Citation
The limit of human felicity : radio's transition from hobby to household utility in 1920s America

Material Information

Title:
The limit of human felicity : radio's transition from hobby to household utility in 1920s America
Creator:
McCarthy, Laura Pelner, 1945-
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
vii, 222 leaves : ; 29 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Advertising campaigns ( jstor )
Broadcasting ( jstor )
Broadcasting industry ( jstor )
Fads ( jstor )
News content ( jstor )
Radio ( jstor )
Radio commercials ( jstor )
Radio programs ( jstor )
United States history ( jstor )
Women ( jstor )
Dissertations, Academic -- Mass Communication -- UF
Mass Communication thesis Ph. D
Radio -- History -- United States ( lcsh )
Radio audiences -- History -- United States ( lcsh )
Pinellas County ( local )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Thesis:
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1993.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 180-221).
Additional Physical Form:
Also available online.
General Note:
Typescript.
General Note:
Vita.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Laura Pelner McCarthy.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Copyright [name of dissertation author]. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Resource Identifier:
030390900 ( ALEPH )
31063974 ( OCLC )

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:

AA00025834_00001.pdf

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0043.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0099.txt

AA00025834_00001_0152.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0014.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0200.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0204.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0083.txt

AA00025834_00001_0013.txt

AA00025834_00001_0083.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0033.txt

AA00025834_00001_0007.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0118.txt

AA00025834_00001_0219.txt

AA00025834_00001_0229.txt

AA00025834_00001_0181.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0007.txt

AA00025834_00001_0177.txt

AA00025834_00001_0133.txt

AA00025834_00001_0063.txt

AA00025834_00001_0125.txt

AA00025834_00001_0097.txt

AA00025834_00001_0144.txt

AA00025834_00001_0108.txt

AA00025834_00001_0223.txt

AA00025834_00001_0009.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0223.txt

AA00025834_00001_0064.txt

AA00025834_00001_0005.txt

AA00025834_00001_0029.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0158.txt

AA00025834_00001_0044.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0104.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0041.txt

AA00025834_00001_0088.txt

AA00025834_00001_0073.txt

AA00025834_00001_0016.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0080.txt

AA00025834_00001_0001.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0082.txt

AA00025834_00001_0185.txt

AA00025834_00001_0114.txt

AA00025834_00001_0027.txt

AA00025834_00001_0221.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0092.txt

AA00025834_00001_0228.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0029.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0181.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0163.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0031.txt

AA00025834_00001_0226.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0219.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0113.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0215.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0046.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0142.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0155.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0084.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0109.txt

AA00025834_00001_0058.txt

AA00025834_00001_0077.txt

AA00025834_00001_0206.txt

AA00025834_00001_0200.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0143.txt

AA00025834_00001_0184.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0153.txt

AA00025834_00001_0215.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0085.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0059.txt

AA00025834_00001_0068.txt

AA00025834_00001_0159.txt

AA00025834_00001_0055.txt

AA00025834_00001_0216.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0048.txt

AA00025834_00001_0116.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0195.txt

AA00025834_00001_0056.txt

AA00025834_00001_0037.txt

AA00025834_00001_0129.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0117.txt

AA00025834_00001_0113.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0071.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0146.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0217.txt

AA00025834_00001_0062.txt

AA00025834_00001_0008.txt

AA00025834_00001_0092.txt

AA00025834_00001_0119.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0206.txt

AA00025834_00001_0041.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0106.txt

AA00025834_00001_0078.txt

AA00025834_00001_0153.txt

AA00025834_00001_0163.txt

EPRSWLFYG_K0HMAB_xml.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0012.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0115.txt

AA00025834_00001_0093.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0056.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0103.txt

AA00025834_00001_0204.txt

AA00025834_00001_0111.txt

AA00025834_00001_0049.txt

AA00025834_00001_0224.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0220.txt

AA00025834_00001_0101.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0144.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0045.txt

AA00025834_00001_0031.txt

AA00025834_00001_0141.txt

AA00025834_00001_0004.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0125.txt

AA00025834_00001_0128.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0018.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0197.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0157.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0076.txt

AA00025834_00001_0150.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0035.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0180.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0186.txt

AA00025834_00001_0176.txt

AA00025834_00001_0155.txt

AA00025834_00001_0135.txt

AA00025834_00001_0045.txt

AA00025834_00001_0053.txt

AA00025834_00001_0139.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0149.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0211.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0131.txt

AA00025834_00001_0028.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0091.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0027.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0208.txt

AA00025834_00001_0082.txt

AA00025834_00001_0086.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0198.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0159.txt

AA00025834_00001_0188.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0218.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0016.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0074.txt

AA00025834_00001_0110.txt

AA00025834_00001_0158.txt

AA00025834_00001_0076.txt

AA00025834_00001_0079.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0102.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0154.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0077.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0152.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0093.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0156.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0190.txt

AA00025834_00001_0230.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0134.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0040.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0105.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0216.txt

AA00025834_00001_0115.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0172.txt

AA00025834_00001_0042.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0034.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0126.txt

AA00025834_00001_0149.txt

AA00025834_00001_0094.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0120.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0010.txt

AA00025834_00001_0207.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0193.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0231.txt

AA00025834_00001_0154.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0150.txt

AA00025834_00001_0074.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0119.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0167.txt

AA00025834_00001_0054.txt

AA00025834_00001_0126.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0132.txt

AA00025834_00001_0081.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0124.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0170.txt

AA00025834_00001_0051.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0209.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0169.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0145.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0108.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0013.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0207.txt

AA00025834_00001_0038.txt

AA00025834_00001_0020.txt

AA00025834_00001_0160.txt

AA00025834_00001_0171.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0039.txt

AA00025834_00001_0190.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0032.txt

AA00025834_00001_0199.txt

AA00025834_00001_0225.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0064.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0226.txt

AA00025834_00001_0136.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0189.txt

AA00025834_00001_0222.txt

AA00025834_00001_0161.txt

AA00025834_00001_0014.txt

AA00025834_00001_0112.txt

AA00025834_00001_0059.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0128.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0021.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0201.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0112.txt

AA00025834_00001_0117.txt

AA00025834_00001_0189.txt

AA00025834_00001_0033.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0136.txt

AA00025834_00001_0067.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0210.txt

AA00025834_00001_0011.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0224.txt

AA00025834_00001_0026.txt

AA00025834_00001_0143.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0062.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0133.txt

AA00025834_00001_0095.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0025.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0107.txt

AA00025834_00001_0071.txt

AA00025834_00001_0100.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0066.txt

AA00025834_00001_0217.txt

AA00025834_00001_0105.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0038.txt

AA00025834_00001_0175.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0221.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0213.txt

AA00025834_00001_0202.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0185.txt

AA00025834_00001_0072.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0051.txt

AA00025834_00001_0157.txt

AA00025834_00001_0220.txt

AA00025834_00001_0227.txt

AA00025834_00001_0186.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0135.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0165.txt

AA00025834_00001_0118.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0037.txt

AA00025834_00001_0035.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0101.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0229.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0173.txt

AA00025834_00001_0024.txt

AA00025834_00001_0134.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0090.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0196.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0161.txt

AA00025834_00001_0179.txt

AA00025834_00001_0192.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0225.txt

AA00025834_00001_0183.txt

AA00025834_00001_0002.txt

AA00025834_00001_0121.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0008.txt

AA00025834_00001_0006.txt

AA00025834_00001_0203.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0042.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0024.txt

AA00025834_00001_0048.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0174.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0098.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0020.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0030.txt

AA00025834_00001_0015.txt

AA00025834_00001_0109.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0111.txt

AA00025834_00001_0039.txt

AA00025834_00001_0069.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0068.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0212.txt

AA00025834_00001_0030.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0110.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0171.txt

AA00025834_00001_0025.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0000.txt

AA00025834_00001_0168.txt

AA00025834_00001_0151.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0184.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0122.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0160.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0001.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0015.txt

AA00025834_00001_0102.txt

AA00025834_00001_0138.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0222.txt

AA00025834_00001_pdf.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0073.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0114.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0116.txt

AA00025834_00001_0210.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0097.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0138.txt

AA00025834_00001_0017.txt

AA00025834_00001_0103.txt

AA00025834_00001_0052.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0065.txt

AA00025834_00001_0147.txt

AA00025834_00001_0090.txt

AA00025834_00001_0124.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0060.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0199.txt

AA00025834_00001_0209.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0140.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0096.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0087.txt

AA00025834_00001_0018.txt

AA00025834_00001_0057.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0168.txt

AA00025834_00001_0131.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0095.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0100.txt

AA00025834_00001_0060.txt

AA00025834_00001_0043.txt

AA00025834_00001_0156.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0203.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0053.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0075.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0063.txt

AA00025834_00001_0032.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0214.txt

AA00025834_00001_0010.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0058.txt

AA00025834_00001_0165.txt

AA00025834_00001_0178.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0069.txt

AA00025834_00001_0075.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0023.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0070.txt

AA00025834_00001_0023.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0137.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0005.txt

AA00025834_00001_0194.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0067.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0176.txt

AA00025834_00001_0196.txt

AA00025834_00001_0214.txt

AA00025834_00001_0066.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0057.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0081.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0054.txt

AA00025834_00001_0191.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0088.txt

AA00025834_00001_0120.txt

AA00025834_00001_0145.txt

AA00025834_00001_0182.txt

AA00025834_00001_0050.txt

AA00025834_00001_0231.txt

AA00025834_00001_0213.txt

AA00025834_00001_0104.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0049.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0151.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0179.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0194.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0047.txt

AA00025834_00001_0085.txt

AA00025834_00001_0107.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0072.txt

AA00025834_00001_0127.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0094.txt

AA00025834_00001_0021.txt

AA00025834_00001_0036.txt

AA00025834_00001_0180.txt

AA00025834_00001_0218.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0141.txt

AA00025834_00001_0146.txt

AA00025834_00001_0172.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0188.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0044.txt

AA00025834_00001_0098.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0192.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0139.txt

AA00025834_00001_0169.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0175.txt

AA00025834_00001_0187.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0022.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0177.txt

AA00025834_00001_0201.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0228.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0187.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0004.txt

AA00025834_00001_0162.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0050.txt

AA00025834_00001_0080.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0127.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0164.txt

AA00025834_00001_0087.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0123.txt

AA00025834_00001_0061.txt

AA00025834_00001_0106.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0205.txt

AA00025834_00001_0166.txt

AA00025834_00001_0132.txt

AA00025834_00001_0212.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0121.txt

AA00025834_00001_0040.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0017.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0202.txt

AA00025834_00001_0034.txt

AA00025834_00001_0167.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0002.txt

AA00025834_00001_0148.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0061.txt

AA00025834_00001_0070.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0166.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0009.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0086.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0230.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0078.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0178.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0227.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0130.txt

AA00025834_00001_0137.txt

AA00025834_00001_0089.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0079.txt

AA00025834_00001_0211.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0191.txt

AA00025834_00001_0140.txt

AA00025834_00001_0193.txt

AA00025834_00001_0065.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0148.txt

AA00025834_00001_0174.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0036.txt

AA00025834_00001_0019.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0052.txt

AA00025834_00001_0091.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0006.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0019.txt

AA00025834_00001_0003.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0162.txt

AA00025834_00001_0096.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0089.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0055.txt

AA00025834_00001_0099.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0003.txt

AA00025834_00001_0164.txt

AA00025834_00001_0122.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0183.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0147.txt

AA00025834_00001_0022.txt

AA00025834_00001_0123.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0028.txt

AA00025834_00001_0170.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0182.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0011.txt

AA00025834_00001_0208.txt

AA00025834_00001_0142.txt

AA00025834_00001_0046.txt

AA00025834_00001_0195.txt

AA00025834_00001_0047.txt

AA00025834_00001_0012.txt

AA00025834_00001_0198.txt

AA00025834_00001_0173.txt

AA00025834_00001_0197.txt

AA00025834_00001_0130.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0026.txt

limitofhumanfeli00mcca_0129.txt

AA00025834_00001_0205.txt

AA00025834_00001_0084.txt


Full Text











THE LIMIT OF HUMAN FELICITY:
RADIO'S TRANSITION FROM HOBBY TO HOUSEHOLD UTILITY
IN 1920S AMERICA















By

LAURA PELNER McCARTHY



















A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 1993




T L
(
[COMMITTEE PRINT]
SENIOR TRANSPORTATION-
TICKET TO DIGNITY
REPORT
BY THE
SUBCOMMITTEE ON FEDERAL, STATE, AND
COMMUNITY SERVICES
OF THE
SELECT COMMITTEE ON AGING
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
NINETY-FOURTH CONGRESS
SECOND SESSION
Printed for the use of the Select Committee on Aging
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
72-382 0 WASHINGTON : 1976
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington, D.C. 20402 Price 90 cents


SELECT COMMITTEE ON AGING
WM. J. RANDALL, Missouri, Chairman
CLAUDE PEPPER, Florida
SPARK M. MATSUNAGA, Hawaii
EDWARD R. ROYBAL, California
FRED B. ROONEY, Pennsylvania
MARIO BIAGGI, New York
WALTER FLOWERS, Alabama
IKE F. ANDREWS, North Carolina
JOHN L. BURTON, California
EDWARD P. BEARD, Rhode Island
MICHAEL T. BLOUIN, Towa
DON BONKER, Washington
THOMAS J. DOWNEY, New York
JAMES J. FLO RIO, New Jersey
HAROLD E. FORD, Tennessee
WILLIAM J. HUGHES, New Jersey
MARILYN LLOYD, Tennessee
JIM SANTINI, Nevada
TED RISENHOOVER, Oklahoma
BOB WILSON, California
WILLIAM C. WAMPLER, Virginia
JOHN PAUL HAMMERSCHMIDT, Arkansas
H. JOHN HEINZ HI, Pennsylvania
WILLIAM S. COHEN, Maine
RONALD A. SARASIN, Connecticut
WILLIAM F. WALSH, New York
CHARLES E. GRASSLEY, Iowa
GILBERT GUDE, Maryland
Robert M. Horner, Staff Director
Lyle McClain, Counsel
Albert H. Solomon, Jr., Professional Staff Assistant
Martha Jane Maloney, Professional Staff Assistant
V. Bernice King, Financial Secretary
Subcommittee Membership
(WM. J. RANDALL, Missouri, Chairman of the full committee, and BOB WILSON, California, Ranking
Minority Member, are members of all subcommittees, ex officio.J
Subcommittee No. 1Retirement Income and Employment
WM. J. RANDALL, Missouri, Chairman
WALTER FLOWERS, Alabama WILLIAM C. WAMPLER, Virginia
JOHN L. BURTON, California CHARLES E. GRASSLEY, Iowa
MICHAEL T. BLOUIN, Iowa GILBERT GUDE, Maryland
DON BONKER, Washington
THOMAS J. DOWNEY, New York
- Michael W. Murray, Majority Staff
Nancy E. Hobbs, Minority Staff
Subcommittee No. 2Health and Long-Term Care
CLAUDE PEPPER, Florida, Chairman
IKE F. ANDREWS, North Carolina H. JOHN HEINZ HI, Pennsylvania
EDWARD P. BEARD, Rhode Island WILLIAM S. COHEN, Maine
JAMES J. FLO RIO, New Jersey
MARILYN LLOYD, Tennessee
Robert S. Weiner, Majority Staff
Elliot Stern, Minority Staff
Subcommittee No. 3Housing and Consumer Interests
EDWARD R. ROYBAL, California, Chairman
FRED B. ROONEY, Pennsylvania JOHN PAUL HAMMERSCHMIDT, Arkansas
HAROLD E. FORD, Tennessee WILLIAM F. WALSH, New York
JIM SANTINI. Nevada
Jose S. Garza, Majority Staff
Subcommittee No. 4Federal, State and Community Services
SPARK M. MATSUNAGA, Hawaii, Chairman
MARIO BIAGGI, New York BOB WILSON, California
WILLIAM J. HUGHES, New York RONALD A. SARASIN, Connecticut
TED RISENHOOVER, Oklahoma
Edward F. Howard, Majority Staff
Robetta Bretsch, Minority Staff


CONTENTS
Page
Summary 1
Recommendations 6
Chapter I: An overview:
Mobility and accessibility 9
The problem: Multifaceted (Low incomes, service gaps, rural isolation,
design problems, older pedestrian, driver licensing and insurance) __ 10
Chapter II: Present programs:
Public programs 19
Department of Transportation 19
Department of Health, Education, and Welfare 23
Other major Federal programs 24
Private programs 25
Chapter III: Program gaps and deficiencies:
Fragmented, uncoordinated services 27
Rural transportation and Federal responsibility 34
Funding: How much, from where, and for how long? 35
Volunteerism 40
Schoolbuses 42
Surplus vehicles 44
Design accessibility 45
Transportation cost assistance programs 47
Federal guidance 49
Chapter IV: Recommendations 51
Appendixes 57
(in)


Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2013
http://archive.org/details/seniorrtaOOunit


SENIOR TRANSPORTATION: TICKET TO DIGNITY
SUMMARY
I. An Overview
MOBILITY AND ACCESSIBILITY
In a society that has carried on a love affair with the automobile
for decades, the elderly often find themselves jilted by the only trans
portation method they have ever depended on, the private auto.
For either income, physical or psychological reasons, driving becomes
impossible.
Reliance then shifts to public transportation, which imposes physi
cal and income demands of its own. High steps, quick movement and
ill-designed routes may in effect deny the elderly access to existing
systems. Despite the 1970 declaration by Congress that elderly and
handicapped persons have the same right as other persons to utilize
mass transportation facilities and services, it took until April 1976
for regulations fully implementing that policy to be issued.
As important as assuring accessibility to existing systems is, it is not
enough. Inappropriate routing, long waiting periods and weather
problems are only a few factors that may require door-to-door or
demand-responsive transportation.
This broadening of mobility for the elderly generally must be pur
sued at the same time as increased accessibility if older Americans are
to be assured adequate transportation services.
the problem: multifaceted
A statement of the problem is simple: older Americans are severely
hampered in getting to and from places they need to travel. One recent
survey showed that one-third of the poor elderly have serious trans
portation difficulties. Attempting to deal with the problem, however,
brings one quickly to realize that improving mobility for older Ameri
cans involves sorting out a complex bundle of issues, including at least
the following:
Income.The figures are grim. The median income for elderly
households in 1973 was just under $4,600less than half of the national
figure of $10,500. More than 3 million Americans aged 65 or over were
below the poverty level in 1974. The pace of inflation since then has
undoubtedly pushed hundreds of thousands more into the poverty
classification.
Service Gaps.In many areas, there is no public transportation at
all. Often when it exists, it goes to the wrong place at the wrong times
for older Americans. Reduced fare programs help some persons, but
leave many still unserved.
In many cases the answer is to develop alternative systems, which
can provide the more flexible, more personalized service required by
many elderly citizens. Public operators, however, have been reluctant
to enter into this new field because of their existing cost problems.
(1)


2
Rural Isolation.Virtually all rural persons are poorly served by
public transit, and the rural elderlybetween five and six million
are no exception. Distances are greater, populations less dense, and
incomes among the elderly are generally lower than in urban areas.
Design Problems.Most transit vehicles and facilities are designed
with the 1 normal person in mindsomeone who can climb steep
steps, endure uncomfortable seats, walk long distances in terminals,
and balance packages in one hand while hanging on to a subway strap
with the other. Unfortunately, millions of elderly do not fit this
description of normality, and are rebuffed by the system at various
points.
Walking and Driving.Traffic accidents claim a disproportionate
number of elderly pedestrians as victims. In urban areas traffic signals
assume a sprightliness of step that few older Americans possess. On
the other hand, State driver examination statutes and practices have
discouraged many able elderly persons from driving their automobiles.
II. Present Programs
More than 30 Federal programs, administered by 8 different agen
cies, provide significant amounts of money for transportation services
to the elderly. The variety of restrictions on beneficiary age, health, or
location, among others, has bewildered and hampered State and local
officials in addressing the problems.
Two departmentsTransportation, and Health, Education, and
Welfarehave most of the responsibility.
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION PROGRAMS
The Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964, as amended (UMTA),1
contains several major programs.
Section 3 of UMTA provides grants to public transit agencies for
capital purchases only on a project-grant basis. It is the largest single
program$1.1 billion requested for fiscal year 1977. A portion of the
section 3 money$500 million over 6 yearsis reserved for areas
with populations under 50,000.
Section 5 of UMTA provides money to all urbanized areas in the
country by formula, and permits the money-$650 million in fiscal
year 1977to be used for capital or operating purposes at the recip
ients discretion. Section 5(m) also contains the requirement that
recipients give reduced fares in nonpeak hours to the elderly and
handicapped.
Section 16(b)(2) of UMTA sets aside 2 percent of the section 3
money$22 million in fiscal }^ear 1977for capital grants to private,
nonprofit groups serving the elderly and handicapped.
Section 16(a) of UMTA sets out the national policy of Congress
that the elderly and handicapped have equal rights to mass transit
services with other Americans.
Rural highway demonstration projects, which must at least take
the special needs of the elderly into account, are being funded under
section 147 of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973.
1 Throughout this report, UMTA is used as the abbreviation both for the Urban Mass Transportation
Act of 1964, as amended, and for the Urban Mass Transportation Administration, the agency within DOT
with responsibility for carrying out the act.


