Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends related to radio and the people “behind the microphone,” so to speak, and whether they are true or false.
RADIO URBAN LEGEND: David Sarnoff stayed on the telegraph for three days straight getting the first details of the Titanic sinking.
As horrific of a tragedy the sinking of the Titanic was, it turned out to be a major boon for the future of radio.
At the time of the Titanic sinking, wireless communication was only just beginning to become a major tool, particularly for naval vessels, who could use telegraphs to communicate with people at great distances.
That any of the passengers of the Titanic survived the sinking was due entirely to the fact that the ocean liner Carpathia picked up the wireless transmissions of the Titanic’s two Wireless Operators (who continued transmitting until they literally could not do it any longer).
This, coupled with the fact that the ship closest to the Titanic, the Californian, did not stop to help because their Wireless Operators were asleep and their wireless station shut down, was a major success, of sorts, for the American division of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company.
It proved the impressive utility of wireless communication, and it did so in a massive news story with the whole world paying attention.
While surely the radio industry would have eventually started ANYways, this definitely gave it a jump start.
One person that this ALSO gave a jump start to was a young Marconi Wireless worker named David Sarnoff.
Continue reading “Did David Sarnoff Work a Telegraph Three Days Straight Covering the Titanic Sinking?”