Popular Radio, December, 1922, pages 236-245:
New York Polo Grounds
Kadel  &  Herbert
When Grantland Rice, the popular sport editor of the "New York Tribune," broadcast from the New York Polo Grounds via WJZ his play-by-play report of the world-series baseball games, his audience was scattered over half a continent. Grand opera, symphony concerts, lectures and speeches have been similarly transmitted by wire to broadcast stations. The immediate problem before the broadcasting stations today is to obtain the wire service.


A  Frank  and  Searching  Outline  of  Radio's  Most  Pressing  Problem  and  the  Possible  Ways  of  Solving  It

     The Broadcasting crisis in a Nutshell:
    Upon the nature of the broadcast programs the public interest in radio--and consequently the immediate future of the radio industry--is hanging.
    When radio first seized upon the public fancy, interest was centered on the radio apparatus itself--the mechanical medium by which the broadcast programs were received. The novelty of the instrument must inevitably pass. The public's interest is properly becoming centered on the programs themselves.
    Radio is unquestionably destined to play a vital part in the affairs of men, perhaps a more vital part than has ever been played by a single invention or discovery. It is vastly more than a mere instrument for receiving jazz, bed-time stories and similar light entertainment. It has already demonstrated its significance as a great educational and cultural force. The foremost educators and publicists of the country are beginning to realize its possibilities. Radio is beginning to take its place as an instrument for rendering a world-wide public service of inestimable value.
    The day when eminent musicians, lecturers and others can be induced, to visit remote broadcasting stations and entertain free of charge is passing.
    To meet this situation P
OPULAR RADIO has proposed a nation-wide broadcasting project that offers a practical solution that can be put into immediate effect. It aims to raise the broadcast programs to the highest possible level, to the end that they may be coordinated and made to serve a great public service.
    Briefly, the plan provides:
    1. For the installation of permanent wiring to the more important auditoriums where musical programs, lectures by eminent scientists and publicists, and other important features are given.
    2. For the transmission by wire, to a small but highly select group of powerful and adequately equipped radio stations, such programs as may be selected for broadcasting.
    3. For the coordination of these important features as elements of an organized program, developed on a nation-wide scale, under the direction of properly constituted authorities that may include the country's foremost educators, scientists and patrons of the fine arts.
    In other words, the plan provides for reaching out and tapping those auditoriums, lecture-rooms, opera houses, concert halls, athletic fields--possibly even the halls of Congress--to the end that the world's greatest music and the world's greatest scientists and publicists may be figuratively brought into the home of every radio fan--and eventually into every school and college.
    That the project is eminently practical from a technical standpoint has been repeatedly demonstrated, notably by the broadcasting of the Philharmonic Orchestra concerts from the City College Stadium in New York last summer--an enterprise initiated by this magazine.
    The project has been outlined to some of the leading educators, scientists and patrons of the fine arts in the country, who are not merely giving it their endorsement but in many cases are giving it their active cooperation.
    To carry this project (or any similar project) into effect requires wires. Without wires the programs cannot be conveyed to the broadcasting stations.
    The immediate problem is: How may the necessary wires be obtained?--E

New York Polo Grounds
Despite the fact that WBAY has met with unexpected technical difficulties and is still inoperative pending "experimental work," it may yet prove to be the storm center--or the solution--of the whole broadcasting problem.
D R. FOSTER of Newark felt constrained to open a broadcast sermon with the words: "I cannot address you as citizens of Newark because my voice is being heard beyond the limits of the city. I cannot address you as fellow Americans because my voice is being heard perhaps in Cuba, in Canada, and in Central America. I cannot address you as brethren of my faith, because only a very insignificant part of the great number who are listening to me are of my own faith. And, therefore, I must address you as fellow human beings."
    Here we catch a glimpse of the social destiny that radio will fulfil. The United States shrinks into a pocket handkerchief, the world into a little ball that can be held in the hand. We boast of the magnificent distances that make these United States what they are; yet, because they are magnificent, these distances estrange us. To most of us Oakland, Seattle, St. Louis are mere places on the map. An idea holds us together--the idea that we of St. Louis, Chicago, and New York are all citizens of the same commonwealth. Radio will achieve the task of giving a reality to this idea.
    Henceforth the actual voices of Presidents and Governors will be heard by the people. No longer will we be content with the cold, impersonal type by which official proclamations and messages now reach us. The President of the United States will be a real personality--something more than an abstraction. He will literally enter every home when the occasion justifies his addressing the people of the United States in person. Solemn as was Woodrow Wilson's declaration of war on the memorable day when he called upon Congress to break with Germany, a thousand times more solemn would have been the accents of his living voice than were the scareheads by which his declaration was announced by the newspapers.
    The phonograph has brought the interpretations of great musicians into the homes of lonely farmers and ranchmen. But radio will carry to the great open spaces the plays, the lectures, the operas that make city life what it is. It will link Fifth Avenue millionaires with Wyoming cow-punchers, sailors on lonely seas with Massachusetts mechanics. The lumberman of the north woods, the sugar-planter of the south, the California fruit grower and the Virginia tobacco planter will become next door neighbors of the ether. Radio is destined to transform the United States, the whole continent, into a huge auditorium.
But before anything remotely resembling this radio millennium can come to pass, broadcasting must be organized as a business.
    Present-day broadcasting is an astounding anomaly. Probably the manufacturers of radio sets who first timidly began to entertain the multitude and who were amazed at the overwhelming, enthusiastic response of that same multitude never realized that, like nobility, broadcasting imposes obligations.
    Like the lawyers when they cross-examine an expert, let us ask a hypothetical question or two.
    Assuming that within the range of WPQ, the manufacturer who pays the expense of maintaining the station has sold all the sets that the territory will absorb, will he continue to pay from $2,000 to $10,000 a month to instruct and amuse his one-time customers, as well as the customers of his competitors?
    Or, will he pocket his profits and stop broadcasting then and there?
Lackawanna Tests
As long ago as 1915 the Lackawanna Railroad experimented successfully with radio communication between its headquarters and its trains en route. Last August the concerts of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra were heard on Lackawanna trains in Pennsylvania.

