When Boston's first radio station, WBZ, began broadcasting on September 21, 1921, the station needed a tall antenna and lots of buried copper cable to transmit its signal. Radio receivers at the time were mostly homemade and involved a piece of crystalline mineral and a wire coil.
Over many decades in Boston, both the broadcasting and receiving equipment improved. In the mid-1920s this meant store-bought radios. In the 1930s this meant car radios. In the 1960s this meant transistor radios. In the 1970s this meant boom boxes. And, in the 1980s this meant Walkmen. But, despite these improvements, the fundamental technology of big towers sending a signal through the air to a radio receiver remained the same.
In 1994, there was a new way for Boston consumers to listen to the radio. That was the year local stations across the country began streaming their signals over the internet and listeners could use their computers (later their smartphones and smart speakers) as receiving devices. No big antennas, no wires, and no actual radio needed.
In 2021, according to Nielsen, Boston radio reaches more local consumers than any other advertising media option.
Neilsen finds, too, that 32% of all consumers who listen to a Boston radio station over-the-air will, at some point during the month, also connect to a local station via the internet.