Harding First President Heard on Radio 90 Years Ago

Friday, June 14 marks the 90th anniversary of the first president heard on the radio. President Warren G. Harding was the first chief executive to be heard on what was then a new technology.

As the History Channel reports, KDKA of Pittsburgh, Pa. was the first radio station in the United States to announce the winner of a presidential campaign — in this case the election of Harding in 1920.  On June 14, 1923, Harding delivered the first radio address at a dedication to the memorial site of Francis Scott Key, the composer of the “Star Spangled Banner.” Harding was also the first president to own a radio.

Three years later, President Calvin Coolidge delivered the first presidential address specifically made for radio. The Right Frequency explains how presidents used this technology when it was in its infancy.

“Thus, even small government conservative President Calvin Coolidge saw the need for some government regulation here, signing the Radio Act of 1927, making the airwaves
the property of the public that would be licensed by the newly established Federal Radio Commission. The FRC divided the radio spectrum and issued licenses to broadcast on a specific frequency,” the Right Frequency says.

“Although Franklin D. Roosevelt was famous for his ‘fireside chats,’ the first president to use radio as an effective means of political communication was ironically Silent Cal. Coolidge’s 1923 State of the Union address was the first broadcast over the radio, and he continued to give at least one radio address per month,” the book continues.

Click here to order The Right Frequency.

Explore posts in the same categories: Early Voices

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