Radio News was an American monthly technology magazine published from
1919 to 1971. The magazine was started by
Hugo Gernsback as a magazine
for amateur radio enthusiasts, but it evolved to cover all the
technical aspects to radio and electronics. In 1929 a bankruptcy
forced the sale of Gernsback's publishing company to B. A. Mackinnon.
Ziff-Davis Publishing acquired the magazines.
1 Gernsback Era
4 Electronics World
5 Popular Electronics
7 External links
Hugo Gernsback established Electro Importing Company to sell
radio components and electrical supplies by mail order. The catalogs
had detailed instructions on projects like a wireless telegraph outfit
and were the predecessor of his first magazine, Modern Electrics
(April 1908). In May 1913 he started another magazine, The Electrical
Experimenter. The magazines would have Gernsback's bold predictions of
the future as well as fiction. In 1926 he started the magazine Amazing
Stories and coined the term "scientifiction" which became science
Gernsback was an enthusiastic supporter of amateur radio. During the
First World War the US government placed a ban on amateur radio and
Gernsback led the campaign to lift it. Gernsback started a magazine
devoted to radio, Radio Amateur News (July 1919.) The title was
Radio News in July 1920.
November 1930 issue of Radio News
These magazines were published by Experimenter Publishing Company and
would prominently show "
Hugo Gernsback Editor" on the cover. Hugo and
his brother Sydney had a booming empire. In addition to Experimenter
Publishing, they had two radio stations and published books. They
would use the money from newsstand sales to pay the printers for last
month's magazine. On February 20, 1929 an involuntary petition of
bankruptcy was filed against Experimenter Publishing and the April
1929 issue of
Radio News was the last to feature
Hugo Gernsback as
editor. Gernsback quickly raised the capital for a new publishing
company. He created new set of magazines to compete with his previous
Radio-Craft was competing with
Radio News by the July 1929
Radio News new publisher was B. A. MacKinnon and the new company was
Experimenter Publications which became Radio-Science Publications in
June 1930. Arthur H. Lynch dropped the forecasting of things to
come and provided the technical information to design, service, and
operate radio equipment. The cover art changed from people in dramatic
or humorous scenes to a solid red cover showing a single component or
piece of equipment.
Radio-Science Publications ceased operations with the August 1931
issues. Bernarr Macfadden's newly formed Teck Publishing Corporation
took over with the September 1931 issue. Laurence Cockaday became
the editor; the format remained the same but the advances in radio and
television broadened the topics covered. A common item in all radio
magazines was a list of broadcast stations and short wave stations. In
1934 the covers had black-and-white photos. Color illustrations
returned in 1936.
A sister magazine, Television News was published in 1931-1932.
Radio News and
Amazing Stories were acquired by Ziff-Davis
Publishing in January 1938.  The March issue was prepared by the
Teck Publishing staff but
Ziff-Davis was listed as the publisher. The
magazine was down to 64 pages. The April 1938 issue was the first
produced by Ziff-Davis. The cover has a full color picture of Lucille
Ball and an additional 20 pages of gossip and radio star coverage. The
articles were to broaden the readership to more than engineers and
repair men. (Almost all of the readers were male.) The radio star
covers lasted only a few months. William B. Ziff, Sr., the majority
owner, was the publisher and
Bernard G. Davis was the Editor. In the
mid-1940s Davis became the General Manager and Oliver Read was the
The great advances in electronics during World War II were finally
available to consumers and industry in the late 1940s. These included
television, FM radio, tape recording, Hi-Fi audio. Industry saw
advanced test equipment, early computers, and improved communication
systems. The two leading technical radio magazines changed their names
to reflect this. In 1948
Radio News became Radio & Television News (August 1948). It was
shortened to Radio & TV News in May 1957. Both magazines had
covered similar topics but
Radio-Electronics emphasized repair and
service while Radio & Television News emphasized design and
William Ziff Sr. died of a heart attack in December 1953. His
23-year-old son, William B. Ziff, Jr., was a philosophy student at the
University of Heidelberg
University of Heidelberg but he immersed himself into the magazine
business. In 1957, William Ziff, Jr. bought out Davis' minority
Bernard G. Davis and his son, Joel, formed Davis Publications
in August 1957. They acquired Mercury Publications, Inc which
Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine
Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Science & Mechanics
Publishing which published Radio-TV Experimenter magazine. Science
& Mechanics magazine was started by
Hugo Gernsback in 1929 and
stayed in print until 1972.
