Broadcasting emerged on the AM band in the years immediately following World War I. Among the pioneers was Westinghouse Electric, whose KDKA Pittsburgh broadcast the results of the presidential election on Nov. 2, 1920, spurring radio into the commercial realm and establishing broadcasting’s interest in public affairs programming.
For decades, AM radio has felt as commonplace as a utility, such a basic fact of life that it’s taken for granted. But that’s changing: Across America, AM radio stations are dwindling in number and profitability, as better-sounding FM signals become cheaper to broadcast and would-be listeners turn to the internet for entertainment. But even in decline, AM radio matters more than you might think.