Data + Design Project

Visualizing the History of Radio

Friday 02.10.2012 , Posted by
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Since its discovery by Nikola Tesla in the late 1800s, radio has vastly influenced the world, changing how we get our news, how we communicate and how we entertain ourselves. This informative and entertaining graphic looks at the evolution of the technology from its birth to the modern age of internet radio, looking at how it has adapted to different times and uses.

Originally radio was seen as a communications tool, with one of its first uses being ship to shore safety communication. Coincidentally, the US passed legislation requiring all US ships traveling over 200 miles off the coast to carry a radio the same year the Titanic made its fateful voyage. Later, with the organization of radio stations into distinct frequencies, the radio became a household source for news, stories and entertainment during the 1920s and the Great Depression that gripped the US. Families would sit, huddled around the radio, much like we do around computers and TVs today.

Radio morphed once again following the invention of the TV, when programming made a mass exodus to the new technology. Radio programming adapted by emphasizing music based shows, giving rise to the DJ and producing pop culture icons like never before. Not long after, at the beginning of the space age, radio started transmitting data, beginning an era of quick, world-wide communication.

Today radio has seen its biggest transition yet, broadcasting to the internet and being accessible world-wide on nearly any portable devise. With companies like Pandora, Spotify, Sirius and the creators of this graphic, Sonos, the world has never been so well supplied with audio based information and entertainment. Where will the next years of radio take us?

Click here or the image below for a full-sized view:

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Benjamin Starr

Written by Benjamin Starr



Known in some circles as the most amazing man in the universe, he once saved an entire family of muskrats from a sinking, fire engulfed steamboat while recovering from two broken arms relating to a botched no-chute wingsuit landing in North Korea. When not impressing people with his humbling humility, he can be found freelance writing, finding shiny objects on the internet, enjoying the company of much-appreciated friends and living out his nomadic nature. He is Managing Editor of Visual News. Follow his movements on Twitter:

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