National Radio Day is a time to honor one of the most longstanding electronic media and its role in our everyday lives. Radio delivers information, news, entertainment and company to millions of Americans every hour of every day. We invite listeners, broadcasters, producers and stations to celebrate on August 20.
Although there is not one authoritative source on the history of National Radio Day, it has been celebrated since the early 1990s on August 20. Perhaps it was decided that August 20 would be an appropriate day because 8MK (now WWJ) in Detroit, first broadcast on August 20, 1920.
According to Wikipedia, WWJ debuted as the “Detroit News Radiophone” and was “the outgrowth of interest in radio technology by the publishers of The Detroit News, combined with inventor Lee de Forest’s longtime promotion of radio broadcasting.”
Regular annual recognition didn’t quite take off until 2011 when NPR brought renewed attention to the day.
National Radio Day is organized by Sabrina Roach, a Doer at Brown Paper Tickets, in partnership with non-commercial radio stations across the United States.
In July 2015, Roach called a meeting of radio broadcasters, producers and enthusiasts to discuss initiating a project to raise the visibility of non-commercial radio across the country. That effort put fresh energy behind the celebration of National Radio Day.
The following people have contributed to coordinating National Radio Day:
KAOS Community Radio
Erin Yanke, Ani Haines, and Becky Meiers
KBOO Community Radio
WVAO: The Voice of Athol•Orange
National Federation of Community Broadcasters
The Native Media Resource Center and KGUA
Native Public Media
WSNK Valdosta Community Radio
Nikki Kayser and Maeve Conran
KGNU Community Radio
Leslie Hardwick and Tony Bova
KWIS Coeur d’Alene Tribe
KPYT: Voice of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe
Fayetteville Community Radio
WWSX East Sussex Public Broadcasting
Rehoboth Beach, DE
Arlington Independent Media
Takoma Park, MD
The Northwest Hall of Radio History
Prometheus Radio Project
San Francisco, CA
KCSB Community Radio
Santa Barbara, CA