3
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE PROGRAMS
Title III, Older Americans Act, distributes funds by formula to
State and area offices on aging, which have wide discretion on purposes
for which the funds can be spent. The area agencies in a State must, as
a result of a 1975 amendment to the act, spend at least 20 percent of
their funds on one or more of four specified services, one of which is
transportation.
Section 308 of the Older Americans Act funds model projects, many
in the field of transportation, which are intended to demonstrate in
novative ways to deal with senior citizen problems.
Title VII of the Older Americans Act funds nutrition programs for the
elderly. Supporting services, including transportation, may be fi
nanced from title VII funds.
Title XXSocial Servicesof the Social Security Act distributes
$2.5 billion by formula to the States for use in serving lower income
persons of all ages. Transportation for older people is one possible
use for the monev.
Medicaidtitle XIXfunds may be used to cover transportation
of a patient to an allowable service.
Many other programs, such as foster grandparents, permit funds
from the particular program to be used to provide needed transporta
tion to program participants.
PRIVATE PROGRAMS
As noted, Section 16(b)(2) singles out private nonprofit groups as
the only permitted recipients for these capital grants.
Another private resource, volunteers, has been used in many trans
portation programs serving the elderly, particularly as dispatchers and
drivers.
III. Program Gaps and Deficiencies
Unfortunately, the panoply of Federal programs described above
do not respond perfectly to the problems set forth in part 1 of this
report. Many gaps and deficiencies can be easily identified.
FRAGMENTATION, LACK OF COORDINATION
Coordination is a goal that everyone endorses. It is required under
a variety of Federal statutes and is an obvious method for getting
more transportation services from a given level of funding.
Discussions of coordination, however, have produced more lip
service than transportation service. Obstacles to effective coordination
abound. One witness at hearings held by the Administration on Aging
described some of them vividly:
(H)e stated that only children can use the day care bus; only
handicapped persons are permitted on the sheltered workshop
bus; and only those aged 70 and over may ride the Council on
Aging buses. (I)t it not unusual for a multiproblem family to be
confronted with the possibility of riding separate vehicles to
similar destinations.2
Each social service program builds in user restrictions based on age,
health status, income, geographical limits, and other criteria.
2 Summary of AOA 1975 Transportation hearings, p. III-5.


4
Aside from user restrictions, other barriers to coordination must be
addressed. Transit planning has traditionally ignored the needs of the
elderly to concentrate on commuter work trips. Social service agencies
with transportation components, concurrently, have seldom utilized
those with transit expertise.
Creation of dial-a-ride systems has often been attempted without
considering franchise rights of local taxi and other paratransit opera
tors. Franchise laws themselves usually do not contemplate the kind
of service provided by special systems, and often impose damaging
restrictions.
A special coordination problem arose during 1975, the initial year
of operation for the section 16(b)(2) program of grants to private,
nonprofit organizations primarily for vehicles serving the elderly
and handicapped. This meant that more than 1,100 systems were
funded, with minimal requirements for coordinating with existing
transit or other social service agencies. Procedures in the 1976 program
tighten coordination requirements.
rural transportation: whos in charge?
Most mass transportation programs come under the aegis of the
Urban Mass Transportation Administration, within the Department
of Transportation. That this agency is more responsive to urban,
rather than rural, needs is understandable. The Federal Highway
Administrations jurisdiction is limited to highways and related
facilities.
There is no focus for Federal efforts in rural transportation for the
elderly or anyone else.
funding: how much, from where, and for how long?
One thing we know about Federal support for transporting the
elderly is that we know precious little. Amounts spent on this purpose
in the 30-plus programs identified are, except in a few cases, impossible
to qualify.
Unfortunately, a lack of data is not the only funding problem in
this area.
Most of the major programs described in this report provide money
only for capital expenses. Yet the subcommittee is convinced, from
its hearings and other information available, that it is operating
expenses that represent the greatest need. Estimates of the relative
amounts needed for operation ranged upward from 75 percent of the
total. Without assistance in meeting operating expenses, most transit
services to the elderly cannot survive. Since regular transit operators
in 1975 experienced operating deficits totaling $1.7 billion, we cannot
expect systems serving a specialized public in a specialized way to
meet their operating costs from the farebox. Indeed, no fares are
permitted on many special systems serving the elderly.
Other sources of fundingparticularly model projects money under
the Older Americans Act and rural highway demonstration pro
gramshave built-in discontinuity. Often the local agencies cannot
muster sufficient resources to continue even a successful demonstra
tion once Federal aid is terminated.


5
VOLUNTEERS
If volunteers are asked to bear all out-of-pocket costs associated
with their volunteer work, the number volunteering diminishes
sharply. The 1973-74 energy crisis dramatized that fact.
Possible incentives are numerous: Reduced rates for parts and
maintenance through local governments, tax-free fuel, among others.
One disparity noted is that the Federal tax deduction for mileage
incurred as a volunteer, at 7 cents a mile, is not comparable to the
cost of such operation.
SCHOOLBUSES
The use of schoolbuses in hours they are not needed for school
purposes is a potential resource to benefit the elderly. Substantial
difficulties can be encountered, however, in attempting to tap this
resource.
State laws often restrict the use of schoolbuses. Fourteen States
have some sort of direct prohibition against use for the elderly. In
many States where private operators supply schoolbus service on a
contract basis, a major impediment to nonschool use is the exemption
permitted from the Federal excise tax on buses if the vehicle is to be
used exclusively for school purposes.
In many areas the buses may not be available enough hours to
make their use practical. Insurance problems may arise from non
school use. Finally, the vehicles themselves are not particularly suited
for use by the many elderly persons with limited mobility. However,
this would still be better than no transportation at all.
SURPLUS VEHICLES
Although the Federal Government disposes of excess vehicles to
agencies for use in public and nonprofit programs, only agencies en
gaged in educational, health, or civil defense activities are eligible to
receive vehicles.
DESIGN ACCESSIBILITY
Since Congress in 1970 first mandated the availability of mass
transportation services for the elderly and handicapped, only scattered
benefits have flowed to these groups. Significant barriers to access
by the elderly are still the rule, rather than the exception.
New rapid rail systems, like San Franciscos BART and Washing
ton, D.C.s Metro, have incorporated barrier-free elements. For
regular transit buses, UMTA has developed Transbus, an innovative
prototype, and promulgated regulations requiring a lift or ramp
option be offered on all new standard buses and light rail vehicles.
Whatever the effectiveness of these steps, they do not touch the
billions of dollars worth of existing equipment, which will be in use
for many years to come. Only a program to retrofit this equipment
to make it more accessible will deal with the major part of the problem
any time soon.
REDUCED FARE PROGRAMS
Section 5(m) of UMTA requires that communities receiving money
under section 5 charge not more than half fare to elderly and handi
capped riders during nonpeak hours. This is an important benefit to
72-382 0 76 -2


6
thousands of older Americans, who could otherwise not afford fre
quent use of public transit.
Two other aspects of reduced fare programs need to be noted.
First, it is not without cost to the operator. The New Jersey Depart
ment of Transportation, for example, estimates that its reduced fare
program will cost it $8.4 million next year. Second, older persons
living in communities with no transit systems or systems responding
poorly to the elderly, will receive minimal benefit from reduced fares.
SPECIAL SYSTEMS
As with reduced fares, the main problem with special systems is
that not enough older people have access to them. Where service is
available, elderly with incomes just above limits set for that program
are blocked from participating.
SPECIAL GEOGRAPHIC PROBLEMS
In some relatively remote places like Alaska and Hawaii, air travel
may be the only practical alternative. Unfortunately, the Civil
Aeronautics Board has opposed permitting airlines to grant discounts
to senior citizens, as other modes of transportation have already done.
DRIVER LICENSING AND INSURANCE
The state-of-the-art report documented wide variations from State
to State in driver licensing and reexamination procedures, often with
the potential for discrimination against the elderly.
Although the elderly seem to be able to obtain reasonably priced
auto insurance in most cases, special problems arise when changes in
residence, such as retirement might involve, force the older driver to
seek a new company.
IV. Recommendations
1. IMPROVE COORDINATION
() The President should require Federal social service agencies to
try to secure authorized transportation services through local transit
agencies.
() Waivers of regulatory requirements impeding coordination of
program funds for elderly transportation should be granted in all
possible cases by the executive branch.
(c) Congress should explicitly permit or require such coordination
on all new social services programs.
(d) DOTs improved coordination procedures in the section 16(b)(2)
program should be continued and expanded.
2. SPECIAL RURAL PROBLEMS
The House Public Works and Transportation Committee should
consider establishing a single public transportation authority, with
responsibility in both urban and rural areas (also see funding recommen
dations, below).


7
3. FUNDING LEVELS AND CONTINUITY
(a) AOA should provide more gradual phaseouts of funding for
model projects.
(6) More money must be freed for operating expenses, as well as
capital purchases. Since operating costs are high, substantial amounts
of money may be required, and the House Public Works and Trans
portation Committee is urged to give every consideration to these
needs.
(c) State and local governments should provide tax-free or low-cost
fuel, maintenance, and parts to transportation projects for the elderly.
4. VOLUNTEER ENCOURAGEMENT
(ia) The tax code should be amended to permit the same mileage
deduction for volunteer activity as for business mileage.
(b) State and local governments should consider making tax-free or
low-cost fuel, maintenance, and parts available to volunteer drivers in
projects serving the elderly.
(c) AOA should disseminate information about volunteer insurance
programs to its aging network.
5. BETTER USE OF EXISTING VEHICLES
(a) Private purchasers of schoolbuses should be permitted an
exemption from Federal excise tax if the vehicles are used in publicly
supported transportation programs for the elderly.
(b) Congress should enact legislation to permit federally owned
vehicles declared excess to be used in projects benefitting the elderly.
(c) Congress should reaffirm the power of the Civil Aeronautics
Board to permit discount standby air fares for the elderly.
6. IMPROVING VEHICLES AND FACILITIES
(a) UMTA should review forthcoming building design standards to
assure that their adoption with regard to transportation facilities will
accomplish the goal of maximum accessibility for the elderly and
handicapped.
(b) UMTA should undertake an aggressive program to explore
possibilities and problems associated with retrofitting existing ve
hicles and facilities to make them more accessible.
(c) DOT should review the forthcoming design standards relating
to parking and associated facilities used in high-speed bus systems
with a view toward their impact on the elderly.
7.PEDESTRIAN IMPROVEMENTS
The Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban De
velopment should develop pedestrian standards for federally funded
projects.
8.THE NOT-POOR-ENOUGH ELDERLY
(a) Congress should exempt older Americans from means tests in
social service programs except in the most compelling circumstances.


8
(6) DOT should encourage adoption of the new model taxi ordi
nance, to help promote shared rides.
(c)UMTA should accelerate its efforts to test shared-ride concepts.
9. STUDY RECOMMENDATIONS
() GAO should identify all Federal funds being spent on transpor
tation for the elderly.
() AO A should study, and recommend actions to alleviate, trans
portation problems of the institutionalized elderly.
(c) GAO should recommend to Congress ways in which to promote
common locations for delivery of Federal services to the elderly.
(d) AOA should study conflicting age requirements in programs
serving the elderly and recommend appropriate changes.
(e) The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should
study State driver licensing procedures to develop ways to eliminate
possible discrimination against the elderly.
(/) UMTA should review State and local franchise laws to identify
how removal of existing impediments to legitimate special transpor-
ation projects can be removed.


SENIOR TRANSPORTATION: TICKET TO DIGNITY
CHAPTER I
An Overview 1
MOBILITY AND ACCESSIBILITY
In their need for transportation, the elderly are even as you and I.
They, too, must function within a society that demands that we go
endlessly from here to there to satisfy even basic needs. How well we
meet the demand for mobility often determines the scope of our well
being, physical and psychological.
What is different for many of the elderly is their ability to cope with
that demand. Most commonly, physical and income problems combine
and reinforce each other until gradually lifestyle changes and shrinks;
the world narrows. Abandoning driving a private automobile is fre
quently the first step downwhether for income, physical, or psy
chological reasons. Reliance then switches to public transportation, if it
is available. But public transportation places a host of physical
demands on its usersgetting to the system, waiting in a variety of
weather conditions, moving quickly, climbing stairs, absorbing
complex information-that many senior citizens simply cannot meet.
If, in addition, the service at the times they wish to travel is poor and
the routing inappropriate to their needs for certain destinations, the
effort needed will often be too much.
In a broad sense, the largest numbers of elderly stand to benefit
from whatever tends to make public transportation more widespread
and responsive to the needs of the general population. For the present,
however, the extent to which the elderly can make use of existing
transportation vehicles and facilities is a function of a systems ac
cessibility. Even a free system cannot make transit accessible for use
by the less physically able if it has not been so designed. Section 16(a)
of the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 as amended, has so
recognized and has declared as national policy the accessibility of
present systems to the elderly and handicapped. Those transportation
difficulties of the elderly which relate to the accessibility of systems
will be described in more detail later in this report.
However, modifying regular mass transit systems will not ade
quately meet the transportation need of considerable numbers of older
persons. No degree of vehicle modification can eliminate the barriers
imposed by the distance from an individuals home to the nearest
transportation pickup point and from the transportation dropoff point
to the individuals destination.
Furthermore, vehicle modification cannot eliminate steep hills,
heavy traffic, or long waiting periods which prevent feeble or handi
capped elderly persons from using the general transportation system.
1 In addition to the subcommittees own hearings and those by other panels of the Select Committee on
Aging, this report draws heavily on the research compiled for Transportation for Older Americans: A
State of the Art Report, Institute of Public Administration, Washington, D.C., April 1975.
(9)


10
Many of the problems described later in the report are related to
reductions in the mobility opportunities of the elderly. Fewer trips
and fewer choices as to where to go for the elderly, it will be seen, con
tribute to a perceptible change in lifestyle marked by problems in
maintaining health, good nutrition, and normal satisfaction of social
and recreational needs.
Improved accessibility to urbanized transportation systems which
must operate under fixed route and schedule conditions may do little
to meet the mobility needs of the elderly within the context of their
particular needs. There are in fact, considerable data to indicate that
many of the elderly need door-to-door transportation, often with
assistance in getting to and from the vehicle. Demand-activated
subsystems, such as dial-a-ride service, are also of importance in rural
and suburban areas where adequate public transportation for the
general population is not likely to develop for some time.
For meaningful progress toward meeting the transportation needs
of the elderly, both paths will need to be pursued: accessibility on
present systems and broadening of the general mobility picture.
the problem: multifaceted
As hearings on the subject before this subcommittee have docu
mented, the satisfaction of basic needs and desires, access to existing
services, and participation in the society at large for many of the
elderly are suffering because of their inability to cope adequately
with the mobility demands being placed upon them. In greater num
bers than any other single social group, they are bearing the burden
of such demands in the form of reductions in physical well-being and
opportunity for social contributions.
A crucial concern is that those senior citizens reliant on public
transit must not be shut off from the mainstream of activity. These
individuals should be assured of reasonable access to their doctors,
shopping areas, senior citizen centers, churches, employment op
portunities, social events, and friends, Otherwise, the segregation
and involuntary isolation of our elderly would result in a tragic loss
of valuable human resources to our communities.
The transportation or mobility problems confronting the elderly
must be considered from two perspectives: Those factors that limit
the capacity of the elderly to avail themselves of the existing trans
portation network, and the limitations of the transportation network
itself which must be surmounted if the elderly are to be adequately
served.
As users of transportation, the elderly are faced with problems which
are primarily associated with reduced or inadequate incomes to pur
chase necessary services; with physical or psychological impairment
limits their ability to negotiate existing systems; or both.
The problems of income and physical or psychological impairment
for the elderly are compounded:
By a level and/or quality of service in many urban areas which
is frequently insufficient and inappropriate for their needs.
By vehicle and facility design and travel barriers which mark
existing available systems.


11
By pedestrian and driving problems closely bound up with the
prevailing orientation in our society toward the private auto
mobile.
The Executive Director of the West Virginia Commission on Aging,
testifying for the National Council on the Aging, described the magni
tude of the problem as measured in a recent survey:
Overall, about one-third of the poor respondents reported having transporta
tion difficulties. The major reasons given for lack of transportation were cannot
afford it or public transportation is not very good. Lack of public transporta
tion proved to be one of the most serious gaps in community service in nearly
every area in which Project FIND operated. Project reports were full of records
of persons unable to secure food, get to a doctor, or visit with friends and relatives
because there was no means of transportation.2
All of these problems interact and reinforce one another. For
example, low incomes prevent the purchase or maintenance of private
automobiles or make increases in transit fares an unbearable burden.
Maneuvering or disorientation difficulties on public transit systems
may discourage the elderly from supplementing their incomes with
part-time work. The major areas of difficulty contributing to the
heavy burden the elderly face in trying to meet their mobility needs
are elaborated belowboth to define the problem and to provide a
framework for the examination of present program and recommenda
tion for future initiatives.
Low Incomes
It is no secret that retirement brings with it sharp declines in
income. As one witness stated in subcommittee field hearings.
One of the greatest [problems] is that upon retirement, the senior citizen
suddenly finds himself in a different world. He is faced with almost immediate
poverty. It is gradual for some and then almost right away for the others. His
whole economic perspective changes. His lifestyle changes, which results in
corresponding problems in nutrition, health, recreation and immobility for spirit
and body.3
In 1973 the median income for households where the head of the
household was 65 years or older was $4,583or only 44 percent of
the total U.S. median income level of $10,512. Americans 65 and older
predominate in the low-income categories (below $5,000/year) with,
for example, 16.7 percent of those 65 and older falling in the $2,000-
$2,999/year category as compared to 1.9 percent of those in the 35-44
age group.
The grim budget condition of many elderly is further dramatized
by examining individuals not living in households; differentiating
between rural and urban elderly; black, white, or other races; or by
sex.
In this respect, 1970 data show that the median income for the
typical elderly white head of household was $5,263; for the black
counterpart, it was only $3,282; for unrelated individuals, it falls to
$2,005 for whites and $1,443 for blacks.
2 Dr. Louise Gerrard, on behalf of the National Council on the Aging; hearings, Transportation: Improv
ing Mobility for Older Americans, p. 97, held Jan. 22, 29, and Feb. 5, 1976, by Subcommittee No. 4 of the
House Select Committee on Aging.
3 Joseph Souki, executive director, Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc.; hearing, Problems of the Elderly
in Hawaii (Part IMaui County), pp. 43 and 44, held Nov. 25,1975, by Subcommittee No. 4 of the House
Select Committee on Aging.


12
The relative budget status of the elderly is perhaps most pointedly
illustrated by an examination of data on persons below the poverty
level. Families and persons have been classified as being above or
below a low-level income based on a definition originally developed
by the Social Security Administration in 1964, and subsequently
modified by a Federal Interagency Committee. In 1974, there were
15 million persons reported below the poverty income level in the
workers-age population 16 years or older. Over 3 million were 65
years and older or about 16 percent of those below the poverty level
in the working age population. In 1973 the median income for house
holds with the head of household age 65 years or older was $4,583.
This compared to $10,512 for all households.
Furthermore, when one considers that half of the elderly households
in 1973 were below $4,583, seriousness of the income problem for
older Americans is obvious. Although all the transportation problems
of the elderly cannot be solved by income alone, they are all aggravated
and accentuated by its lack. With reduced incomes, automobile
ownership becomes more burdensome and dependence for mobility
often shifts to public transportation, the assistance of family and
friends, and increased taxi use, if availableoften despite substantial
income limitations.4 The linkages between low-income and transporta
tion deprivation have often drawn pointed comment in public
testimony.
Adequate public transportation has long been an urgent, recognized need for
our elderly and yet, in Nevada and throughout the Nation, we have not solved
this problem. We are spending billions of dollars to build freeways for those
financially and physically able to drive their own cars, while doing little or nothing
for those who probably could not afford even to buy gas at todays prices if they
did own an automobile. A nation whose resources and technology can land men
on the Moon can surely develop the means to move people across town.
Depriving our low-income senior citizens of the means or right to live out their
lives in reasonable comfort and security is tragic. It is cruel and heartless. They
have paid their civil rents during their more productive years. They deserve
a better return on their investment than they are getting, in the form of problems
which Government largely has created.5
Gaps Between Level, Quality, and Convenience of Available Service and
Needs
For many older Americans the problem is availability of trans
portationany transportation. Many elderly live in isolated rural
areas with little or no access to any form of transportation. Even in
urban areas, the elderly frequently live in residential locations poorly
served by public transit, especially during the off-peak hours. Public
transit in our cities is essentially designed to serve the work force,
carrying them to and from jobs. When the peak period is over, service
levels decline sharply, providing infrequent service to off-peak riders
including large numbers of the elderly.
Low service levels are further compounded by the fact that declining
ridership as a result of the automobile has reduced service routes to
those primarily designed to serve work-force destinations. Destinations
outside the central business district are sometimes not served at all,
or with great infrequency. Access to clinics and other facilities may
* Institute of Public Administration, Model Cities Transportation Project: Final Report, for the
Department of Housing and Urban Development, November 1971, especially pp. 32 ff.
8 Ronald Lurie, Mayor Pro-Tern, Las Vegas, Nev.; hearing, Problems of the Elderly in Nevada
(Part 2), p. 3, held Oct. 11, 1975, by Subcommittee No. 3 of the House Select Committee on Aging.


