1922: AT&T hits the airwaves with WEAF

AT&T first hit America's airwaves in 1922 and changed the way we listen to radio forever. WEAF was the New York radio station that had the first paid commercial, back when it was experimental to sponsor whole programs. An AT&T employee described the concept as "toll broadcasting.”

AT&T monograph ad

The first sponsor or “commercial” came from the Queensboro Corporation of New York, to sell real estate. The set of five programs cost $50, plus the long distance access fee. Obviously the business model and pricing structure has evolved along with the industry.

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