Radio News became Electronics World in 1959.
Ziff-Davis Publishing would develop two categories of magazines; the
professional magazine such as Radio & Television News and the
leisure time magazines like Popular Photography. In October 1954,
Popular Electronics was created for the hobbyist market. It became the
largest selling electronics magazine, 250,000 copies per month by 1957
and 450,000 copies by 1965. Initially Oliver Read was the editor of
both Radio & Television News and Popular Electronics. Soon Oliver
P. Ferrell took over as editor of
Popular Electronics and Wm. A.
Stocklin as editor of Radio & Television News.
The title Radio & TV News was changed Electronics World in May
1959 to reflect the expanding field of electronics. The feature
stories were often on the newest technology and at a sophisticated
level. Some examples: "Melting Silicon for Semiconductors" (May 1959),
"Computer Arithmetic Circuits" (June 1961), and "Binary Computer Codes
and ASCII" (July 1964.) There were also articles on audio and video
consumer electronics, communications systems, automotive and
In 1960, most of the consumer audio, radio and television devices used
vacuum tubes. These sets required frequent repair so there was a
Radio/TV repair shop in every neighborhood. Electronics World had a
section devoted to repair and John T. Frye wrote a monthly column,
"Mac's Service Shop". A large portion of the advertisements were
directed at the service industry.
The April 1963 issue has a 6 page article, "Electronics in Banking",
that explains in detail how the magnetic numbers on the bottom of
checks would be read into computers. It also has the first article
written by Don Lancaster, "Solid-State 3-Channel Color Organ".
Electronics World merges with
Popular Electronics in 1972.
By 1970 the experimenter articles in
Popular Electronics were at the
same level as the articles in Electronics World. Popular Electronics
had over twice the readership so in January 1972 Electronics World was
merged with Popular Electronics. The changes in the editorial staff
during this time induced many of their authors to start writing for
their competitor, Radio-Electronics.
In September 1973 Radio Electronics published Don Lancaster's TV
Typewriter, a low cost video display. In July 1974 Radio Electronics
Mark-8 Personal Minicomputer based on the Intel 8008
processor. The editors of
Popular Electronics needed a computer
project so they selected Ed Robert's
Altair 8800 computer based on the
Intel 8080 processor. The January 1975 issue of Popular
Electronics had the Altair computer on the cover and this launched the
home computer revolution.
^ "Corporate Changes". The New York Times. June 21, 1930.
p. 30. "Experiments [sic] Publications to Radio Science
^ "New Incorporations". The New York Times. July 15, 1931.
p. 39. "Teck Publishing Corp. J Schultz. 522 5th Av.
$10,000" Joseph Schultz was the attorney for Macfadden Publications,
^ Television News American Radio History
^ "Advertising News and Notes". The New York Times. January 18, 1938.
Ziff-Davis Publishing Company, New York and Chicago,
Radio News Magazine and Amazing Stories.
^ "Advertising News and Notes". The New York Times. June 14, 1938.
Ziff-Davis Publishing Company, publisher of Radio
News, has bought All Wave Radio and will combine the two publications
with the August issue.
^ De La Merced, Michael J. (September 12, 2006). "William B. Ziff Jr.,
76, Builder of Magazine Empire, Dies". The New York Times.
^ Armstrong, David (May 1994). "Ziff Happens". Wired. 2 (5): 86.
^ "Advertising: 2 Big Agencies Study a Merger". The New York Times.
August 14, 1957. p. 34. "The acquisition of Mercury
Publications, Inc., and the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine has been
disclosed by Bernard G. Davis. He had resigned last month as president
Ziff-Davis Publishing Company. Control of the Corporation was
purchased from Joseph W. Furman."
^ Snitzer, Milton. (January 1972). "
Popular Electronics - Including
Electronics World". Popular Electronics. Vol. 1 no. 1.
Ziff-Davis Publications. p. 16.
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