It’s no bad thing for radio scholars to consider what the public expected of communications generally at various stages. At the end of the 1880s, in America, telephone calls several states away were practical; some of the lines were now buried (said to be impossible 10 years before) or under water (submarine telephony had been made to work to about 10 miles). Loudspeakers brought sermons to the living room, and plans were underway to bring music on tap into homes by subscription, pending improvements to acoustic fidelity. The Europeans were already doing this quite a bit. I’ll post separately on that. Exactly 11 years from now, Marconi will say he heard his famous letter S from Poldhu. Small wonder that many Americans were ready to hear about it by then.
Remark by E.J. Hall, Jr., vice-president of the American Telegraph and Telephone Company at a telephone convention in Detroit, in “Extension and Improvement of Telephone Service,” The Electrical World, September 20, 1890, p. 197.
Picture credit: Chicago Public Library: https://www.chipublib.org/blogs/post/technology-that-changed-chicago-telephones-1877-1892/