the great parties in the campaign fund controversy, and the opening of the woolen mills in the East,
Following are some of the comments from amateur radiophoners received by The News radiophone department on Tuesday night's program:
The Detroit News: The Detroit radio amateurs take this occasion to thank The News for its radiophone concerts and returns of the election.
It certainly was a great success.
Yours very truly, T. O. M.
The Detroit News: I saw by last night's News that you would like to hear from the amateurs how the election returns came in, so I thought I might report how it came in at my station.
My outfit is a bit temporary just at present and I did not get the bulletins in as good as I should have but loud enough to hear them about a foot from my phones. I am puting in a four-step amplifier set, but have only the detector and two stages done. For my tuning apparatus I am using De Forest honeycomb coils.
Your wave length, according to my set is about 250 meters; quite a little above Mr. Darr's. I am suggesting that you have your operator speak in more of a monotone than he does, also a little louder.
My aerial and ground are not as good as they might be, so I can not expect to receive you as loud as Mr. Darr can. Respectfully,
FREDERIC V. COLLINS.
150 Puritan avenue, Detroit, Mich.
"GOOD TIME VIA RADIO."
The Detroit News: Thanks to your notice in the News, I overheard the concert and the result of the election.
I thank you very much for the "good time via radio" for myself and friends.
The music came in very plain, but the singing was a bit blurred.
We also missed some parts, thanks to the broad wave of NDL and a little local QRM.
Here's hoping you are not shy of concerts in the future. Sincerely
ALEXANDER J. BANYAI.
163 Rademacher avenue, Detroit, Mich.
"The Detroit News: Enjoyed the concert and election returns you sent out very much. Thank you.
"Yours in Radio,
"EDWARD B. RYAN, 8LL. "Detroit, Mich."
"The Detroit News: The whole program could be heard with my phones on the table. The orchestra pieces were plainest. The talking was not heard so well as the music, but both were good.
"510 Continental avenue, Detroit, Mich."
The Detroit News: I did not hear you plainly because I have not completed my set. The orchestra selections were plainest.
"H. W. OVERMAN,
"470 St. Clair avenue, Detroit, Mich."
The Detroit News: All messages were distinctly heard and enjoyed by several friends gathered at my home. The orchestra pieces were loudest and clearest.
"EDWARD B. RYAN, 8LL.
"2105 Senator avenue, Detroit, Mich."
"The Detroit News: The concert was great and I got most of the election returns.
"227 Richmond avenue, Detroit, Mich."
HEARD IN OAKWOOD.
"The Detroit News: Not having a sending set or 'phone, I take this means of notifying that I received your wireless music Monday night, very clear and pure. I also heard you last week, Wednesday, talking to amateurs. I use a silicon detector. I am located six miles west of the city hall. I will listen again.
WALTER D. KEEVER.
66 Heidt avenue, Oakwood, Mich.
"The Detroit News: I am an amateur wireless operator and heard your music and election returns. The music came in very distinctly, but the election returns I couldn't make out or distinguish. I could hear the numbers but not the names.
"I am very much interested in wireless and radiophones and am going to have one some day.
"I heard your music and the election returns on a tuning coil crystal set with a 90-meter ariel. I am 13 years old and am going to Cass High School, taking up wireless and electrical engineering.
"351 Lawton avenue, Detroit, Mich."
The Detroit News: Tuesday evening I read about your radiophone bulletins and so I listened in for you. You came in fine, even louder than Mr. Darr's 'phone and I live only a few blocks from him.
The time when I got you the best was when (W. D. N.) answered you and told you how you came in.
I have a one-step amplifier and I could hear you all over a good-sized room, using Baldwin phones.
Hoping to hear from you again.
"ROBERT C. BLAIR,
194 Glendale avenue, Highland Park."
RESULTS CAME CLEARLY.
The Detroit News--The aerial concert and the election bulletins sent out by The News came over my apparatus clearly. The orchestral selections were received best. I should say that in the transmission of the election returns the announcer's voice was too close to the transmitter for the best results.
CYRUS C. JENKS,
Detroit. 486 Blaine avenue.
