History

Empire of the Air

For fifty years radio dominated the airwaves and the American consciousness as the first “mass medium.” Empire of the Air examines the lives of three remarkable men who shared the primary responsibility for this invention and its early success and whose genius, friendship, rivalry and enmity combined in unexpected and often tragic ways.

Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio

1h 51m

For 50 years radio dominated the airwaves and the American consciousness as the first “mass medium.” In Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio, Ken Burns examines the lives of three extraordinary men who shared the primary responsibility for this invention and its early success, and whose genius, friendship, rivalry and enmity interacted in tragic ways.

Episodes

  • Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio

    1h 51m

    For 50 years radio dominated the airwaves and the American consciousness as the first “mass medium.” In Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio, Ken Burns examines the lives of three extraordinary men who shared the primary responsibility for this invention and its early success, and whose genius, friendship, rivalry and enmity interacted in tragic ways.

Extras + Features

  • A Land of Listeners: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    A Land of Listeners

    3m 36s

    The invention and introduction of radio made America a land of listeners — it entertained, educated, angered, and delighted Americans of every kind, age, and class.

  • The Titanic Disaster: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Titanic Disaster

    3m 16s

    On Sunday, April 14, 1912, the Titanic’s distress signals were heard by a nearby ship, allowing passengers in lifeboats to be rescued. Federal law soon required that all large ocean-going vessels to be equipped with wireless for safety reasons. David Sarnoff noted that the Titanic disaster “brought radio to the front.”

  • Developing FM Radio: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Developing FM Radio

    4m 49s

    Edwin Howard Armstrong was best known for developing FM Radio — for the first time in history, one person with a microphone could speak to many, influence them, and perhaps change their lives.

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