In 1900, the radio was intiated into the 20th century by American engineer Reginald A Fessenden who transmitted the first human voice by radio to a receiver over a mile away in 1900. On 12 December 1901, Italian physicist Gugielmo Marconi sent and received the first wireless transmissions over the Atlantic. He later founded the American Marconi Company later to become the Radio Corporation of America. Small, short-range transmissions were sent out to dispatch news, forming the basis of radio and television "news flashes". The quality and quantity of the transmissions were to continually increase in the coming decades.
During World War 1 all use of wireless transmission was under government control. The need to reduce interference during voice transmission furthered research into the development of the radio. David Sarnoff and the American Marconi Company (AMC) radio music box made the radio a household item. The power of radio to relay information across the airwaves at incomparable speed was discovered by accident. Sarnoff, while working for Marconi Wireless Company in 1912, picked up distress signals from the sinking S.S. Titanic. Marconi immediately conveyed the story to the newspapers. This aided the rescue effort by being able to respond quickly, and dramatically decreased the usual "lag time" or the time it took for the report to reach the press.
the Twenties, with roughly 3 million Americans owning radios by 1923. Most listeners
still used crystal sets with earphones to receive news and bulletins, advertising
and music. The appeal of the spoken word attracted audiences and advertisers,
while publishers were forced to improve upon its image to retain profits. Television,
capable of wireless transmission of moving pictures, was first demonstrated
in 1926, combining sight and sound to rival radio.
The radio brought together the rich and the poor, of every race, nationality or creed in one audience rather than in many separate readerships in the print media. During the Great Depression, radio advertising revenues doubled (while newspaper and magazine profits were halved), because radio could reach a large national audience. Radio continued to focus on entertainment then news, until World War II where newscasts on the radio became more prominent.
Radio became the dominant form of media during and after World War II, as it could provide war information much faster than newspapers, and people desired current news of the war situation and of their relatives fighting overseas. Radio was also more economical, as it was a one-time investment of a radio set. Newspapers still supplied daily information and advertising, but continued consolidation of newspapers caused the public to question whether the press was being controlled and standardised by a few press lords such as William Randolph Hearst. Despite concern, large media groups would continue to grow throughout the 1940s.