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Radio broadcasting

Radio broadcasting is a unidirectional wireless transmission over radio waves intended to reach a wide audience. Stations can be linked in radio networks to broadcast a common radio format, either in broadcast syndication or simulcast or both. Audio broadcasting also can be done via cable radio, local wire television networks, satellite radio, and internet radio via streaming media on the Internet. The signal types can be either analog audio or digital audio.

The earliest radio stations were simply radiotelegraphy systems and did not carry audio. For audio broadcasts to be possible electronic detection and amplification devices had to be incorporated.

The thermionic valve was invented in 1904 by the English physicist John Ambrose Fleming. He developed a device he called an "oscillation valve" (because it passes current in only one direction). The heated filament, or cathode, was capable of thermionic emission of electrons that would flow to the plate (or anode) when it was at a higher voltage. Electrons, however, could not pass in the reverse direction because the plate was not heated and thus not capable of thermionic emission of electrons. Later known as the Fleming valve, it could be used as a rectifier of alternating current and as a radio wave detector. This greatly improved the crystal set which rectified the radio signal using an early solid-state diode based on a crystal and a so-called cat's whisker. However, what was still required was an amplifier.


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