First public radio broadcast
Representational picture

A live performance of the opera Cavalleria rusticana was broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, New York on January 13, 1910.

This was achieved with the help of a wireless transmitter, which contained 500 watts of power. The broadcast was also reportedly heard 20 km away on a ship at sea and event at Bridgeport in the neighbouring US state of Connecticut.

Public receivers with earphones were setup in several well advertised locations throughout the city of New York. A large number of people were invited to listen to this historic broadcast, including members of the media and the general public were present at several places where the receivers were stationed. These included the De Forest Radio Laboratory, New York harbour, large hotels in  Time Square and many others.

The poor quality of the microphones at the time led many to conclude that the experiment was largely an unsuccessful one. Only singers, who were singing directly into a microphone off-stage could be heard clearly.

Things were further complicated by static and interference, which according to a report by the New York Times, "kept the homeless song waves from finding themselves."

The event also saw the first commercial radios, which were sold for use during the broadcast at the Metropolitan Building's demonstration room by Lee De Forest's Radio Telephone Company.

The performances
The operas Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci were performed at the broadcast. This wireless radio transmission event is considered the birth of public radio broadcasting.