100 years on the air: Montreal's long radio history celebrated with museum exhibition
Published Saturday, February 29, 2020 2:27PM EST Last Updated Saturday, February 29, 2020 7:13PM EST
MONTREAL -- Montreal and radio have a long history together and that relationship is being celebrated with a display at the old RCA building in St-Henri.
Radio enthusiast and president of the Quebec Society of Antique Radio Collectors Alain Dufour is the exhibit’s organizer. He said the invention of radio “changed the way people think in the twentieth century.”
“People started to buy radio receiver sets. They went from about 1,000 receiving sets in 1921 to around 700,000 sets in 1931,” he said. “In a 10-year period there was a real explosion of radio.”
Montreal played an integral role in radio’s early days. Inventor Guglielmo Marconi opened a station in the city in 1919. That station was where a broadcast was made on May 20, 1920 that many consider to be the first ever programmed radio broadcast.
That station would later be named CF-CF, standing for Canada’s First, Canada’s Finest.
CHOM morning host Terry DiMonte said Montreal wasn’t just the place where pivotal advances were made; it was a city that became home to some of radio history’s top talent.
“The fact that it started here reflects a time when Montreal wasn’t the official capital of the world but it was the economic engine of the country and cultural capital of the country,” he said. “It doesn’t surprise me that we had a hand in the very first broadcast and we were at the cutting edge of technology.”
The exhibit will be open at the Musee des Ondes Emile Berliner until February of 2021.