The Importance of Radio Broadcasting in Emergencies

According to Radio magazine, radio broadcasting has a long tradition that extends beyond Tesla, Marconi, and Armstrong, and includes developments in communication and technology. The website AmericanRadioHistory.com covers some of the main dates in radio’s history. The earliest types of radiotelegraphy systems are described there. Visit new radio station for Tampa.

In reality, the early 1920s marks a watershed moment in radio telegraph history: The following were presented at the time as the foundation for public radio network broadcasting and even early television programming: In 1925, scientists were experimenting with televisions to provide video content disseminated to a distributed audience through radio transmissions on specified channels.

A radio station’s AM broadcasting was set in motion by an early audio transmission. In the 1930s, stations started to use FM radio to solve AM radio’s interference issues, as its band offered a more clear-cut audio sound through the air as radio waves from a transmitter to an antenna. Digital radio and satellite direct broadcasting were not introduced to Americans until the 2000s (DBS).

Radio and television broadcasting (telecasting) had become an important part of the American way of life by the 1930s.

Early amateur radio broadcasted information in Morse code during the previous decade, the 1920s; a sequence of on-off tones provided contact on telegraph wires, undersea cables, and radio circuits for transmitting emergency signals. During World War II, radio telegraphy using Morse code was critical. Mayday calls were also made over the radio to signal a life-threatening situation. A fire, an explosion, or a sinking vessel or aircraft were all declared with a three-times-repeated signal (“Mayday Mayday Mayday”); the distress call was broadcast to summon help in an emergency.

Early amateur radio broadcasting was done with a device known as a ham radio, and by the 1940s, a range of frequencies (set aside for commercial, police, and government use only) enabled one-way and two-way communication. In the case of an emergency, such as a natural disaster, the ham radio served as an emergency broadcast device to get the message out to the broader community. According to the ARRL (American Radio Relay League), the national association for amateur radio, the Titanic’s SOS (amateur distress call) in April 1912 used a radio ham, as noted on its website on “Ham Radio History.”

CONELRAD (Control of Electromagnetic Radiation) was a form of public emergency broadcasting in the 1950s; the CONELRAD system (used during the Cold War) was replaced in the 1960s by the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS), which was later replaced in the 1990s by the Emergency Alert System (EAS). Regardless of name changes, each acted as a national alert device for the American public in the event of war or a serious national crisis, as well as local weather emergencies. When a tragic situation occurred, such broadcasting systems played a critical role in providing the requisite warning and message to a community. In turn, it declared an emergency broadcast response that could save lives and provide instructions in the event of an evacuation.

To this day, radio broadcasting remains the most widely used medium for disseminating civil emergency alerts to the general public.
It has been widely accepted throughout history as a mass communication medium for information, particularly during times of severe weather and even threats related to wars. In reality, radio communication will continue even if other forms of communication fail or when there is no electricity. Furthermore, it is a medium to which everybody has access. Transmitting real-time alerts to people in the event of an emergency demonstrates that, even in the age of computers and mobile devices, communications devices like radios can still be extremely useful in emergencies.