13
be impossible, especially if appointments must be kept. Without the
availability of a private automobile, the elderly are frequently unable
to obtain the medical care they need or participate in the range of
socializing activities essential to their well-being and survival.
In addition to routing and scheduling limitations, public transit
systems cannot easily provide the type of personalized and flexible
service characteristics required by the elderly. In serving commuters
and their work trips, systems operate on an impersonal hands-off
basis in which drivers must adhere to tight schedules, cannot leave
their seats, must maintain headways, and cannot deviate from their
route.
The major response of public transit systems toward meeting the
transportation needs of the elderly has been in developing reduced-
fare programs, and these have usually been initiated by persons out
side of public transit. Though reduced fares do encourage somewhat
more use of public systems, for the elderly they provide the same poor
quality service along existing fixed routes oriented to the wrong places.
Reduced fares do not make the system more personalized or flexible.
Not surprisingly, in the face of the present limitation of public
transit, the needs of the elderly are being met by special transport
systems designed to provide door-to-door flexible service, or scheduled
services and modified fixed routes that permit vehicles to deviate from
their appointed rounds.
An important element in the inability of existing public transit
systems to provide for flexible service is the lack of a financial base.
Almost all public transportation systems at the present time require
some form of subsidy support to continue operation, and if flexible
service of a door-to-door character were provided, even greater sub
sidies would be needed. In this context, providing for demand re
sponsive and flexible systems and service characteristics is to a con
siderable extent constrained by the lack of available resource support.
A good illustration of the obstacles public transit operators face
in addressing the special needs of the elderly was given to the sub
committee by a representative of the transit operator serving
Philadelphia.
In addition to quickly escalating operating deficits, she outlined
the following financial difficulties being faced by the Southeast
Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA):
Bonds used to purchase the pieces that form SEPTA system are still being paid
off.
Money is required to rehabilitate and replace old system components.
Resources are required to add major linkssuch as the airport rail line, subway
extension, and due to ConRail, the purchase of commuter facilities and branch
lines that would otherwise be abandoned. I should also mention the possibility
of a new commuter formula under ConRail which would substantially increase
SEPTAs payments.6
Rural Isolation
The primary limitation of public transportation is quite simpty
that it does not exist in many places. In rural areas, with the excep
tion of relatively infrequent intercity bus or rail services, there is
often no public transportation of any kind. If the elderly wish to make
* Sally Cooper, Senior Planner, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority; p. 119 o transcript
of hearing held Feb. 12,1976, in Whiting, N.J., by Subcommittee No. 4 of the House Select Committee on
Aging.
72-382 0-76-3


14
trips to clinics, go shopping or just socialize, they must either drive
themselves or be driven. Furthermore there are no public programs
for providing rural transportation that correspond to urban programs,
with the exception of the Interstate Highway program, which of course,
is postulated on the assumption that a motor vehicle is available.
A witness from rural San Diego County told the subcommittee:
You people here are lucky. You complain about 20 minutes wait, a half hour
wait, an hour wait. I deal with people in the rural area, who are still waiting for
the bus stop to go up.7
Four variables can be used as rough indicators of the scope of
the transportation difficulties of the rural elderly:
The share of the population 65 years and older.
The density of the population.
The percentage of households with incomes below the poverty
level.
The relative availability of an automobile to the households.
In 1970, out of the total of just over 20 million elderly, about 27
percent were in rural locations5.4 million. Of this number, almost
75 percent are located in the South and North Central farming
States.
The income condition of the rural elderly is even more precarious
than their urban counterpartsthe poverty level threshhold, for
example, in 1974 for two-person farm families with head of house
hold 65 years and over, is $2,535 as compared to the non-farm total of
$2,982. Automobile ownership and poverty data developed by the
U.S. Department of Transportation for 1970 reveal that rural areas
accounted for 27 percent of all households without automobile or
telephone.8
A witness in Colorado told a full committee hearing last year:
We know of cases where elderly people have been requested to pay as much as
a dollar a mile to go 10 to 15 miles to the nearest community and return. When
on a limited income, a 20-dollar bill is something that they are unable to pay.
The choice left up to them, then, is do they forgo the service or spend the money.
This is frequently a very unfortunate decision for them to have to make because
without the service they may not survive.9
The transportation need for the rural elderly, therefore, is even
more acute in that there is less access to social services, lower incomes
and greater isolation which limits opportunity to turn to others for
help. A recent study of transportation problems in rural Pennsylvania
accurately highlights the transportation problems of the rural poor
(and elderly):
There are few transportation alternatives for the rural Pennsylvania residents.
There are not enough buses, schedules are seldom publicized, and the fares are
burdensome for people with fixed incomes. Therefore, the only form of transporta
tion available for most rural residents of the Commonwealth is by car. This
involves a large capital investment and the upkeep costs are high. In Pennsylvania
one of every four rural residents lives in poverty as compared to one of every
eight persons in urban areas and one of every fifteen persons in suburban areas.
7 Joe Benintende; hearing, Services for the Elderly in San Diego, Calif., p. 97, held Aug. 20, 1975, by
Subcommittee No. 4 of the House Select Committee on Aging.
* Department of Transportation, Urban Mass Transportation Administration, Transportation Systems
Center, The Handicapped and Elderly Market for Urban Mass Transit, Technical Report, PB 224-821,
October 1973, tables 1 and 3a, pp. 23 if.
9 Robert B. Robinson, Director, Division of Services for the Aging, Department of Social Services, State
of Colorado; hearing, Problems of the Elderly in Colorado, p. 8, held Aug. 22,1975, by the House Select
Committee on Aging.


15
Consequently, the elderly, handicapped, and disadvantaged households too often
either buy a car which they cannot afford initially or on an on-going basis pay a
disproportionate amount of their income on transportation costs. Those who
absolutely cannot afford a car feel numerous restrictions. Health care is often
neglected because the people have only enough money to pay for the transporta
tion costs to the store and the cost of the groceries. There are those who do not
even get to go to the store; someone will pick up some groceries for them. The
choice of consumer goods is also confined to the immediate area. Even the op
portunity to take advantage of the food stamp program is eliminated if the family
has no means of getting to the welfare office.
Also employment potential will be limited because of the lack of regular trans
portation facilities. The elderly and the handicapped often live in poverty. In
addition, they must face other obstacles. Their mobility may be so limited that
it is impossible to walk the several yards or miles in some cases to where a bus
might be available. If it is possible to get to a bus stop they may not be capable
of getting up the steps and into the seats without assistance. Isolation, dependency,
and a lack of social awareness for rural residents of the Commonwealth are a
result of the restrictions on mobility.10
Design Problems
Older Americans are also confronted by a variety of design and
travel barriers on the systems they use. The elderly are at a disad
vantage in having to learn new transportation skillsfor example, in
using public transport instead of an automobileat the very time
when their sensory and motor skills are declining. Adjustment diffi
culties are compounded by barriers designed into the transportation
facilities themselves.
Essentially, travel barriers fall into two categories: First, those
barriers in which the individual acts upon the systemlow-income,
psychological or emotional barriers, and physical handicaps; and
second, those barriers in which the system acts on the individual
such as difficulties associated with the vehicle, terminal facilities, the
facilities for transferring between one mode and another, problems of
vertical and horizontal movements, inadequate weather protection,
availability of needed information, and poor light timing for driving
or when crossing at intersections.
Many of the travel barriers in the second category are architectural
in character, and, under the pressure of speed, become too difficult for
the elderly to handle. However, if modern transportation systems
have one thing in common, it is the need for speed and the pressure to
move quickly. Traffic flows have become increasingly heavy, and
signal patterns, traffic markings and signs have been designed to
prevent congestion and keep things moving. This adds to the com
plexity of traffic controls, making it increasingly difficult for the
elderly to quickly receive and interpret traffic information.
In public transit, pressure for speed exists at every point at which
the elderty come in contact with the system. Vehicles start suddenly,
and schedules demand that doors be shut quickly. There is a con
siderable amount of noise and inconvenience; and drivers are basically
not in a position to provide the kind of personalized service that
older Americans often require. It is not surprising that trips with
friends or family in private cars and the use of taxisdespite their
high costsare often the most popular way to travel.
10 Governors Task Force on Rural Transportation, Rural Transportation o Pennsylvania: Problems
and Prospects, Vol. II, pp. 3 and 4, May 31, 1974.


16
Each travel mode has its own barrier characteristics. Maintaining
balance is difficult in a moving vehicle as it starts, stops or goes around
sharp curves. So is coping with rapid acceleration and deceleration.
Long walking distances through corridors and tunnels found in rail
and air terminals make demands which handicapped and elderly
persons often cannot meet, even though they may not be sufficiently
handicapped to warrant a wheelchair. Of considerable importance is
the problem of vertical changes in levels both in terminal facilities
and within large buildings or institutions such as hospitals or schools.
The escalator and the moving sidewalk are prime sources of diffi
culty for older persons and the handicapped in terms of maintaining
balance under pressure to move quickly.
A recent study of the problems of the elderly and handicapped in
four medium-sized cities with populations between 100,000 to
200,000Albany, Knoxville, Sacramento, and South Bendreached
significant conclusions.11 For example, based on a sample of elderly
over age 62within the boundaries of the four cities, the following
was reported:
Approximately one-third of the elderly reported having some form of physical
limitation to vision, hearing or movement which made riding the bus difficult for
them.
One-third reported difficulty moving quickly enough to get on and off buses.
Over one-third of the elderly indicated that they were unable to maintain
balance if required to stand while riding.
Over 50 percent reported using the bus for grocery and other types of shopping,
but one-third reported having difficulty carrying packages on the bus.
Among all the elderly interviewed, almost one-fifth said they were unable to
pull the signal cord on the bus, and, though the majority of the respondents had
no hearing problems, 17 percent had difficulty hearing or understanding the driver
(not uncommon with the not-so-elderly as well).
The d'.fficulties with design barriers affect not only the elderly but
other age groups who have some form of handicap. Estimates of the
number of handicapped depend on definitions used in preparing esti
mates, but it is fairly clear that about 8 to 10 percent of the population
is chronically handicapped in some way and that the elderly probably
account for about 40 to 50 percent of that group. In addition, there
are relatively large numbers of people who are temporarily handi
capped and would also benefit from design improvements.
How have transportation agencies responded to the problems faced
by the elderly and handicapped in relation to existing systems? Specific
design barriers to travel have been identified; and new systems, such
as the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in San Francisco and Metro
in Washington have incorporated barrier-free elements in their
planning. However, the major capital investment required for new
equipment and redesign and replacement of old equipment on existing
barrier-ridden systems has proved a formidable obstacle to action. In
consequence, solutions to the mobility needs of the elderly and handi
capped have often emphasized the development of alternative systems
involving a more personalized 1 hands-on type of transit service
including dial-a-ride, and other demand-responsive forms of operation.
11 U.S. Department of Transportation, Urban Mass Transportation Administration, Transportation
for the Elderly and Handicapped, prepared for National Urban League by Mark Battle Associates, Grant
No. DoT-Ut-53, July 1973.


17
Many communities have, in fact, chosen to move in the direction of
providing separate special services in attempting to deal with problems
of the elderly and handicapped in obtaining necessary transportation.
The older pedestrian
For many elderly Americans the only available form of mobility by
which to satisfy daily needs is walking. It is appropriate that any
consideration of the transportation problems of older Americans in
clude an examination of pedestrianism. The elderly are both dependent
upon and handicapped for pedestrian travel. Their retirement activi
ties may be particularly well suited to access by walking, but short-
circuited by anomalies of urban design which place community facili
ties beyond their walking capacity. Although the elderly participate
in pedestrian travel in rough proportion to their representation in the
total population (10 percent), their representation in pedestrian
traffic fatalities (25 percent) is ominous. Casualty rates for the elderly
are of even more concern if consideration of their cautious traffic
behavior is added to the picture. Visual problems, lenthened physical
reaction time, nonstandardization of signs, and aggressive driver
behavior have been singled out as pedestrian problem areas for the
elderly.
Urban designers generally do consider walking and pedestrian
activities, but they are usually concerned with a typical pedestrian
rather than the older pedestrian. In this context, problems arise for the
elderly pedestrian as a result of decisions in the following areas: Loca
tion of community facilities, lack of pedestrian hardware such as
resting benches, increased lighting, and ramps at curbs, and speed of
pedestrian control signals at lighted intersections. On this last point, a
witness informed the subcommittee, a relatively small adjustment
might help thousands of older persons:
At present, the Federal Highway Administration has set traffic light timing to
allow a person walking at a minimum pace of 4 feet per second to make it across
the street. At that rate, an Institute of Traffic Engineers study concludes that
only about 60 percent of the population can make it across a city street before the
light changes. I do not believe that it is necessary to point out the proportion of
aged and handicapped included in the other 40 percent. However, the Traffic
Engineers study further points out that by decreasing the rate to 3.5 feet per
second, the total number of people able to make it across a street would go up to
90 percent. Thus a decrease of 0.5 feet per second would enable an additional 30
percent of the population to cross a street safely.12
The impact of fears for personal security in many urban areas is, of
course, also a considerable deterrent to encouraging elderly pedes
trianism as a transportation mode.
Driver licensing and insurance problems
For the majority of Americans of driving age, the need for personal
mobility is solved in a direct fashion when sufficient available income
permits the purchase and maintenance of an automobile. For the
elderly, however, the issue of automobile ownership and usage is more
complex. In addition to income availability and physical and psycho-
12 Rudolph Danstedt, for William R. Hutton, Executive Director, National Council of Senior Citizens;
hearing, Transportation: Improving Mobility for Older Americans, pp. 93-94, held Feb. 5, 1976, by
Subcommittee No. 4 of the House Select Committee on Aging.


18
logical difficulties which handicap them for urban driving conditions,
the relationship of age to highway safety control an the licensing
process is poorly defined.
Although no State has established mandatory termination driving
privilege with advancing age, reexamination is widespread. Renewal
periods vary between States. Developing criteria for disqualification
has become difficult, and judgment is often left in the hands of the
individual examiner. The question of objectivity in renewal examina
tion of the elderly, plus questions on the validity of current licensing
standards as pedictors of future accidents have yet to be satisfactorily
answered.
In the context of automobile insurance, better data collection on
actual crash risk of aged drivers, which has established that their
actual loss experience is favorable, has brought about some reduction
in premimums for drivers over 65 and less tendency to force the elderly
into expensive assigned risk insurance pools. No-fault insurance plans
are generally supported by senior groups.


CHAPTER II
Present Programs
PUBLIC PROGRAMS
Congress has provided many tools for those seeking to improve
mobilit}^ for older Americans. Indeed, the most striking aspect of
Federal programs aiding transportation for the elderly is their multi
plicity. When the subcommittee was first informed that more than 30
different major Federal programs funded elderly transportation serv
ices, it was thought to be a staff research error. Unfortunately, that
was not the case. The planning handbook issued earlier this year by the
Administration on Aging 1 identified 30 separate Federal sources for
such funds, and Congress has since added another.2
Each of these programs comes complete with eligibility restrictions
how old beneficiaries must be, where they must live, their physical
condition, their income, and so on. The restrictions are rational when
considered on a program-by-program basis. Taken together, however,
this maze of possible Federal financing has bewildered and hampered
State and local officials across the country, as will be discussed more
fully below.
Although at least eight Federal agencies and departments administer
one or more of the programs cited in the list of 30, those most directly
relevant to transportation for the elderly are under the direction
of two agencies, the Department of Transportation and the Depart
ment of Health, Education, and Welfare.
Department of Transportation Programs
Urban Programs
The overwhelming majority of programs handled by the Depart
ment of Transportation (DOT) are urban in orientation.
a. Section 3, UMTA?Section 3 is the largest single Federal source
of capital grant money for mass transportation. In fiscal year 1977,
for example, $1,100 million will be available for obligation to State
and local transit agencies (public bodies) to finance 80 percent of the
capital costsnot operating costsof transit projects in urban areas
(50,000 persons or more). This amount, it should be emphasized, is
directed toward meeting the transit needs of the entire population,
not just the elderly.
A portion of section 3 funds was reserved by Congress for nonur-
banized areas.4 That program is discussed further below.
1 Institute of Public Administration, Department of Transportation, Planning Handbook: Transporta*
tion Services for the Elderly, Washington, D.C.; DHEW, Appendix I.
2 Carpool program, 1976 Highway Act, Public Law 94-280.
3 Throughout this report, UMTA is used as the abbreviation both for the Urban Mass Transportation
Act of 1964, as amended, and for the Urban Mass Transportation Administration, the agency within DOT
with responsibility for carrying out the act.
4 Public Law 93-503 set aside $500 million of the $11.2 billion for nonurbanized areas over the 6-year au
thorization period in the law.
(19)


20
Grants are made by UMTA under section 3 based on individual,
local, or regional requests, with each grant application competing
with all others submitted. As early as 1973, it was announced UMTA
policy to give priority attention to community requests for helping
older Americans through capital grants from the Urban Mass Trans
portation fund to commit significant resources to this end. 5
However, few transit operators or other governmental bodies have
taken advantage of this new opportunity, primarily because of mas
sive problems in maintaining existing service to the general popula
tion.6
b. Section 5, UMTA.This program is similar to the section 3
program described above, except that (a) the money is apportioned
to States based on urbanized population and population density;
(b) the total amounts available are smaller than under section 3;7
and (c) the funds can be used either for capital purchases or to offset
up to half of a transit systems operating deficit. About 90 percent of
the money, at the discretion of recipients, has gone for operating
expenses.
Again, little use has been made of this section to benefit the elderly,
but the potential is clear and has been realized in several instances.
c. Section 5(m), UMTA.This provision of the act, added in 1974,8
requires that any transit system receiving assistance under section 5
offer fares to elderly and handicapped riders during nonpeak hours not
greater than half the normal rush hour fare for general riders.
Many systems have gone beyond this on their own initiative. In
Honolulu, the elderly ride city buses free at any time of the day. In
Pennsylvania the State lottery funds free fares for the elderly on
mass transit systems during nonpeak hours.
d. Section 6, UMTA research and demonstrations.Under this
section, UMTA funds a broad range of research, development and
demonstration projects. Of approximately $47 million spent by
UMTA under section 6 in fiscal year 1975, only about $2.8 million
went to projects that are intended to benefit the elderly and handi
capped directly.9 There is no statutory limit on the amount that may
be spent on such projects except that imposed by the combined total
of money available under section 4(c) for capital grants, research
and demonstrations, and technical assistance.
e. Section 9, UMTA, technical studies grants.Public agencies
are eligible under section 9 for funding to pay all or part of the cost of
planning associated with fitting a particular transit project into a
unified or officially coordinated urban transportation system.
Regulations have been published which will require local transit
operators receiving technical studies funds to incorporate into the
resulting transit plan a meaningful strategy to provide adequate
transportation services to the elderly and handicapped.10
j. Section 16(b)(2), UMTA, capital grants to private nonprofit
organizations.This subsection permits UMTA to allocate up to
s Presidents special message on aging, Mar. 23,1972.
8See Appendix II for list of section 3 grants to benefit the elderly and handicapped.
7 The following contract authority remains: $650 million for fiscal year 1977, $775 million in fiscal year 1978,
$850 million in fiscal year 1979, and $900 million in seal year 1980.
8 National Mass Transportation Act of 1974, Public Law 93-503, Nov. 26, 1974.
9 See list of projects, supplied by the Department of Transportation, app. III.
10 U.S. Department of Transportation, Transportation for Elderly and Handicapped Persons, 41 Fed
eral Register, 18235-41, Apr. 30,1976.


21
2 percent11 of its section 3 money each year to make grants to private
nonprofit groups for purchases of vehicles and other transportation
equipment specifically to meet the transportation service needs of
the elderly and handicapped.
First enacted in 1973 and first funded in 1975, this section is ex
pected to be a continuing source of about $22 million or more each
year for vehicles and equipment, allocated to the States according to
the number of elderly and handicapped in each State.
A State-by-State breakdown of the fiscal year 1975 and fiscal year
1976 allocations is included in appendix IV to this report.
g. Section 16(b)(1), Capital Grants to Public Agencies for the Elderly
and Handicapped.This section specifically authorizes the use of
section 3 money by UMTA to fund projects meeting the special transit
needs of the elderly and handicapped.
h. Section 16(a), UMTA, National Policy, Rights of Elderly and
Handicapped to Mass Transit Services.This subsection was added
by floor amendment offered in 1970 by the Ranking Majority Member
of this subcommittee, Congressman Mario Biaggi. It states:
It is hereby declared to be the national policy that the elderly and handicapped
persons have the same right as other persons to utilize mass transportation facilities
and services; that special efforts shall be made in the planning and design of mass
transportation facilities and services so that the availability to elderly and handi
capped persons of mass transportation which they can effectively utilize will be
assured; and that all Federal programs offering assistance in the field of mass
transportation (including the programs under this Act), should contain provisions
implementing this policy.
Pursuant to this declaration and later congressional reaffirmations,
UMTA has promulgated regulations designed to assure better access
to mass transit for the elderly and handicapped.12 Although the
regulations will not require each vehicle financed by UMTA to be
accessible to persons in wheelchairs, a tangible level of concern and
action toward addressing these special needs will have to be shown.
i. Carpool/Vanpool demonstrations.First enacted in 1974 13 in
response to the energy crisis, this provision permits States to fashion
demonstration programs using carpools to conserve fuel, decrease
traffic congestion during rush hours, improve air quality, and enhance
the use of existing highways and parking facilities. Funds for the
demonstrations (90 percent Federal share) can be drawn from each
States allocation under the primary and urban systems highway
programs, which together total more than $2.1 billion for fiscal year
1977. Although no individual project may exceed $1 million in Federal
costs, there is no limit to the number of projects in a State.
Through January 1976, approximately $10.4 million in Federal
funds had been diverted by States from highway purposes under this
provision, principally to pay for computer matching of potential
carpool riders.
The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1976, Public Law 94-280, amends
the existing program by permitting money to be spent on the purchase
of appropriate vehicles, and by adding, as a specifically permissible
11 The 2-percent limitation technically applies both to secs. 16(b) (2) and 16(b) (1), grants to public agencies-
In practice, however, the full 2 percent has gone to private, nonprot agencies, while special transit applica*
tions by public bodies have been funded under the regular sec. 3 program without regard to any percentage
limitation.
12 U.S. Department of Transportation, Transportation for Elderly and Handicapped Persons, 41 Fed
eral Register, 18235-41, Apr. 30, 1976.
13 Public Law 93-239, Jan. 2,1974, the Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act.
72-382 0-76-4


22
project, measures providing carpooling opportunities to the elderly
and the handicapped.
The potential benefits to the elderly from use of this demonstration
program are not yet clear, but local and State agencies serving the
elderly would be well advised to consult State transportation or
highway departments about the new program.
Enrol programs
a. Section 3, TJMTA Capital Grants to Nonurbanized Areas.In
1974 Congress set aside $500 million of the $11.2 billion it authorized
under section 3 for transportation assistance in nonurbanized areas,
for example, those with populations of less than 50,000.14 UMTA
has devised no specific plan under which to disburse this money,
relying on the communities or areas that are eligible to come forward
with applications for capital grants. UMTA has simplified its section
3 application and approval process for such communities and is
initiating a number of activities to make the nonurbanized com
munities aware of the program.15
Approximately $48 million is expected to be obligated from the
$500 million total by the end of fiscal year 1976. The remainder of
the $500 million is available until the current authorization expires
in fiscal year 1980.
Legislation to permit the use of this $500 million for operating, as
well as capital, expenses has passed the Senate (S. 662, 94th Congress),
and is pending in the House Public Works and Transportation Com
mittee with parallel House legislation (H.R. 3155).
b. Rural Highway Public Transportation Demonstration (Section
H7).Section 147 of the 1973 Federal Aid Highway Act makes funds
available for public mass transportation demonstration projects in
rural areas (up to 50,000 in population). UMTA and the Federal
Highway Administration (FHWA) jointly administer the program,
which distributed almost $25 million in fiscal years 1975 and 1976.
Among other things, projects must address the special transportation
needs of the elderly and handicapped. The Federal Aid Highway
Act of 1976 extended the authorization period through fiscal year
1978.
Two-thirds of the remaining amounts authorizedsome $50
million available during fiscal years 1977 and 1978is provided
through the Highway Trust Fund, with the remaining one-third
coming from general revenues. No more than the amount appropriated
from general revenues may be spent for operating expenses.
c. Section 16(b)(2), UMTA, Capital Grants to Private Non-Profit
Organizations.Many of these projects serve rural areas, although
UMTA is unable to provide a breakdown of the number of projects
serving urban as distinguished from rural areas, or serving elderly
as distinguished from handicapped groups. Regulations were changed
this year to eliminate the requirement that applicants serve towns
with at least 5,000 population.
14 National Mass Transportation Assistance Act of 1974, Public Law 93-503.
15 Judith T. Connor, Assistant Secretary of Environment, Safety and Consumer Affairs, U.S. Depart
ment of Transportation, letter responding to questions from the subcommittee, Apr. 10,1976.


