Broadcasting has deep roots in the United States ever since the appearance of radio waves. At the beginning of 20th century, the first radio station started to send music through the radio waves in order to entertain people at ships. In the year 1912 the radio broadcast stations started to operate with licenses issued by the US. A bit later, during the decade of 1920s, United States started using the current pattern of call signs on their stations. In the late 1940s, popular TV stations like ABS, CBS and NBC started with their television broadcasts. The next decade of 1950s was the decade when color broadcasts were introduced.
Interesting fact is that the broadcast in the United States differs from broadcasts in other countries in a way that is completely operated by private organizations. For comparison, in US there is no primary station like BBC in England. The Public Broadcasting System provides TV programming, but they do so under written contract and relate to educational programming. Most of the TV stations in the United States are privately owned by local organizations or communities.
Majority of broadcasting in the US is done by successful private companies who have complete ownership of the channels they run. They also go through process of hearing by a specialized commission and must obtain license from the FCC once in a few years. Today there are many broadcast stations in the US that are owned by large corporations. Some of them even own dozens or hundreds of stations across the country. In the past companies were limited to owning up to seven broadcast stations, but in the past they had a much bigger reach than they have today.
When it comes to US call signs, these are codes that serve to identify each broadcast station. US have prefixes like AA-AL, N, K and W. Prefixes K and W are the only ones used for broadcasting and these prefixes are obtained from the Morse code. All broadcast stations in the US have four letters, with the exception of some old stations that have not been changed since their beginning, like for example the Chicago`s WGN channel.
United States of America do not have a broadcaster that is run by the government. All broadcast stations get their money from advertising, from donations made by people and companies, and from the CPB – Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Most of the local stations are privately owned by locals or by the networks themselves. This is especially visible in bigger markets like Los Angeles, New York or Chicago. The local stations in these cities are almost all affiliated with bigger networks like ABC, FOX, NBC or CBS. That means that they broadcast some local programming and also play shows from the networks they are affiliated with. Another interesting thing is that public radio and TV in the United States are funded partially by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which is a government program. However, they are not considered government broadcasters, despite the fact that some stations are operated by local governments.