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San Jose in Santa Clara County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Site of World’s First Broadcasting Station

 
 
Site of World’s First Broadcasting Station Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Baker, September 22, 2021
1. Site of World’s First Broadcasting Station Marker
Inscription.  On this corner stood the Garden City Bank Building, where Charles D. Herrold established Station FN, the first radio broadcasting station in the world. As a pioneer in wireless telephony (radio), Herrold established the first station in 1909 to transmit radio programs of music and news to a listening audience on a regular basis.

California Registered Historical Landmark No.952
 
Erected 1992 by State Department of Parks and Recreation, California Pioneers of Santa Clara County and Mountain Charlie Chapter No. 1850, E. Clampus Vitus. (Marker Number 952.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: CommunicationsNotable EventsScience & Medicine. In addition, it is included in the California Historical Landmarks, and the E Clampus Vitus series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1864.
 
Location. 37° 20.043′ N, 121° 53.367′ W. Marker is in San Jose, California, in Santa Clara County. Marker can be reached from West San Fernando Street west of South 1st Street. Marker is located
World’s First Broadcasting Station Marker (Second Marker) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Baker, September 22, 2021
2. World’s First Broadcasting Station Marker (Second Marker)
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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 this marker. 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 . . .  The History of KQW and KCBS. Bay Area Radio Museum and Hall of Fame entry. Excerpt:
Once Herrold realized he had an audience of eager radio experimenters, he began to entertain them. He would discuss news items and read clippings from the newspaper, or play records from his phonograph. This got to be a more and more important part of the school’s operations, and regular programs were heard from the station as early as 1910.

Herrold’s wife Sybil later got into the act. Using many techniques of the modern disk jockey, she regularly aired what she called her “Little Ham Program.” She later told Professor Greb that she would borrow records from
World’s First Broadcasting Station Markers image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Syd Whittle, April 25, 2010
3. World’s First Broadcasting Station Markers
Markers are mounted on the wall in the vestibule of the entrance to the 50 West / KQED building
a local music store “just for the sake of advertising the records to these young operators with their little galena sets. And we would play up-to-date, young people’s records. They would run down the next day to be sure to buy the one they heard on the radio the night before.” And she encouraged regular listeners by running contests. “We would ask them to come in and sign their names, where they lived, and where they had their little receiving sets … and we would give away a prize each week.”

(This is the basis for KCBS’ claim to be the nation’s first broadcasting station. In order to be first, a station would have to be on the air earlier than any other, broadcasting on a regularly scheduled basis, and would have to be “broadcasting” in the truest sense of the word. Almost all radio communication up until then had been point-to-point transmissions, with a specific person designated as a receiver. Herrold and his wife and students were transmitting to whoever could receive them. In later years, Herrold himself would claim that he was the first person to use radio for the purpose of broadcasting.)
(Submitted on September 17, 2020, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.) 
 
Building Entrance Vestibule image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Baker, September 22, 2021
4. Building Entrance Vestibule
50 West / KQED Building image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Baker, September 22, 2021
5. 50 West / KQED Building
The location of the markers.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 3, 2022. It was originally submitted on May 2, 2010, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona. This page has been viewed 1,922 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 22, 2021, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California.   3. submitted on May 2, 2010, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona.   4, 5. submitted on September 22, 2021, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California.

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Feb. 2, 2023