23
Department of Health, Education, and Welfare Programs
Administration on Aging
a. Title III (iState and Community Services).Under this title,
Federal funds are allocated through State aging offices to more than
600 planning and service areas (PSAs) across the country according
to a formula based on population, aged 60 and over, to develop and
strengthen systems of comprehensive, coordinated social services
for the elderly.16 Among the social services that can be coordinated
or provided, either by State offices on aging or the area agencies in
each PSA, is transportation. In fiscal year 1975, approximately 20
percent of all Federal funds for area planning and social services, or
about $16 million, was spent on transportation.
The 1975 amendments to the Older Americans Act, Public Law
94-135, added a requirement that all States spend at least 20 percent
of the area planning and social services funds on one or more of four
specified serviceshome services, counseling, home repairs, and
transportation.
Most area agencies provide services indirectly, through contracts
with other organizations and agencies. Since the focus of the title III
program is to identify and draw on other sources of funding, AOA
regulations prohibit any project from receiving funds from an area
agency for more than 3 years, unless the continuation is specifically
approved by the U.S. Commissioner on Aging.
b. Section 808 oj the Older Americans Act {model projects).This
section permits the Commissioner on Aging to expand or improve
the well-being of older persons. A number of priority areas are spec
ified in the act, including special transportation and escort services.
About 10 percent of model projects funds are presently devoted to
transportation projects in five States. The fiscal year 1976 appropria
tion for model projects, as approved by the House of Representatives
on April 13, 1976, was $10 million, with an additional $2.5 million
available for the transition period. The administration has requested
no funds for model projects in fiscal year 1977, but Congress has re
jected prior attempts by the administration to make major cuts in
this program.
c. Tide VII {Nutrition projects) oj the Older Americans Act.This
program allocates to the States, by a formula based on elderly popu
lation, funds to finance programs meeting the nutritional needs of
the elderly. Under the program, approximately 250,000 older persons
are served a hot, nutritious meal available 5 days a week or more.
Supportive social services, including transportation to the meal site,
may be financed from Federal funds, but by regulation cannot exceed
20 percent of the total project cost. Through the first 9 months of
fiscal year 1975, approximately 5 percent, or $4.5 million, went to
cover transportation costs.
Social Security Act
a. Title XX {social services) oj the Social Security Act.This title
allocates $2.5 billion each year to individual States for use in paying
up to 75 percent of the cost of providing social services to those re-
1# H.R. 13172, now awaiting Presidential signature, appropriated $93 million for area planning and social
services in fiscal year 1976, and an additional $31.25 million for the transition quarter (July 1-Sept. 30,1976).


24
ceiving Federal income assistance payments, or those formerly re
ceiving such assistance or in danger of losing their independence. The
money is spent on a wide range of services for persons of all ages, with
the selection of services and the beneficiary groups almost completely
at the discretion of the States.
Of the $2.5 billion, about $42 million, or 1.7 percent, is expended
for transportation, but no data exist to show how much of that
amount is going to older persons.
The subcommittee knows firsthand of instances in which title XX
is transporting the elderly. In Maui County, Hawaii, for example,
the subcommittee heard testimony outlining how the local commu
nity action program put together the only transportation system in
the county, using UMTA funds, in part, for vehicle purchase and
more than $100,000 in title XX funds for the major part of operating
expenses.
b.Title XIX {Medicaid) of the Social Security Act.Regulations
governing this program, financed jointly by State and Federal funds,
require that a State plan must specify that there will be provision for
assuring necessary transportation of recipients to and from providers
of (health) services and describe the methods that will be used in
providing such transportation. In many States, special systems serving
the transportation disadvantaged provide transit services to medicaid
recipients and are reimbursed by the administering agency. No
accurate estimates are available of the amount of medicaid money
expended for transportation. The total medicaid expenditures for
fiscal year 1977 will be about $17 billion, of which more than $9 billion
is the Federal share. More than 4 million of the 24 million medicaid
recipients are aged 65 or over.
Other Major Federal Programs
a. Title IX, Older Americans Act, Community Service Employment.
This program, administered by the Department of Labor, funded
12,400 jobs in fiscal year 1976 for those aged 55 or over. The law re
quires that a grantee pay for necessary transportation cost of eligible
individuals which may be incurred in project employment.17
b. Rehabilitation Act of 1973.This act provides for physical therapy,
if needed, as well as skills training and transportation for beneficiaries,
if included in the State plan. Although vehicle purchase is permitted,
reimbursement of individual expenses is much more common. The
elderly make up about 2.5 percent of those receiving services.
c. Older volunteer programs of ACTION.Foster grandparents
program, retired senior volunteer program (RSVP), and the senior
companion program, all administered by ACTION, almost always
provide transportation to volunteer sites.
d. Senior opportunities and services {SOS).Administered by the
Community Services Administration (formerly OEO), this program
is designed to meet the needs of older poor persons 61 years or older.
Transportation is one need that may be addressed. Many States have
no SOS programs, but a recent CSA survey showed that transportation
assistance was a component of almost 80 percent (261) of some
333 programs reporting.
17 Section 902(b) (1)(L), Older Americans Act of 1965, as amended.


25
PRIVATE PROGRAMS
Nonprofit organizations
Private nonprofit organizations received grants of $20.8 million
in fiscal year 1975 to provide transportation services for the elderly
and handicapped under section 16(b)(2) of the Urban Mass Trans
portation Act of 1964. Another $22 million has been made available
for fiscal year 1976, as discussed previously. Funds have been used
in a wide variety of projects. A typical selection follows:
In Idaho Falls, Idaho, the Eastern Idaho Special Services Agency presently
provides a comprehensive program of health, housing, employment, and other
services to 2,700 elderly persons, about a quarter of whose incomes are below the
national poverty level. The agency is seeking to serve all of the 11,000 elderly
and physically handicapped persons in eastern Idaho, where transportation
presently available to elderly persons is extremely limited. With its four new' 15-
passenger, radio-dispatched vehicles, the agency plans to offeramong other
serviceson-demand transportation to medical appointments, the Senior Citizen
Center, developmental workshops, shopping and recreational areas, and other
locations. The agency expects to provide approximately 1,000 rides per wreek
during the first year of the project. Twro of the four vehicles wTill be equipped
with a lift.
In East Orange, New Jersey, the Essex Chapter of the American National
Red Cross will purchase tw'o 9-passenger station w'agons. Using volunteer drivers,
the Essex Chapters present 20 station w'agon fleet serves primarily elderly
and handicapped persons who, because of low income and age or disability,
cannot use public transportation. If its system were not in operation, many of
those served would either need to be hospitalized on an in-patient basis or go
without essential medical services. Section 16(b)(2) funds are being used to
replace deteriorating vehicles.
Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc. is a community action agency in Maui
County, Haw'aii, a county without a public transportation system in w'hich
28 percent of the elderly population have incomes below' the poverty level. The
four 15-passenger buses and the 5-passenger van with a w'heelchair lift w'hich this
agency will purchase with section 16(b)(2) funds will provide transportation
to the elderly and handicapped persons not being served and will increase their
access to treatment, training, rehabilitation, and shopping centers.18
Voluntary nonprofit organizations have traditionally provided
transportation to clients of their programs, a large percentage of whom
are elderly. Drivers for these programs are drawn heavily as volunteers
from the ranks of the retired, and their sensitivity to the problems
of elderly passengers in using their vehicles has been an important
element in meeting the problems their clientele may have with actual
use of vehicles. The Red Cross, as one example, attempts to meet the
service needs of the elderly for medical and recreational trips after
the transportation requirements of their blood program are scheduled.
Among other private organizations which frequently fund trans
portation services in which the elderly participate are the American
Cancer Society, United Cerebral Palsy, Easter Seal Society, Muscular
Dystrophy, senior citizen organizations, religious groups, and organi
zations for the disabled.
Volunteers
The subcommittee has heard dozens of witnesses detailing volunteer
participation in transportation services for the elderly, eloquent
testimony to the reservoir of willingness and interest on the part
of other age groups to help relieve the mobility problems of older
citizens.
18 Judith T. Connor; hearing, Transportation: Improving Mobility for Older Americans, pp. 53-54,
held Jan. 29,1976, by Subcommittee No. 4 o the House Select Committee on Aging.


26
Indeed, volunteers are essential to providing transportation and
many other services to the elderly. Commissioner Flemming testified
that:
The field of aging is very dependent on (volunteers). For example, under
title VII, the nutrition program for older persons, our reports indicate that there
are 57,000 volunteers participating every week in the operation of these programs
throughout the country.19
In many instances, however, project planners have been unable
to utilize volunteers effectively as a resource because of undependable
community response, high levels of operating costs for volunteers
without any mechanism for direct reimbursement, and insurance
concerns on the part of volunteers.
On the other hand, a small number of ongoing special transportation
services have successfully incorporated volunteer participation in their
operations, resulting in a substantially larger volume of service than
would have been otherwise possible. One such project is Whistlestop
Wheels, a service to the elderly and to the handicapped of all ages
funded primarily by the Marin County (California) Transit District
with participation by two private service organizations within the
county: the Senior Coordinating Council and the Volunteer Bureau.
Vehicles in the project are providing group transportation for shop
ping, recreational, and educational activities to seniors, trips for
medical purposes to all ages, schedules for which are grouped by the
Volunteer Bureau; and special group service to private service or
ganizations, such as the Easter Seal Society, as requested.
Individual medical trip requests which cannot readily be grouped for
service by Whistlestop Wheels are handled by the Volunteer Bureau
through a pool of volunteer drivers operating their own cars. In 1974,
the individual volunteer component of service provided 318 one-way
passenger trips per month, or a total of more than 3,000 vehicle miles
per month for transportation to medical facilities. The use of individual
volunteer drivers for those medical trips which cannot logically or
efficiently be grouped with other medical trips permits a broad ex
tension of service to the ill and handicapped of all ages in Marin
County and allows separating out the trips which would be most
costly to provide in the demand-responsive medical service offered by
the Whistlestop Wheels project.
The Older Adults Transportation Service (OATS) provides door-to
door transportation throughout Missouri to persons 55 years or older
and handicapped of all ages. The system is primarily operating to
provide access from rural communities to somewhat larger, urbanized
centers. A widespread network of volunteer local units (OATS County
Committees) undertakes the organization of routes and schedules in
accordance with local needs and preferences, enlists membership in
OATS, and assists in the selection of the local OATS driver. Each
county committee in turn sets up a broad volunteer telephone contact
network within the local community to receive advance trip requests,
transmits schedule changes, and disseminate organization information.
The volunteer presence in the OATS program is an essential element
in tailoring the service to local needs and preferences, in providing
the intake function for the scheduling and dispatching of vehicles,
and in marketing and promotion activities to encourage full use of the
system.
19 Arthur S. Flemming, U.S. Commissioner on Aging; hearing, "Transportation: Improving Mobility for
Older Americans, p. 22, held Jan. 22,1976, by Subcommittee No. 4 of the House Select Committee on Aging.


CHAPTER III
Program Gaps and Deficiencies
FRAGMENTED AND UNCOORDINATED TRANSPORTATION SERVICES
Many communities have developed special transportation services
to provide for the transportation needs of the elderly. Often these
special transportation services operate alongside public transit, and
parallel similar projects. In communities with a number of transporta
tion projects, each is usually designed to serve its own client group
with separate vehicles, staff, facilities, and budget. To illustrate the
scope and magnitude of the duplication and fragmentation of effort,
table IIIA-1 summarizes an inventory, developed for Pinellas County
in Florida, of all transportation projects serving the elderly and
handicapped. It is quite evident from the table that in Pinellas County,
in 1975, there were 26 different projects with over 40 vehicles (not to
mention taxis and the private automobiles of volunteer drivers) and
26 separate budgets, maintenance bills, drivers, and administrations.
The potential for more efficiently providing services to the elderly and
handicapped through coordinated use of these same vehicles, staffs,
facilities, and budgets needs no substantiation. It is axiomatic in
transportation that centralized dispatching, maintenance, and ad
ministration represent important potential savings in the use of
resources.
Table III.A.l.Inventory of transportation project for the elderly and handicapped,
Pinellas County, Fla.1
Service provider
1. Gulfport Extended Minibus Serv
ices (GEMS).
2. Mature Adult Day Care
3. Mature Adult Day CareLargo
4. Transportation and Minibus Serv
ice (TAMS), Clearwater.
5. Implementation and Expansion of
Senior Citizens Services, St. Pe
tersburg.
6. Pinellas Opportunity Council, Inc.,
St. Petersburg.
7. Holiday Shores Mobile Park, Semi
nole.
8. First Presbyterian Church, St. Pe
tersburg.
9. First Congregational Church, St.
Petersburg.
10. Lutheran Towers Retirement Hotel.
11. FishSt. Bedes Episcopal Church;
St. Petersburg offices in:
1. Clearwater.
2. St. Petersburg.
3. Safety Harbor.
4. Tarpon Springs.
1 Source: Inventory of Transportation, Elderly and Handicapped, Pinellas County, Areawide Agency
on Aging, Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, 1975.
(27)
Type and capacity of vehicle
1 Dodge maxivan, 13 passengers.
1 Dodge maxivan, 13 passengers; 1
Dodge van, 13 passengers (part time).
Do.
2 Dodge maxivans, 10 passengers each.
1 American Motors station wagon, 6
passengers; 1 Chevrolet minibus, 7
passengers.
3 Volkswagon minibuses, 8 passengers.
10-passenger van.
40 passengers; former Greyhound bus.
Cabs.
Full-size bus on Sunday.
Volunteers use own cars.


28
Table III.A.l.Inventory of transportation project for the elderly and handicapped,
Pinellas County, Fla.Continued
Service provider
12. American National Red Cross, St.
Petersburg.
13. American National Red Cross,
Clearwater.
14. Wheel Chair Awareness, Clearwater.
15. Wheel Chair Transport Service, St.
Petersburg.
16.DART, St. Petersburg
17. Sunset Hotel and Residence Club,
St. Petersburg.
18. American Cancer Society, St. Pe
tersburg.
19. John Knox Housing, Inc., St.
Petersburg.
20. Menorah Center, St. Petersburg
21. Inter-Faith Coalition on Aging of
Pinellas County.
22. Four Shepherd Centers:
1. First Presbyterian Church,
Tarpon Springs.
2. First Baptist Church, Semi
nole.
3. Palm Lake Christian Church,
St. Petersburg.
4. First United Methodist
Church, St. Petersburg.
23. Majestic Towers Apartments, South
Pasadena.
24. Oak Manor Retirement Villas,
Clearwater.
25. Lakeview House, St. Petersburg
26. Heritage Presbyterian Apartments
(Mailing addressLargo).
Type and capacity of vehicle
4 station wagons; capacity7 passen
gers each.
1 station wagon; 1 sedan.
5 vans and 5 on order October 1975;
1 to 3 wheelchairs each.
5 vans with ramps or lift; also wheel
chairs with recliners supplied if
needed; 1 to 3 passengers; approved
by medicaid.
1 Dodge maxivan, 13 passengers; 2
Dodge maxivans converted to ac
commodate 3 wheelchairs and 6
passengers.
10-passenger van.
Volunteers use own cars.
Volkswagon bus: 8 passengers.
Volunteers use own cars.
Volunteers use own cars.
2 buses each; 31 passengers.
12-passenger van; Chevrolet.
Station wagon; Chevrolet.
32-passenger bus.
Not surprisingly, the recent Administration on Aging state-of-the-
art report on the transportation problems of the elderly noted that
better coordination of transportation projects offered significant po
tential for improving the availability of transportation resources for
the elderly. In the section that follows, areas in which greater co
ordination might be possible are summarized, and coordination
difficulties examined.
Coordination in relation to serving elderly transportation needs
means the pooling of resources by separate agenciessocial service,
community or public transportationin a combined effort to provide
service. The result of coordination is a unified transportation project
replacing separate and duplicative operations. In this context, such
coordination can occur in five different forms:
Coordination between agencies (at Federal, State, or local
levels).
Coordination between public transportation systems and social
service agencies.


29
Coordination of system purchasing and/or maintenance.
Coordination in locating service delivery sites.
Coordination of system users and funding.
Present requirements jor coordination
Coordination is by no means a new issue. In terms of public trans
portation and statutes underlying social services for the elderly, the
requirement for coordination is well specified. Appendix V summarizes
some of the major coordinating requirements of key Federal programs
in which transportation services are important components. The table
clearly illustrates the wide and varied range of coordinating require
ments, and suggests that the problem of providing for more effective
coordination may partially lie in the multitude of coordination require
ments already in the statutes. Furthermore, most of the coordinating
requirements do not relate programs of one agency to those of another;
nor do they always relate transportation services between programs
of a single agency and seldom across agency lines. This is hardly
surprising since the requirements for transportation service coordina
tion by social services has emerged quite recently, and independently
of the requirements for coordination in social service programs. It is
only in the last 2 years that the issue of transportation coordination
by social service agencies has achieved so much attention.
Until now, most efforts to encourage coordination have largely
focused on just understanding the scope of the problem. Some State
task forces have been organized, studies of present coordinating
requirements have been started; and, although generally there is
considerable effort underway, there is still not much light as to what
can and cannot be done or how. Not surprisingly, the actual impact
on coordinating transport projects has been minimal. Commissioner
Flemming, in his testimony before the subcommittee, cited eight
examples of systems providing coordinated transportation services to
the elderly. When measured against the 1,500 or more special systems
identified in the state-of-the-art report, eight exemplary projects
represent only the merest of beginnings.
Problem areas in coordination
A variety of factors (working separately and in combination) makes
coordination difficult. Major sources of constraint are: (1) Restrictions
on users; (2) planning problems; (3) franchise problems; and (4) other
institutional barriers.
User restrictions
Efforts to combine social programs or pool transportation facilities
are frequently frustrated by user eligibility restrictions. Many social
agency programs cannot serve all groups, and legislation is frequently
designed to serve only designated groups, so that efforts to merge
the transportation demands of a number of agencies and programs is
difficult. Differences in age, income or location requirements associated
with agency programs make agencies resistant to combining trans
portation efforts because of the complexity of allocating costs or even
designing an operational system. As testimony in the course of Ad
ministration on Aging hearings held during 1975 demonstrate, the
72-382 0-76-5


30
inefficiencies in service as a result of conflicting user eligibility re
strictions are all too obvious on the local level:
The President of the United Fund in Sanford, N.C., noted that there are nine
different social service agencies operating minibuses in Lee County with much
duplication of time and routing but that various restrictions do not permit
pooling of these different sources of transportation funds into a coordinated sys
tem. He noted that none of these services are coordinated which results in under
utilization and an inefficient use of limited resources. For example, he stated that
only children can use the day care bus; only handicapped persons are permitted
on the sheltered workshop bus; and only those aged 60 and over may ride the Coun
cil on Aging buses. He said that it is not unusual for a multiproblem family to be
confronted with the possibility of riding separate vehicles to similar destinations
because of Federal regulations that restrict the use of the vehicle to a particular
type of client.1
The major user restrictions which bear examination in greater
detail follow.
a. Age.Among the many Federal statutes (and supporting regula
tions) concerned with the elderly, there are wide variations in the age
specified for eligibility. Under the Older Americans Act, title III
(State and community programs) has no age-related eligibility re
quirements; title VII (nutrition program) specifies that eligible in
dividuals must be aged 60 or older, except that younger spouses may
also participate; and title IX (community service employment) speci
fies age-related eligibility as 55 years or older.
In contrast, the Senior Opportunities Services (SOS) program under
the Community Services Act provides general social services for
persons above the age of 60; however, for employment and volunteer
services under the SOS program, the age eligibility drops to 55. These
are illustrative of many similar conflicting age requirements.
b. Income.Variations in income standards used to denote program
eligibility act as further barriers to coordination. For example, pro
grams under the Community Services Act utilize the CSA (formerly
OEO) poverty guidelines to determine income-related eligibility;
ACTION programs, foster grandparents and senior companions, also
utilize CSA poverty guidelines but once the participants in these pro
grams have met the CSA income test, their income may rise as much as
20 percent above the poverty level without jeopardizing their eligibility.
Regulations for title III and title VII of the Older Americans Act,
and title I of the Library Services and Construction Act, specify
Department of Commerce poverty guidelines. Regulations for title
III of the Older Americans Act permit States to modify these income
levels provided the State plans indicate special factors that require
such modifications. Title IX of the Older Americans Act defines low
income as below the poverty threshold as determined by the Director
of the Office of Management and Budget; OMB guidelines do not
furnish concrete numbers, but merely allow for adjustments in the
census figures based on rises in the consumer price index.
These varied income eligibility criteria, together with the wide
latitude the States have in many cases, mean that many older persons
who might quality for one program cannot qualify for another that is
quite similar. Certainly a major side effect of the inconsistencies in
income criteria is the difficulty of providing any common transporta
tion system covering all programs.
1 Summary, hearings on issues raised in Administration on Aging report, Transportation for the Elderly:
The State of the Art, pp. 4 and 5.


