First Public Demonstration of FM Radio to be Commemorated in Alpine, NJ

Teaneck, NJ (May 18, 2005) — The clock will be turned back on Saturday, June 11, 2005, when a transmitter broadcasting on an original FM frequency will be switched on at the Alpine Tower in Alpine, NJ, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the first public demonstration of FM radio by its inventor Major Edwin Howard Armstrong.

A special program, hosted by WINS Anchorwoman Judy DeAngelis, will originate from the site of the world’s first FM station in Alpine. The broadcast will begin at 12 noon. It will tell the tale of the difficult birth of FM radio through personal recollections by some of the people who worked with Major Armstrong — including Mr. Renville H. McMann Jr., former VP, CBS Technology Center. McMann worked for the Major at age 14 while in school.

Mr. Tom Lewis, author of "Empire Of The Air," is slated to offer his insights into Armstrong’s struggles with industry giants of the time as well as the inventor’s remarkable impact on all forms of present day communications. The book served as the basis of the Ken Burns PBS special of the same name.

Included in Saturday’s broadcast will be excerpts from a recording of a special 1941 test broadcast of the original New England Yankee Network — the first such network to use FM radio links instead of telephone lines to connect stations. A radio dramatization of "Empire Of The Air," originally produced by David Ossman for American Public Radio, will be broadcast.

The commemorative broadcast day is scheduled to conclude with the 1954 signoff of the Alpine station W2XMN following the death of Major Armstrong.

For those who do not have an FM radio on the 42.8Mc frequency, the broadcast can be heard through the facilities of WFDU(FM) 89.1MHz.

WFDU(FM) will receive the Alpine transmission in Teaneck, NJ, from the replica transmitter built by Steve Hemphill of Solid Electronics Laboratories. The broadcast will be carried both on the air and on the Web at The entire program will be rebroadcast on the Web at 7 p.m. on June 14 and June 16.

The special broadcast was organized by Steve Hemphill, owner of Solid Electronics Laboratories, a Pennsylvania broadcast equipment manufacturer and the Sackermann family, the owners of the Alpine Tower located in Alpine, NJ. Audio production, engineering and transmission will be provided through WFDU(FM) under the direction of Barry Sheffield. WFDU(FM) is the global radio voice of Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Additional information about the commemorative broadcast and about the Alpine Tower site can be found on the CSC Management Web site

Note: Press credentials for this event are required for entry to the site. Members of the press need to submit a request for credentials on official letterhead. All inquiries are to be directed to the attention of Ms. Jackie Castro at

Metropolitan Campus

Carl Kraus

Office of Public Relations
Fairleigh Dickinson University
1000 River Road
Mailstop H-DH3-15
Teaneck, NJ 07666
(201) 692-7032

285 Madison Avenue
Mailstop M-MS0-01
Madison, NJ 07940
(973) 443-8661

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