Milestone-Proposal talk:First Live Commercial Trans-Atlantic Radio Broadcast

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Advocates and reviewers will post their comments below. In addition, any IEEE member can sign in with their ETHW login (different from IEEE Single Sign On) and comment on the milestone proposal's accuracy or completeness as a form of public review.

Advocates’ Checklist

  1. Is proposal for an achievement rather than for a person? If the citation includes a person's name, have the proposers provided the required justification for inclusion of the person's name?
  2. Was proposed achievement a significant advance rather than an incremental improvement to an existing technology?
  3. Were there prior or contemporary achievements of a similar nature?
  4. Has the achievement truly led to a functioning, useful, or marketable technology?
  5. Is proposal adequately supported by significant references (minimum of five) such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or citations to pages in scholarly books? At least one of the references from a peer-reviewed scholarly book or journal article. The full text of the material, not just the references, shall be present. If the supporting texts are copyright-encumbered and cannot be posted on the ETHW for intellectual property reasons, the proposers shall email a copy to the History Center so that it can be forwarded to the advocate. If the advocate does not consider the supporting references sufficient, the advocate may ask the proposer(s) for additional ones.
  6. Are the scholarly references sufficiently recent?
  7. Is proposed citation readable and understandable by the general public?
  8. Does the proposed plaque site fulfill the requirements?
  9. Is the proposal quality comparable to that of IEEE publications?
  10. Scientific and technical units correct? (e.g. km, mm, hertz, etc.) Are acronyms correct and properly upperercased or lowercased?
  11. Date formats correct as specified in Section 6 of Milestones Program Guidelines? https://ieeemilestones.ethw.org/Helpful_Hints_on_Citations,_Plaque_Locations

Reviewers’ Checklist

  1. Is suggested wording of the Plaque Citation accurate?
  2. Is evidence presented in the proposal of sufficient substance and accuracy to support the Plaque Citation?
  3. Does proposed milestone represent a significant technical achievement?
  4. Were there similar or competing achievements? If so, have the proposers adequately described these and their relationship to the achievement being proposed?


In answering the questions above, the History Committee asks that reviewers apply a similar level of rigor to that used to peer-review an article, or evaluate a research proposal. Some elaboration is desirable. Of course the Committee would welcome any additional observations that you may have regarding this proposal.

Submission and Approval Log

Submitted date: 6 December 2023
History Committee approval date:
Board of Directors approval date:

Original Citation Title and Text -- Administrator4 (talk) 17:53, 25 May 2023 (UTC)

First Live Trans-Atlantic Commercial Radio Broadcast , 1925

On March 14, 1925 the first trans-Atlantic commercial radio was received at the Radio Corporation of America station in Belfast. Originated by the BBC at London’s Savoy Hotel, the signal was relayed to Washington and New York via Balfast where listeners heard the hotel’s dance band on their home radios. This broadcast was the forerunner of today’s global live broadcasts and global social media conversations.

Initial milestone proposal review -- Jbart64 (talk) 21:18, 11 March 2024 (UTC)

I reviewed the proposed milestone for the “First Live Trans-Atlantic Commercial Radio Broadcast, 1925.” Several comments and reactions:

-- This achievement is worthy of a milestone; however, the proposal needs more work. The claim is too broad, and the word “first” is almost always a problem in milestone claims.

-- Additional discussion about the history of transatlantic radio is important. The timeline in “Leading up to the event:” only briefly mentions Marconi (1901/1902), excludes Fessenden (1906), and never mentions WEAF (Dec., 29 1922) or WOR (Oct. 1 1922). The high-frequency transatlantic experiments in 1921 achieved by amateurs and KDKA’s transatlantic shortwave broadcasts in 1924 are also ignored.

-- Greater clarity is needed to separate transatlantic telegraphy from transatlantic telephony from more modern notions of public programming and scheduled radio broadcasts made with or without advertising. The wording in a radio related milestone plaque that addresses aspects of programming or two-way interaction with voice or music needs to be very sharply defined due to the many conflicting historical claims that stem, in part, from poorly defined distinctions.

-- Wikipedia is not considered a primary reference source.

-- If the primary focus is on BBC transatlantic program service, then the milestone citation needs to focus on that. If the focus is on the systems engineering aspect, then the plaque language needs to clearly and narrowly highlight this. If the focus is on the notion of “commercial” and “broadcast”, this opens a trick box, since many companies experimented with and initiated various forms of transatlantic transmission and reception of signals, voice, and even programs, and many efforts involved commercial interests or commercial goals in some fashion.

-- The proposed plaque location is appropriate.

-- I suggest really sharpening the historical discussion to focus on very clear and narrow aspects of the achievement being claimed. I would delete the word “first” replacing it with “a.” Use active not passive voice.

-- For example, consider, but by no means treat this as a completed version, the following 70-word idea: “On March 14, 1925 Radio Corporation of America received a trans-Atlantic commercially produced radio program at its Belfast longwave station. British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, originated the program at London’s Savoy Hotel, relaying the signal through Belfast to Washington, DC and New York City radio stations using American shortwave radio and landline systems. Americans heard the hotel’s dance band on their home radios. This international system anticipated global live radio programming.”

-- Also, the title could more directly address the topic of the milestone. A suggestion is "Trans-Atlantic Radio Transmission System, 1925". This title reflects the content of the paragraph description, focusing on the radio system and the program content.

David Bart Milestone Advocate