31
c. Health or other physical conditions.A good many of the Federal
health programs set specific standards for mental and physical
conditions for persons seeking health service, including the elderly.
For example, to qualify under a regional medical program, one must
have one of a specific list of diseases; for title XIX of the Social
Security Act (medicaid), an older person, not yet age 65, would have
to be blind or severely disabled. Transportation services under these
programs, or any Federal health program, are offered only for medical
or health-related trips; and systems which cannot separate these
trips for invoicing have difficulty in including health trips within the
the range of their program. Conversely, transportation services
designed to provide health trips have difficulty in providing non
health trips as part of their services.
Coupled with age and income, these health-related eligibility
criteria represent an additional barrier to coordination efforts that
might otherwise provide for a centralized transportation system for
the client populations (which often overlap) of these various programs.
d. Area coverage.One of the most difficult barriers to coordinated
use of transportation resources stems from the geographic area
covered by specific programs. Programs which specify a State plan
especially the social services program (title XX of the Social Security
Act) and the programs under title III of the Older Americans Act
divide States into planning and service areas, which often overlap.
Many programs specify in varying form that projects be located in
low-income areas, thereby limiting the access of the not-poor-enough
elderly to transportation related to programs so restricted. Some
program statutes cover only urban areas, some only rural, while
others may cover either. These boundaries further compound the
difficulties of coordination.
Transit planning and special systems
Transit planning has traditionally been focused on the commuting
work trip with little attention given to the needs of the elderly. There
has been little motivation on the part of public transit to plan and
provide special services. Cooperative efforts with social agencies whose
requirements are for personalized transport appear to transit agencies
to be a difficult, if not an impossible, task, and peripheral to their
major effort.
Though recent congressional and other pressures have resulted in
increasing attention to the transportation problems of the elderly,
substantial changes have not as yet occurred. Transportation plan
ning agencies concerned with the long range have generally shown
little concern about the implementation of social programs and how
their needs for transportation may be integrated into the regular
transportation planning process. Most of these transportation plan
ning agencies focus on regional transportation problems with a time
horizon that goes well into the futuretypically the year 2000 or
later. Obviously, ongoing or even intermediate transportation needs
generated by social programs are not given very much attention.
In most social service-initiated transportation delivery systems,
there are few, if any, links with transportation specialists. Projects
are developed by persons with minimum transportation skills, and
problems are frequently solved on a trial-and-error basis. In view of the
many problems faced by transport project developers (for example,
lack of funding continuity, user restrictions, franchise conflicts, licensing


32
problems, and so forth), the purely technical issues add a dimension of
difficulty that could be avoided by coordination of the transportation
expertise of professional operators and the needs of service-oriented
projects.
Franchise problems
Cooperation between social service agencies and public transit or
taxi operators is often inhibited by the presence of an operating
franchise. An increasing variety of court cases have made it quite
evident that social service transportation systems that charge fares
face potential court suits. In California at least two major efforts to
provide dial-a-ride systems were struck down (see Public Transit
Report, Aug. 29, 1975, p. 134).
Historically, in the United States the franchise has been used to
legally prevent operators of a variety of services from poaching in
each other's territory, while they themselves receive protection from
competition by parties not holding franchises or concessions. Basically,
franchise services have been legally established covering three kinds
of public transportation:
(1) Buses, transit and commuter railways, with rights to
operate vehicles picking up passengers for payment along a fixed
route on a scheduled basis; (2) taxi services, with the right to
pick up passengers at any time at random locations and to carry
them between any pair of points in a designated region or service
area; and (3) livery or limousine service which provides vehicles
and/or a driver. A fourth type of public transportation in the
United States has been developed from time to time, generally
referred to as jitneys, which combine regular routes with un
scheduled service and some freedom to travel off the route.
The importance of the franchise mechanism to the provision of
transportation to the elderly lies in the fact that services created for
them generally divert traffic from the designated public carriers
(monopolies). Most of these special services cannot be certified by the
regulatory agencies, either because of the agencies limited and
legalistic view of public convenience and necessity, or because they do
not haye various legal attributes of common carriers such as regular
routes, fixed fares and specified types of vehicles. Since many of these
special transportation projects are viewed as illegal or unregulated
competition, they can be attacked in court under the law by regulatory
bodies at any level of government for infringing franchise rights.
Since all franchise regulations deal only with vehicles and operators
providing for hire (and for profit) service, one way to deal with this
problem is to charge no fare at all. The great disadvantage of the
no-fare solution is that operators of special transportation S3^stems
are denied revenues which they might otherwise receive, so that either
more money has to be raised to operate or the extent of the operation
must be accordingly reduced.
Furthermore, from the viewpoint of the social service agency, the
difficulties of obtaining a new franchise seem far more formidable
than setting up ones own small project with a few vehicles to provide
service to ones own clients at the agencys convenience, using ones
own budget. In the subcommittees judgment, that is a reasonable
position. Solutions to the franchise problem will have to be developed


33
at the State and local level. However these may be arrived at, there is
little doubt that the franchise represents an important limitation on
developing more unified transportation projects (with the ability to
collect some revenue from those who can pay). There are a few
scattered examples of successful efforts in working with the franchise
operation to expand service opportunities for the elderly. A Selma,
Calif, project is working as follows:
This is an experimental demonstration project designed to furnish low cost
transportation to older persons in Selma by partially subsidizing a local taxi
service. A participant obtains from the City Clerks office ticket booklets wrorth
$8 (the equivalent of 8 one-way rides). Each participant is entitled to obtain 8
tickets per month to be used to pay the full fare charged on the local taxi. A
donation of $2 or 25 percent of the total value of the tickets is accepted but not
required.2
Institutional mismatches
As has been noted earlier, one of the major problems of coordination
is the considerable mismatch between the major social and transporta
tion agencies. Essentially, transportation agencies at all jurisdictional
levels are required to coordinate with one another, and, although it is
not alwa}^s effective, coordination is in fact carried out. Similarly,
social service programs are also required to coordinate with one another
to avoid duplication and conserve resources. A recent example of this
coordination requirement is the one imposed by the Older Americans
Act amendments of 1975, which authorizes area agencies on aging to
enter into transportation agreements with agencies funded under the
medicaid and social services titles of the Social Security Act and the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
However, transportation agency programs and social agency pro
grams are not required to coordinate with each other, so it is not
surprising that coordination between them does not occur. Though
State departments of transportation are taking a more active role to
initiate cooperative effort between themselves and human service
agencies, these are still exceptions.
As was noted earlier, there has been an increasing number of inter
agency agreements at the Federal level, but it is too early to measure
the results which may ensue from these agreements, and there will
unquestionably be complications related to conflicting procedures and
regulations. Most of the agreements are still in the study stages, and,
as in the case of the joint AOA/DOT working agreement, have not
3^et produced any substantial results. Both agencies are giving con
siderable attention to the elderl}r, but joint funding of projects at
the local level using AOA program funds for operating costs and
UMTA program funds for capital costs has not materialized on any
significant scale. Exact data on this point are now being collected b}^
AOA, in response to a request by the subcommittee. However, it
should be noted that these joint agency agreements represent a
promising direction and should be encouraged and accelerated.
The UMTA 16(b)(2) program
Section 16(b)(2) of the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964,
as amended, authorizes the Urban Mass Transportation Administra-
2 Janet Levy, Director, California State Office on Aging; statement submitted for record of hearing,
Problems of the Elderly in Fresno, Calif. (Rural Areas and Small Towns), p. 85, held Nov. 21, 1975,
by the House Select Committee on Aging.


34
tion (UMTA) to make capital grants to private, nonprofit organiza
tions for the specific purposes of assisting them in providing trans
portation services for the elderly and handicapped. As was noted in
section II of this report, UMTA set aside a specific amount of funds
for each State and requested the Governor of each State to designate
a State agency to manage the program. The section 16(b)(2) program
was enacted in August 1973; the first vehicles were not purchased
and put into operation until December 1975seven vans in Montana.
The initial program awarded $20.8 million, encompassing some 2,300
vehicles throughout the United States.
One of the major problems with the section 16(b)(2) program has
been that it provided funds to private, nonprofit organizations with
little requirement for coordination with other agencies, and therefore
accentuated the tendency toward fragmentation and uncoordinated
transportation projects. This was particularly critical at a time when
public transit agenciesnot eligible for such grantswere being
pressed to provide more participation in transportation activities
for the elderly and handicapped.
For fiscal year 1976, an additional $22 million has been set aside.
In order to provide for greater coordination and to insure somewhat
less fragmentation of effort, the rules and procedures have been
changed. For fiscal year 1976, UMTA is requiring the designation
of a single State agency to administer the planning and use of section
16(b)(2) resources. Furthermore, where such a single agency exists,
the designation of an agency covering more than one mode of transit
is being encouraged. To protect the interest of existing public and
private organizations, applications under section 16(b)(2) must be
accompanied by State findings that existing public or private transit
or paratransit services cannot meet the special needs of the elderly,
and that private operators have been afforded a fair opportunity to
participate in the provision of special services for the elderly and
handicapped. In nonurbanized areas, a communitywide development
program will be required as a prerequisite for capital assistance for
any nonprofit organization.
All of these changes indicated a move in the direction of providing
for more coordination between private, nonprofit and ongoing trans
portation services.
RURAL TRANSPORTATION AND FEDERAL RESPONSIBILITY
A review of Federal programs concerned with the transportation
needs of older Americans reveals that, at the present time, there is
no clear center of responsibility for rural transportation. There are a
limited number of programs concerned with supplying the transporta
tion needs of rural residents, and not surprisingly, the transportation
needs of the rural elderly have been met on the basis of whatever
agencies or groups happened to have transportation capability.
Even where social service agency programs exist, rural residents
often have difficulty getting to them. Most social service offices are
located in towns and villages; without transport there is often no way
to seek their help.
Although UMTA has some programs directed to rural areas (for
example, its nonurbanized funds under section 3) in general it
cannot provide a major effort or direction, especially for communities


35
under 2,500 population. UMTAs primary mandate is in the area
of urban transportation.
In the words of a disillusioned witness at the subcommittees
field hearings in rural New Jersey:
The name for the agency itself tells the storythe Urban Mass Transit [sic] Ad
ministration. The word urban doesnt fit. The word mass doesnt fit. The word
transit doesnt fit; and some might even sarcastically remark that the word
administration doesnt fit.3
In the case of Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), respon
sibility is largely related to highways and highway-related facilities;
and though this permits a number of programs related to public trans
portation, particularly for bus-related systems (such as special lanes,
ramps, parking, and so forth), there is no clear operational role in
respect to public transportation in rural areas. At the present time, the
only specific program is section 147 of the Federal Highway Act, which
provides for rural research and demonstration projects. This program,
first enacted in 1973, has been relatively slow to develop, and demon
stration projects are just beginning. A serious drawback of the pro
gram, however, is that it provides for research and demonstration
only, and does not provide for the continuing transportation needs of
the elderly living in rural areas.
As noted earlier, there is a third level of transportation services
being provided through the social service programs described earlier
in this report. However, these social service transportation systems are
fragmented and uncoordinated, and often have only limited amounts
of transportation available. Furthermore, the needs of those who are
not eligible for social services are not being met by anyone, confirming
the fact that the transportation problems of the rural population
go beyond the elderly and include all the transporation-disadvantaged.
funding: how much, from where, and for how long?
Although there are many program sources from which funds may be
obtained for planning and operating transportation services for the
elderly, a number of important constraints in these programs have
served to create limitations on the scope and level of such services. Four
major limiting factors can be identified: (1) a lack of data on the level
of funds presently being used for transportation services for the
elderly; (2) the limitations on using funds for operating costs as
against capital costs; (3) the relatively high cost of such services; and
(4) the apparent low level of expenditures for the purpose and problem
of discontinuity of service.
Lack of data
Although more than 30 major sources of Federal funds financing
transportation services to the elderly have been identified, it is vir
tually impossible to separate the amounts actually spent for that pur
pose, except for a few programs.
The money under section 16(b)(2) of UMTA, $20.8 million in
fiscal year 1975, is easy to identify, because all of it must go to help the
elderly and handicapped.
3 Jack Salveson, Executive Director, Cape May Fare-Free Transportation Project; p. 109 of transcript of
hearing held Feb. 12, 1976, in Whiting, N.J., by Subcommittee No. 4 of the House Select Committee on
Aging.


36
The Department of Transportation was unable to tell the sub
committee however, what proportion of the funds was being spent on
the elderly, as distinct from the handicapped.
Sections 3 and 5 of UMTA provided a total of SI.5 billion in fiscal
vear 197-5. and onlv S4.5 million is clearlv identifiable (under section
3, as aiding special systems for the elderly and handicapped.
Section 147 of the Federal-Aid Highway Act has committed some
>25 million to rural demonstrations over the past 2 fiscal years, but
again no data exist to quantify how much of that amount is directly
benefitting the elderly. We do know that titles III '"State and com
munity programs and VII (nutritionj of the Older Americans Act
contributed ost over $20 million for the first 9 months of fiscal vear
; 075
Title XX social services) of the Social Security Act yielded $42
million for transportation, but there is no indication of how much of
that went to the elderly, despite the fact that the law clearly permits
the Secretary of HEW to obtain such a breakdown from the States.
As for the other two dozen programs, even less information is available.
Despite a considerable research effort by the Institute of Public
Administration in its study for the Administration on Aging, it was
not possible to develop detailed information on how much funding was
going into transportation for the elderly; or even more important,
how much might be required over the next 5 to 10 years. Data are
presently not collected nor are program expenditures segregated in
such a way as to permit calculation of the amount being used for
transportation services for the elderly, particularly by social service
programs Those data are important because such information would
help to focus program needs and in developing an estimate on the level
of program need.- over the next 5 years.
Limite on vAe of funds
In reviewing the sources of funds for transportation projects for the
edeny. there are sharp divisions in their availability for the two major
categories of transportation costsoperating expenses to nan the
project,, or buying capital for the project. In general, most of the
funding sources have a bias toward purchase of capita] equipment
especia.iy funds available through the Urban Mass Transportation
Administration. For example, of the $11.3 billion, 6-year program
established by Congress under the National Mass Transportation
Assistance Act of 1974 $7.3 billionabout two-thirdsis restricted
to capital projects on a categorical basis. The remaining $4 billion is
avai.aole for operating purposes at the option of the local recipient,
out goes only incidentally to benefit the elderly. The Section 16(b) f2)
program is totally restricted to capital purposes.
In toe rural highway demonstration program, only the portion of the
finds pro video oy general revenues one-third) can be used for oper-
at.ung expense- with the remaining two-thirds, from the highway
trust fjnd, restricted to capital uses.
This bias toward capital purchases is consistent with the view of the
Department of Transportation. The DOT spokesperson at the sub
committee hearings stated: [We] have not been convinced that
operating assistance is as necessary as the capital needs at the present
tme. 4
Z'.r. 7 Cor. W' Trvpr'rr.aj M.oU ty lor Americans, p. 74, held Jan.
'e 1VT*. Uy S-. v//".*.s% .uV 4 o tbe Cozoinitt; on


37
Yet time after time in the subcommittee's hearings, and those of
other Aging Committee panels, people actually struggling to deliver
transportation services to the elderly stressed the need for operating
assistance:
In Iowa:
Yet even a brand new bus is not the full answer Operation costs are the
biggest part of this picture, and there is little hope, because of the low incomes
among the elderly, that it will ever pay its own way.5
In Hawaii:
Finding additional buses is relatively cheap. It is the driver, the repairs, the
gas and all the other things that are really expensive.6
In Connecticut:
We feel, however, that UMTA provisions under Section 16(b)(2) encouraging
operating assistance under Section 5) do not go far enough, and that difficulties in
operation and maintenance costs can be anticipated.7
In New Jersev:
m/
[T]he Section 5 funding available now for operating assistance to our existing
systems, which are dying ... is not enough.8
In Washington, D.C.:
[I]n light of the fact that local transit operations devote 80T of their budget
to operating expenses, we do not believe that (Section 5 of UMTA) will provide
sufficient money to keep the systems going.9
Even within the administration, those closest to the transportation
problems of the elderly recognize this immense need for operating
assistance. AOA Commissioner Flemming told the subcommittee, I
think the more we can loosen up the funds so they can be used
not onlv for capital but also for operating purposes, the better off we
will all be." 10
Clearly, these restrictions favoring capital fimds leave projects
with a serious deficiency in operating fimds; and tend, thereby, to
create serious problems in providing for project continuity. As noted,
under a working agreement between the Administration on Aging
and the Department of Transportation, it was envisioned that funds
from AOA could be used for operating purposes, while funds from
UMTA would be used for capital financing. That agreement en
visioned a degree of coordination not presently functional, and imtil
that is realized, the working agreement is not likely to be effective.
The subcommittee shares the view of the Administration on Aging,
a variety of researchers, and every witness except the U.S. Depart
ment of Transportation who addressed the issue in the hearings, that
the most serious gap in funding lies in the area of operating funds.
* Thomas A. Bates. Administrative Assistant. Jackson County Board of Supervisors; hearing, Problems
of the Elderly in Iowa (Part I). p. 109, held in Clinton, Iowa. ug. 13,1975, by Subcommittee Xo. 1 of the
House Select Committee on Aging.
Robert Yokoyama. Executive. Maui County on Aging: hearing. "Problems of the Elderly in Hawaii
(Part IMaui County), p. 24. held in Kaunakaki. Molokai. Hawaii. Xov. 22.1975. by Subcommittee Xo. 4
of the House Select Committee on Aging.
7 Frank McKenna. Field Representative, Connecticut State Department on Aging: p. 75 of transcript of
hearing held Mar. 12. 1976. in Derby. Conn., by Subcommittee Xo. 4 of the House Select Committee on
Aging.
5 Thomas M. Povlitz. Executive Director. Delaware Authority for Specialized Transportation: p. 147 of
transcript of hearing held Feb. 12,1976, in Whiting, X.J.. by Subcommittee Xo. 4 of the House Select Com
mittee on Aging.
9 Rudy Danstedt. for William R. Hutton. Executive Director, National Council of Senior Citizens:
hearing. "Transportation: Improving Mobility for Older Americans, p. 93. held Feb. 5. 1976, by Subcom
mittee Xo. 4 of the House Select Committee on Aging.
10 Arthur S. Flemming: hearing, Transportation: Improving Mobility for Older Americans. p. 24, held
Jan. 22,1976, by Subcommittee Xo. 4 of the House Select Committee on Aging.


38
High cost of service
Almost all public transportation in the United States, particularly
in urban areas, finds itself with a gap between its operating expenses
and revenues. In 1975 the U.S. transit industry had a net operating
loss of $1.7 billion. Section 5 of UMTA is, in fact, an effort to provide
for some means of filling that gap in the form of operating subsidies.
Traditionally, both public and private transportation authorities
were expected to cover all of their operating expenses, plus their
capital investments, through revenues from fares charged. This
emphasis on covering all costs through the farebox has generally led
to a profit-loss orientation, which has only recently been modified
as public agencies increasingly have accepted the responsibility for
operating deficits. In addition, there has been widespread emphasis
on holding the line on fares, and a considerable amount of public
policy has been concerned with identifying ways of keeping operating
deficits down to a minimum.
Major operating deficits have been funded in a variety of ways,
ranging from local and State taxes through the formula grants pro
visions of section 5 of UMTA. However, as one may expect, the
operating deficit burden on local government has been substantial.
The New Jersey State Department of Transportation, for example,
detailed for the subcommittee its operating deficit of approximately
$100 million for 1975. Only a fourth of that amount was offset by
section 5 subsidies from UMTA. Making available operating funds
for projects serving the elderly on a continuous basis from the formula
grants and/or other sources within the U.S. Department of Trans
portation is a proposition likely to encounter substantial resistance,
especially at the local level.
Public transit operators will be interested and active participants
in serving the elderly when they are convinced that funds will be
made available on an adequate and regular basis for this purpose. A
representative of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation
Authority (SEPTA) summed up the funding problem from the public
transit operators view:
Notwithstanding the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1970 (and other,
more recent legislative initiatives in the area of transportation for the elderly
and handicapped, i.e., the Federal-Aid Highwaj^ Act of 1973 and the National
Mass Transportation Act of 1974), the White House Conference on Aging of 1971
and innumerable statutes, conferences, studies and reports, a sturdy funding
mechanism to bring policies concerning transportation and the elderly to life
has yet to be devised. Ear-marked funds have not been provided to transit
agencies and Federal transit funding has not been routinely withheld if special
population needs were not addressed. The adequacy and consistency of funding
tests the depth of commitment of any policy. Until recent months even Federal
commitment has been sporadic. With the complexity and long-range nature of
much transportation investment commitment, to be effective, must be expressed
consistently as priorities are set for allocation of funds over the life of a project.11
It is on!} in very recent times that small special transportation
operations catering to the needs of the elderly have had any local
financing available to them, and even that has been selective up to this
time. Until local, State and Federal governments develop funding
programs that systematically cover the financial needs of all elements
Summary, hearings on issues raised in Administration on Aging report, Transportation for the Elderly:
The State of the Art, p. 8.


39
of public transportation, including special services, funding costs
will continue to be a serious problem.
Funding levels and discontinuity
Most Federal programs for the elderly have small transportation
components despite substantial funding levels for each program.
In many cases, the elderly represent only a small part of the pro
grams client population, and a few programs are providing most of
the funding for transportation projects for older Americans.12 Most
important are titles III and VII of the Older Americans Act, and
title XX of the Social Security Act. There are also funds available
under the model projects program of the Older Americans Act;
however, these are generally for research and demonstration, and
do not provide a basis for continuous project financing.
Funds under sections 3, 5, and 16(b)(2) of the Urban Mass Trans
portation Act are available, but at relatively low levels and, by and
large, have been allocated to public transit services. Furthermore,
though Section 16(b)(2) is being continued for a second year, these
funds are discretionary. As important as the level of available funds
is the need to be sure one can continue to operate projects on a year-
to-year basis. Title III funds are subject to a previously noted restric
tion, imposed by regulation, on funding beyond a 3-year period for
any service for which an area agency contracts. Proposals for a fourth
year must be personally approved by the Commissioner on Aging.
Since the area agency is such a new institution, there have been no
requests until now for such a funding continuation. However, as
a witness in the Committees Xevada hearings pointed out:
Very often the communities are reluctant to become involved because of the
3-year limitation of funding. We do have the option of requesting that funding
be extended, but this often depends on administrative whims whether a project
is terminated after 3 years or whether a request goes forward to the Administration
on Aging.13
The subcommittee understands that the Commissioner is considering
a regularory change to permit State offices on aging to continue
projects beyond the 3-year cutoff point. Such a change would be wel
come, and would remove one element of uncertainty in transportation
and other projects financed under title III of the Older Americans Act.
At the present time, the problem of continuity in project funding is
one of the most serious faced by special transportation projects. Many
projects have had to discontinue because of difficulties in obtaining
regularized funding, in man}' instances staff responsible for developing
transportation projects felt that citizens disappointment in the dis
continuance of a transportation project seriously jeopardized other
phases of the social service program.
The SEATS program in Iowa, for example, operated transportation
for the elderly in seven rural Iowa counties under a model project
grant from AA. When the model project ran out after only 6 months,
the integrated system disintegrated. Six of the seven counties have now
instituted some substitute service, but the counties are now operating
separately, and older persons with destinations that require crossing
countv lines cannot benefit.
13 Institute of Public Administration. Transportation for Older Americans: A State of the Art Report.
13 Louise C. Lightner, Director. Sixteen County Area Agency on Aging: hearing, Problems of the Elderly
in Nevada (Part I), p. 6, held Nov. 10,1975, by Subcommittee No. 3 of the House Select Committee on
Aging.


