Wednesday, January 2, 2019

KDKA in Pittsburgh — another first

January 2, 1921: Pittsburgh PA radio station KDKA broadcasts the first religious program over the airwaves: a vesper service of Calvary Episcopal Church. The senior pastor, unimpressed by the landmark broadcast, didn't even participate in the service, leaving his junior associate to conduct it. The two KDKA engineers (one Jewish, the other Catholic), were asked to dress in choir robes to be less obtrusive. Today religious broadcasting is a multi-billion dollar industry.

Personal Postscript — Pittsburgh, my hometown from birth to age 18, was the scene of many firsts: first commercial radio station; first TV program by my neighbor, Mr. Fred Rogers; and the city in which I first visited a natural history museum, Phipp’s conservatory, Carnegie library, Highland Park zoo, Buhl planetarium, Heinz pickle factory, Pirates game at Forbes Field, Kennywood Park, Mt. Washington Incline, Santa Claus at Gimbel’s, train and streetcar rides, Fort Pitt, Cantor’s delicatessen, and countless other childhood memories. Ah, I wish I were a child again. The child really is the father of the man. 


  1. according to Wiki, "the child is father to the man" is from Wordsworth's poem "My Heart Leaps UP"... we drove through Pittsburgh once, returning from a week of professional training; i always wondered why it has an "h" on the end...

    1. Three cheers for Wordsworth!


      [ˈbərɡ, ˈbərə]
      a borough or chartered town.
      urban area · conurbation · municipality · borough · township · settlement · city · metropolis · megalopolis · pueblo · burgh

  2. One of my closest friends here and her husband graduated from Carnagie Mellon, which I think is in Pittsburgh. I also have a good friend from there but graduated from Temple, which is in Philadelphia. Where am I going with this? Nowhere. Ah well...we have a Carnegie Library here, too. Mr. Rogers was your neighbor? Wow!

    1. Well, the neighbor comment is a play on his famous song with lyric ... won’t you be my neighbor....