Monday, December 24, 2007

Radio anniversary

On this day just over 100 years ago - 24 December 1906 - the first audio radio broadcast of music took place in an experiment by Reginald Fessenden - the inventor of Amplitude Modulation (AM radio). Inevitably the first piece of music broadcast on AM was a Christmas song, with Fessenden playing O Holy Night on the violin and reading a passage, Luke Chapter 2, from the Bible. The transmission from Brant Rock, Massachusetts, was mainly heard by shipboard radio operators along the Atlantic Coast.

Listening to the radio in London today Christmas songs are still going strong, I just wish they didn't just play the obvious ones when there's so much good midwinter music, old and new. For the latter check out the Asthmatic Kitty website where an incredible 600 songs were submitted for the Sufjan Stevens Xmas Song Swap. Or visit Belle and Sebastian's myspace where on Christmas Day only you can download their new song 'Are you coming over for Christmas?'. For older stuff, take a look at the huge amount of material at the Hype Machine or Sir Shambling's great collection of soulful Christmas songs.

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