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Birthplace Of Radio To Have Its Own Broadcasting Museum.


The city that is known for being the birthplace of U.S. commercial radio broadcasting may soon have its own brick-and-mortar broadcasting museum.


On the 103rd anniversary of KDKA Pittsburgh’s first commercial broadcast, Thursday, Nov. 2, the National Museum of Broadcasting (NMB) Pittsburgh revealed plans for a museum to showcase the origins of broadcasting and electronic media. The organization has a long-term goal of making the museum a focal point for tourism and education showing the region’s contributions to broadcasting.


Broadcaster and sports announcer Bill Hargrove, who is President of the NMB Board of Directors, announced the project at a gathering of community leaders, elected officials, and some of Pittsburgh’s famed broadcast celebrities.


“Our museum will be more than a bunch of dusty old radios and TVs, although we have plenty of them,” Hillgrove said. “It will be an experience… to show how electronic media began and evolved in immersive and interactive ways.”


Hillgrove and the Board credited the support and partnership of the Regional Industrial Development Corporation (RIDC) and Pennsylvania State Senator, Jay Costa (D) of Allegheny County’s 43rd District, with helping to bring together the parties to make it a reality.


The proposed site for the museum is a vacant building mere yards away from the site where the Harding-Cox election returns were announced on Nov. 2, 1920. The 10,000-square-foot space includes parking space for 250 vehicles. The Regional Industrial Development Corporation (RIDC) owns the property that was once the home of Westinghouse and is currently vacant after recently being home to a local bank.


“All of our communities deserve the opportunities and success that come from economic revitalization and the continuous development of places and spaces that make our state and this region culturally diverse,” Sen. Costa said at the press conference. “Cultural attractions, and this future museum, will be another one of our treasured entities that support tourism which, in the end, complements what new business and the redevelopment of these brownfields are already doing in this community.”


At the close of the press conference, the NMB’s Board of Directors joined Costa and Hayley Haldeman, Chairperson of the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, for the unveiling and rededication of a historic marker to be placed down the street from the proposed museum to memorialize the site where radio was born in 1920.

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