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A Look at “Old Time” Entertainment: The Radio

Aug 29, 2011

Back before we had high tech entertainment systems with HD cables delivering high def movies, shows and play it now TV connections, there was only the trusty old radio. National Radio Day has passed, and we thought we’d celebrate by taking a look back at the original entertainment system – the radio!

  • After the Titanic disaster and WWI, investors fueled the exploration for a wireless technology. It was by 1920 that radios first entered homes and soon after took off in popularity!
  • After that, it was a fast journey to the top!
  • Radio stores in the 1920′s were a popular place to gather because people were able to see the latest in radio technology.
  • By 1930, 12 million households in America had a radio in their home and by 1939,that number jumped to 28 million!
  • Eventually, the 1930′s became known as The Information Age.

hd cablesHowever, the stock market crash and depression made an impact on the radio industry putting a lot of radio companies out of business. Only the large companies survived. Soon the radio was viewed as a centerpiece of the family room and provided entertainment and news. From 1928-1950 radios evolved and went from large and bulky pieces to beautiful pieces of furniture in a family room, just like you now see a home entertainment system arranged. Radios were also transformed into frequency-modulated (FM) radios to avoid the static interference.

Some fun radio facts:

  • The first commercial radio broadcast topic was on the election results for 1920.
  • On October 30, 1938 the “The War of The Worlds” presented by Orson Welles caused panic amongst listeners.
  • “Old time Radio” is the term used to describe entertainment programs broadcast to the public from the 1920s-1960s.
  • In the 1930s the first daytime series materialized, featuring romance- which appealed to the typical American housewife.
  • The word soap opera was used because soap products sponsored the series.
  • The “Jack Benny Show” began in 1932.
  • Most “Old Time Radio” shows were aired live up until the late 1940s.

If you want to learn more about the history of the radio and see how far we’ve come, why not visit The National Capital Radio and Television Museum in Bowie, Maryland!

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