• "KZN Radio Station." William Jennings Bryan standing outside Radio Station KZN prior to delivering an address over the air on Oct. 25, 1922. Courtesy Utah State Historical Society, via Mountain West Digital Library.

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    "KZN Radio Station." William Jennings Bryan standing outside Radio Station KZN prior to delivering an address over the air on Oct. 25, 1922.
    • Date
    • 1922-10-25
    • Description
    • William Jennings Bryan standing outside Radio Station KZN prior to delivering an address over the air on Oct. 25, 1922. Left to right: Nathan O. Fullmer; Mrs. D.C. Dunbar; Mrs. R. L.L.Collier; Mr. Bryan; Dan B. Shields, Democratic County Chiarman; Mr... more
      William Jennings Bryan standing outside Radio Station KZN prior to delivering an address over the air on Oct. 25, 1922. Left to right: Nathan O. Fullmer; Mrs. D.C. Dunbar; Mrs. R. L.L.Collier; Mr. Bryan; Dan B. Shields, Democratic County Chiarman; Mrs. B.W. Musser; E.S. Woodruff, General Manager, Deseret News; and R. F. Homer, Circulation Manager, Des.News. Courtesy: Nathan O. Fullmer, SLC. Used on UHQ, Spring, 1964.. Used on "Utah Historical Quarterly," Spring, 1964 less
    • Rights
    • Digital Image © 2008 Utah State Historical Society. All Rights Reserved.
    • Partner
    • Mountain West Digital Library
      Utah State Historical Society
    • Contributing Institution
    • Utah State Historical Society

  • "Mobile news correspondents conducting interview," 1940s. Courtesy Georgia State University Libraries, Special Collections, via Digital Library of Georgia. 

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    "Mobile news correspondents conducting interview," 1940s.
    • Date
    • 1940/1949
    • Description
    • WSB mobile news reporters interview an unidentified man among a group of people. Local identification number: M004_0187. WSB Radio Records.
    • Rights
    • Http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-EDU/1.0/. Cite as: M004_0187, WSB Radio Records, Popular Music and Culture Collection, Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library. This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights... more
      Http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-EDU/1.0/. Cite as: M004_0187, WSB Radio Records, Popular Music and Culture Collection, Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library. This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. In addition, no permission is required from the rights-holder(s) for educational uses. For other uses, you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s). less
    • Partner
    • Digital Library of Georgia
    • Contributing Institution
    • Georgia State University. Libraries. Special Collections

  • "People listening to a car radio for news outside of Parkland Hospital." This image shows a Texas Department of Public Safety officer waiting next to his car to hear news of President Kennedy's condition on November 22, 1963. Courtesy The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, via The Portal to Texas History. 

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    "People listening to a car radio for news outside of Parkland Hospital." This image shows a Texas Department of Public Safety officer waiting next to his car to hear news of President Kennedy's condition on November 22, 1963.
    • Date
    • 1963-11-22
    • Creator
    • Dallas Times Herald.
    • Description
    • Original black and white photographic negative taken by an unidentified Dallas Times Herald staff photographer. This image shows Hurchel Jacks, a Texas Department of Public Safety officer, waiting next to his car to hear news of President Kennedy's c... more
      Original black and white photographic negative taken by an unidentified Dallas Times Herald staff photographer. This image shows Hurchel Jacks, a Texas Department of Public Safety officer, waiting next to his car to hear news of President Kennedy's condition outside of Parkland Hospital on November 22, 1963. Mr. Jacks was the driver of Vice President Lyndon Johnson's car in the motorcade. Members of the crowd at Parkland can be seen in the background. 1 photograph : negative, b 35 mm. less
    • Rights
    • The contents of The Portal to Texas History (digital content including images, text, and sound and video recordings) are made publicly available by the collection-holding partners for use in research, teaching, and private study. For the full terms o... more
      The contents of The Portal to Texas History (digital content including images, text, and sound and video recordings) are made publicly available by the collection-holding partners for use in research, teaching, and private study. For the full terms of use, see https://texashistory.unt.edu/terms-of-use/ less
    • Partner
    • The Portal to Texas History
    • Contributing Institution
    • The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.

KDKA Pittsburgh: The first news program

The 1920 presidential election was notable for a number of reasons. A landslide victory of Republican nominee Warren G. Harding was due in no small part to the first national election to include women voters, who had recently won the right to suffrage through the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment earlier that year. Election Day, November 2, 1920, also marked the beginning of news radio as we know it today.

The radio station KDKA, which broadcasted from the rooftop of a Westinghouse Electric building in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, became the first licensed commercial radio station to produce a news program. Their launch was timed to allow listeners to learn the results of the election closer to real time, without having to wait to read about it in the newspaper.

After being issued the first-ever radio license by the US Department of Commerce on October 27, 1920, the station chose the KDKA handle—the next set of call letters available on the roster of station identifiers, which were then used for ships and marine stations. After teaming up with the Pittsburgh Post newspaper to get the election results via telephone, their election-night coverage began at 6 pm. With four men on staff, they broadcasted the election results to approximately 1,000 of the nation's first news radio listeners.

The historic newscast was a hit and ultimately changed the way people received information. It instilled a greater sense of immediacy to the news, as radio shared stories with the public as they unfolded. It helped alter print media, too; instead of writers focusing on simply capturing the headline stories, journalists now had more room to delve into deeper and more complex features. Over the next several decades, scheduled news broadcasts became regular radio features on burgeoning networks, many of which, including ABC, NBC and CBS, still exist today.