    We have but to ask these questions to expose the inmost nature of the broadcasting station's true function. Broadcasting is essentially a public utility.
    The department stores and newspapers may have the right to close their stations, but the manufacturer of radio sets who has taken it upon himself to radiate music and lectures into space, primarily in the interest of those who have purchased his apparatus--dare he stop? Will he be permitted to stop? Is not his reputation for honest dealing at stake?
    Clearly, there is a radio burden as well as a White Man's burden.
    The time is rapidly approaching when the novelty of singing for nothing into a transmitter will wear off, when artists, actors, and professional lecturers will ask: "What is there in it for me?"
    Professional entertainers do not live by publicity alone. Broadcasting is bound to become more and more expensive as the public demand for better and better programs becomes more and more insistent. The electric light company that supplies current, the city street railway system that provides cheap transportation, the water company upon which thousands are dependent, the public utility company that renders any service whatever cannot afford to ignore the rights of those that it undertakes to serve. And broadcasting is already a public utility. Some way must be found of making it profitable.
    Someone has cried: "Let the Government levy a tax on radio receivers and contribute the proceeds to the support of broadcasting stations."
    In Europe, familiar as it is with operas and theaters supported by the state and the city, it is conceivable that money might thus be raised. But a radio subsidy in America--never. We haven't even a national theater or a national opera.
    Radio blazed into being, so far as the general public is concerned, simply because the broadcasting station flashed song and speech into space. Broadcasting stations must be maintained, and expensively maintained, if this marvelous interest is not to languish and die overnight. And that it will be maintained there can be no doubt. To keep the public interest alive some means must be devised of collecting revenue from the public. But how?
    The Radio Apparatus Section of the Associated Manufacturers of Electrical Supplies, comprising at present about twenty of the more enlightened and progressive makers of radio apparatus, has expressed its willingness to share the financial burden imposed by broadcasting. The business of broadcasting is to become co-operative, and the self-imposed taxes will, of course, be passed on to the public after the manner of all taxes. Upon the apparatus of the contributing manufacturers the insignia of the Association is to be placed--a symbol signifying that they have recognized their obligation and have met it by the payment of a fair levy. No doubt a few "get-rich-quick" manufacturers will refuse to pay the slight, just tribute demanded, but the conspicuous absence of the Association's insignia from their sets will proclaim these Wallingfords of the industry for what they are. Whether or not the public will be moved by its sense of fair play to refrain from buying instruments that are not thus identified by the Association's seal, remains to be seen.
KSD Saint Louis
Photo  by  Post-Dispatch,  St.  Louis
Such broadcasting stations as this one (KSD in St. Louis) keep alive the public's interest in radio. It may soon become part of a great radio net for relaying the world's best music and the voices of the world's foremost scientists, educators and publicists into every home and school, as part of a nation-wide educational program.

