The’Golden Age’ of the radio was from 1930 to the 1950’s.
__________________Radio providedfree access, and created effects on Politics, Entertainment, Education, and theEconomy which were affected greatly by the radio.(In the 1930’s majority of the American nation owned a radio. Theradio therefore had tremendous impacts, being able to spread rapidly. The radiohad many effects on American history, positive and negative results. Four areasin American history that were affected majorly by the radio are politics,entertainment, education, and the economy.
) One way the radio affected politicsis it affected the presidential elections. In the election of 1924, the twocandidates who were running were Calvin Coolidge, running for the RepublicanParty, and John W. Davis who was running for the Democratic Party. CalvinCoolidge won the election that year. “Many observers credited radio forCoolidge’s overwhelming majority in the presidential election.” Many claim that a big cause of Calvin Coolidgewinning the president election was because most of those who controlled theradio were from the Republican Party. Another claim for the reason of theRepublican Party winning the election was because of the representation of thetwo parties.
The republicans were very organized and smooth talking, while thedemocrats had lengthy speeches, spoke a lot about religion, and soundedintolerant to others who held different opinions than them. The voices of Davisand Coolidge were different. When Davis spoke, he didn’t sound confident, hesounded plain and boring. However, when Coolidge spoke, he came across asconfident.
Coolidge spoke with personality, his voice portrayed control, andevery word was clearly understood. Calvin Coolidge was known as having a “radiovoice”. The listener on the radio felt confident in Coolidge. The radio playedan enormous part in the 1924 election, changing the course as the RepublicanParty won the election. (Best).
Radioaffected politics by presidential debates, Roosevelt’s Fireside chats, andPropaganda for WWII. Secondly, during the Great Depression, many Americans lost faith inthe American government and its banks and therefore removed their money fromthe banks. On March 12, 1933 PresidentRoosevelt spoke to the nation on the radio, explaining the bank crisis.
Thiswas known as ‘The Fireside Chat’. He announced a national banking holiday,informing the people that the banks are now safe and they could once againreturn their money to the bank. President Roosevelt directly involved thepeople of the United States in the politics.
The ‘Fireside Chat’ restored thetrust of the government to the Americans. (Horten) A third effect of radio waspropaganda for WWII done by the government which largely dominated the radio. RadioPropaganda had major effects on America during WWII, bringing information aboutthe war to the public and influencing their participation in the war. DuringWWII, 90% of the nation owned radios, therefore war propaganda spread, reachingmostly everyone. Commercial radio helped the government to promote the sale ofwar bonds and war saving stamps, raising revenue for the war.
There was a show,”The treasury Hour” to promote raising money for the war. The government evenhad some actors and actresses who volunteered to speak on behalf of theAmerican government. The government began radio shows such as “This is War!”and “We hold these Truths” which focused on the evil actions of the Germans,and the atrocities of the concentration camps. The radio programs focused on whythe United States was fighting Germany. These programs also criticizedsympathizers of the Nazi party and those who wanted to remain in isolationism.Another tactic of propaganda which the government used was the “you-technique”.This technique was to involve the listener. Drama was used as the narratorwould present himself as in the military life, making the listener feel as ifhe himself was in the military.
The war was created personal into the homes ofthe listeners. The propaganda made the listener feel as if he was in themilitary, which aroused sympathy for the soldiers. Overall, many viewed theradio propaganda as a positive, very effective war effort (Concho). H.C. Peterson, author of’Propaganda for War’, had a different view from many others.
He believed thatthe radio propaganda by the American government had negative effects. In 1939 he said, “The propaganda was not onlyresponsible in a large degree for the American entrance into the war, but itwas also responsible for the temper and irrationality of the peace treaty, andthe vindictiveness of the post war years.” (Horten) Many ppl had radio à unity….Many people gravitated towards the radio because of theentertainment provided over the radio. In an interview with my grandfather hesaid, when he was younger in Yeshivas Ner Yisroel, he stayed in the dormitory.
One day the Rosh Hayeshivah came to the yeshivah and entered the Bais Medrash.He found the room empty. The Rosh Yeshivah couldn’t understand where everyonehad disappeared to. He went searching for the boys and found them all in theirrooms’ right by the radio, listening intently to the game. This shows howradio, and entertainment on the radio was a big part of the American daily life (Lasker).
On a Halloween evening, October 30, 1938, the Mercury Theatre onthe Air performed a drama on the radio adapted from H.G. Well’s War ofthe World which described a Martian invasion on New York and New Jersey,spreading death and destruction.
