When was AM and FM radio invented?

Radio devices have a very long and burning history. Namely, the radio technology has intrigued many of the world’s greatest minds and made them do researches. That is why today we have the best radio technology that is able to fascinate anyone. Could you imagine that the roots of radios actually start in the early 1895 when they were first invented? Pretty fascinating!

In today’s article, we will be discussing the whole history of AM and FM radios, mainly focusing on how and when they were invented.

When was AM and FM radio invented?
Photo: amazon.com

The beginning

The biggest impact on discovering radio technology had Hans Christian Oersted. He was the first one to come to the conclusion that the magnetic field creates electromagnetic waves. In fact, Oersted was the first scientist ever to discover and eventually study the principle of electromagnetic induction. This has had a huge impact on the later development of radios.

When we think about it, Oersted has come up with this theory in the early 1820s, and it will take a hundred years more for a radio device to be created.

When was AM and FM radio inventedGuglielmo Marconi
Photo: thoughtco

Guglielmo Marconi was yet another person that has had a huge impact on the early development of the radio technology. Namely, once he figured out how electromagnetic waves work, he decided to present them to the world. In other words, Macroni was having small broadcasts in his backyard. He has soon created a company of his own whose main business was transmitting and broadcasting short wireless electromagnetic signals.

There is no doubt that Marconi was the first person in the whole wide world who is transmitting these types of signals back in the 1900s. Soon after that, the whole world will start using radios, but more on that later.

Generally speaking, the radio device was invented somewhere in between Macroni’s invention, and the 1920s. You are about to find out what happened in the 20s, and how that affected the popularity of the radios.


The roaring 20s

After the world pandemic, people have finally gotten the ability to go out and have fun. That is why the 1920s are also known as the roaring 20s. At that time radio devices’ popularity has begun to go up massively. Many civilians have been looking for radio devices to purchase and use it for their own purposes. Until then, radio devices have usually been used only by the government or people with a high function.

However, the 20s have completely changed that. To be more precise, some radio stations have started to appear, and there were many broadcasts to which people could tune into and listen. Actually, the 20s were certainly the golden, best age of radio technology.

In the 1920s popular media such as BBC has started their own broadcasts in the UK and in the USA, as well as Canada. These were soon known as the most popular radio station broadcasts across the world. The sales of radio devices went up once again.

When the advertising companies have started to put radios into their commercials, the popularity of the radio technology grew even more. Back then, having a radio was considered a luxury, and if you had one at your home you were an elite part of the group, the richest.

These devices were used to gather families and friends, and are known for being a great source of entertainment. As the years have been passing, almost every household in the US has had at last one radio device in their possession.

How Radio Was Invented

The development of AM and FM radios during wars

As you probably know, shortwave radios have been used back then as a way of communication. It’s needless to say that during the World War two, every country, and even civilians have been using radios as their primary source of communication. Some even used it as their primary source of entertainment.

But, politically speaking, these radios have played a huge role in the war and served a greater purpose to the US military. Namely, the communication between allies was enabled, even overseas communication. On top of that, valuable information has been transmitted through radio devices back then.

In order to get the people on board to support the world war two, and to mobilize as many men as possible, the US government has even used these radios as a way of communicating with civilians. The goal was to inform the nation of what is happening in the world, and the goal was accomplished.

As the time has passed by, AM shortwave radio stations have slowly begun to be replaced with FM ones.

One of the most popular things that people back then were listening to on the radio was certainly the “Top-40” music playlist that has entertained many. Since everyone needed a little cheer-up time during the war, it’s needless to say that we understand why this type of broadcast was the most popular one among the listeners.

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FM and AM radios today

All of us are aware that the usage of radio technology has certainly dropped in the modern age. It was actually replaced by a far more advanced technology that any modern person might need. But, the good thing is that there are still many shortwave radio stations left. On the other hand, FM radio stations are far more popular than the shortwave ones in the modern age. Namely, many people love to listen to popular radio stations with the news or music.

But, the radio popularity is certainly not the same as it was 70 years ago. It has now been replaced by the internet, music platforms such as Spotify or Deezer, and similar streaming services.

Another great thing about radios is that shortwave radios are somewhat being used on construction sites or on similar jobs as these ones. Handheld radios could still be seen around since they are pretty practical, and are usually the same size as a modern smartphone.

Final thoughts of the when was the radio invented

The invention of electromagnetic waves and radio technology, later on, has certainly changed the course of the future. It’s needless to say that our presence would not be the same if it has not been for people such as Macroni or Oersted who were curious enough to start exploring and experimenting more.

Who knows what would have happened in the war if people back then did not have enough communication devices to communicate with each other frequently and clearly. And lastly, we might not have the necessary technology that we do have today if it all has not started back then with the invention of AM and FM radios.

All that’s left is to see whether or not these radios will be just as popular in the future, or will there be new, even more, advanced technology discovered. However it may be, we are looking forward to the future!


  1. Who invented the radio Tesla or Marconi?

Both of these scientists have given their contribution to radio technology. History books are not quite sure who has invented radios since Tesla has been talking about wireless transmission back in 1893. On the other hand, Marconi has had a similar idea a few years later.

  1. Is the radio invention date known?

Some history book says that the first-ever known radio model has invented somewhere in the timeframe of 1895-1896.

  1. When was the development of AM and FM radio?

Both AM and FM radios have gotten their popularity between the 1920-1950s. We could say that their development has certainly happened in that time frame of 30 years.

  1. When was FM radio popularized?

FM radios have slowly started to replace the AM radios. Their popularity has started to grow in the mid-40s and has reached its highlight during the 50s and the 60s. We could say that they were so popular back then since they were a much cheaper alternative to shortwave, AM radios and we’re offering quite a few more features than the shortwave ones. People have slowly started to turn to this newer technology, and shortwave radios have been slowly obsolete. read more when did FM radio become popular.



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