40
As Congressman Michael Blouin, a member of the Committee on
Aging who represents the area affected, testified, It (the initial grant)
proved just enough to get things going, to give elderly residents in this
part of the state a taste of what kind of transportation services could
be provided if local governments worked together and had the money
to do the job. 14
This exercise illustrates the need for (1) consistent long-range
funding, (2) tailoring all Federal programs permitting transportation
support so that funds can be earmarked specifically for that purpose
and (3) the need for expanding the general level of funding effort. It
also points out the need for commitment at State and local levels of
government. Some States have already made such commitments. The
formation by the State of Delaware of the Delaware Authority for
Special Transportation (DAST), the statewide system in Rhode
Island, the dial-a-ride program in Michigan, and a variety of other
efforts in cities throughout the country suggest there is growing
support at the State and local level. However, there can be little
doubt that further efforts to improve the mobility of older Americans
will require increases in present funding levels.
As for earmarking of existing funds for transportation, the sub
committee previously noted the lack of information on the total
amounts available. It is known, however, that the amount is con
siderable. One witness referred to a study estimating that at least a
billion Federal dollars a year is being expended on fragmented transpor
tation services through social programs.15
Another witness, in New Jersey, testified that he operated a sj^stem
drawing funds from a variety of social service agencies:
(W)e called a meeting of all agencies and departments using Federal funds who
had transportation money or who could possibly get transportation money from
their grant. We thought that about 6 agencies and departments in our small
county of 67,000 population fell into this category; 30 showed up.16
There is no doubt, judging from this and many other cases the
subcommittee has identified, that considerable Federal funding is
available for transportation through social programs.
VOLUNTEERISM
The potential for stimulating more volunteer activity through some
system of rewards has not been fully explored in the context of trans
portation services to the elderly. The concept of rewarded volunteerism
is not new and has been successfully applied in a variety of circum
stances. One well-known example is the National Ski Patrol, which
offers members free or priority privilege at ski areas, plus prestige
and satisfaction, in return for safety and emergency policing of the
slopes.
The need for providing incentives became clear during the energy
crisis of 1973-74, when the number of volunteer drivers who were
14 Congressman Michael T. Blouin of Iowa, Member of the Select Committee on Aging; hearing, Trans
portation: Improving Mobility for Older Americans, p. 42, held Jan 22, 1976, by Subcommittee No. 4
of the House Select Committee on Aging. .
15 Lillian Liburdi, Chairwoman of the American Public Transit Associations Committee on Elderly and
Handicapped: p. 152 of transcript of hearing held Mar. 12,1976, in Derby, Conn., by Subcommittee No. 4
of the House Select Committee on Aging. ...
16 Jack Salveson; p. 108 of transcript of hearing held Feb. 12, 1976, in Whiting, N.J., by Subcommittee
No. 4 of the House Select Committee on Aging.


41
essential to many projects fell off dramatically. During the AOA
transportation hearings summarized by Commissioner Flemming for
the subcommittees information, one elderly North Carolinian told
how she was forced to curtail her volunteer driving as the costs of
operating her car rose and her fixed income did not.17
A project in Philadelphia provided 7,000 rides to elderly passengers
using volunteer drivers during 1973-74, but was forced to turn down
4,500 more requests for rides because there were no funds to pay
drivers and insufficient volunteers.18
Rewarded volunteerism apparently works best when the potential
for spreading costs is high, or where each operator or firm can provide
a reward (or payment) that represents a very low out-of-pocket cost
to him. Similarly, where external economies are possible through
organizing on a large-scale basis, there will be considerable incentive
to participate in and support a system of rewarded volunteerism.
An important transportation potential is therefore to encourage
volunteers who could use their cars, and who, in turn, can be rewarded
in some way. In view of the fact that the cost of operating an auto
mobile includes a large component of relatively fixed costs (insurance
and depreciation alone account for almost 45 percent of the cost per
mile), even small rewards represent important potentials for recovering
the costs of operating a car. This is especially true for many who are
only marginally able to own cars (this includes the young, the elderly
and the poorthe same groups generally at a disadvantage with
respect to transportation in rural areas). This car-sharing can be
encouraged by providing some form of reward to volunteers. Examples
of possible rewards might be: free parking space, discounts on sup
plies, parts and even fuelperhaps using State fuel stations; tax
relief on fuels and oils; free registration; certain free services related
to normal maintenance, etc.
Current Federal tax law permits those who itemize their deductions
to include the mileage driven in bona fide volunteer activities at the
rate of 7 cents a mile. This compares with the business mileage de
duction of 15 cents a mile, a figure much closer to the true costs of
operation. For even a middle-income elderly person, whose marginal
tax rate is as high as 20 percent, the charitable mileage deduction
amounts to less than a cent and a half per mile.
Another concept frequently discussed is that of using nonprofes
sional drivers, perhaps the competent elderly, for providing service
to the elderly and handicapped. The principal objective would be
to reduce the large fixed costs which drivers salaries represent for
special transportation services.
There are, however, a number of legal and institutional problems
that need to be explored, particularly the impact on unionized taxi
and transit drivers.
If fares are to be charged, the issue of franchise infringement may
have to be faced. In this respect, volunteerism, if carefully struc
tured in a service program, may be an advantagealthough the issue
is unclearand may free a special service of regulation by public
utilities or service commissions. For example, the Commonwealth of
17 Summary, hearings on issues raised in Administration on Aging report, Transportation for the Elderly:
The State of the Art, p. III-3.
18 Ibid., p. 1-9.


42
Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission ruled that an OEO-
supported, scheduled carpool service in Warren-Forest counties
would not require a certificate of convenience and necessity provided,
among other things, that the driver of the carpool was principally
employed in some occupation. On this project, drivers received re
imbursement only for the operating costs of vehicles they volunteered
to the service. The reward to the volunteer drivers was a free ride
while sharing their automobiles, and the satisfaction of providing a
community service.
When asked by the subcommittee for his opinion of such volunteer
incentives as tax deductions for volunteer hours, access to low-cost
fuel and maintenance or insurance breaks, Commissioner Flemming
had no hesitation:
Testimony presented at the four public hearings that I conducted last year
on transportation for the elderly indicated that any or all of these incentives
would prove helpful in maintaining continuity in volunteer driver transportation
services, or as important components of larger specialized transportation systems.19
BARRIERS TO USING SCHOOLBUSES
Since before the 1971 White House Conference on Aging, the use
of schoolbuses to meet the transportation needs of the elderly has
been on every list of recommendations on the topic. The basic issue
is quite simple/ one witness told the subcommittee, older persons
are in need of transportation services and schoolbuses are an untapped
resource. 20
Indeed, in many areas of the country this resource is beginning
to be tapped. In Arlington, Va., for example, schoolbuses are being
used in off-hours to transport senior citizens to nutrition sites.
Nonetheless, those who suggest the use of schoolbuses in a
situation often fail to take into account a number of
factors which restrict their availability and suitability for service to
the elderly.
Major limitations on availability, which vary from State to State,
are the following:
The extent to which the use of schoolbuses is restricted by
statute or other restrictive covenant;
A lack of specific legislation or policy allowing non-school use
of schoolbuses; and
Requirements for special authorization, license or permit for
use.
Of the 50 States and the District of Columbia, 14 have some form
of direct prohibition; 11 States have statutes explicitly allowing the
use of schoolbuses for elderly transport; 13 States leave the decision
to be made at the local level; 8 allow general use of schoolbuses, not
specifically confined to older citizens; and 4 States and the District
of Columbia are primarily served by privately-owned schoolbuses on
which there are partial restrictions.
18 Arthur S. Flemming; hearing, Transportation: Improving Mobility for Older Americans, p. 32,
held Jan. 22,1976, by Subcommittee No. 4 of the House Select Committee on Aging.
20 Rudolph Danstedt, for William R. Hutton; hearing, Transportation: Improving Mobility for Older
Americans, held Feb. 5, 1976, by Subcommittee No. 4 of the House Select Committee on Aging. Not
stated in oral testimony; source of quote is p. 8 of Mr. Huttons prepared statement which is retained in
committee files.
particular
significant


43
Even in those 11 States in which the elderly are explicitly allowed
to use schoolbuses, variations and restrictions appear in four principal
characteristics:
The application of the law to owned versus contract buses;
Provision for contractual arrangements or direct furnishing of
services;
Restrictions on focus of service, the nonavailability of alterna
tive services, population levels, et cetera;
Group or individual coverage.
Of those States permitting general use of schoolbuses, the intra-
governmental arrangements for use vary greatly. In addition, in the
13 States which leave the decision to the local level, restrictions are
often instituted in the form of local policy decisions or interpretations.
The biggest obstacle to contractor use of schoolbuses for nonschool
purposes comes from the Federal level. Schoolbuses owned by contrac
tors are exempt from the Federal excise tax (10 percent of the value
of the vehicle), if the contractor signs an affidavit at the time of pur
chase that the bus will be used exclusively for trips to and from school.
(Internal Revenue Code, section 4221(e)(5)). The exemption provides
significant savings to the contractor, particularly for large fleets,
and most are unwilling to risk that savings in order to provide non
school transportation. In this context, recent informal interpretation
by the Chief of the Excise Tax Branch of the Internal Revenue Service
has indicated that if subsequent circumstances arise which would
dictate that a bus purchased tax free can no longer be exclusively used
for exempt purposes, then its diversion to other uses will not negate
the exemption for that bus. 21 However, most bus operators appear
to interpret the law narrowly.
Apart from legislative restrictions, there are a number of concerns
that contribute to reluctance of school district or local governmental
agencies to expand the use of school vehicles to other uses. Foremost
is the obvious wish not to dilute the safety record of the systems built
up over the years by distinctive markings and driving controls as
sociated with the use of the vehicles for pupil transportation.
Additional insurance requirements for nonschool service are also
a new concept for which the insurance industry has not as yet developed
set rules. Schoolbus coverage is, at present, relatively low in cost
because the type of service provided (fixed route, driver familiar with
route, careful driver selection and training requirements, limited serv
ice hours, et cetera) minimizes losses paid out on schoolbus policies.
Extensions of service bring the insurance rating for the vehicles into
comparatively uncharted territory.
The concern that local funds earmarked for school transportation
purposes may be used for other transportation needs is frequently
raised. It is essential to finance in a clearly identifiable manner those
projects which broaden the use of schoolbus vehicles so that operating
costs for nonschool use be fully met by the new project. The effect of
additional mileage incurred by the vehicles on the replacement cycle
for the vehicles must also be examined within the context of broadened
use of school vehicles.
?1 Chief of the Excise Tax Branch, Internal Revenue Service; Internal Revenue Code, Section 4221(e)(5).


44
The actual availability of large blocks of scheduling time for non
school uses in some school systems is, in many instances, fictional.
Rigorous maintenance and inspection checks required in some juris
dictions cut heavily into vehicle availability, as well as the expansion of
special school programsspecial education, technical classes, work/
study programs, et cetera.
Finally, several problems in schoolbus use for the elderly relate to
the characteristics of the vehicle itself. Cost data developed by the
Pennsylvania Governors Task Force on Rural Transportation in 1974
illustrate a range of possible operating costs for various vehicle sizes
and types which may or may not be representative of what might be
expected in other parts of the country or in urban service. The costs
per vehicle mile for the school bus68.6 centswere second highest
of all vehicle categories (large transit bus costs: 76.1 cents per vehicle
mile). Within this operating cost framework, the critical question in
services planned for the elderly, especially in sparsely populated rural
areas, with their long trip distances and low load factors, is whether or
not the high operating cost of the schoolbus vehicle becomes more
expensive than buying new vehicles with smaller seating capacities
and more favorable operating characteristics. Funding mechanisms
for operating costs, therefore, must be clearly defined when schoolbus
use is considered.
Generally unfavorable operating cost considerations in schoolbus
use must also be examined in the context of the basic unsuitability of
the vehicle design for the needs of older persons. Steps are high, seats
closely spaced and lightly padded, and aisles constricted, with few
handholds or aids for negotiating the vehicle which are so essential to
an elderly or handicapped clientele.
One Iowa witness told the committee that his county had the
benefit of one old schoolbus for seniors. Describing their problems
with it, he said simply, It is costly to maintain and almost impossible
for an oldster to board. 22
Despite all of these restrictions, however, the subcommittee agrees
with Commissioner Flemming in his judgment that: Even though
the barriers and constraints are substantial, schoolbuses could be
utilized to a greater extent than they are, to meet some of the transpor
tation needs of older persons. 23
SURPLUS VEHICLES
As with certain real estate and other types of personal property,
vehicles owned by a Federal agency often outlive their usefulness to
that agency. The agency is required 24 to declare such vehicles ex
cess to its needs, and control is transferred to the General Services
Administration, the administrative services arm of the executive
branch. If GSA is unsuccessful in finding another Federal agency with
a need for a particular excess vehicle, it is then declared surplus
and available for disposal. The Office of Federal Property Assistance
22 Berniece Morrissey, senior citizen from Ryan, Iowa; statement submitted for record of hearings, Prob
lems of the Elderly in Iowa (Part I), p. 211, held Aug. 13 and 14,1975, by Subcommittee No. 1 of the House
Select Committee on Aging.
23 Arthur S. Flemming; hearing, Transportation: Improving Mobility for Older Americans, p. 8, held
Jan. 22,1976, by Subcommittee No. 4 of the House Select Committee on Aging.
2i The Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 (40 U.S.C. 484).


45
in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare is responsible
for the disposal process.
Disposal is carried out in each State through agencies for surplus
property, which have the power to transfer the vehicles to eligible
groups and organizations. The law requires that the surplus vehicle
be used for one of only three purposes: education, health or civil
defense. Eligible donees are limited to ones engaged in those fields,
and the categories are defined narrowly.
More than 5,400 vehicles were disposed of through this process
during fiscal year 1975 (see breakdown by Federal region and vehicle
type, appendix VI).
Given these restrictions, Commissioner Flemming pointed out to
the subcommittee that the only possible way in which older Americans
could benefit from surplus vehicles is if they are participating in a
title VII nutrition project located in an eligible health or educational
institution.25
Legislation to broaden the list of eligible donees has been introduced
in both Houses.26
DESIGN ACCESSIBILITY
National policy as embodied in section 16(a) of UMTA, first en
acted in 1970, has mandated the availability of publicly funded mass
transportation facilities and services to the elderly and handicapped.
The intervening 6 years since that time have produced only scattered
benefits for the target group, often exacted only through negotiation
and litigation. The high expectations for social relief embodied in
the policy have been significantly dampened. Rules proposed in Feb
ruary of 1975 to spell out standards for accessibility on systems re
ceiving Federal funds were not issued in final form until 14 months
later.27 It may be that the essential mechanisms for insuring policy
implementation is at last in hand, but it is not at all clear how the
regulations will be enforced within the precarious overall cost picture
of the transit industry.
A committee within the American Public Transit Association, the
association for transit operators, attempted to quantify the annual
cost of implementing the draft regulations issued last year by UMTA.28
Their estimate was that it would cost almost $2 billion a year for 20
years.
The figures are necessarily speculative, apply generally only to
urbanized areas, and would obviously be affected by the changes made
by UMTA in the final regulations. Moreover, they could be viewed
as an attempt by the transit industry to justify its own less-than-
enthusiastic efforts in the field, and there are questions about the
methodology and assumptions. In this context, it is urgent that ac
curate and impartial cost estimates be developed.
Although overall efforts to deal with the accessibility problems of
present systems have been slight, there has been considerable research
25 Arthur S. Flemming; hearing, Transportation: Improving Mobility for Older Americans, pp. 34-35,
held Jan. 22,1976, by Subcommittee No. 4 of the House Select Committee on Aging.
28 S. 2876 was introduced by Senator Hugh Scott; H. R. 9152 was introduced by Congressman Jack Brooks,
Congressman Glenn English, and the chairman of the Select Committee on Aging, Congressman Wm. J.
Randall.
27 Federal Register, vol. 41, No. 85, pp. 18233-41, Apr. 30, 1976.
28Cost of Implementing Regulations on Elderly and Handicapped Transportation Services, Jan. 16,
1976, by the American Public Transit Associations Committee on Elderly and Handicapped.


46
and demonstration activity undertaken which pinpoints the complex
nature of many of the problems. Specific design barriers to travel have
been identified, and future prospects for reduction of design barriers
appear to depend on how thoroughly new understandings are reflected
in the expected accessibility rules. New systems, such as the Bay
Area Rapid Transit (BART) in San Francisco and Metro in Washing
ton have incorporated barrier-free elements in their planning. In
fact, UMTA stated formally in the explanation of the April 30 regula
tions that, (e)ven before issuance of this regulation it has been
UMTA policy not to concur in specifications for new rail rapid transit
facilities unless the facilities are accessible to wheelchair users.
However, the major capital investment required for new equipment
and redesign and replacement of old equipment on existing barrier-
ridden systems has proved a formidable obstacle to action.
In any event, even if existing systems were made substantially more
accessible, the problems for the elderlyin getting from home to
transit stop, from stop to destination, and in using routes oriented to
work destinations and limited off-peak hour transit scheduleswould
still be unresolved. Because many of the elderly require forms of
transportation other than what is presently offered by conventional
public systems, solutions to their mobility needs have often emphasized
the development of alternative systems. More personalized hands-
on types of transit service, including dial-a-ride and other demand-
responsive forms of operation, are being developed by many communi
ties. Reworking elements of existing systems to accommodate the
needs of the elderly and handicapped is frequently judged to be less
satisfactory than the provision of such service in special systems.
It may be that the April 30 regulations will provide some incentive
for local transit operators to move aggressively into this field. One
of the measures of an acceptable level of effort to provide accessi
bility cited by UMTA in companion documents to the regulations
is the creation of a special system that will assure every wheelchair
user or semiambulatory person up to 10 round trips per week at a
moderate fare.
Questions of mobility (service) and accessibility (design) both
present problems and complexities which loom large in prospect.
UMTA has sponsored a range of demonstration projects bearing on
both areas. Improved service patterns primarily of a demand-
responsive nature, which benefit the elderly along with other groups,
have been tested. Technology research and development is also well
underway in UMTA to produce prototypes of vehicles which in
corporate design improvements of particular benefit to elderly and
handicapped individuals.
The Transbus program, for one, has demonstrated prototypes of
wheelchair-accessible full-size buses. No manufacturer of full-size
transit buses presently offers a lift or ramp option for its buses, and
new bus designs, as a result of the Transbus program, are about to
come on the market which could offer that technology. Future UMTA
policy, therefore, as defined by the April 30 regulations, will insist
that only manufacturers offering a wheelchair accessibility package
be eligible to supply federally funded transit buses and light rail
vehicles.
UMTA-funded research and development projects in small bus
and paratransit vehicle designs for use in special or feeder systems


47
involving considerable effort in accommodating the requirements of
handicapped personsare underway. However, it is uncertain what
impact prototype development, even if successful, will have on im
proving the transportation picture of the elderly. Major problems
remain in funding services in which small vehicles would be used. An
unstable market to date has had a serious effect on the financial
health of many manufacturers who have tried to enter the market
with their own version of an appropriate vehicle to meet elderly and
handicapped needs.
Additional UMTA research efforts on next generation vehicles
include level change mechanisms for the modern trolley, and the
incorporation of new concepts of benefit to the elderly and handi
capped in future rapid transit vehicle design. Problems in advance
technology continue to lie less in the resolution of innovative engi
neering, than in the development of well-conceived mechanisms for
the transference of the results of research and development activity
to the transit industry.
It is clear that accessibility to mass transportation, if it is to have
any major impact on the present needs of the elderly and handicapped
population, will have to encompass the availability of existing vehicles
and facilities to them. Gaps and deficiencies in program development
for retrofit are overwhelming. Until now, there has been no consistent
program to develop a retrofit cost picture, to define the elements of an
acceptable retrofit package, or to examine the service impact of various
levels of retrofit on existing systems. In addition, available retrofit
information has been confined to its application to existing bus fleets
and has not included the existing subway network.
In terms of the UMTA regulations, accessibility requirements to
stations, terminals, buildings, and other fixed transportation facilities
are specified by reference to the minimum standards contained in the
American Standard Specifications for Making Buildings and Facilities
Accessible to, and Usable by, the Physically Handicapped, the
so-called ANSI (American National Standards Institute, Inc.) stand
ards. These standards are in the process of being revised by the
Department of Housing and Urban Development for the first time
since 1961, and are not due for review until the summer of 1976.
Not only is the efficacy of the standards in the context of transporta
tion facilities untested, but they do not apply, in most instances, to
existing facilities. Pedestrian problems of the elderly and handicapped
which have relevance to their ability^ to cope with the design elements
of transportation facilities are under research by the Federal Highway
Administration.
In brief, long-term prospects for accessibility seem assured and will
be a function of the rate of investment in new equipment and facilities.
It is plain, however, that, in the near-term, realization of accessibility
will not move readily beyond the demonstration phase without the
commitment of substantial funds to the task.
TRANSPORTATION COST ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
Reduced Fares
Even before the enactment in 1974 of section 5(m) of UMTA, which
requires reduced offpeak fares to those 65 and over on systems re
ceiving section 5 assistance, more than 150 of the countrys approxi-


48
mately 1,000 transit systems offered fare reductions of one type or
another to the elderly. Discounts identified in the Administration on
Aging State of the Art Report ranged from 14 percent in Medford,
Oreg. to 100 percent (free) in Honolulu.
As more communities begin to receive section 5 money, half-fare
(or greater reductions) for senior citizens will become the rule, not the
exception, on major transit systems.
The subcommittee believes it is important for all parties to under
stand that fare reductions, whether undertaken voluntarily or man
dated by Congress, are not without cost. Only a few studies exist of
the impact of reduced fares to the elderly, but a few facts are clear:
Increased ridership at the reduced fare does not compensate for the
loss of revenues from the elderly paying full fare before the reduction
goes into effect. When Chicago began a half-fare off-peak program for
the elderly in 1969, estimated annual revenue loss amounted to more
than $7 million.29 The New Jersey Department of Transportation
projected its cost for the reduced fare for elderly and handicapped in
1977 will be $8.4 million.30
Reduced-fare programs are obviousty irrelevant if there is no transit
system in a given community, or if service between the places where
the elderly live and the destinations to which they must travel is
limited or nonexistent.
Given the choice of better service or reduced fares, a significant
number of the elderly would probably select the former.31
Where free fares are not possible, the elderly have expressed a pref
erence when surveyed for weekly or monthly passes rather than
reduced cash fares even if the fare reductions are not as great.
Since reduced-fare programs are usually instituted in relatively
short times, there is a shortage of good before and after informa
tion on the true and full impact of such programs on both the transit
systems and the elderly themselves.
Special Systems
As discussed above most specialized transportation services to the
elderly and handicapped are offered by persons or groups outside the
regular transit apparatus. As a result, those services are frequently
fare-free, to avoid franchise law conflicts and other restrictions. This
is consistent with the philosophy, for example, behind the nutrition
program financed through title VII of the Older Americans Act, under
which no older person may be required to pay for the meal. Unfor
tunately, however, as with reduced-fare programs, a large percentage
of the elderly have no access to these special systems. When asked at
the subcommittees hearings to estimate the need for such additional
service in rural areas, Commissioner Flemming declined even to
quantify a guess. 27 percent of all elderly reside in nonurban areas,
and the large majority of them have no access to public transit of any
kind. Even in areas where paratransit is available, income limitations
often reduce its usefulness to those elderly just above whatever maxi
mum is set. In those systems drawing support from title XX of the
29Reduced Fares for Senior Citizens, City of Chicago, Department of Human Resources, Division
for Senior Citizens, 1970.
30 Neil Sternstein, Director, New Jersey Department of Transportation; p. 87 of transcript of hearing held
Feb. 12,1976, in Whiting, N.J., by Subcommittee No. 4 of the House Select Committee on Aging.
si Transportation for the Elderly and Handicapped, prepared for the National Urban League, N. Y.,
by Mark Battle Associates, Inc., Washington, D.C., DOT, Urban Mass Transportation Administration,
July 1973.


