Authoring, Researching, Reporting, and Other Work
"The Little Station from Tuscola"
Illinois' First Commercial Radio Station,
In the corn fields near Tuscola, Illinois-- 1922
Radio Station 9JR (later renamed WDZ), Tuscola, Illinois
With its new equipment and generator. This photo was taken about 1922. The new equipment and generator on the left were for the 50 watt phase of WDZ. Next to it is the original 15 watt G.E. transmitter (with tubes). The next two panels are amplifiers and dial tuners on a Westinghouse R-6 receiver that could pick up stations 1,999 miles away (cost $216). On the right hand end is a Magnavox speaker (cost $45) and under the table, the various wet and dry cell batteries.
(Picture from the Decatur (Illinois) Tribune, Nov. 15, 1989, p. 6)
WDZ radio started in the office of James Bush's grain elevator office in Tuscola. Call letters for the beginning years were 9JR. The intentions of the radio station were to broadcast the grain reports. Besides being one of the first commercial radio stations in the U.S., it was the first to broadcast grain reports. This historical event occurred March 17, 1921. The antenna in 1921 was a simple strung wire between buildings in Tuscola. At the time there were only two receivers in the area to hear the signal. This first broadcast only lasted five minutes. Two other radio stations, KDKA in Pittsburgh and WGY, Schenectady, N.J. were also broadcasting signals. These three were they only ones as of this date. For some time 9JR would intermingle music with the grain reports.
Grain Reports were given in its first broadcasts.
In 1938 Carl A. "Pappy" Lewis and his wife, along with postmaster, James M. Allen flew in the plane that was carrying the first was out of range. In the beginning days of WDZ, James Bush would send secret doce messages to his grain customers. (This would not be allowed now). Remote broadcasts were made from farm lots and city streets.
Began his career at Tuscola's WDZ
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