Pearson's Magazine (London edition), August, 1901, pages 216-218:
ONE of Bellamy's boldest conceptions was his idea of a speaking, singing, lecturing, and concert-giving "newspaper." He dreamt of the time when people would no longer go to the printed newspapers for their day's news, but to the telephone receivers. It will come as a surprise to most to learn that this fancy has been actually realised in Budapest, Hungary, where a telephonic daily has been in active operation for some time.
    Budapest's telephone "newspaper" is called the "Telefon-Hirmondo," or the "News-teller." It is no mere fad or toy. It is a great journal, with all the equipments--save type, ink, and paper--of a first-class newspaper. Every day it speaks all the day's news to upwards of 7000 subscribers, in their homes or offices. It is one of the most interesting specialities of modern Budapest, a bright, lively, up-to-date town of 700,000 inhabitants. In telephonic enterprise Budapest has beaten the world.
    Every day, from eight in the morning to eleven at night, the "Telefon-Hirmondo" is busy sending the news of the world, hot from the wires, into its subscribers' homes. In the editorial rooms six "stentors," or speakers, with strong, clear voices, speak the "copy"--carefully edited news of all sorts, telegrams, theatrical critiques, Parliamentary and Exchange reports, speeches, news from the law courts, the markets, tit-bits from the local and Vienna press, weather forecasts, and so on--into the transmitters.
    At definite hours, concerts, or the performances of the Royal Opera or of the Municipal Operetta Theatre, are to be heard through the ear-tubes. Eminent preachers, speakers, or actors tell their stories to enormous audiences scattered over the city. A list of strangers' arrivals, the correct astronomical time, and a list of amusements, are among the many features of this marvellous institution.
    The exact time for each of the news-items is strictly regulated, and is announced to the subscribers every morning. Thus, each subscriber need only listen to the news that particularly interests him, and can always be sure of hearing it at the predicted minute. In case, however, of particularly important news coming to hand, it is immediately announced, and special alarm signals are rung.
    Here is a typical daily programme, with the exact times for each news item:--
  9 ...       ...  Exact astronomical time.
  9.30--10  ...  Reading of programme, of Vienna and foreign news, and of the chief contents of the official press.
10--10.30  Local Exchange quotations.
10.30--11  ...  Chief contents of local daily press.
11--11.15  General news and finance.
11.15--11.30  Local, theatrical, and sporting news.
11.30--11.45   Vienna Exchange news.
11.45--12  ...  Parliamentary, provincial, and foreign news.
12 noon      ...  Exact astronomical time.
12--12.30  Latest general news, Parliamentary, Court, political, and military.
12.30--  1  ...  Mid-day Exchange quotations.
  1--  2  ...  Repetition of the half-day's most interesting news.
  2--  2.30  Foreign telegrams and latest general news.
  2.30--  3  ...  Parliamentary and local news.
  3--  3.15  Latest Exchange reports.
  3.15--  4  ...  Weather, Parliamentary, legal, theatrical, fashion, and sporting news.
  4--  4.30  Latest Exchange reports and general news.
  4.30--  6.30  Regimental bands.
  7--  8.15  Opera.
  8.15 (or after the first act of the Opera)--Exchange news from Frankfort, Paris, Berlin, London, and other business centres.
  8.30--  9.30  Opera.
Stentor announcingHome listener     Once a week special lectures or concerts for children are given. Reports of all the principal Hungarian and Austrian horse races are read as soon as the news is received from the reporters.
    It is clear that the "Telefon-Hirmondo" is a real boon to the world of commerce, for it gives news of importance much sooner than can the printed dailies. To women and to children, and especially to the sick, and to patients in hospitals, to the blind, and to all who have not time or money enough to go to theatres or concerts, the telephone newspaper is a great delight. Wherever people have to wait--at the doctor's or the barber's, at the café or restaurant--the telephone newspaper is a decided blessing. It has been largely introduced into all places of popular resort.
    One of the most praiseworthy features of the "Telefon-Hirmondo" is its extraordinary cheapness. Each subscriber pays but a penny a day for its many advantages, and there are no fees for having a receiver fitted to a house. No one need continue subscribing to the speaking newspaper for longer than four months. On these favourable terms each station is provided with the receiving appliance, having two ear tubes, so that two people can listen at the same time. The apparatus can be fixed wherever the subscriber pleases--at a bed or sofa, at a writing-desk, or in a special room.
    The inventor of the telephone newspaper was the Hungarian electrician, Theodore Puskas, an ex-collaborator with Edison. He died three months after the practical realisation of his undertaking. When the "News-teller" sprang into life, its wires extended in a net of forty-three miles. At present there are 640 miles of wires. The number of subscribers--7000--is eight times the original number.
    At present the telephone newspaper is confined to Budapest, but for some time past preparations have been going on for extending it to the whole country. The manager of a great French daily paper intends to introduce the invention into Paris, having been struck by its possibilities when the apparatus was exhibited at the Paris Exhibition. In Vienna the introduction of this unique invention will soon be effected, all the plans being in readiness.
    The editorial readers, lecturers, and singers in the editorial office speak or sing into the space between two big microphones, lying opposite to each other. The sound is made louder in this way than it would be if merely delivered into a single transmitter. Piano music is played on an extra-large grand piano, into which the telephonic appliance is fixed. Special transmitters, with large sound funnels, are used for orchestral music. To increase the acoustic properties of the orchestra room the walls are draped with thick, heavy carpets of wool.
    Ordinary journalists would envy the ease with which the "Telefon-Hirmondo's" staff can send out their news to the public. The staff consists of a business manager, an editor, with four sub-editors and ten reporters, with six "stentors" at work speaking the news. The stentors take turns of ten minutes each when all are present. The editorial offices are situate in one of the finest avenues in Budapest.
    The company is privileged to own its own wires, and has the same right to erect them as have the telegraph companies. Their spools can be seen under the corners of houses in almost every street.
    The editor's unique position in the journalistic world is certainly enviable. He is saved half the worries that turn the ordinary editor's hair. His paper is absolutely independent--it has no editorial opinions--for the simple reason that there are no editorial leading articles. Though advertising receipts are necessarily somewhat limited, yet the "Telefon-Hirmondo" is an advertiser's paradise, for when an advertisement is transmitted over the wires, it goes between two items of interesting news, and commands special attention. The advertising charge is less than two shillings for twelve seconds.
    Including editor-in-chief and office boys, in all, the "Telefon-Hirmondo" employs 180 people in the busy winter months. The prominent subscribers include the Prime Minister, and all the members of the Hungarian Cabinet, Maurus Jokai, the renowned novelist, the Mayor of the town, and many other notabilities.
    The telephone news-teller has proved a distinct success.