Here are 40 Fascinating Facts About Mass Media (TV, Radio & Newspapers).
1No TV broadcast
Until 1987, there was no TV broadcast in Iceland on Thursdays. The idea behind the decision was to reserve Thursdays as a day for socializing. As a result, many Icelanders born before 1987 joke that they were most likely conceived on a Thursday.
2. There is a radio station named WRBH in New Orleans for the blind. Volunteers every day read the local newspaper on the air, along with best-sellers, grocery ads, stories for kids, mysteries, the Wall Street Journal, young adult novels and much more.
3. Chinese newspaper “People’s Daily” once cited ‘The Onion’ naming the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as the sexiest man alive without realizing it was a joke.
4. "TV Pickup" is a phenomenon wherein people in Britain all simultaneously turn on their electric kettles during commercial TV breaks causing massive power surges countrywide.
5. In 1939, radio station WJSV in Washington, D.C. recorded their entire 19-hour broadcast day for historic purposes. It contains the only known recordings of a number of programs from the Golden Age of Radio. It is now in the National Recording Registry and is available free, streaming online.
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A newspaper once posted a poll online asking readers if watching Blackfish, a documentary critical of SeaWorld for keeping orcas captive, changed their opinions of SeaWorld. The results were “No.” It was later revealed that 55% of the votes came from a single IP-address hosted by SeaWorld.
7. A radio station named KARW in Texas once organized a bonfire to burn The Beatles records after they claimed they were “more popular than Jesus”. The very next day, the station’s broadcast tower was struck by lightning, damaging equipment and sending the news director to the hospital.
8. Americans sought comfort TV after 9/11 and watched so much Food Network that the station had to restructure itself to appeal to a general audience. This led to the creation and subsequent rise of reality cooking shows like Chopped and Iron Chef USA.
9. “La Bougie du Sapeur” is a French newspaper that only publishes on February 29th. It has only 10 issues so far as of January 2021. They also have a Sunday edition which only comes out on 29th Feb Sundays (roughly every 28 years) next one scheduled for 2032. They sell about 200,000 units.
10. MDZhB is a Russian ghost radio station that has been broadcasting since 1982. No one claims it but it has continuously produced a buzz punctuated with someone making a short random statement once or twice a week since its inception.
In 1941, an Italian newspaper named Popolo D’Italia reported that the Loch Ness Monster had been killed by a direct hit in a German air raid. However, when a family boating on the Loch in August 1941 sighted the monster, the Daily Mail made a point of noting that Nessie had survived the Nazi attempt on her life.
12. In the early days of radio, advertisers were hesitant to invest in radio ads because they feared an ad where you couldn't just "turn the page" if you didn't like it (as you could in print) would come off as pushy and invasive.
13. The "color bars" we see used on TVs are called SMPTE bars. These bars, which were created in 1951 and became widespread in 1978, are used to calibrate color and audio levels for taped recordings.
14. In July 2005, the British radio station Planet Rock invited their listeners to select a singer, guitarist, bassist and drummer to create the "ideal supergroup". The members of Led Zeppelin won in each category.
15. During World War 1, British newspapers falsely claimed that the Germans rendered down soldiers' corpses to make soap, candles and nitroglycerin. As a result, when news of the Holocaust reached Britain during World War 2, the government assumed it was another made-up atrocity story.
A small portion of television static you see between channels is caused by cosmic background radiation, remnants of the 'Big Bang.'
17. In 1977, the Guardian newspaper produced a 7-page supplement for April Fool's day detailing the discovery of a fictional island called San Serriffe that was in the shape of a colon. Thousands fell for the hoax leading to a tradition of April Fool's stories.
18. On November 26, 1977, a television station in southern England had their broadcast hijacked by an entity referring to itself as Vrillon of the Ashtar Galactic Command who disrupted regular programming to give a six-minute message about humanity's future. It is still a mystery who was behind this.
19. Newspapers are so big (broadsheet) because the British government began taxing newspapers in 1712 based on the number of their pages.
20. In 1972, Canadian radio station CBC held a poll to find a national simile (an answer to 'As American as apple pie'). The winning response was "As Canadian as possible under the circumstances."
Radio GTMO, the Armed Forces radio station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has a vinyl collection of over 20,000 records, including some albums that exist nowhere else.
22. The first TV remote controls were called "clickers" and did not use batteries. They transmitted an ultrasound signal when the user clicked the button, striking a metal rod inside to send an audible signal to the TV.
23. The most powerful commercial radio station ever was WLW (700KHz AM), which during certain times in the 1930s broadcasted 500kW radiated power. At night, it covered half the globe. Neighbors within the vicinity of the transmitter heard the audio in their pots, pans, and mattresses.
24. In 1989, the Australian youth radio station Triple J played the song "Express Yourself" by N.W.A. Hip hop group on a continuous loop for 24 hours (360 times in a row) while the station went on a protest strike against censorship of NWA's song F*ck Tha Police.
25. In the 1940s, the Superman Radio Show had Superman fight their version of the KKK using real information about the Klan. This was a crippling blow to the organization, causing recruitment to drastically decrease. In response, the KKK ordered a boycott of the Radio Show’s sponsor, Kellogg.