The Early National Radio Landscape.
Interesting circa 1925 small folding map of the United States, illustrating the broadcasting radio stations, their call letters, radio districts, and standard time zones.
The map was issued by Rand McNally to capitalize on national interest in new radio stations, and perhaps for radio enthusiasts who were able to pick up far-flung stations from elsewhere in the nation.
The map was probably issued in 1925 or 1926. We date it in part based on the existence of KFVW in San Diego. As the San Diego History Center essay on early radio history in the city notes:
Further confusion is also understandable; for KFVW, the second continuously licensed radio station in San Diego, first aired on June 3, 1925 at a frequency of 1220 kilocycles with 500 watts of power, only to leave the air before the end of the year. The station resumed operations in March, 1926, at its new location atop the U.S. Grant Hotel. One month later KFVW’s call letters were changed to KFSD.
Furthermore, the Rand McNally printing code in the lower right reads 3R24 for the base map and 9R2[5/6] for the red overprint.
Rand McNally & Co. is a large American map and navigation company best known for its annual atlases. The company got its start in 1856, when William Rand opened a print shop in Chicago. He was joined in 1858 by a new employee, Andrew McNally. Together, the men established their namesake company in 1868. Originally, the company was intended to print the tickets and timetables for the trains running to and through Chicago; their first railway guide was published in 1869.
By 1870, they had shifted from just printing to publishing directories, travel guides, and newspapers. Their first map appeared in 1872 in a railway guide. The map was produced using a new wax engraving method, a cheaper process that gave the company an edge.
By 1880 Rand McNally had entered the education market with globes, wall maps, and geography texts for students. In 1923, Rand McNally published the first Goode’s World Atlas, named after its editor, Dr. J. Paul Goode. For generations afterward, this would be the standard classroom atlas.
In 1899, William Rand left the company, but McNally and his family remained, controlling the company for over a century. In 1904, they published their first road map intended for automobiles and by 1907 were publishing Photo-Auto Guides, which combined photography and mapping to help drivers. In 1924, they produced the Auto Chum, a precursor to their famous road atlases. Rand McNally would remain the leader in road maps and atlases throughout the twentieth century.
In 1937, Rand McNally opened its first store in New York City. Ever on the frontier of technology, Rand McNally pioneered the scribing process for printing tickets in 1958 and printed their first full-color road atlas in 1960. Arthur Robinson developed his now-famous projection of Rand McNally in 1969. By the 1980s, the company was exploring digital reproduction and digital databases of maps for truckers. In the 1990s, they lead the charge to develop trip-planning software and websites. Today, most of its products are available online or in a digital format, including maps for tablets and phones.