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  • 1914

    The Man Who Gave Us 9XM

    Electrical Engineering Professor Edward Bennett applied for WPR’s first broadcast license from the U.S. Department of Commerce. He was granted “9XM” in 1914: “9” for the north central region of the country, “X” for experimental, and “M” for Madison. The…
  • 1915

    It Started with Science

    Wisconsin Public Radio started as an experiment in Science Hall and Sterling Hall before moving to Radio Hall. UW-Madison Physics Professor Earle M. Terry borrowed Edward Bennett’s license for radio experimentation, 9XM, in 1915 and became a pioneer in early…
  • 1917

    Why 1917?

    In early 1917, a small group of Wisconsinites gathered at the Madison home of University of Wisconsin – Madison Physics Professor Earle Terry (pictured) to witness the launch of public broadcasting in the state. Although he had been successfully experimenting…
  • 1922
    BBC Logo

    BBC Created

    The British Broadcasting Corporation is established.
  • 1923

    The Game is On

    Wisconsin Public Radio broadcast its first “play by play” college basketball games in 1923.  Five games were heard during the spring, starting with the UW-Madison v. Michigan home game. According to Randall Davidson’s book, “9XM Talking,” the broadcasts could be…
  • 1923
    WHA Microphone

    A Sneaky Concert with Cellist Pablo Casals

    For some musicians, the growing popularity of radio had become a cause for concern. Some, including the manager of famous cellist Pablo Casals, regarded radio as a threat to his client’s livelihood. Casals’ manager had forbade the artist from broadcast…
  • 1931

    Everybody’s “Pop”

    Delivering music through radio was a logical use of the new technology, but WPR’s School of the Air took things one step further, to teach music and music appreciation.  As host of Let’s Sing and Journeys in Music Land, Professor…
  • 1931
    Radio Hall on the UW-Madison campus

    A Proper Home

    As a former heating station for campus, Radio Hall needed significant renovation before it could accommodate WHA/WPR in the 1930s. A combination of federal New Deal and university funding  made the $18,232 project possible. The lobby’s Native American motif was…
  • 1931
    School of the Air Poster

    School of the Air

    The collaboration between public broadcasting and public instruction in Wisconsin expanded in the 1930s when WPR launched educational School of the Air programs to serve the more than 4,000 one-room schoolhouses in the state. Programs like “Let’s Sing,” “Let’s Draw,”…
  • 1932

    Our Longest Running Show

    Chapter A Day, which has been on the air since the 1930s, began when a guest canceled and the host decided to read from a book to fill the hour. Karl Schmidt’s first broadcast was on WHA-AM in 1942 and…
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