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On July 8, 1954, Memphis DJ Dewey Phillips played a new song on the radio for the first time. It hadn't even been pressed into a record yet, but when Phillips heard the tape that had been recorded a few days earlier at Sun Records, he wanted to play it on the air as soon as possible.
It was the first time that the music of Elvis Presley was heard on the radio.
The switchboard at WHBQ lit up immediately with listeners wanting to know who this new artist was. Phillips played "That's All Right" over and over and tried to reach Presley on the phone. The song, one of many Presley would do during his famous sessions with Sun Studios, was “That’s All Right (Mama),” originally written in 1946 by blues singer/songwriter Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup.
But Elvis was at the movies. His parents tracked him down there and brought him to the studio for his first radio interview.
November 2, 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the first commercial radio broadcast. To celebrate this special anniversary, we’re shining a spotlight on 100 key moments in radio's history.
We hope you’ll join us in celebrating your favorite radio memories throughout 2020. Use the hashtag #Radio100 across social media to share these moments with the world. Here’s to 100 wonderful years of radio, and to at least 100 more!