During the early days of radio broadcasting, the ability for a radio set to receive distant signals was a source of pride for many listeners, who mailed “reception reports” to broadcasters in hopes of getting a letter in return to verify they’d heard the distant station. To save time, stations took to sending postcards that acknowledged reception. Collecting these QSL cards – named for the 3-letter code that confirmed receipt of a transmission – became popular.
In the mid-1920s, the EKKO stamp company – its name a play on “echo” – provided each station with a postage-like stamp with its call letters; the station could then send their stamp with or as a verification. Avid listeners could hear many stations around the country, and began collecting the stamps; EKKO sold a stamp album to collectors to encourage the hobby. And Radio News, in February of 1925, made EKKO stamps its cover subject.