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This Day in Georgia History

September 09, 1933

WSB Went to 50,000 Watts

When WSB radio first went on the air in March 1922, its first transmitter broadcast with only 100 watts of power. Three months later, its signal was boosted to 500 watts. When the radio station moved to the Biltomore Hotel in 1925, its signal doubled to 1,000 watts. In early 1930, WSB’s radio audience expanded when the station’s transmitting power was boosted to 5,000 watts. In 1933, the Federal Radio Commission authorized U.S. radio stations to broadcast with a maximum power of 50,000 watts, which would dramatically increase the impact of radio on American families. On this day in 1933, WSB began broadcasting with a new 50,000-watt transmitter. Will Rogers topped a long list of celebrities on hand to dedicate the occasion. A congratulatory letter from President Franklin D. Roosevelt was also read. With its new 50,000-watt transmitter, WSB could be heard throughout the Southeast at night, leading to its new motto - “The Voice of the South.” In fact, under the right atmospheric conditions, WSB’s signal could be heard not only across the U.S. but from as far away as New Zealand.