World’s First Radio Station- in San Jose

Many people began playing with radio waves in the early 1900’s, but one man named Charles Herrold in San Jose was the first to set up a regularly scheduled broadcast forming the first radio station.

First Radio Station in the World

Where now stands the KQED building, right between the Fairmont Hotel, Cathedral Basiilica, San Jose Museum of Art, and Cesar Chavez Park, once stood a bank building from where Charles Herrold attached his antenna and began broadcasting his weekly radio show. He may even have coined the term broadcasting, a term taken from farming, when he was “broadcasting for the people San Jose.” On the show, he, his wife, and a friend, entertained with talk, stories, contests, and the reading of the newspaper.

First Radio Station in the World

There are at least three plaques placed on the building now standing in the location of the world’s first radio station including the California State Historical Landmark plaque, the above pictured plaque commemorating 100 years, and one commemorating 50 years.

After the radio broadcasting act in 1921, Charles Herrold obtained a license and his station became radio station KQW. In an interesting circle of fate, CBS eventually purchased KQW and changed its call sign to KCBS in 1949. Then, in 2006, KCBS moved their San Jose news team into the building without at the time knowing the history of the location and how it related to the KCBS radio station’s early origins.

Here is an interesting article to read more about this history and how it came back to light: . You can also read more about Charles Herrold on Wikipedia at: .