The Information Age

The First U.S. Radio Law

On June 24, 1910 Congress passed the first United States radio act, naming it the “Wireless Ship Act”  It required ocean-going ships, of all nationalities, to use radio equipment to exchange messages with other vessels while visiting United States Ports, regardless of the system each ship used. It was amended in 1912 to include ships on the Great Lakes, coverage of vessels licensed for 50 passengers and crew, and at least two operators, requiring a continuous watch.

For more milestones in the development of radio, see:

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Source: Wireless Ship Act, §1-4, “Act to Require Apparatus and Operators for Radio Communication on Certain Ocean Steamers,” (accessed September 21,2011).

Source: Christopher H. Sterling and John Michael Kittross, Stay Tuned: A History of American Broadcasting (Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Publishers, 2002), 750.