Radio News
Radio News was an American monthly technology magazine published from 1919 to 1971. The magazine was started by Hugo Gernsback
Hugo Gernsback
Hugo Gernsback , born Hugo Gernsbacher, was a Luxembourgian American inventor, writer, editor, and magazine publisher, best remembered for publications that included the first science fiction magazine. His contributions to the genre as publisher were so significant that, along with H. G...

 as a magazine for amateur radio
Amateur radio
Amateur radio is the use of designated radio frequency spectrum for purposes of private recreation, non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, and emergency communication...

 enthusiasts, but it evolved to cover all the technical aspects to radio and electronics. In 1929 a bankruptcy forced the sale of Gernsback's publishing company to B. A. Mackinnon. In 1938 Ziff-Davis Publishing
Ziff Davis
Ziff Davis Inc. is an American publisher and Internet company. It was founded in 1927 in Chicago by William B. Ziff, Sr. and Bernard G. Davis. Throughout most of its history, it was a publisher of hobbyist magazines, often ones devoted to expensive, advertiser-rich hobbies such as cars,...

 acquired the magazines.

Gernsback Era

In 1904 Hugo Gernsback established Electro Importing Company to sell radio components and electrical supplies by mail order. The catalogs had detailed instructions on projects like a wireless telegraph outfit and were the predecessor of his first magazine, Modern Electrics
Modern Electrics
Modern Electrics was a technical magazine for the amateur radio experimenter. It was created by Hugo Gernsback and began publication in April 1908. The magazine was initially intended to provide mail-order information for radio parts and to promote the amateur radio hobby, but it later became a...

(April 1908). In May 1913 he started another magazine, The Electrical Experimenter. The magazines would have Gernsback's bold predictions of the future as well as fiction. In 1926 he started the magazine Amazing Stories
Amazing Stories
Amazing Stories was an American science fiction magazine launched in April 1926 by Hugo Gernsback's Experimenter Publishing. It was the first magazine devoted solely to science fiction...

and coined the term "scientifiction" which became science fiction.

Gernsback was an enthusiastic supporter of amateur radio. During the First World War the US government placed a ban on amateur radio and Gernsback led the campaign to lift it. Gernsback started a magazine devoted to radio, Radio Amateur News (July 1919.) The title was shortened to Radio News in July 1920.


These magazines were published by Experimenter Publishing Company and would prominently show "Hugo Gernsback Editor" on the cover. Hugo and his brother Sydney had a booming empire. In addition to Experimenter Publishing, they had two radio stations and published books. They would use the money from newsstand sales to pay the printers for last month's magazine. On February 20, 1929 an involuntary petition
Experimenter Publishing bankruptcy
Experimenter Publishing was an American media company founded by Hugo Gernsback in 1915. The first magazine was The Electrical Experimenter and the most notable magazines were Radio News and Amazing Stories . Their radio station, WRNY, began broadcasting experimental television in 1928...

 of bankruptcy was filed against Experimenter Publishing and the April 1929 issue of Radio News was the last to feature Hugo Gernsback as editor. Gernsback quickly raised the capital for a new publishing company. He created new set of magazines to compete with his previous ones. Radio-Craft was competing with Radio News by the July 1929 issue.

Radio News new publisher was B. A. MacKinnon and the new company was Experimenter Publications which became Radio-Science Publications in June 1930. Arthur H. Lynch dropped the forecasting of things to come and provided the technical information to design, service, and operate radio equipment. The cover art changed from people in dramatic or humorous scenes to a solid red cover showing a single component or piece of equipment.

Radio-Science Publications ceased operations with the August 1931 issues. Bernarr Macfadden
Bernarr Macfadden
Bernarr Macfadden was an influential American proponent of physical culture, a combination of bodybuilding with nutritional and health theories...

's newly formed Teck Publishing Corporation took over with the September 1931 issue. Laurence Cockaday became the editor; the format remained the same but the advances in radio and television broadened the topics covered. A common item in all radio magazines was a list of broadcast stations and short wave stations. In 1934 the covers had black-and-white photos. Color illustrations returned in 1936.

Ziff-Davis Publishing

The Radio News and Amazing Stories were acquired by Ziff-Davis Publishing in January 1938. The March issue was prepared by the Teck Publishing staff but Ziff-Davis was listed as the publisher. The magazine was down to 64 pages. The April 1938 issue was the first produced by Ziff-Davis. The cover has a full color picture of Lucille Ball and an additional 20 pages of gossip and radio star coverage. The articles were to broaden the readership to more than engineers and repair men. (Almost all of the readers were male.) The radio star covers lasted only a few months. William B. Ziff, Sr.
William B. Ziff, Sr.
William Bernard Ziff, Sr. was an American publishing executive. He and Bernard G. Davis founded Ziff Davis Inc. in 1927. Following his death his son, William Bernard Ziff, Jr. succeeded him at Ziff Davis.-References:...

, the majority owner, was the publisher and Bernard G. Davis was the Editor. In the mid 1940s Davis became the General Manager and Oliver Read was the editor.

The great advances in electronics during World War II were finally available to consumers and industry in the late 1940s. These included television, FM radio, tape recording, Hi-Fi audio. Industry saw advanced test equipment, early computers, and improved communication systems. The two leading technical radio magazines changed their names to reflect this. In 1948 Radio-Craft became Radio-Electronics
Radio-Electronics was an American electronics magazine that was published under various titles from 1929 to 2003. Hugo Gernsback started it as Radio-Craft in July 1929. The title was changed to Radio-Electronics in October 1948 and again to Electronics Now in July 1992. In January 2000 it was...

and Radio News became Radio & Television News (August 1948). It was shortened to Radio & TV News in May 1957. Both magazines had covered similar topics but Radio-Electronics emphasized repair and service while Radio & Television News emphasized design and engineering.

