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Where Did the Term Broadcasting Come From?


The term broadcasting is a word that has a very modern application because of the modern technologies that it helped to define. But the term itself has been in existence for a long time -- centuries, in fact. The term broadcasting originally described a planting method where a farmer scatters -- also referred to as "broadcasts" -- seeds over a large swathe of land prepared for planting. During the infancy of radio, there were some engineers who realized that sending transmissions to be picked up by radio owners is similar to the farming method of scattering seeds on a field, thus the term broadcasting was used to also refer to radio transmissions broadcast in a wide field.


When Gugliemo Marconi, the Italian inventor, began his work on a device that would enable wireless communication, his main objective was to implement much needed improvements on the closed circuit technology that is being used for the telegraph and for the telephone. Marconi called this radiotelegraphy, which still used the basic concepts of Morse code. At this point, broadcasting actual voices and music is still a distant technology that would only appear years away.


The United States' further work on Marconi's wireless company was the time when the technology to transmit voices and music became ironed out and perfected. A number of radio stations began transmitting using a broadcast antenna in the 1900s, a time when only a few people owned radios. By 1910, the technology has matured enough that amateur radio clubs were established all throughout the United States. Its members sought to capture the broadcasts of radio station in far flung places.

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