The Detroit News--Although my aerial had a loose connection and my ground was not good I heard the musical selections sent out by the News Radiophone very well. The vocal numbers came less clearly than the band pieces. The results cou;d be heard about a foot from the 'phones.
FREDERICK V. COLLINS,
Highland Park. 150 Puritan Ave.
September 3, 1920, pages 1-2:
Voice by Radio Clearly Heard by Night Listeners
MORE replies from amateur wireless operators and others, telling of hearing the radiophone concert and news service instituted by The News radio department as a nightly feature, were received at The News office today.
"Clear and distinct" were the voices which traveled through the ether to the listeners at wireless telephone sets scattered throughout the city and its environs, the letters state. The news of battle on the Polish-Russian front, political developments in the United States, and other items of interest, as well as musical selections, were sent out by The News operator beginning at 8 p. m.
H. C. Hanson, 6 Victor avenue, Highland Park, would like to have an ordinary wire-equipped telephone in his home but can not get it. He is now looking for some one who will set up a wireless telephone for him.
"I live three-quarters of a mile west of Woodward from the Nine-and-One-Half-Mile Road," he wrote, "and can get no state phone. Where can I get some one who installs wireless?"
Here are some of the replies sent to The News in response to a request for comments on the radio service:
"Music received very clearly and distinctly. Am using a Clapp Estham coupler and Murdock variable condenser and a crystal detector.
"1416 Warren Avenue West."
"The results were very good," wrote H. MacMichael, 165 Glencoe avenue, N. W. Station, Detroit. "I get everything good. The concert was very plain and distinct and except for the interruptions of telegraph stations it was very good. I heard the march, 'Under the Double Eagle' plainest."
HEARS MUSIC DISTINCTLY.
"Results came in very clear, using one bulb," wrote Lew W. Tuller, Jr., Hotel Tuller. Mr. Tuller said that he heard the musical selections distinctly, the vocal better than the orchestral, especially "I'd Love to Be a Sailor." His general remarks were: "Clear at all times during the evening. Type receiver used was 18 unit DeForrest Receiver."
"CONCERT IS FINE."
"It would promote radio interests to have a fine concert like the one you gave more often. It was fine."
"I had very good results on a galena detector. I hear the orchestral selections best. Wednesday afternoon I heard every word that was spoken.
"153 Williams avenue."
"Results came in distinctly and very clear. I hear the vocal selections best, and Lauder and 'Oh, How I Hate to Get up in the Morning,' the plainest.
"70 McLean avenue, Highland Park."
"Results were good. I heard the musical selections distinctly.
"R. F. HERSCHELMANN,
"325 Cleveland street, 8BJ."
OTHERS MAKE COMMENTS.
"Radiophone Department, Detroit News: I came home from work yesterday, saw the paper, and started to put my receiving set together. I had just moved a short time before and had not my set working up to date.
"I strung a single 160-foot wire about 30 feet high out to the breeze. With this and only a small coupler fixed condenser, crystal detector and phones, I heard you fairly well. But your talking was not as loud as your music.
"1020 Leslie avenue, Detroit."
"Results heard distinctly. I heard the orchestral selections best. I heard them with a crystal detector and a home-made honeycomb coil.
"850 Michigan avenue."
"I heard the musical selections fine, especially the orchestral. The air was exceptionally clear. Am using one bulb for reception, without tickler coil.
"RALPH M. SMITH,
"139 McGraw avenue."
BOTHERED BY STATIC.
"Speech and music were very plain and distinct. I heard the orchestral selections best, and the 'National Emblem March' the plainest.
"184 Humboldt street."
"Very clear and distinct. I heard the musical selections distinctly, especially the orchestral. Static pretty bad.
"1315 Lenov Ave."
"Your concert given last night was great. I used only audion, one bulb, and old loose coupler and a three-wire aerial 10 feet long in the attic. I felt like jumping all over when I heard that Victrola music and the speech came in loud and clear. The only trouble I find, may be other amateurs have it also, is that when giving out the election returns the operator talked too fast.
"CORNELIUS WM. VAN DAM,
"933 East Fort St."
"I wish to report that I heard the band music fairly well Tuesday night while the vocal selections were much fainter. I received them without an aerial, with one bulb an audio tron.
"151 Dexter Blvd., Detroit."