National Public Radio Day – May 3, 2023

National Public Radio Day is celebrated on May 3 every year. This day is set aside to celebrate public radio stations and community radio organizations that have come a long way in informing, entertaining, and shaping our local communities. The holiday seeks to remind our internet-loving society of the importance of radio.

History of National Public Radio Day

It would be impossible to talk about the origin of National Public Radio Day without mentioning the technological invention itself. The radio we know began its evolution in the early 1900s, employed majorly for government and military activities.

The first non-governmental radio broadcasting started in 1916. It was initiated by a station at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, called 9XM — presently known as WHA. However, these broadcasts were not voices or music but rather morse code signals. The incident of the first World War halted all non-governmental radio broadcasts in 1917.

The end of the war heralded the beginning of a new era for radio. With the radio’s ability to transmit both voices and music — technology had advanced. Radio stations were primarily employed for academic reasons by colleges and universities in the 1920s. By the 1940s, the lowest set of numbers in the F.M. spectrum had been picked for educational and non-profit reasons, which served as the impetus for creating Public Radio apart in due course.

In 1967, President Johnson validated the Public Broadcasting Act, which induced the creation of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (C.P.B.). The establishment of the C.P.B. helped validate the association between public radio stations leading to the formation of the National Public Radio (N.P.R.). An organization that has progressed since then and today is a prominent media organization that sources and controls informative and educational media content in the U.S. The origins of National Public Radio Day are unknown, but it was first observed in the 1990s — clearly influenced by the UNESCO-recognized World Radio Day in February.

National Public Radio Day timeline

1900s
Radio Broadcast Morse Codes

The government uses the radio to broadcast morse signals.

1916
9XM Makes a Non-Governmental Broadcast

A station at the University of Wisconsin in Madison called 9XM makes the first regular, non-governmental broadcast.

1940s
Low F.M. Bands

The lower set of numbers in the F.M band serves educational and non-commercial purposes.

1990s
National Public Radio Day Surfaces

The National Public Radio Day celebrations begin.

National Public Radio Day FAQs

What was a radio first called??

The first radio was called the ‘wireless telegraph.’

Who invented the F.M. radio?

Edwin Howard Armstrong, an American electrical engineer and inventor, developed the F.M. radio.

How much did a radio cost in the 1920s?

A new radio cost over $200 in the 1920s, which is the equivalent of $2,577.00 today.

National Public Radio Day Activities

  1. Tune in to your favorite station

    One of the best ways of celebrating National Public Radio Day is to tune in to programs on-air or online. Now’s a great time to readily participate.

  2. Celebrate on social platforms

    Engage with posts celebrating National Public Radio Day and share your posts to show you are celebrating the event. You can also mention your local radio station to give them a boost in listenership.

  3. Watch virtual studio sessions and performances

    Virtual performances and studio sessions are quite entertaining to watch. By watching, you count as being an active participant in the event.

5 Interesting Facts About Public Radio

  1. The U.S. has 100s

    There are about 700 public radio stations in the U.S.

  2. Home to classic music

    97% of classical music on the air is found on public radio stations.

  3. It likely started in the 1990s

    National Public Music Radio Day seems to have begun in the 1990s.

  4. Disney participated too

    IHeartRadio and Radio Disney were among the social media participants of the event in 2015.

  5. #NationalRadioDay trended on Twitter

    National Public Radio Day trended on Twitter with over 22,000 tweets.

Why We Love National Public Radio Day

  1. Enjoy classical music

    We get to enjoy old classical tunes and dance along. It’s also an opportunity to listen to a wide variety of music and songs from underground artists.

  2. The radio keeps us informed

    Public radio keeps us up to date on events in our towns, cities, and the country as a whole. We are delighted to express our gratitude.

  3. Encourage donations to our local radio stations

    These non-profit radio stations have no sponsors and could sometimes be low on funds. We encourage people to support the local stations in their communities by donating to them.

National Public Radio Day dates

YearDateDay
2022May 3Tuesday
2023May 3Wednesday
2024May 3Friday
2025May 3Saturday
2026May 3Sunday

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