Listeners who tuned into the radio listened asa reporter described hundreds of Martians coming from the sky. The listenersdidn’t know that the story wasn’t true, and sat listening frozen, and in utterfear. Hysteria formed among the American radio listeners.
The hystericallisteners had missed the introduction which said that this wasn’t a live newsreport. Many began fleeing their homes, causing traffic jams in the street.People began calling the police department, radio stations, and newspapersrequesting advice how to protect themselves from the Martians. In a single block at Heddon Terrace and Hawthorne Avenue, more thantwenty families rushed out of their houses with wet handkerchiefs and towelsover their faces to flee from what they believed was to be a gas raid. Somebegan moving household furniture. East Orange police headquarters received more than 200 calls frompersons who wanted to know what to do to escape the “gas.” Unaware ofthe broadcast, the switchboard operator tried to telephone Newark, but wasunable to get the call through because the switchboard at Newark headquarterswas tied up.
The mystery was not cleared up until a teletype explanation hadbeen received from Trenton. After the incident of the hysteria, many adults needed medicaltreatment because of the shock and fear they faced. (The War of the Worlds – New York Times article on hysteria caused by Orson Welles’ radio show)”((((((This event revealed the unquestioning faiththat many Americans had in radio. Radio’s intimate communication style was apowerful force during the 1930s and 1940s”.
(insert source 7.4 Radio’s Impacton Culture)”Nowradio is utilizing the very air we breathe and could enter every home in thenation through doors and windows no matter how tightly barred” (Arnold). ??-with thesource-fix it (Craig) (-he was author of the fireside politics) New York University created classes over the radio. Some peoplesaid that classes given over the radio would provide a higher education. Eventually’Colleges of the Air’ were created by many universities such as Harvard,Columbia, Tufts, Universities of Arkansas, California, Florida, Minnesota, andmany other universities. ‘Colleges of the Air’ were college classes given byuniversities on the radio. Many people were worried that radio education wouldbe substituted for classroom education, which has less of a power ofcompletion. There is a bigger chance of a student receiving education from theradio not to complete their education, than from a student receiving educationfrom a regular classroom environment.
There is not the same dedication from aradio education as a classroom education. Another problem is a student may tuneinto a radio show instead of the radio class from college. In addition, a radio course doesn’t provide the socialinteraction which a classroom education provides (Matt and Fernandez) Radiowas able to reach mostly everyone because majority of the nation owned radios.This caused a feeling of national unity. “Thefirst modern mass medium, radio made America into a land of listeners, joiningevery age and class into a common culture.” (Lewis)Roosevelttried convincing people about the New Deal (also in source of radio propagandaduring WWII.
Economy:”During World War II, 185 billion dollars was raised by Americancitizens through War Bond Sales” War Bonds appealed to families to give WarBonds so they will once again see their loved ones who went out to fight.(Jarett). Source: World War IIPropaganda/ Can American Citizens’ thoughts be controlled?MostAmericans supported the U.S. entry into the war and therefore companiesassociated their product to patriotism in order to increase sales. Advertising– Music has been an important part of advertising. Many companies used the”singing commercial”. “Pepsi’s historic “Pepsi-Cola hits the spot” jinglebecame a jukebox hit in 1941 (Enrico and Kornbluth).
” Advertisers would invest a lot of money inthe music for the ads. The cost for an original song for an ad started at$10,000 or higher. The music would create a feeling and mood that caused aconsideration of a product. Many disliked when ads would come onto the radio,but when there was an ad with music, the ad was disguised. However, at the sametime, the music also drew attention to the ad, helping the ad to be moreeffective. Additionally, when a messagewas sung, it was easier to remember the name of the product, for it is easierto memorize a song than it is to memorize facts or the name of a product.
Themusic with the ad thus enabled a listener to ultimately buy the product (Kellaris, Cox and Cox). Increasingaudience attention to music enhances message reception when the music evokesmessage-congruent (versus incongruent) thoughts.Increasing audience attentionto music enhances message reception when the music evokes message-congruent(versus incongruent) thoughts.