William Ziff Sr. died of a heart attack in December 1953. His 23 year old son, William B. Ziff, Jr.
William B. Ziff, Jr.
William Bernard Ziff, Jr. was an American publishing executive. His father, William B. Ziff, Sr., was the co-founder of Ziff Davis Inc. and when the elder Ziff died in 1953, Ziff took over the management of the company. After buying out partner Bernard G...

, was a philosophy student at the University of Heidelberg but he immersed himself into the magazine business. In 1957, William Ziff, Jr. bought out Davis' minority share. Bernard G. Davis and his son, Joel, formed Davis Publications in August 1957. They acquired Mercury Publications, Inc which published Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine
Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine
Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine is an American monthly digest size fiction magazine specializing in crime fiction, particularly detective fiction...

and Science & Mechanics Publishing which published Radio-TV Experimenter magazine. Science & Mechanics magazine was started by Hugo Gernsback in 1929 and stayed in print until 1972.

Electronics World

Ziff-Davis Publishing would develop two categories of magazines; the professional magazine such as Radio & Television News and the leisure time magazines like Popular Photography. In October 1954, Popular Electronics
Popular Electronics
Popular Electronics was an American magazine started by Ziff-Davis Publishing in October 1954 for electronics hobbyists and experimenters. It soon became the "World's Largest-Selling Electronics Magazine". The circulation was 240,151 in April 1957 and 400,000 by 1963. Ziff-Davis published Popular...

was created for the hobbyist market. It became the largest selling electronics magazine, 250,000 copies per month by 1957 and 450,000 copies by 1965. Initially Oliver Read was the editor of both Radio & Television News and Popular Electronics. Soon Oliver P. Ferrell took over as editor of Popular Electronics and Wm. A. Stocklin as editor of Radio & Television News.

The title Radio & TV News was changed Electronics World in May 1959 to reflect the expanding field of electronics. The feature stories were often on the newest technology and at a sophisticated level. Some examples: "Melting Silicon for Semiconductors" (May 1959), "Computer Arithmetic Circuits" (June 1961), and "Binary Computer Codes and ASCII
The American Standard Code for Information Interchange is a character-encoding scheme based on the ordering of the English alphabet. ASCII codes represent text in computers, communications equipment, and other devices that use text...

" (July 1964.) There were also articles on audio and video consumer electronics, communications systems, automotive and industrial electronics.

In 1960, most of the consumer audio, radio and television devices used vacuum tubes. These sets required frequent repair so there was a Radio/TV repair shop in every neighborhood. Electronics World had a section devoted to repair and John T. Frye wrote a monthly column, "Mac's Service Shop". A large portion of the advertisements were directed at the service industry.

The April 1963 issue has a 6 page article, "Electronics in Banking", that explains in detail how the magnetic numbers on the bottom of checks would be read into computers. It also has the first article written by Don Lancaster, "Solid-State 3-Channel Color Organ".

Popular Electronics

By 1970 the experimenter articles in Popular Electronics were at the same level as the articles in Electronics World. Popular Electronics had over twice the readership so in January 1972 Electronics World was merged with Popular Electronics. The changes in the editorial staff during this time induced many of their authors to start writing for their competitor, Radio-Electronics
Radio-Electronics was an American electronics magazine that was published under various titles from 1929 to 2003. Hugo Gernsback started it as Radio-Craft in July 1929. The title was changed to Radio-Electronics in October 1948 and again to Electronics Now in July 1992. In January 2000 it was...


In September 1973 Radio Electronics published Don Lancaster
Don Lancaster
Donald E. Lancaster is a prolific author, inventor, and microcomputer pioneer best known for his magazine columns. He is also known for his "TV Typewriter" dumb terminal project, his book on technical entrepreneurship The Incredible Secret Money Machine, and his work on and advocacy of early...

's TV Typewriter
TV Typewriter
The TV Typewriter was a video terminal that could display 2 pages of 16 lines of 32 upper case characters on a standard television set. The Don Lancaster design appeared on the cover of Radio-Electronics magazine in September 1973. The magazine included a 6 page description of the design but...

, a low cost video display. In July 1974 Radio Electronics published the Mark-8
The Mark-8 is a microcomputer design from 1974, based on the Intel 8008 CPU . The Mark-8 was designed by graduate student Jonathan Titus and announced as a 'loose kit' in the July 1974 issue of Radio-Electronics magazine.- Project kit :The Mark-8 was introduced as a 'build it yourself' project in...

 Personal Minicomputer based on the Intel 8008
Intel 8008
The Intel 8008 was an early byte-oriented microprocessor designed and manufactured by Intel and introduced in April 1972. It was an 8-bit CPU with an external 14-bit address bus that could address 16KB of memory...

 processor. The editors of Popular Electronics needed a computer project so they selected Ed Robert's Altair 8800
Altair 8800
The MITS Altair 8800 was a microcomputer design from 1975 based on the Intel 8080 CPU and sold by mail order through advertisements in Popular Electronics, Radio-Electronics and other hobbyist magazines. The designers hoped to sell only a few hundred build-it-yourself kits to hobbyists, and were...

 computer based on the improved Intel 8080
Intel 8080
The Intel 8080 was the second 8-bit microprocessor designed and manufactured by Intel and was released in April 1974. It was an extended and enhanced variant of the earlier 8008 design, although without binary compatibility...

processor. The January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics had the Altair computer on the cover and this launched the home computer revolution.

External links

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