Radio’s first spoken weather forecast, brought to you by St. Louis University

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Though documents disagree on the exact date, most record April 27, 1921, as the date of the first voice transmission of a weather forecast by radio. It was heard on a station owned and operated by St. Louis University.

robison

Robison

The school had begun broadcasting weather information by wireless in 1912 on 9YK, its experimental broadcast facility. That station was shut down during World War I, and the school served as a training facility for the military’s wireless operators. Post-war broadcast operations evolved toward expanding the facility for transmission of voice and sound, with experiments being conducted before the actual licensing of the station.

According to publications from the school, 9YK, soon to become WEW, went on the air April 26, 1921. The following day, a regular daily broadcast of weather information was introduced at 11 a.m.

Honors for the first effort went to the school’s president, the Rev. William F. Robison.

Frank Absher is a historian and author focusing on the history of St. Louis media.