I just listened on Canada's public radio network, the CBC, to a man being interviewed about the 99th anniversary today (Dec 23, 1900) of the WORLD's FIRST WIRELESS (RADIO) TRANSMISSION OF THE HUMAN VOICE, which was carried out on the above date by Canadian-born Reginald Aubrey Fessenden on Cobb Island, which evidently is near Washington, DC.
R.A. Fessenden (1866-1932 ?) was always in the shadow of Marconi and others who received most of the glory and praise as developers of commercial radio, but it was in fact Fessenden who sent out the very first wireless transmission of a full message. He was on Cobb Island so he could communicate with ships at sea, the only possible recipients of radio signals (since no one had a radio at home yet).
According to the interviewee, Fessenden tried to return to Canada in the 1890's to teach his new technology at universities there, but was not accepted since he never did obtain a university degree in any science. This was somewhat odd, since he had taught the same principles at a number of American universities. Very conservative and traditional, we Canadians !
He had a long struggle to keep people from "developing" [read "stealing"] his patents (including the first heterodyne set, whatever that is) without giving him credit for any of it, but as his health was failing in his final years, he belatedly received financial acknowledgement of his contribution and patents in the form of $500,000 paid to him by RCA after protracted court battles. I wonder how much the lawyers got !
Since this is a new forum, perhaps we will hear from someone who can shed more light on the relatively obscure Reginald Aubrey Fessenden who was truly a "pioneer of modern radio" but who was sadly passed by in the rush to commercialize this new source of mass communication.