    If co-operative broadcasting is thus undertaken by most of the manufacturers, one station will take the place of many stations. The interference that now marks attempts to receive on wavelengths that differ from one another by only a few meters will disappear. Moreover, not one company but many companies will dictate the character of programs, and broadcasting will more accurately reflect the public taste.
    One unique plan is that devised by the American Telegraph and Telephone Company as the result of an "insistent demand" for broadcasting facilities. The company's manufacturing subsidiary received numerous orders for private broadcasting instruments, which, had they been made and sold, would have increased the difficulty now experienced in avoiding interference. Moreover, there were many small firms that could not afford to install their own transmitting stations and that wanted to make the most of radio's possibilities. Broadcast for hire was the solution. So, the American Telegraph and Telephone Company has built an experimental station (WBAY, located in New York City), which may be rented for a definite time at a fixed price by anyone who has a message to convey or a song to sing.
    Assume that you are a manufacturer of pianos. You wish to impress a vast radio audience with the tone quality of your instrument. You hire the station for an hour a day, three days in the week, for two months. The announcer introduces himself and his subject, "Signor Pablo Portadino, the well-known baritone of the Metropolitan Opera House, will sing the Prologue from I Pagliacci, accompanied by Giuseppe Martucci on the Benson concert-grand piano." Giuseppe strikes the opening chords and Portadino proceeds to explain in rich Italian tones that the players on the stage are only human. The tone quality of the piano must make some impression.
Properly enough, Boston's foremost broadcasting station, WGI, is located within the grounds of Tufts College. Who will eventually pay for maintaining broadcast programs?

    Or, you are a manufacturer of vacuum cleaners and you wish to instill in your unnumbered audience a holy fear of dust. You describe alarmingly what work a broom does in casting up disease germs. Then you contrast these unhygienic, preposterous proceedings with the modern sanitary method of vacuum-cleaning. "To anyone who brings us orders for five Supreme vacuum cleaners," your hired tempter concludes, "the Supreme Vacuum Cleaner Company will give a crystal-detector radio set."
    Or, you are running for Mayor of New York and you are opposed by too many influential newspapers. To reach the voters you plead with them for half an hour each night over a period of two weeks preceding election.
    The plan has possibilities. To be sure, the advertiser, the political candidate, the social reformer, the religious fanatic will be the first to avail himself of the golden radio opportunity presented. How will the public respond? It is impossible to foretell. If the lecture is dull, if the musical bait offered by the piano manufacturer is not appetizing enough to be swallowed, it is assumed that the radio audience will voice its disapproval by letter to the firm or orator responsible for a dull radio time.
    In the evening, the station will broadcast sheer entertainment--music, talks on interesting subjects, stories. The morning and other hours of the day will be reserved for the advertiser and the propagandist. No matter what price he may be willing to pay he must not trespass on the evening, unless he is ingenious enough to devise a feature that will harmonize with a concert program. When the government finally allocates wavelengths the station will modify this policy. Instead of limiting the advertiser and the man with an axe to grind to a specific time of day, the station will assign him to a wavelength on which he may expound to his heart's content at any hour that happens to be available.
    The government has already indicated that it will not permit a wholesale abuse of radio by the advertiser.
    On the other hand, advertising on some wavelengths will be permitted. If advertising proves to be the American Telegraph and Telephone Company's chief source of revenue, it will have to be of a new, almost hypnotic variety. It must hold the interest as if it were a play or a comic opera. Lecturers must be found as winning and convincing as the serpent in the garden of Eden. If the hired stentor contents himself with: "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Morpheus mattress, which is made by the well-known Rosenberg Company of Kalamazoo, has the softness of a downy cloud and the durability of battleship armor," his audience will yawn and glide to a wavelength on which Al Jolson is singing "April Showers," or a popular jazz orchestra is playing the latest fox trot.
    But the American Telegraph and Telephone Company is not concerned with these aspects of radio propaganda. Its sole business is to operate a station for hire; it leaves possible patrons to their own devices. It will certainly be cheaper for newspapers and department stores to hire such a public service station by the hour than to conduct stations of their own. From these sources alone revenue enough may be earned to pay all broadcasting costs.
    But what of opera, what of artistic song recitals, what of lectures by distinguished university professors--lectures purely educational in character?
    The company will do much to use radio for this purpose at first during the evening hours and later on special wavelengths. Perhaps a Carnegie, ashamed to die rich, will hire the WBAY station and pay theatrical managers for the privilege of brightening thousands of homes. It is music and lectures, sent through space, without thought of any direct personal advantage to the broadcaster, that have made radio what it has become. If the American Telegraph and Telephone Company has actually conceived the most practical plan of placing radio broadcasting on a sound business footing, possibly municipalities may pay the royalty that will unquestionably be demanded by the producers of operas and plays. And why not? Every self-respecting community now taxes itself for parks and the bands that play in them.
Minister Preaching
This particular community service in Pennsylvania was broadcast from KDKA. Services in the country's foremost churches may be similarly broadcast--with the aid of wires to the radio stations.

