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Radio and Television Program Directors


Radio broadcasting in the United States began after World War I. The first commercial radio station, KDKA in Pittsburgh, came on the air in 1920 with a broadcast of presidential election returns. About a dozen radio stations were broadcasting by 1921. In 1926, the first national network linked stations across the country. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), there were 15,473 radio stations in the United States as of June 30, 2020.

The first public demonstration of television in the United States came in 1939 at the opening of the New York World's Fair. Further development was limited during World War II, but by 1953 there were about 120 stations. There were 1,385 commercial television stations in the United States as of June 30, 2016. according to the FCC.

In 2009, the FCC required all television broadcast stations to switch their broadcasts from analog to digital (known as high-definition television), which carries more information. Many stations are now using digital recording devices and computers for editing and storage, and many major network shows now use digital cameras and equipment. Radio is also transitioning to digital broadcasting, such as through satellite radio services that listeners subscribe to. 

Today, many people are also watching television and cable programming and listening to radio stations on the Internet via computers, tablet computers, and smartphones. 

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