Today in media history: The dial telephone was 1896 cutting-edge technology

Here are four events that happened on this date and a trivia question.

August 20, 1896
A patent is filed for one of the most important devices in the history of reporting: the dial telephone. The following clip from the 1940 journalism movie “His Girl Friday” reminds us how reporters used this cutting-edge technology.

August 20, 1920
WWJ (8MK), one of the first commercial radio stations, goes on the air. The station was originally operated by The Detroit News. Newspapers around the country began buying or starting radio stations in the 1920s.

August 20, 1926
A syndicated newspaper column lists radio programs from around the country. Here are a few examples:

4:30 pm — WFAA — Dallas — Agricultural Program
5:30 pm — KDKA — Pittsburgh — Dinner Concert
6:00 pm — WSOE — Milwaukee — Sports; News
6:15 pm — WMAK — Philadelphia — Instrumental Trio
7:00 pm — WLS — Chicago — Lullaby Time
7:50 pm — WNYC — New York — Know Your City
8:00 pm — WWJ — Detroit — News
10:00 pm — WIL — St. Louis — Radio Vaudeville
11:00 pm — WTAM — Cleveland — Musical Program

August 20, 1956
The media reports on the first day of the Republican Convention in San Francisco. The following Universal Newsreel film describes the convention.

Media History Trivia Question
Name the New York mayor who read comic strips over the radio in 1945. (Answer)

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  • MarkMN

    On August 18, 1946, Minneapolis Mayor (and future vice-president) Hubert H. Humphrey read the comics from the Minneapolis Tribune newspaper on radio station WCCO (830 on your AM dial). This was part of the “Stay At Home” campaign during the polio outbreak. (The Minnesota State Fair was cancelled that year because of the Polio outbreak).