BANGOR (AP) – A groundbreaking event in radio history will be recalled next week in Belfast, the small Maine city that played a key role in an overseas broadcast that took place nearly 80 years ago.

On March 14, 1925, an experimental station of the Radio Corporation of America received and retransmitted to the rest of the nation the first live, trans-Atlantic long-wave radio broadcast.

A presentation titled “Waldo County: Ear of America” is scheduled next Monday at the Belfast Museum, which has a recording of the historic broadcast.

The program, which consisted mostly of John Philip Sousa military marches and other music, was picked up by microphone in London’s Savoy Hotel and transmitted by the British Broadcasting Corp.

At the time RCA had a station in Belfast, whose coastal location allowed stronger reception than the company’s Long Island, N.Y., station. The Maine station retransmitted the program by way of short wave to RCA studios in New York and Washington, D.C.

The 1925 broadcast helped stake out RCA’s position as a communications leader. It operated a station in Belfast, which now has about 6,400 residents, from 1921 to 1929, when the stock market crashed.

Receiving and transmission equipment was located in a complex of small buildings. The complex also included a Beverage wave antenna, a series of aboveground wires fanning out from Belfast to sites in surrounding towns of Brooks, Searsmont and Northport.

The antenna was named for Harold Beverage of North Haven, an electrical engineering graduate from the University of Maine whose advances enabled the antenna to pick up live broadcasts.

A Beverage antenna on Maine’s Mount Desert Island received the first word of the armistice ending World War I on Nov. 11, 1918.

Harold Nelson, an engineering technician for the state Transportation Department, will present a talk on the 1925 event next Monday.

Nelson collects information and writes about obscure and forgotten engineering projects that have taken place around Maine.

AP-ES-07-19-04 1238EDT



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