CBN History: Radio/Broadcasting Timeline

1888: Heinrich Hertz detects and produces radio waves.

1894: Marchese Guglielmo Marconi builds his first radio equipment, a device that will ring a bell from 30 ft. away.

1899: Marconi establishes first radio link between England and France.

1900: American scientist R.A. Fessenden transmists human speech via radiowaves.

1901: Marconi transmits telegraphic radio messages from Cornwall to Newfoundland

1903: Valdemar Poulsen patents an arc transmission that generates continuous radio waves, producing a frequency of 100 kHz and receivable over 150 miles.

1904: First radio transmission of music at Graz, Austria.

1905: Marconi invents the directional radio antennae.

1906: First radio program of voice and music broadcast in the U.S. (by R.A. Fessenden)

1907: Fessenden invents a high-frequency electric generator that produces radio waves with a frequency of 100 kHz.

1908: GE develops a 100 kHz, 2 kW alternator for radio communication.

1910: Radio communications gain publicity when the captain of the Montrose alerts Scotland via radio of an escaping criminal.

1913: The cascade-tuning radio receiver and the heterodyne receiver are introduced.

1914: Edwin Armstrong patents a radio receiver circuit with positive feedback. Part of the amplified high-frequency signal is fed back to the tuning circuit to enhance selectivity and sensitivity.

1918: Armstrong develops the superheterodyne radio receiver. The principle for this receiver is the basis for all radio receivers now in use.
A 200 kW alternator starts operating at Station NFF, the Naval station in New Brunswick NJ, which was the most powerful radio transmitter of the time.

1919: Shortwave radio is developed.
RCA is founded.

1920: KDKA broadcasts the first regular licensed radio broadcast out of Pittsburgh, PA.

1921: RCA starts operating Radio Central on Long Island.
The American Radio League establishes contact via a shortwave radio with Paul Godley in Scotland, proving that shortwave radio can be used for long distance communication.

1922: March: WWJ, an AM station in Detroit, offers the University of Michigan broadcasting rights for extension lectures.

1923: UM's Professor Dreese submits a proposal for several UM operated stations. His proposal was tabled by the Regents, who were not concerned with radio at the time.

1924: Dreese instead runs experimental station WCBC as a project in the basement of West Engineering. This project died at the end of the academic year.

1925: WJR-AM offers educational broadcasting spots to the UM. The UM continued to broadcast on WWJ as well.

1928: A radio statio in NYC, WRNY begins to broadcast television shows.

1931: The UM School of Music pursues the idea of radio as education. It taught school band lessons via radio.

1933: Educational programming originating at the UM grows.
The Regents of the UM become interested in radio.
WJR cuts the UM's educational broadcasts for commercial broadcasting.
Edward Armstrong patents wide-band frequency modulation (FM radio).

1935: FM radio is born, but only in mono.

1938: The FCC sets aside educational/non-profit bandwidth on FM.

1941: Oct.10: Columbia University's Radio Club opens the first regularly scheduled FM station.

1943: The UM decides it needs an FM station, and expresses a commitment to radio broadcasting.

1945: Television is born. FM is moved from its original home of 42-50 Mhz to 88-108 Mhz to make room for TV.

1946: There are six TV stations in the nation.

1948: The UM starts its first station, known as Michigan Radiom or WUOM.
The Regents publish a mandate for broadcasting.
WOUM is no outlet for studen broadcasting, so student radio clubs form and create small studios in East Quadrangle and West Quadrangle. These studios broadcast on AM to their respective buildings via carrier current.

1950: A small studio is created in the newly-erected South Quadrangle.

1952: Sony offers a miniature transistor radio. This is one of the first mass-produced consumer AM/FM radios.
The studios in the UM dormitories jorn forces, and "The Campus Broadcasting Network" is born as WCBN-AM.

1953: Advertising is accepted on WCBN-AM.

1954: The number of radio receivers in the world exceeds the number of newspapers printed daily.

1956: WCBN hosts the first National Association of College Broadcasters.

1957: CBN moves into the new Student Activities Building, and its studios start to become centralized.
Allan Ginsberg's controvesial poem, "Howl" is broadcast for the first time.

1961: FCC approves FM stereo broadcasting, which spurs FM development.

1962: United States radio stations begin broadcasting in stereophonic sound.

1965: WCBN studios are completely centralized in the SAB. CBN's identity becomes stronger as its programming becomes increasingly eclectic and challenging.

1969: WCBN starts to think about purchasing an FM transmitter.
FM is deemed necessary to reach off-campus students and the community at large. CBN's audience is a different audience from WUOM's, so there would be no competition.
February: WCBN's Program Director announces that programming will be designed to meet the needs of the audience, not the needs of the air staff.

1970: The Inter-Cooperative Council (ICC) has a CBN carrier current loop installed into its North Campus residence.

1971: FM plans are finalized for WCBN.
February: The UM Regents approves plans for WCBN-FM, and building begins.

1972: January 23 :WCBN-FM 89.5 FM is born, broadcasting at 10 watts.
WCBN-AM is maintained, and adopts a "60's Gold" format.

1977: Frequency change for WCBN takes place (from 89.5FM to 88.3FM).
November: The Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks is released. "Things change." --Ken Freedman

1978: U-M President Robben Fleming urges that WCBN should be used only for educational purposes and restricted to students only.

1979: February: First WCBN fundraiser is organized by Ann Rebentisch, and raises $5,000.

1980: CBN plays "It's my Party" by Leslie Gore for 18 hours straight the day after Reagan is elected.

1981: FCC complaint against CBN filed by disgruntled staffers. The FCC takes it very seriously but does not level a fine.

1986: In Europe, FM radio stations begin to use the subcarrier signal of FM radio to transmit digital data. This RDS (radio data system) is used to transmit messages on display screens to radios.

1987: At WJJX (WCBN's AM counterpart), a student DJ is fired for broadcasting a series of racist jokes.

1988: The U-M decides to oust non-students from WCBN.
WCBN airs Allan Ginsberg's Howl.

1992: In Paris an experimental digital FM transmitter begins operation.

1993: In the US, FM radio stations begin to use the RDS already in place in Europe.