Downtown San Jose in Santa Clara County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
World’s First Broadcasting Station
FN – 1909 • KQW – 1921 • KCBS – 1949
Dedicated on April 3, 1959, the golden anniversary of radio broadcasting, by San Jose State College Undergraduate Chapter of Sigma Delta Chi, in cooperation with KCBS and American Trust Company
Erected 1959 by Sigma Delta Chi - San Jose State College; KCBS; and the American Trust Company.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Communications. A significant historical date for this entry is April 3, 1909.
Location. 37° 20.043′ N, 121° 53.367′ W. Marker is in San Jose, California, in Santa Clara County. It is in Downtown San Jose. Marker can be reached from West San Fernando Street west of South 1st Street. Marker is located in the vestibule at the entrance to the 50 West / KQED building. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 50 W San Fernando St, San Jose CA 95113, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of Site of World’s First Broadcasting Station (here, next to this marker); Herrold Radio Broadcasting Station (a few steps from this marker); Centennial Commemoration of the World's First Broadcasting Station (within shouting distance of this marker); United States Post Office (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Letitia Building (about 400 feet away); St. Joseph’s Cathedral (about 400 feet away); The Freedom Tree (about 500 feet away); First State Capitol Building (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Jose.
Also see . . .
1. Wikipedia Entry for Charles Herrold. Excerpt:
On January 1, 1909, Herrold opened the Herrold College of Wireless and Engineering, located in the Garden City Bank Building at 50 West San Fernando Street in San Jose, where a huge umbrella-style antenna was constructed atop the building. The college’s primary purpose was to train radio operators, for handling communications aboard ship or staffing shore stations. Although he would never get a degree, Herrold became known as “Doc” as a sign of his student’s respect. Ray Newby, just 16 years old, acted as his primary assistant.(Submitted on March 14, 2022.)
At the time Herrold began his work, there was no regulation of radio stations in the United States, and the station was identified by self-assigned call letters, including FN and SJN. Later
2. Wikipedia entry for KCBS-AM. Excerpt:
One of the conditions of Herrold's sale of KQW in 1925 was that the new owners include, in the sign-on announcement, the following: “This is KQW, pioneer broadcasting station of the world, founded by Dr. Charles D. Herrold in San Jose in 1909”.(Submitted on April 1, 2022.)
Although there are reports that Herrold was making experimental audio transmissions as early as 1909, the best evidence is that it wasn’t until July 1912 when he began making regularly scheduled broadcasts. These weekly programs are generally accepted as being the first regular entertainment broadcasts made by radio. More contentious is whether KCBS can be considered the oldest radio station in continuous service, due to the fact that, following the end of World War I, Herrold did not resume regular broadcasting until May 1921.
Credits. This page was last revised on February 7, 2023. It was originally submitted on May 2, 2010, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona. This page has been viewed 226 times since then and 33 times this year. It was the Marker of the Week April 3, 2022. Photos: 1. submitted on September 22, 2021, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. 2. submitted on May 2, 2010, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona. 3, 4. submitted on September 22, 2021, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. 5. submitted on March 14, 2022, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.