The birth of public radio broadcasting can be traced back to the early 20th century, with the establishment of the first public radio stations in the United States. One of the key figures in the early development of public radio was Paul White, who was the first chief of the Federal Radio Commission (FRC) in the 1920s. White advocated for the creation of a non-profit, non-commercial radio service that would be supported by listener donations and provide a public service to communities.
In 1927, the FRC issued the first license for a non-commercial radio station, KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This station, which was owned by Westinghouse Electric Corporation, was the first to broadcast educational and cultural programming, as well as news and information.
In 1930, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) established the NBC Blue Network, which was dedicated to non-commercial programming. This network later became the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), and its non-commercial programming was eventually spun off as the National Educational Radio Network (NER), which was later renamed the National Public Radio (NPR) in 1970.
In 1967, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) was created by the U.S Congress, it was responsible for the distribution of federal funds to public radio and television stations.
Thus, the birth of public radio broadcasting can be traced back to the early 20th century with the establishment of the first public radio stations, and the advocacy of figures like Paul White for a non-profit, non-commercial radio service, and the establishment of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) in 1967.