Davis held a staff meeting with his "radio cabinet" and asked them to have a station operational in time to broadcast the presidential and local election returns on November 2, 1920.
Election return broadcasts had been a tradition since shortly after the development of radio, although due to technical limitations initially they could only be done using Morse code, which greatly limited the potential audiences.
J., and Springfield, Mass., where similar outfits will be employed." An application, signed by H. Davis, was submitted to the Eighth District Radio Inspector, S. Edwards in Detroit, who forwarded it to Washington, and on October 27, 1920, Westinghouse was issued a Limited Commercial station license, serial #174, with the identifying call letters of KDKA.
and in order to create demand for the receivers, he decided that Westinghouse should provide regular programming as an incentive for persons considering a purchase.
Neither KDKA's original application, nor the resulting license, mentioned broadcasting, only that the station was to be used for radiotelegraphic communication with stations located at the Westinghouse facilities in Cleveland, Newark and Springfield, plus station WCG in Brooklyn, New York, which was operated by the recently acquired International Radio Telegraph.
At this time, radio stations in the United States were regulated by the Department of Commerce's Bureau of Navigation.
Beginning with the introduction of licensing in late 1912, the standard practice had been to assign call letters starting with "W" to radio stations in the eastern United States.
However, KDKA happened to receive its assignment during a short period during which land stations were being issued call letters from a sequential block of "K" call letters that had previously been assigned only to ship stations.The effort to establish Westinghouse's radio industry presence was led by company vice president H. However, because of the competitive advantage RCA had in international and marine communications, initially there appeared to be limited opportunities available to Westinghouse.