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As early as 1876, the idea of television was emerging. With the telegraph, and early radio experiments, inventers began to envision a way to send images. They wanted to see as well as hear the person with whom they spoke and, in 1880, Alexander Graham Bell even delivered a model of his “photophone” to the Smithsonian Institution. Early inventions kept progressing and, in 1900, at the World’s Fair in Paris the word “television” first was used.

Though the first television broadcasts occurred early in the 1920s, not until 1927 was the public more exposed to the new media. On April 9, 1927, Bell Laboratories and the U.S. Department of Commerce broadcast a live, talking image of then Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover. Due to the lack of public and commercial broadcasting facilities, broadcasts were rare, and experimental in nature. Commercial television received world attention at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, where RCA’s booth showcased the first televised Presidential speech, offered television “sets” (early televisions had to work in unison with radios to provide sound) for sale, and even allowed visitors to step in front of cameras.

Maryland has a long, and proud television heritage. It was Charles Jenkins, who in the 1920s was one of the first to broadcast images, and even started his own television station eleven years prior to the World’s Fair exhibit. In 1928, he was granted the first U.S. television license for W3XK, which he operated out of Wheaton, Maryland. He even broadcast the first television commercial in 1930. Since then, Maryland has created a plethora of programs that have been mimicked, and simulcast by the world. Some of these include:




Maryland Public Television (MPT) is the educational and cultural television system for Maryland. It is developed, operated, and maintained by the Maryland Public Broadcasting Commission. Affiliated with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Maryland Public Television broadcasts from Owings Mills to six transmitters throughout the State. The channel allocations are:

Public television also is available in Spanish on cable channels:

and without cable (though a digital receiver on your television is necessary to access them):

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 Maryland Manual On-Line, 2009

July 1, 2009   
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