Meaning of Broadcasting, Radio as a medium, Television as a medium
Broadcasting is the distribution of audio or video content to a dispersed audience via any electronic mass communications medium, but typically one using the electromagnetic spectrum (radio waves), in a one-to-many model. Broadcasting began with AM radio, which came into popular use around 1920 with the spread of vacuum tube radio transmitters and receivers. Before this, all forms of electronic communication (early radio, telephone, and telegraph) were one-to-one, with the message intended for a single recipient. The term broadcasting evolved from its use as the agricultural method of sowing seeds in a field by casting them broadly about. It was later adopted for describing the widespread distribution of information by printed materials or by telegraph. Examples applying it to “one-to-many” radio transmissions of an individual station to multiple listeners appeared as early as 1898.
Over the air broadcasting is usually associated with radio and television, though in recent years, both radio and television transmissions have begun to be distributed by cable (cable television). The receiving parties may include the general public or a relatively small subset; the point is that anyone with the appropriate receiving technology and equipment (e.g., a radio or television set) can receive the signal. The field of broadcasting includes both government-managed services such as public radio, community radio and public television, and private commercial radio and commercial television.
Historically, there have been several methods used for broadcasting electronic media audio and video to the general public:
- Telephone broadcasting (1881–1932): The earliest form of electronic broadcasting (not counting data services offered by stock telegraph companies from 1867, if ticker-tapes are excluded from the definition). Telephone broadcasting began with the advent of Théâtrophone (“Theatre Phone”) systems, which were telephone-based distribution systems allowing subscribers to listen to live opera and theatre performances over telephone lines, created by French inventor Clément Ader in 1881. Telephone broadcasting also grew to include telephone newspaper services for news and entertainment programming which were introduced in the 1890s, primarily located in large European cities. These telephone-based subscription services were the first examples of electrical/electronic broadcasting and offered a wide variety of programming.
- Radio broadcasting (experimentally from 1906, commercially from 1920); audio signals sent through the air as radio waves from a transmitter, picked up by an antenna and sent to a receiver. Radio stations can be linked in radio networks to broadcast common radio programs, either in broadcast syndication, simulcast or subchannels.
- Television broadcasting (telecast), experimentally from 1925, commercially from the 1930s: an extension of radio to include video signals.
- Cable radio (also called “cable FM”, from 1928) and cable television (from 1932): both via coaxial cable, originally serving principally as transmission media for programming produced at either radio or television stations, but later expanding into a broad universe of cable-originated channels.
- Direct-broadcast satellite (DBS) (from c. 1974) and satellite radio (from c. 1990): meant for direct-to-home broadcast programming (as opposed to studio network uplinks and downlinks), provides a mix of traditional radio or television broadcast programming, or both, with dedicated satellite radio programming.
- Webcasting of video/television (from c. 1993) and audio/radio (from c. 1994) streams: offers a mix of traditional radio and television station broadcast programming with dedicated Internet radio and Internet television.