Room 1

The RAVAG – Radio Communication Inc

What did the first radio station look like?

Austria on air – Quiet, please! Recording!

The Radio Communication Inc. - Ravag, for short - began broadcasting on October 1, 1924 under the name of Radio Vienna. Between 4 and 6pm, a Richard Wagner concert was broadcast. According to newspaper reports, around 15,000 listeners heard the first broadcast. The studio at that time was a small room that was made as soundproof as possible, and large enough for a piano and a gramophone to fit in. Radio became a daily companion for many people.

Who invented it?

Many fathers – one invention

As with many innovations, there is not just one person who can be called the inventor. In 1893, Nikola Tesla began to produce radio waves. Guglielmo Marconi was able to send a longer message using radio telegraphy. Carl Auer von Welsbach’s invention of the metal filament light bulb was the basis for the later radio valves. The Styrian Otto Nußbaumer made the first wireless broadcast of music and voice in the year 1904. 

On the road to success – from wireless to telephone to radio

History of technology– all beginnings are difficult

Telegraphy not only allowed people to communicate over long distances via telephone or telegram, it was also the beginning of the development of the radio. Thanks to courageous inventors and many enthusiastic radio amateurs, a movement began that would make radio the most successful medium of the 20th century.

Detector head and tube speakers

The first radio sets had detector heads. Their broadcasting signals were very weak and the broadcasting area very limited. They could only be heard by using headphones. In the mid-1920s, the first tube radios appeared. They replaced the detector radio sets. The technology behind the tubes was complex and there were different types. New, however, was that the tube radios didn’t require headphones anymore, but rather, thanks to technological progress, speakers were integrated into the radio set. 

Limited broadcasting time

Radio plays: The War of the Worlds
Audio pleasure in the ”ear theater”

The idea of writing audio plays for radio began in America. While in Europe the Weimar Republic was in the lead concerning audio plays, the most famous of all radio plays was created in America. George Orson Welles created the audio version of H.G. Wells novel, ”The War of the Worlds” in 1938. As a fictional report, the book was broadcast on radio. During the broadcast, some people in New York and New Jersey actually thought that aliens were attacking the Earth.

Hello Hello! Here’s Radio Vienna at Station 530
Radio takes a lunch break

Contrary to the present, Radio Vienna didn’t have a 24-hour programme back then. Initially there were three and a half hours of broadcasting time. That was 113 broadcasting hours a month, of which 94 were music, 2 were literature and 17 hours of other information such as weather or lectures. In the course of time, Radio Vienna increased its broadcasting time. However, the programme was usually interrupted by breaks during the day and a lunch break till 3pm.

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