Harold J. Power (born 1893) was fascinated as a young boy by the experiments of radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi and like many others of the time was determined to repeat them for himself. He built his first radio receiver when only 10 years old, and by the age of 12, was operating an amateur radio transmitter from his home in Everett, Massachusetts. By the time he attended Tufts College near Boston, Power had built and transmitted with several types of radio set, and he used the knowledge he had gained to finance his college tuition by teaching the technology of radio at a nearby high school. Power graduated from Tufts with a degree in Engineering in 1914.
Still fascinated with radio, Power and several of his fellow Tufts graduates formed a company dedicated to improving existing receiver design and advancing radio technology. With the help of two of his former professors, Power was able to obtain some land and a small building on the Tufts campus at Medford Hillside and The American Radio and Research Corporation (AMRAD) was founded in 1915.
Finance and growth
The meeting of Power with millionaire banker J. P. Morgan
An experimental station began broadcasting using callsign 1XE in 1917, but like all experimental stations, transmission was soon interrupted by World War I. Transmitting restarted after the war, and the station began regular voice and music broadcasts in 1919, making it one of the first radio stations to broadcast regular programming in the USA. In 1922, the station received its first commercial licence, along with the WGI callsign.
Longtime Boston radio and TV personality Bob Emery began his career at WGI.
Decline and fall
WGI became bankrupt and went out of business in 1925.
There are several other radio stations, which along with WGI can claim in some way to be the "first" broadcast radio station, resulting in some confusion and no little controversy (see also Historical controversy). These stations include:
- XWA (now defunct) in Montreal, Quebec (December 1, 1919)
- WWV originally in Washington D.C. (May 1920)
- 8MK (now WWJ) in Detroit, Michigan (August 20, 1920)
- KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (November 2, 1920)
- WBZ originally in Springfield, Massachusetts (September 1921)
- Erik Barnouw, A History of Broadcasting in the United States p35-36
- Vern A. Dubendorf Wireless Data Technologies p6
- United States Early Radio History (website)
- Boston Globe 27 March 1916, p8 Music Sent By The Wireless
- Boston Sunday Post 07 November 1920, Woman's Section: Talking by Wireless as You Travel by Train or Motor
- Radio Digest 1930, p44 Dawn of Radio