Today, (August 20) is national radio day and we are celebrating a great invention that has been an enduring part of our everyday lives for nearly a century.

I'm in my 30th year of radio broadcasting and have seen plenty of changes in the industry over the past three decades.From records and reel-to-reels to 8-tracks, cassettes, CD's, to today's digital age. I feel privileged to be a part of something that affects so many people on daily basis, and happy to be celebrating National Radio Day.

Although radio was invented in the 1800s, the first commercial radio station is widely recognized as Pittsburgh's KDKA, which started broadcasting in 1920 out of Frank Conrad's garage. According to earlyradiohistory.com, the earliest broadcasts were for the purpose of announcing election returns.

Since then, radio has been used to broadcast everything from music and news, to sporting events, dramatic programs and comedy, and presidential addresses. Here are more cool radio facts.

  • There are currently more than 15,000 licensed, full-power radio stations in the United States, more than double the number of stations in existence in 1970. That figure represents nearly one-third of all the stations in the world. In Colorado, there are 295 radio stations.
  • Although a number of inventions and discoveries were required to make radio broadcasting possible, Guglielmo Marconi and Nikola Tesla have both been called the "Father of Radio". Marconi who, at age 23, sent a radio signal across the English Channel in 1899, but Tesla was a major player in the research, experimentation, and development of radio. [radiohistory.com]
  • According to newsgeneration.com, radio reaches more than 90% of the people in the United States on a weekly basis.
  • In 1922, Warren G. Harding was the first president to have his voice heard on the radio. He was addressing a crowd at a dedication for a memorial site for Francis Scott Key, composer of "The Star Spangled Banner." Three years later, Calvin Coolidge became the first president to issue a radio-specific address to the American people.[History.com]
  • Around the world, there are more than 2 billion radio sets in use. That's about one radio for every 3 people. [Did You Know]