Impact of Radio

Smith, Stephen. “Radio: The Internet of the 1930s | American RadioWorks.”Radio: The Internet of the 1930s. American Radioworks, 10 Nov. 2014. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.

The primary point of the article is that in the years following the creation of a consumer radio a profound shift occurred in American culture. In 1930, almost 40% of households had their own radio. By 1940, that number had more than doubled to 83%. The airwaves became dominated by live music and talking programs soon followed. An interesting note is that radio stations left the reporting of news to newspapers until the beginning of the second World War. The societal impact of radio was debated since its creation. People argued that it had a anesthetic effect on the mind and would erode traditional family values. Others looked for the positives, that it would create a stronger more inclusive republic where people were connected with one another. The 1940’s provided the opportunity for the influence of radio to grow, radio stations provided airtime for messages from the federal government and created programs with patriotic messages. Networks also created news teams to cover both national and international news, including moment to moment reporting on the D-Day landing.

It is interesting that many of the arguments against the radio are similar to arguments against more modern forms of entertainment. In my mind radio provided a cultural shift that allowed for television to quickly become popular. The cultural shift cannot really be understated. It gave a reason for families to stay in their own homes for entertainment, and allowed for people in very rural areas to remain informed and entertained.


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