49
Social Security Act, for example, States must impose fees on any
person with income greater than 80 percent of the median in that
State.
Costs Belated to Geographic Location
The most expensive mode of travel is the commercial airplane.
The elderly, therefore, do not make use of planes, choosing less
expensive alternatives. A study by United Airlines of its ridership
in 1969 indicated, for example, that only 5 percent of its passengers
were 65 and older, about half of the elderly proportion of the popula
tion in general.32
For the elderly in Alaska and Hawaii, however, alternatives may not
exist. Sophisticated medical care, counseling or other kinds of special
ized attention may well be nonexistent on the neighbor islands of
Hawaii, for example. There is no element of choice.
Inter-island carriers in Hawaii responded to this situation by
instituting a half-fare for persons aged 65 and over in 1967, which
remained in effect until 1974. During that time one of the carriers,
Hawaiian Airlines, reported a 340-percent increase in the number of
senior citizens taking advantage of the fare reduction. Moreover, since
the seniors were accommodated on a space-available basis, the half
fares charged more than covered the extra costs of carrying them, and
returned substantial increased revenues to the carriers.33
Both carriers withdrew the fares when faced with the prospect of
lengthy, expensive challenges to the fares from the Civil Aeronautics
Board. The CAB had decided that youth standby fares were unduly
discriminatory, and informed the Hawaii airlines that the senior citizen
discount fares arguably fell into the same category.
Hawaiian Airlines has now asked the CAB to approve 35 percent
space-available discount to seniors. Oral arguments before the Board
were held on April 28, following a favorable decision by the CAB
hearing examiner.
FEDERAL GUIDANCE
There are several areas in which Federal leadership may be of benefit
in rationalizing problem areas which may inadvertently have a dis
criminatory or inhibitory effect on the maintenance or extension of
elderly mobility. One such area that might be examined more
thoroughly is the extent to which driver licensing procedures play a role
in the capacity of the elderly to continue to drive. Control of driver
licensing is, of course, a State function, and reexamination require
ments for the elderly which are becoming increasingly widespread
seem not to be discriminatory, but to reflect recognition that there
may be a relationship between the physical problems of advancing
age and driving performance which ought to be reflected in the licens
ing procedure.
However, it is also evident that there is considerable variation in
practice between jurisdictions, and between examiners within a single
jurisdiction in interpretation and application of reexamination re
quirements. Further, the relationship between elderly driver perform
ance and driver quality control mechanisms (licensing), is shaky and
32 Spark M. Matsunagas testimony, Civil Aeronautics docket No. 27612, Aug. 12,1975.
33 Ibid.


50
undocumented. Few satisfactory positive relationships between cur
rent licensing criteria and accident involvement have been established
to validate current licensing methods. In this context, a Federal role
in developing model reexamination procedures might encourage the
States to adopt more consistent and scientifically valid license reexami
nation requirements. This would offer substantial reassurance to the
elderly in maintaining the driving role as long as it is personally
appropriate.
Obtaining automobile insurance is, of course, necessary for the
elderly to maintain personal responsibilit}^ for their transportation
needs by driving. As the IPA study reveals, the insurance industry
has found it increasingly worthwhile to reassess favorably their loss
experience with elderly drivers, and there is reasonable evidence of
the spread of improved treatment of the older driver (after a difficult
period during the 1960s when many older drivers bore the brunt of
the competitive problems experienced by many companies).
One problem that is largely unexplored is the issue of insurance
renewal after relocation. Many of the elderly on retiiement move to
warmer climates and new locations; and there has been some sugges
tion that they may have problems renewing their auto insurance
where they are not known. To the extent that this may be true, the
problem may be compounded if insurance has been held with insur
ance firms who do not have branch locations throughout the country.
It would appear that further study of this issue is needed.
There may also be a useful Federal role in bridging the gap which
special services receiving substantial Federal subsidy have encoun
tered in gaining favorable insurance rates in their initial phases due
to lack of risk data for such systems.


CHAPTER IV
Recommendations
1. Major improvements are needed in coordinating Federal funds
already appropriated under social services programs for transportation of
elderly citizens.
a. The President has the authority under the Joint Funding Simpli
fication Act of 1974 (Public Law 93-510) and other laws, to require
close coordination among agencies in the delivery of social services.
The subcommittee recommends that the President use this authority
to its legal limit. Every agency providing funds for transportation
services for older Americans should be required by Executive order
to secure those transportation services from the apporpriate area
transportation operating agencies wherever possible.
Further, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and the
Department of Transportation in joint action should compile and
submit to this and other appropriate committees of Congress a list
of social services programs where such a requirement is precluded by
law, with recommendations for any legislative changes necessary.
b. In addition to the requirement recommended above, and in
anticipation of its application, there are other steps that can be taken
to assure adequate coordination among federally funded social service
programs under which transportation services to the elderly can be
financed. The President should permit and encourage the waiver of
program eligibility requirements necessary to permit coordinated
delivery of transportation.
The coordinated services concept developed in the Valley transit
district demonstration project in the Naugatuck Valley, Conn.,
and in Chattanooga, Tenn., are illustrative of the effectiveness of
such an approach, and should be made the standard model for all
social service agency programs.
c. It is recommended that all new social service programs enacted
by Congress, and all existing programs being reauthorized, specifically
include in the legislation a provision to permit or require joint agency
funding for transportation associated with the delivery of the service.
d. The regulations relating to section 16(b)(2) of MTA (capital
grants to nonprofit organizations) for fiscal year 1976 have been
designed to assure that greater coordination is provided in planning
and operating transportation services under its provisions. It is
recommended that these efforts at greater coordination be continued
and expanded for fiscal year 1977.
2. Special efforts must be made to deal with the transportation problems
of the rural elderly.
The rural elderly are particularly isolated, yet at the present time
there is no focus of responsibility for the transportation needs of
rural residents. It is an anomaly that the Urban Mass Transporta
tion Administration is the main supplier of Federal public transporta
tion support to rural areas. It is recommended that the House Public
(51)


52
Works and Transportation Committee assess the need, and consider
legislation to meet the need for a public mass transportation agency
as a means for providing centralized direction for both urban and
rural transportation needs. Funding recommendations, below, are
also critical to rural needs.
3. Both Congress and the administration need to act to assure better
continuity of funding, and higher levels of funding, for transportation for
the elderly.
a. The Administration on Agings common practice on model
projects is to fund them for 1 year, although some have been funded
for as long as 3 years. In many instances local communities with
reasonably successful model projects have attempted to develop fund
ing on a local basis to assure continuation of the model project, but
have needed time to develop the local resources. The subcommittee
recommends that in such cases the Commissioner on Aging use his
discretionary authority and provide for a more gradual phasing down
of Federal funding.
b. Most money available from the Department of Transportation
for projects to serve the elderly and other disadvantaged is for capital;
Administration on Aging funds for transportation are relatively more
limited in the amounts available, but can be used for operation. One
result of the UMTA emphasis on capital funds is a lack of operating
funds for most special transportation services, resulting in the dis
continuity of transportation services for the elderly.
In this context, the subcommittee recommends that the Committee
on Public Works and Transportation address the issue of providing
more nearly adequate levels of funding on a more regularized basis to
pay for operating costs of transportation projects serving the elderly.
c. It is recommended that State and local governments be en
couraged to provide tax-free fuel facilities, and low cost parts and
maintenance to publicly supported transportation programs serving
the elderly. It is further recommended that the aging network of
State and area agencies encourage and promote these changes.
4. Congress and existing agencies need to encourage the participation of
volunteers to provide transportation to the elderly, as one of the most cost-
effective steps toward remedying the problem.
a. The subcommittee recommends that the Internal Revenue Code
pertaining to tax deductions for charitable or volunteer mileage be
amended to equate such deductions to those for nonreimbursed busi
ness mileage deductions.
b. The subcommittee recommends that State and local govern
ments develop a system for providing low-cost or tax-free supplies,
and maintenance for volunteer-driver vehicles being used to transport
the elderly to and from publicly supported programs. It is further
recommended that the aging network should promote these changes.
c. The Administration on Aging should collect and disseminate to the
aging network information about ongoing volunteer insurance
programs.
5. Congress should promote better use of existing vehicle resources to
help transport the elderly.
a. In view of the present uncertainty on the part of contract school
bus operators as to their tax exemption if school buses are used to
carry persons other than for pupil transportation, the subcommittee


53
recommends that the Internal Revenue Code be amended to expressly
permit the carriage of elderly and other disadvantaged through
publicly supported programs without the loss of the exemption per
mitted in section 4221(e)(1).
b. The subcommittee recommends that, to permit a broader range
of deserving projects to benefit from the disposal of surplus Federal
Government vehicles, Congress enact legislation such as H.R. 9152,
now pending in the House Government Operations Committee.
c. In the areas where air travel is absolutely necessary to meet
many needs of the elderly, such as the various islands of the State
of Hawaii or remote areas of Alaska, access to reasonably priced air
travel is imperative. Moreover, in the actual experience with reduced
fares for senior citizens in Hawaii, both the elderly and the carriers
benefited substantially. The subcommittee therefore recommends
that Congress clarify existing law to reaffirm the Civil Aeronautics
Boards authority to permit reduced air fares for the elderly on a
standby basis.
6. Design improvements and modifications in vehicles and transporta
tion facilities need to be undertaken immediately.
a. The present American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
standards relating to buildings and facilities have not been revised
since 1961, although revisions are underway and are anticipated to be
completed by the summer of 1976. Developing appropriate design
standards is a critical element in solving the problem of architectural
and other barriers for the elderly, and UMTA has incorporated the
ANSI standards by reference in its recently published rules relating
to accessibility of public transportation under section 16(a) of the
UMTA statute. This subcommittee and others will certainly review
the revised ANSI standards to assure their compatibility with the
accessibility regulations. However, the subcommittee recommends
that UMTA undertake an independent review of the same subject,
to bring its considerable expertise to bear on this complex technical
question.
b. Existing statutes and regulations relating to designincluding
section 16(a) of UMTA, the ANSI standards and vehcile develop
mentrelate primarily to new facilities or equipment. Since existing
facilities and equipment (including vehicles) are likely to remain in
service for many years to come, a program of retrofit offers the only
prospect for any major improvement or impact within the next 5
years.
The subcommittee therefore recommends that UMTA accelerate
retrofit research and demonstrations which would
Identify the possible range of costs for an acceptable retrofit
package for present vehicles and facilities;
Analyze the impact on service of various levels of retrofit
and the accompanying institutional and operating problems; and
Explore the need for retrofit levels that might be used to
provide various ranges of accessibility.
c. High-speed express buses and special busways are likely to
play an increasing role in public mass transit, and these rapid-bus
systems are frequently used in conjunction with parking and associ
ated facilities. The subcommittee therefore recommends that the
Secretary of Transportation review the forthcoming ANSI design
standards applicable to the parking and transfer facilities used in


54
such high speed bus systems, to assure accessibility for the elderly
and handicapped.
7. Improvements in conditions available for the most frequent method oj
elderly transportation, walking, are needed.
Walking is one of the most important modes of transportation for
the elderly. However, the elderly have a disproportionate share of
accidents at intersections. Further, standards vary widely for such
items as street and sidewalk design, placement of street furniture, and
light controls and information systems at intersections. The sub
committee therefore recommends that the Secretary of Transporta
tion develop pedestrian standards for projects in which Federal funds
are involved. In addition, the subcommittee recommends that the
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development develop standards for
pedestrian facilities in senior citizens housing.
8. Ways must hejound to improve transportation services jor the elderly
who have incomes too high to qualify for special services, yet too low to
purchase transportation in the marketplace.
In 1974 the typical poverty threshold for the elderly 65 years or
older was under $3,000; about 3.3 million or 16 percent of the elderly
fall into this category. Income data for the elderly in 1973 showed that
there were over 4 million or about 20 percent who fall into the income
range between $3,000-$5,000above the poverty level but still in
what must be counted as a very low income category.
These 4 million are too poor to buy cars, pay for taxis or hire private
transportation; and they are poorly served by public transit. But
they are not poor enough to be eligible for many of the social service
programs that provide special transportation services. These are the
forgotten elderly who are in isolation because they are not poor enough.
a. Given this high proportion of elderly with serious income prob
lems, and the costliness of determining income eligibility for particular
programs, the Subcommittee recommends that Congress exempt older
persons from means tests except where absolutely necessary.
b. The subcommittee recommends that the Secretary of Transpor
tation take specific steps to encourage the adoption of UMTAs
recently developed model taxi ordinance which would encourage
shared rides and expand the potential for paratransit services by the
taxi industry.
c. The subcommittee recommends that UMTA should accelerate
its efforts in developing paratransit systems that promote ride-sharing
systems to lower operating costs and individual trip costs to the
elderly.
9. The subcommittee finds that a luck of critical data hampers the
fashioning of rational solutions to the mobility problems of the elderly,
and recommends that a number of specific research and demonstration
tasks be undertaken as soon as possible.
a. The General Accounting Office (GAO) should undertake a study
to identify the Federal dollars presently being spent on transportation
services for the elderly.
b. The Administration on Aging (AOA) should begin a study of the
transportation needs of the institutionalized elderly, and make rec
ommendations to deal with any deficiencies that are documented.
c. The GAO should review current practices and requirements for
locating federally financed public facilities and recommend ways to


55
promote more centralized sites and multiple agency use of such
facilities to facilitate the provision of transportation services by these
agencies to their clients.
d. AOA should undertake a study of conflicting age requirements of
various Federal programs as they apply to the elderly and determine
whether these age variations are necessary to accomplish the intent
of Congress. AOA should identify what changes, if any, are needed
and make appropriate recommendations.
e. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should
undertake a study of existing State and other procedures regarding
driver license renewal examinations and identify possible areas of
discrimination against the elderly, with a view toward formulating
model driver license renewal procedures to eliminate any such dis
criminatory practices in the future.
f. UMTA should review State and local franchise laws now in
effect to identify ways in which low-cost paratransit services could be
encouraged by the removal of impediments present in the franchise
laws.


*



57
APPENDIXES
Appendix # Title
I Potential Major Federal Funding Sources for
Elderly Transportation Projects
II FY 1975 Capital Assistance Projects Specifically
Addressing the Non-Ambulatory Handicapped, U.S.
Department of Transportation
III UMTA Research and Demonstration Projects,
FY 1974-76
IV Money distributed and allocated to states
for FY 1975 and 1976 under Section 16(b)(2) of
Urban Mass Transportation Act
V Illustrative Coordination Requirements for
Major Federal Programs Funding Transportation
Services
VI Excess vehicles distributed by U.S. Government
in FY 1975


58
APPENDIX I
PLANNING HANDBOOK
transportation services for the elderly
PREPARED FOR
The Administration on Aging
WASHINGTON, D.C, 20201
BY
The Institute of Public Administration
WASHINGTON, D.C.
November 1975
DHEW Publication No. (OHD) 76-2


Table VIII-1
POTENTIAL MAJOR FEDERAL FUNDING SOURCES FOR ELDERLY TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS
August 19 75
Department
Statute
Title & Section
Description
Provides
Transport
For
User Eligibility Restrictions
Area
Coverage
wC-L Z c. _
Elderly
Share
Age
Income
Work Status
Health/
Educ./Other
A. DEPARMENT OF HEALTH. EDUCATION &
WELFARE
1.Older Americans Act of 1965 as
Amended, Title III, All Sections
except 308
State & Community
Programs on Aging
Broad Social
Services
Exclusive
60+20
Priority: DOC
Planning and
Service Areas
Prohibited
Title III, Section 308
Model Projects
Model Projects
Exclusive
60+20
None
Varies2
Prohibited
Title IV, Section 412
Transportation
Study & Demonstra
tion Projects
Demonstrations
& Studies
Exclusive
60+20
None
Rural
3
Emphasis
Possible*1
Title VII
Elderly
Nutrition
Nutrition
Sites
Exclusive
60+5
One Criterion
DOC6
Urban or Rural2
Possible
Title IX
Elderly Community
Service
Project
Activities
Exclusive
55+
0MB/Unemployed
Community
Possible
2.Public Health Service Act of 1944
Comprehensive
Health Services
Broad Health
Services
Moderate
None
None
Community
Allowable
with
Approval
as Amended, Title III. Section
314(d)
Title III, Section 314(e)
Community Health
Centers
Health Sites
Moderate
None
None
Community
Title XII
Emergency Medical
Services
Emergencies
Moderate
None
None
Critical
Condition
Established
Service Area
3.Social Security Act of 1935 as
Amended, Title XIX
Medicaid
Medical
Aged, Blind
Disabled,
AFDC
SSI eligibility
criteria or mot
restrictive
criteria at ^
State option
L.
e
State
Prohibited
Title XX
Services to indi
viduals and
families
Projects State
elects*^
Varies
None
SSI Recipient,
AFDC
Recipient**"
Established
areas within
State
Prohibited


Table VIII-1 (Continued)
POTENTIAL MAJOR FEDERAL FUNDING SOURCES FOR ELDERLY TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS
August 1975
Department
Statute
Title & Section
Description
Provides
Transport
For
User Eligibility Restrictions
Area
Coverage
Carl fa 1
Elderly
Share
Age
Income
Work Status
Health/
Educ./Othei
4. Vocational Rehabllition Act
of 1973
Vocational
Rehabilitation
Any vocational
rehabilitation
services (lncl.
medical)
Small12
None
Unemployed
Handicapped
but
Employable
State
Allowable
5. Appalachian Regional Development
Health Demonstra
tlons
Comprehensive
Health Services
Large
None
None
None
Counties of
13 States in
Appalachia
Allowable
Act of 1965 as Amended
Title II, Section 202
Title III, Section 302(a)
Research, Demon
strations
Demonstrations
Only
None
None
None
B. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
1. Urban Mass Transportation Act
of 1964 as Amended
Section 3
Capital Grants

Urban11
Allowable
Section 5*
Capital and Oper
ating Assistance
Forumula Grants
Urban 200,000
plus & minus
Allowable
Section 6
Research & Demos
Urban13
Allowable
Section 9
Technical Studies
Urban
Allowable
Section 16(b)(2)
Grants to private
non-profit bodies
Elderly and Hand
icapped
,, K 13
Urban
Allowable
* As Amended by the National Mass Transportation Assistance Act of 1974


Table VIII-1 (continued)
POTENTIAL MAJOR FEDERAL FUNDING SOURCES FOR ELDERLY TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS
August 1975
Department
Statute
Title & Section
Description
Provides
Transport
For
User Eligibility Restrictions
Elderly
Share
Age
Income
Work Status
Health/
Educ./Othei
Area
Coverage
Casita!
Purerass
2. Federal-Aid Highway Act of
1973 aa Amended.Section 147
Rural Highway
Demonstrations
Rural
Allowable
except Rail
C.DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
1. Consolidated Farm and Rural
Development Act of 1972
Title III, Section 360(a)
Loans for essen
tial community
facilities
Moderate
Rurl up to
10,000
Allowable
D. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
1. Comprehensive Employment and
Training Act of 1973:Title III
National Older
Workers Program
Work Duties
Exclusive
55+
CSA/"Chroni-
cally
Unemployed"
None
Varies: primari
ly city or coun
ty wide
Prohibited
E. COMMUNITY SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
(OEO)
1. Community Services Act of
1974 as Amended
Title II, Sections 212 and 221
Community Action
Programs (CAP)
Broad Social
Services
Moderate
None
CSA, but
broad
None
Urban or Rural
Allowable ^
with approval
Title II, Section 222(a)(5)
Emergency Food
& Medical Serv.
Broad nutrition
al & medical
services
15
Substantial
None
None
Suffering
from hun
ger
Most are run by
CAP'S
Allowable*^
Title II, Section 222(a)(7)
Senior Opportun
ities & Services
Broad Social
Services
Exclusive
61+17
CSA, but
flexible
None
Urban or Rural
Possible, use
221 monies
Title II, Sections 232(a) &(e)
Research and
Pilot programs
Special Needs
Moderate
61+
CSA None
Rural Focus
Allowable with
approval


Table VIII-1 (Continued)
POTENTIAL MAJOR FEDERAL FUNDING SOURCES FOR ELDERLY TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS
August 1975
Dec rtr.ert
Statute
Title & Section
Description
Provides
Transport
For
User Eligibility Restrictions
Area
Coverage
C *. lwc.
Purchase
Elderly
Share
Age
Income
Work Status^"
Health/
Educ./Other
F. ACTION
1. Domestic Volunteer Service Act
Retired Senior
Volunteer Program
Volunteer
Stations
Exclusive
60+
None/Retired
Able to
Work
Community
Allowable with
prior approval
of 1973. Title II. Section 201
Title II, Section 211(a)
Foster Grandpar
ents Program
Program
Duties
Exclusive
60+
OEO/Retired
Able to
help chil
dren
One or more
Communities
Allowable with
prior approval
G. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING & URBAN
DEVELOPMENT
1. Housing and Community Develop-
ment Act of 1974, Title I
Community
Development
Funds can be uset
for a range of
purposes
Varies
None
None
None
States and local
jurisdictions
Allowable if
funds unavailable
from other feder
al sources.
H. REVENUE SHARING
1. State and Local Fiscal Assis-
tance Act of 1972
Revenue Sharing
Funds can be usee
for any purpose
Varies by
State &
Locality
States, and Local
jurisdictions
Allowable
SOURCE: Much of the data and material for this table was initially collected by Suanne Brooks of
the Atlanta Regional Office of the Department of Health, Education & Welfare. This
material was expanded to include a number of Acts not Included in that compilation.


