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WHA

From Academic Kids

WHA is also an abbreviation for World Hockey Association

WHA (970 AM) is one of the oldest radio stations in the United States, currently the flagship of Wisconsin Public Radio's talk-based Ideas Network. A historical marker outside the station's studios at the University of Wisconsin-Madison calls it the country's oldest, although some dispute this particularly since it is difficult for historians to agree on what exactly constituted a "broadcast" in the early days of radio. The best competitor against the station for this title is likely Charles Herrold's series of transmitters, which eventually became KCBS.

The name is also used for WHA-TV channel 20 (21 digital), flagship of the Wisconsin Public Television network.

Experiments with spark gap transmitters stretch back to 1900. Professor Edward Bennett started using the call sign 9XM in 1914, and transferred it to the University of Wisconsin's. A year later, the call sign was transferred to the University of Wisconsin and used for many experiments in the physics department. Professor Earle M. Terry managed many of these tests, and he eventually decided that the station should start making regular weather broadcasts. From December 4, 1916 onward, the station transmitted regular reports in Morse code.

While most early radio stations in the United States were shut down when the country entered World War I, WHA's early transmissions were considered important enough to continue. It was apparently shut down for a brief period of time, but spent much of the war broadcasting weather information to ships sailing on the Great Lakes.

Voice broadcasts took some time to work out, as there were some significant fidelity problems. Terry hosted a party at his home in 1917 to listen to the first scheduled audio broadcast, although few of the guests understood the implications of being able to listen to a piece of music that could just as easily be placed in a nearby record player. The fidelity issues were worked out by February 1919 when a transmission was made for the U.S. Navy.

Regularly-scheduled audio broadcasts began a year later in February 1920. A six day per week schedule began on January 3, 1921. The station received its WHA call sign on January 13, 1922.

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