When Radio Was Young

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In the roaring 1920s, at the dawn of the radio era, nobody knew quite what to do with radio.

They had used it to flash news of the Titanic going down. They had thought of it as a giant walkie-talkie or invisible telegraph line.

But the '20s brought “broadcasting.” It was a new idea. Somebody sitting somewhere talking about something to hundreds, then thousands, then millions.

And what did they talk about? Well, sex. And god. And politics. And the blood sport of boxing. And the next thing they knew, FDR was using radio to calm a nation.

This hour, On Point: when radio was young.

You can join the conversation. Can you imagine radio as strange and new as the Internet of the early '90s? Were you there to hear it? Share your thoughts and your stories.Guest:

We're joined from New York by Anthony Rudel. He's an adjunct professor of communications and writing at Manhattanville College and author of the new book, "Hello, Everybody! The Dawn of American Radio."

You can read an excerpt at

More links:

You can hear thousands of old-time radio selections at the site Old Time Radio Show Catalog.

This program aired on October 17, 2008.


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