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Of all the modern mass media, the broadcasting station commands of widest audience and exercises the best effect on the popular mind. The birthplace of China's broadcasting service, Shanghai boasted the largest number of radio stations in old China. The first broadcasting station opened in the United States in 1906. 17 years later the people of Shanghai heard the first signal transmitted from their city's first radio station. That was fully 63 years ago.

On the night of Jan.23, 1923, the Osborn Radio Station, installed on the roof of the Dollar Co., began to broadcast its program which lasted an hour and five minutes and included overtures, violin solos by a famous Prague violinist, saxophone solos by George Hall of the Carlton Orchestra, chamber music by the Golden Gate String Quartet, dance music, local news, and news from other parts of China, the U.S. and Europe. At that time there were only a little over 500 radio sets in the concessions of Shanghai. People sitting around their radio sets listened in with amazement to miracle of a broadcast. Even in Tianjin, a city far from Shanghai, many radio sets received signals transmitted from the Osborn Radio Station.

Famous radio engineer Pan Songzhi debugs the machine at the radio station

The radio station was founded by an American journalist called Osborn. While covering news in Japan he made the acquaintance of a wealthy overseas Chinese surnamed Zhang. Sponsored by him, Osborn came to Shanghai to form a Chinese radio broadcasting corporation. At the beginning of its operation, the Osborn Radio Station had simple and crude equipment with a wavelength of merely 200 meters and a power of 50 watts, the broadcast lasting no more than an hour each day. The emergence of this radio station in Shanghai immediately attracted the attention of our great revolutionary forerunner Dr. Sun Yat-sen. On the night of Feb.1 , the radio station broadcast his declaration of Peaceful Unification. However, the Osborn Radio Station was in operation for only a few months, due to limited resources rather than lack of endeavor. He actually hired the roof garden of Wing On Co. in a last ditch effect, by without success.

Shanghai Mayor Wu Guozhen communicating with
the Mayor of San Francisco on the wireless on July 1, 1947



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