In 1933 NBC relayed broadcasts direct
from then Lieutenant Settle's stratosphere balloon during its ascent. This was the first radio broadcast from the stratosphere. The story began in 1932. The board of the Century of Progress International Exposition invited a renowned balloonist, Auguste Piccard to perform a high-altitude flight. He declined and tried to get his brother Jean to substitute. But Jean didn't have a license. They invited Settle to pilot the balloon to get around the problem. Third choice is the charm. It was only after the maiden flight failed that a second man was added to the crew. More here.
Dangling 60 feet below the gondola was the receiver antenna. Suspended above the gondola in the rigging below the zeppelin (aka gas
bag) was the aerial for the 3-watt radio transmitter. It's call letters were W9XZ. All the hardware was comped: Dow Chemical donated the gondola, the Zeppelin from Goodyear, and the hydrogen was donated by Union Carbide. They made a first attempt and failed. The Marine Corps recommended Major Chester Fordney, to join Settle as instrument operator. Professor Arthur Holly Compton, the scientific director of the flight, was to remain on the ground.the book The Eagle Aloft by Tom Crouch covers this in detail.
On November 20th they took off. The lift-off only had a few hundred spectators but the network radio coverage provided a lot more publicity. They remained in the stratosphere for about 2 hours then started their descent. Initially they lost altitude too quickly and dumped ballast... including the radio batteries. That was a bit of a problem when they needed to call for help. They landed in a swamp in Bridgeton, NJ. Fordney and Settle landed in the dark and spent the night in the gondola cold and damp. In the morning Fordney waded five miles to dry land. The NJ State Police had to rescue them; a minor indignity for an accomplished balloonist.