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Broadcasting can lay claim to being the most significant revolution in communication of the twentieth century, along with the invention of the internal combustion engine and the telephone. It changed the relationship between what had been thought of as ‘private’ and what was ‘public’ and brought a new social dimension to communication which is still developing.

But the innovators of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century could not have foreseen the social impact of their early experiments in the recording, playback and transmission of sound and pictures.

The first developments in what came to be called radio – wireless telegraphy and wireless telephony – tried to send messages from one fixed point to another, a feat accomplished by the Italian-born scientist Guglielmo Marconi in 1901. ...

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