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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: Radio, then called the ‘radiophone,’ was becoming so popular that the Chronicle predicted it could rival the telephone

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )
(Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )

The Spokane Daily Chronicle said a new electronic technology – radio – might have an impact as profound as the telephone.

“The radiophone is as remarkable an instrument as the telephone in its day, and may yet play an important part in securing the fresh news for the Chronicle, as do the telephone and telegraph,” the paper wrote.

The Chronicle was indulging in a bit of self-promotion, since it was in the process of building its own radio transmitter in the Review tower, scheduled to go on the air in weeks.

Yet the public’s excitement about radio was real. Demand for radio sets (still referred to as “radiophones”) was so strong that retailers were having trouble keeping up. Many people were buying parts and building their own radio receivers.

Spokane’s first commercial radio station, operated by the Doerr-Mitchell Store, had been broadcasting for more than a month. The Chronicle sponsored a musical broadcast on that station a day prior that had been “clearly received over the receiving stations” throughout the city and beyond.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1981: Pope John Paul II was shot and seriously wounded in St. Peter’s Square by Turkish assailant Mehmet Ali Agca.

2002: President George W. Bush announced that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin would sign a treaty to shrink their countries’ nuclear arsenals by two-thirds.

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