Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
KDKA's roots began with the efforts of Frank Conrad who operated KDKA's predecessor 75 watt 8XK from Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania from 1916. Although 8XK is widely believed to have been the first American radio station to conduct regularly scheduled broadcasts, the issue is disputed. Contenders for initial broadcasts include the stations operated by Charles Herrold of San Jose, California who used several different call signs over time: FN, SJN, 6XF, and 6XE, and eventually KQW (which would become KCBS). Other early stations include Lee De Forest's 2XG in New York, Harold J. Power 's 1XE in Boston, Massachusetts, 2XN from the City College of New York, 2ZK in New Rochelle, New York, and 8MK in Detroit, Michigan (now WWJ).
Conrad's musical offerings proved unexpectedly popular and his operations continued until his employer, the Westinghouse Electric Company, realized the potential of this new medium and applied for an official broadcasting license in 1920, granted on October 27. The KDKA callsign was assigned sequentially from a list maintained for the use of US-registry maritime stations, and on November 2, 1920, KDKA broadcast the US presidential election returns from a Westinghouse building in East Pittsburgh. There is some indication that the new license had not been received by that date, and the station may have gone online with the experimental call sign of 8ZZ that night.
KDKA became a full-service radio broadcaster, carrying music, news, and sports, a format that continued until 1990.
Today, KDKA is a news and talk radio station. It broadcasts 24 hours per day with 50,000 watts using a non-directional antenna, both day and night. Its transmitter is located in Allison Park, Pennsylvania .
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