U.S. Census Bureau, Washington — In March 1941, the first commercial FM station went on the air — W47NV in Nashville, Tennessee. FM —standing for frequency modulation.
FM radio was first proposed in a scientific paper written by Edwin Armstrong in 1922.
By 1934, he was demonstrating to network officials how FM was unaffected by static, like all the radio stations then on the air, which used AM, or amplitude modulation.
World War II interrupted the advance of FM broadcasting, which surged in the 1960s when it began broadcasting in stereo.
Today, some 90,000 people work in radio’s 15,432 stations, of which over 10,700 broadcast on the FM band.
Sources: Kane’s Famous First Facts, 6299
Edwin Armstrong: www.columbia.edu/cu/alumni/Magazine/Spring2002/Armstrong.html
Radio stations: www.fcc.gov/document/broadcast-station-totals-december-31-2014
Profile America is in its 18th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.
Profile America is produced by the Center for New Media and Promotions of the U.S. Census Bureau.
These daily features are available as produced segments, ready to air, on the Internet at /www.census.gov (look for “Multimedia Gallery” by the “Newsroom” button).