The latest exhibit of the fortnight at the Government Museum in Egmore is an object that has carved a place for itself in the memories of countless persons and is, by itself, a chapter in the history of communication – The first radio transmitter of south India.
Equipped with valves from the first generation of transistors, dial knobs and rheostats, the 200 watt transmitter – which was acquired by the museum in the 1950s – will be on display till December 1.
Speaking to City Express, curator of the Children’s Museum Sekar K said that the transmitter was first acquired by the Madras Presidency Radio Club (MPRC) in 1924 by two dedicated amateurs, including C V Krishnamaswamy Chetty, with the then Governor of Madras, H E Viscount Goschen, as his patron.
The club was located in Holloway’s Garden, Egmore. When put into use, the transmitter had a 2.5 hour programme of music and talks that was broadcast every evening, with a special morning transmission on Sundays and holidays.
Unfortunately, the usage of the transmitter had to stop a couple of years later. Thanks to financial stringencies, the club had to close down in October 1927, with the device being presented to the Madras Corporation. The Corporation launched a regular service on April 1, 1930, from the Ripon Building. The Corporation Radio station, as it was known then, broadcast daily entertainment programmes between 5.30-7.30 pm.
Six loudspeakers were installed on the Marina, Robinson Park and People’s Park to be operated in the evenings. This service continued till June 15, 1938. People from as far as Chittoor, Vizianagaram and even Sri Lanka benefited from the service.