Advertisingcompanies would try to sell their products by informing the listener “how tomake their food healthier” or “how to ration their belongings to make them lastlonger.” Even commercials contributed to the war effort. The Golden Age of Radio source: 7.2 Evolution of Radio Broadcasting: Understanding Media andCulture: an Introduction to Mass CommunicationThe so-called Golden Age of Radio occurred between 1930and the mid-1950s. Because many associate the 1930s with the struggles of theGreat Depression, it may seem contradictory that such a fruitful culturaloccurrence arose during this decade. However, radio lent itself to the era.
After the initial purchase of a receiver, radio was free and so provided aninexpensive source of entertainment that replaced other, more costly pastimes,such as going to the movies.Radio also presented an easily accessible form of mediathat existed on its own schedule. Unlike reading newspapers or books, tuning into a favorite program at a certain time became a part of listeners’ dailyroutine because it effectively forced them to plan their lives around the dial.As the networks became more adept atgenerating profits, their broadcast selections began to take on a format thatlater evolved into modern television programming. Serial dramas and programsthat focused on domestic work aired during the day when many women were athome. Advertisers targeted this demographic with commercials for domestic needssuch as soap (Museum). Because they were often sponsored by soap companies,daytime serial dramas soon became known as soap operas. “By the late 1930s, the popularityof radio news broadcasts had surpassed that of newspapers”.
The Birth ofthe Federal Communications CommissionThe Communications Act of 1934 created the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and ushered ina new era of government regulation. The organization quickly began enactinginfluential radio decisions. Among these was the 1938 decision to limitstations to 50,000 watts of broadcasting power, a ceiling that remains in effecttoday (Cashman). As a result of FCC antimonopoly rulings, RCA was forced tosell its NBC Blue network; this spun-off division became the AmericanBroadcasting Corporation (ABC) in 1943 (Brinson, 2004).
Another significant regulation with long-lasting influencewas the Fairness Doctrine. In 1949, the FCC established theFairness Doctrine as a rule stating that if broadcasters editorialized in favorof a position on a particular issue, they had to give equal time to all otherreasonable positions on that issue (Browne & Browne, 1986). This tenet camefrom the long-held notion that the airwaves were a public resource, and thatthey should thus serve the public in some way. Although the regulation remainedin effect until 1987, the impact of its core concepts are still debated. Thischapter will explore the Fairness Doctrine and its impact in greater detail ina later section.
The Golden Age of Radio covered the period between 1930and 1950. It was characterized by radio’s overwhelming popularity and a wide rangeof programming, including variety, music, drama, and theater programs.A great deal of radio’s success as amedium during the 1920s and 1930s was due to the fact that no other mediumcould replicate it.(This changed in the late 1940s andearly 1950s as television became popular. A 1949 poll of people who had seentelevision found that almost half of them believed that radio was doomed(Gallup, 1949). Television sets had come on the market by the late 1940s, andby 1951, more Americans were watching television during prime time than ever(Bradley). ) Although radio was far from doomed by television, its GoldenAge was.What radio could still do betterthan any other mass medium: play music.
7.4″Newspapers had the potential to reach a wide audience, butradio had the potential to reach almost everyone.” Those unable to read, areable to understand the radio, and those with a busy schedule can listen to theradio while they work. à This brought unity to the nation….
Music was played over the radio, enabling songs to becomefamous. Until now music was limited to being spread only by concerts, and onphonographs which not everyone purchased because it costed each time. But musicon the radio was free, and since majority of the nation had radios, many songsbecame popular, and band leaders became famous. The music industry thrivedbecause of radio. NBC hada radio show called the Music Appreciation Hour to educate the public onthe details of classical music. (Howe)NBC created an orchestra and performed concerts over the radio. As the music onthe radio spread nationwide, new types of music were created to keep up withthe taste of the people because the radio listeners were getting bored of theusual type of music (Wald). “by 1934, 60 percent of the nation’shouseholds had radios.
One and a half million cars were also equipped withthem.” In 1921 there were 5 radio stations, by 1930 there were 618, and by theyear 1940, there were 764 radio stations in the United States. In 1931 therewas $56 million raised from radio advertising, and by 1940 there was $215.
6million sold by advertising. (Source: Sterling and Kittross (1978)) (Scott) Source: Sarah Sundin World War II War Bonds: “Bondswere a stable investment with the bonus of aiding the war effort. Channelingcash into bond purchases helped prevent inflation in the robust wartime economyas well.” Children favored war stamps.War stamps were stamps purchased and added to an album. Once the album wasfull, the album was exchanged for a bond.
Many employers set aside money from theworkers’ paychecks so the employees could set aside money for War Bonds with themoney they received (Sundin)??????