    If the American Telegraph and Telephone Company's experiment proves successful we shall undoubtedly witness the establishment of broadcasting stations that can be hired by the hour, day or week, all over the country--stations interconnected by special wires so that the radio address delivered in New York may be simultaneously broadcasted from Maine to California. Other engaging possibilities suggest themselves. A public utility broadcasting service, such as this, nation-wide in its scope, may well claim from the Government the right to radiate on a dozen different wavelengths, so that concerts may reach us on one, the news of the day on another, educational discourses on a third, artful propaganda on a fourth.
    Certainly one broadcasting station, subject only to such control as the Government may impose, is more likely to serve the public better than a number of stations in the same community. Indeed, as time passes and radio develops, a few broadcasting stations, erected at strategic points, will probably take the place of hundreds that are bound to be established within the next year or two. There will be less interference, and the tuning will be sharper and more selective.
    Broadcasting stations are now far too eclectic. They give us weather reports, stock market quotations, orchestral music, bedtime stories for children, lectures, and Arlington time. The Government regulations, being what they are, we must accept what reaches us on the prescribed wavelength whether we like it or not. There is little opportunity of "tuning in" to receive what another station has to offer, if the closing prices on the stock exchange do not interest us, simply because near-by stations all transmit on the same wavelength and must so time their programs that there will be no interference. Mr. Hoover's commission has allocated wavelengths, and if its recommendations become Governmental regulations, radio entertainment and instruction will reduce itself to a matter of wavelengths rather than of stations. In other words, sporting news, symphonic music, song and instrumental recitals, dance music, stories, and lectures will each be radiated on its own wavelength.
    Hence, the receiving set of the future may possibly be provided with tuning dials bearing such legends as "Jazz," "Opera," "News," "Market Reports," "Musical Comedy," and "Symphony Orchestra." We shall turn the dials of our sets to the proper legend and listen to that which happens to interest us most at the moment
Religious Gathering

    Whatever may be thought of the practicability of the significant experiment of the American Telegraph and Telephone Company, the ultimate possible linking of our wire-telephone system with a score of broadcasting stations that can be hired, as one hires a taxicab, reveals the true relation of radio to the wire system of communication, although the company intends to connect stations by special wires. Only a fantastically optimistic radio enthusiast cherishes the illusion that radio will completely supplant wires--that all the miles of wire, all the complex, ingenious switchboards in central stations, all the expensive conduits that encase cables will be scrapped. The truth is that radio will prove to be a valuable extension of the network of wires that enmeshes the country and the continent. In the future drama, music, entertainment will be picked up wherever it is available at its best and carried by wire directly to the broadcasting station.
    "We shall have the pleasure of listening to Madame Rubin, late of the Warsaw Opera, in a rendition of the Mad Scene from La Gioconda," announces the voice at the broadcasting station. In these paleozoic days of radio, Madame has obligingly motored, trolleyed, or otherwise transported herself to the broadcasting station, there to plant herself in front of the transmitter and give her full-throated best. In the near future, Madame will exercise her prima donna's right of displaying her temperament and of singing, when, where and how she pleases. Instead of transporting her heaving bosom to the broadcasting station, she will sit at home, sing into a transmitter, and her voice will be carried by wire to the broadcasting transmitter by which it will be prodigally radiated into space. At present, the sheer novelty of singing from a broadcasting station, of momentarily converting herself into a vocal sun that shines into thousands of homes is enough to induce her to present herself in person at the station. If Madame only knew that even now she might sing to millions in her boudoir, clad in a comfortable kimono!
    "Listeners-in" there will always be in the great cities, but it is in enlivening the dull small town and the lonely farmhouse, in robbing the great open spaces of their loneliness and monotony, that radio will probably play its most important part. Hence, we may find broadcasting stations serving both the country and the city by radio and telephone.
    The use of city telephone wires to bring to apartment-house dwellers the strains sung into the transmitter of a distant broad-casting station suggests an extension by the carrier-wave system of what may be called "narrow-casting." The system has been so frequently discussed, particularly in the pages of this magazine, that the principle upon which its operation is based need not be elaborated here. It is enough to recall that high-frequency currents can be transmitted over telephone or power line without interfering with one another or with the currents for conducting which the lines are built. There would be no difficulty about collecting revenue. The telephone company would rent an extra telephone receiver, even a loud-speaker, to each subscriber. "Plug in" and you hear the music transmitted from the central station.
    Similarly, the electric light companies could narrowcast over their own lines. They have but to install the necessary high-frequency transmitting apparatus and to supply proper receiving instruments.
    When telephone or power lines are thus used for wire narrowcasting there will be none of the interference that now marks radio broadcasting. Gone will be the dots and dashes of the telegraphic spark-set, and gone the grinding of static. Gone, too, will be the possibility of getting something for nothing by "listening in" with a home-made receiver.