Table VIII-1 (Continued)
POTENTIAL MAJOR FEDERAL FUNDING SOURCES FOR ELDERLY TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS
August 1975
FOOTNOTES
1. The following symbols are used:
"DOC" Department of Cmmerce poverty guidelines, based on Census
Bureau Statistics
"OMB" Office of Management and Budget poverty guidelines
"CSA" Community Services Administration poverty guidelines (OEC)
"SSI" Supplemental Security Income levels
2. May be statewide or community-wide. Regulations specify that
project area must have "large number" of elderly
3. At least 50% of projects must be In States predominantly rural
4. AoA policy Is to encourage capital purchase for demonstrations
through Joint DOT participation
5. Plus spouse of any age
6. Regulations allow the elderly to qualify on any or all of four grounds:
(1) cannot afford to eat "adequately"
(2) lacks skills to prepare well-balanced meals
(3) has "limited mobility"
(4) feels lonely and rejected
7. Both must have high proportion of elderly poor
8. Since these projects originated In the Office of Economic Opportunity,
most are located in areas of low-income population
9. Categorically needy; no upper Income limit when deducting Incurred
medical expenses (medically needy)
10. State services vary, and transportation is optional
11. Includes potentials, and formers at State option, and -those having State
supplemental payments.
12. An estimated 2.5% of £hose rehabilitated are age 65+
13. Flexibly Interpreted on a project basis but when was below 2500, not
generally considered
14. Survey of existing resources must first be taken. Equipment costing $500
or more must have regional approval
15. Focus Is on elderly and children, although program also includes families
and individuals generally
16. But only if vehicles extend the coverage of existing service programs.
Emphasis is on better use of existing vehicles
17. For general services. For employment and volunteer services, the age
requirement drops to 55+
18. The list of "supportive social services" includes "transportation and
escort services, including capital assistance (if unavailable from DOT)
or operating assistance". Funds can be used as payment of the non-federal
share required in connection with a federal grant-in-aid program under
taken as part of a Community Development Program.
19. State and local governnents are allowed broad use of available funds.
Two of eight suggested priority categories are "Public Transportation"
and "Social Services for the Poor or Aged". These two categories
accounted, respectively, for 15% and 3% of funds expended in the only
period thus far reported, January 1, 1972 June 30, 1973
20.While no set age limits are established under these provisions of the
Act, generally the act applies to the age group 60+.


APPENDIX II
FYJ 7 5 CAPITAL ASSISTANCE PROJECTS SPECIFICALLY ADDRESSING THE NON-AMBULATORY HANDICAPPED
GRANTEE
PROJECT NUMBER
SIZE
NO. OF BUSES
COST
PER VEHICLE
Denver
CO-03-0007
31-33
Pass.
27
$
41,020
Joliet
IL-0 3-002 0-01
25-30
Pass.
1
41,000
Lexington
KY-03-0009
(modify) 45
Pass.
2
69,075
Indianapolis
IN-03-0022
12
Pass.
2
17,500
Mankato
MN-03-0011
18
Pass.
2
26,000
Detroit
MI-03-0030
20-25
f
6
23,333
Hampton
VA-0 3-0 009
25
Pass.
2
40,000
Nor folk
VA-0 3-00 0 7
31-33
Pass.
2
40,750
Albany
GS-0 3-0012
10-15
Pass.
2
30,000
St. Paul
MN-03-0012
20-25
V
10
15,000
Louisville
KY-0 3-0 00 7-0 1
10-16
Pass.
2
21,185
Bay City
MI-0 3-0034
20-22
1
2
23,700
Orlando
FL-0 3-00 34
25
P-ass .
1
34,000
Charleston
WV-03-0008
16-33
Pass.
2
50,000
High Point
NC-03-000 8
19-24
Pass.
2
58,000
Athens
GA-03-0005
45
Pass.
2
71,500
Rock Island
IL-0 3-00 47
31-35
Pass.
2
60,0 0.0
Hudson
NY-03-0078
17-24
Pass.
1
45,000


GRANTEE
PROJECT NUMBER
SIZE
NO. OF BUSES
COST PER VEHICLE
Miami
FL-03-0026
20 or 30'
12
$ 65,000
Oneonta
NY-03-0065
17-24 Pass.
1
30,000
Xenia
OH-03-0041
19 Pass.
1
22,600
Charleston
WV-0 3-0009
20 '
4
14,000
Dallas
TX-0 3-0001
25'
7
52,300
Madison
WI-0 3-0015-01
20
3
20,000
Seattle
WA-0 3-0016-01
30 '
5
57,000
Corpus Christi
TX-0 3-002 0
12 Pass
2
12,000
12 Pass
6
6 ,000
[thaca
NY-03-0070
17-24 Pass.
1
45,000
5alt Lake City
UT-03-0005
13 Pass.
5
50,000
Jew Bedford
MA-0 3-00 30
(modify) 31 Pass.
2
3,400
SUMMARY
Total Number of Buses
Total
Cost
119
$4,503
,060
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Responses to
Questions from Congressman Mario Biaggi, House
Select Committee on Aging, February 1976


66
APPENDIX III
Demonstrations
Question No. 16
Please provide the Subcommittee with a descriptive
list of the demonstration projects funded by UMTA in Fiscal
Years 1974 and 1975, and some indication of the kinds of
initiatives that are receiving funding in 1976. What future
direction does UMTA contemplate for demonstration projects
affecting the elderly?
ANSWER:
Prior to UMTA's reorganization in September 1973,
demonstrations were conducted by both the Office of Research,
Development and Demonstrations and the Office of Civil Rights.
The later ran the Service Development Program, which was
oriented toward research and demonstrations for the elderly,
handicapped, poor, unemployed, and young. After the
reorganization, all service improvement demonstrations were
consolidated under the Division of Service and Methods
Demonstrations within the Office of Transit Planning. Administrator
Patricelli's recent reorganization retains this division within
the Office of Transportation Management and Demonstrations.
Attachment C is a table of demonstration projects funded
in Fiscal Years 1974 and 1975, and demonstration initiatives
for Fiscal Year 1976. Not included are a number of projects which
primarily involve research and technical assistance. Although
no decisions have been made, the future direction being discussed
at the present time involves a continuation of the TRIP project,
further large city health and social service coordination demonstrations,
and retrofit of an entire fleet of buses to ease access to elderly
and handicapped persons.


67
FY
CONSUMER
PROJECT DESCRIPTION
CONTRACTOR
GRANTEE
AMOUNT
1974
Handicapped of
all ages
Research on problems of
handicapped including
demonstration development
Grey $
Advertising
997,000
General Public
Double deck buses in
line haul operations
SCRTD & $
MTA (Los
Angeles and
New York
703,000
Tourists
Bicentennial Shuttle Buses
D. C. COG $
(Washington)
364,000
1975
Elderly and
Handicapped
Planning for large city
demonstration of service to
elderly and handicapped
Chicago
Elderly and
Handicapped
Apply proven service
techniques to medium-size
cities
Portland and $
Albuquerque
1, 600, 000
Poor Elderly
and Handicapped
Transportation Remuneration
Incentive Program (TRIP)
West Virginia $
300, 000
Elderly Poor
User Side Subsidy
Danville, Ill. $
100, 000
Elderly
Community Transportation
Broker
Palo Alto, Calif. $ 150,000
General public
Subscription Van Service
Knoxville, Term.
$ 1, 000, 000
General public
Integrated fixed route
with demand-responsive
Rochester, N. Y.
$ 2,600,000
Elderly and
Handicapped
Subscription and zone service,
express service, park and
ride, and bus priority
General public
Handicapped
Paratransit
Houston, Texas
700, 000
Commuters
Bus and carpool lanes
Los Angeles
900, 000
General public
e
Integrated fixed route
with demand response
Zenia, Ohio
700, 000


FY
1976
User
Elderly,
Handicapped
and poor
General
public
Demonstration Concepts
Large city social service coordination (2)
Small city innovations
TRIP
Community transportation broker
Jitneys
User side subsidy with taxi
Inner-city
Bus priority
Van pool
Car pool priority
Shared-ride auto
Prepaid pass
Taxi integrated with transit
05
00
Source: Judith T. Connor, Assistant Transportation Secretary,
in response to Subcommittee Question, April 10, 1976.


69
APPENDIX IV
STATE-BY-STATE ALLOCATIONS UNDER SECTION 16(b)(2) OF URBAN MASS TRANSPORTATION ACT
State
Actual 1975
Amount Awarded
1976 Allocat
(000)
Alabama
$ 327,136
449
Alaska
90,792
117
Arizona
220 ,012
249
Arkansas
464,056
332
California
2 ,055 ,588
1,561
Colorado
245,256
249
Connecticut
261,000
283
District of Columbia
156,652
166
Florida
699,000
814
Georgia
252,960
515
Hawaii
131,596
133
Idaho
158 ,000
150
Illinois
838,032
897
Indiana
411,880
465
Iowa
285,004
332
Kansas
435,712
283
Kentucky
421,700
432
Louisiana
417,600
465
Maine
169,904
183
Maryland
608,792
349
Massachusetts
443,548
515
Michigan
639,280
698
Minnesota
385,856
382
Mississippi
346,836
382
Missouri
453 ,932
515
Montana
99 ,452
150
Nebraska
22,616
233
Nevada
125,844
133
New Hampshire
125,596
150
New Jersey
585,536
581
New Mexico
182,264
183
New York
1 ,909,228
1,478
North Carolina
527,352
548
North Dakota
144 ,000
150
Ohio
756,560
847
Oklahoma
384 ,400
366
Oregon
248,300
266
Pennsylvania
1 ,093,400
996
Puerto Rico
288,644
532
Rhode Island
158,816
166
South Carolina
228,208
332
South Dakota
66,236
166
Tennessee
433,420
482
Texas
932,000
1,046
Utah
150,912
166
Virginia
397,852
449
Washington
351,760
349
Wisconsin
623,148
415
Wyoming
81,744
117
Total $20,837,412
The following
jurisdictions did not
apply
for funds
in FY 1975. Their 1976 allocations
are as
follows:
Jurisdiction
1976 Allocat
Delaware
133
Guam
117
Vermont
133
Virgin Islands
117
West Virginia
283
Total 1976
A1location
$22,000,000
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation


70
APPENDIX V
ILLUSTRATIVE COORDINATION REQUIREMENTS FOR
MAJOR FEDERAL PROGRAMS FUNDING TRANSPORTATION SERVICES
ACT
COORDINATION REQUIREMENTS
1. Older Americans Act
of 1965, as amended
Planning
A-95 Clearinghouse; A-98; and State
Plan approval. Areawide projects
require extensive coordination under
Title III.
Operation
Section 301 (OAA) requires coordina
tion but does not specify the method.
Area Agencies on Aging are coordina-
tive by their very nature. Title VIII
encourages local coordination with
other agencies, both public and private.
2. Public Health Service
Act of 1944, as amended
a.Title III, Section 314(d) Planning: Governor's Office
Operation Governor's Office
b.Title X Planning
Regional Plans. Mandatory review
by 314 (a), A-95. Also, Family
Planning plans review by Federal
Inter-agency group and HEW coordi
nating committee.
Operation
Local coordinating councils supervise
operations.
c.Section 303(a)(2); Planning
P.L. 78-410;
42 U.S.C. 242(a) Each application must be endorsed
by administrator of State Agency
responsible for State mental hospitals.
Operation
Same.


71
APPENDIX V
(Page 2)
ACT
COORDINATION REQUIREMENTS
3. Emergency Medical
Service Systems Act of 1973
Planning
State Comprehensive Health Planning
Agency Appropriate Areawide Plan
ning Agency, if one exists.
A-95 Clearinghouse Review
State Government EMS Focal Point
EMSS Council
Operation
Same
4. Social Security Act of 1935
as amended
a. Title XIX Planning
None except State Plan
Operation
At State level between State Welfare
Agency.and_the.Medicaid_Agency
b. Title XX Planning
Regional Coordinating Council,
Federal Regional Committee, Family
Planning Review Committee, Manpower
Coordinating Committee, Title XX
Coordinating Committee; much inter
agency coordination with U.S.D.O.L.,
and H.E.W. health programs.
Operation
Human Development programs, health,
manpower programs with special
emphasis on Model Cities, WIN,
Special Education, Aging Programs
and manpower/training activities.


72
APPENDIX V
(Page 3)
ACT
COORDINATION REQUIREMENTS
c. Title IV
Planning
Regional Coordination Committee,
Federal Regional Committee, Man
power Coordinating Committee;
interagency coordination with
UiS.D.O.L., and H.E.W. health
programs. Also Statewide Opera
tional Plan.
Operation
Human Development programs, man
power programs with special
emphasis on Comprehensive Employ
ment .Training Act.programs.
d.
Title V
Section
503 and 504
Planning: Governor's Office
Operation: Governor's Office
5. Vocational
Rehabilitation
Planning
Act
P.L
of 1973
. 93-112
as amended
The State Plan, coordinated with the
Governor's Office is required under
Part III, OMB Circular No. A-95
(revised). The State VR agency must
certify to the availability of State
funds for matching purposes.
Operation
Operational coordination is established
on a State-by-State basis, depending on
the organization of the State govern
ment and the location of the State voca
tional rehabilitation agency within
that structure.
6. Equal Opportunities Act
P.L. 93-644
Planning
R.D. Review and Sign--Off; A-95 Clear
inghouse Required.
Operation
OHC/OCD would be a concurring party to
the method of utilization ana operation
of the Head Start transportation system.


73
APPENDIX V
(Page 4)
ACT
COORDINATION REQUIREMENT
7. Health Resourses Administration
Planning:
A-95, 314 (a) and (b)
P.L. 91-515
Operation:
agencies
Same as planning.
8. U.S. Office of Education
Planning:
Annual Program Plan
Adult Education Act
Operation:
Annual Program Plan and
State Law
9. U.S. Office of Human
Development
P.L. 91-517 and 93-45
Planning
The State Plan is coordinated with
the Governor's Office as required under
under Part II, OMB Circular No. A-95
(Revised). The State planning and
advisory council is required under
P.L. 91-517, Section 134(b)(2) to
coordinate with other Federal/State
programs, i.e., it must describe in
its State Plan how other State/Federal
programs provide for the development-
ally disabled and how the new program
will complement and augment, but not
duplicate or replace the services they
provide. At least nine specific pro
grams must be taken into account:
vocational rehabilitation, public
assistance, social services, crippled
children's services, education for the
handicapped, medical assistance,
maternal and child health, comprehen
sive health planning and mental health.
The State agency(ies) must certify to
the expenditure of matching funds.
Operation
Operational coordination is established
on a State-by-State basis through the
State Planning and advisory council for
developmental disabilities, and indi
vidual State agencies administering or
supervising the administration of all
or portions of the State Plan.


APPENDIX VI
FEDERAL PROPERTY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
VEHICLES DONATED FY 1975
(by Federal Region)
TYPE
VEHICLE
I, II, & III
IV
V
VI
VII
VIII, IX, & X
TOTAL
Automobiles
49
63
82
120
14
141
469
Buses
15
91
15
26
11
53
211
CarryalIs
17
-
19
2
5
44
87
Station Wagons
4
63
21
25
4
67
184
Pick-up Trucks
53
334
84
414
49
625
1 ,609
Other Trucks
266
457
266
345
2
325
1 ,661
Tractors
10
13
51
17
-
32
123
Tractor-Trailers
24
434
13
65
-
7
603
Other Vehicles
19

187
229
11
90
536
TOTAL
457
1,510
733
1,243
96
1,444
5,433
Source:. Office of Federal Property Assistance, U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare




n 91 f in




75
The Era of Fads and Crazes
America has been called "a nation of faddists," and the
1920s the era of fads.13 One 1920s columnist wrote that
America "seemed to slumber along for several years
with no particularly violent craze for amusements" until the
arrival of the Chinese table game mah-jongg in 1922.14 At
the height of the fad sets with genuine ivory tiles might
sell for $250, although less expensive sets were available
for $14.50 to $75 from the company that claimed to have
introduced the game to America,15 and a one-dollar complete
set "in brilliant colors" was offered by mail through an ad
in American Magazine.16 Mah-jongg was replaced in 1924 by
the crossword puzzle, a challenging fad embraced by "high
brows, low-brows, and near no-brows."17 The fads of the
1920s were played out against the background of minor crazes
that surfaced and sank more guickly.18 Several other fads
13Peter L. Skolnik, Fads: America's Crazes. Fevers &
Fancies (New York: Crowell, 1978) 2.
14Reginald T. Townsend, This. That, and The Other Thing
(Freeport: Books for Libraries, 1929) 79.
15"Mah Jongg," advertisement, Saturday Evening Post 12
Aug. 1922: 101.
16"Mah Jong [sic] Set," advertisement, American
Magazine April 1924: 196.
17Alan Harding, "Why We Have Gone Mad Over Cross-Word
Puzzles," American Magazine March 1925: 28.
18Donald A. Laird, "Have You a Fad?" Review of Reviews
March 1935: 33. New "crazes" were often featured in the
rotogravure section of the Sunday paper; for example, on


76
of the era, such as bobbed hair and wrist watches, matured
into permanent elements of the culture. The greatest of
these was radio.19
The Era of Goods and Gadgets
By 1920, the wartime financial boom had begun to
collapse; the gross national product declined and
unemployment rose.20 In January of 1921 the publishers of
Colliers magazine placed an ad in the New York Times,
urging consumer confidence,21 and the editor of McClure's
magazine used the development of radio technology as a
metaphor when he editorialized against business pessimism.22
Recovery began in 1922; production expanded, marking the
beginning of a growing market for "consumer durables" and
the acceptance of household debt through installment
buying.23 Electrical appliances began to appear throughout
February 27, 1921 the New York Times proclaimed the newest
craze to be butterfly "tattoos" made from real insects,
applied to women's bare shoulders.
19Emory S. Bogardus, "Social Psychology of Fads,"
Journal of Applied Sociology 8 (1924): 241.
20George Soule, Prosperity Decade: From War to
Depression: 1917-1929 (1947; New York: Harper, 1968) 96.
21"Stage Coach or Automobile? America Always Moves
Forward," advertisement, New York Times 12 Jan. 1921: 18.
22Herbert Kaufman, "Don't Listen to the Liar,"
McClure's 21 Jan. 1921: 5.
23Martha L. Olney, Buy Now. Pay Later: Advertising.
Credit, and Consumer Durables in the 1920s (Chapel Hill: U
of North Carolina P, 1991) 85-86.


77
the home; the United States of the 1920s was becoming a
"country of gadgets."24
The Era of Youth
Fitzgerald called 1922 "The peak of the younger
generation.1,25 American youth, aided by the growing
presence of the automobile, had begun to seek such pleasures
as "the joy ride, the silver flask and the jazz
orchestra."26 Player pianos were advertised as the only way
to make the home "compete with jazz halls and shallow
plays."27 Buy a new suite of furniture, another
advertisement counseled, and "you will then be bidding
intelligently against the outside world for the interest and
companionship of your childrena spirited challenge to the
Age of Jazz."28
24Irving Werstein, Shattered Decade 1919-1929 (New
York: Scribner's, 1970) 71.
25F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Echoes of the Jazz Age,"
Scribner's Magazine Nov. 1931: 460.
26"Competing with the Silver Flask and the Jazz
Orchestra," advertisement, American Magazine March 1925:
201.
27"How Can the Home Compete with Jazz Halls and Shallow
Plays?" advertisement, Saturday Evening Post 20 May 1922:
63.
28"Competing with the Silver Flask and the Jazz
Orchestra," advertisement, American Magazine March 1925:
201.


78
It is not known how many youngsters stayed home to
admire the sofa, but many began to spend hours fiddling with
wireless radiophone receivers. Some invited friends over
for radio concert dance parties. The wireless hobby,
popular with America's young people since before the war,
grew rapidly.29 Adults generally supported the youngsters'
scientific pastime; according to one article, "At the very
least it is taking the minds of the younger generation from
amusements that may be questionable and giving them
something that will be of tremendous use in the future."30
It was not long, however, before parents and other members
of the family discovered the joys and challenges of radio
listening, and often preempted the receiver and its
headphones (in this era before the loudspeaker made radio a
family pastime).31
The BCL Hobbv
The growth of leisure time early in the twentieth
century fed the development of adult hobbies, encouraged by
29Walter S. Hiatt, "A New Style of Adventures,"
Collier's 18 Oct. 1913: 27.
30"Far-Reaching Influence of the Radio Telephone,"
Electrical World 4 March 1922: 419.
31Fitzgerald wrote of these years in general they had
the feel of "a children's party taken over by the elders,
leaving the children puzzled and rather neglected and rather
taken aback." F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Echoes of the Jazz
Age," Scribner's Magazine Nov. 1931: 460.


79
society as a way to maintain the American work ethic during
leisure hours.32 The definition of "hobby" was elusive, but
consensus seemed to require active participation; going to
the movies or listening to the radio might not be hobbies
but creating scrapbooks of screen stars or compiling log
books of stations received would qualify. Broadcast
listening, especially when it involved DX (reception of
distant stations), required a certain measure of skill
during the earliest years of radio broadcasting.
Amateur radio continued to grow in popularity during
the early 1920s. At the start of America's involvement in
the World War in 1917, the government had closed down 3,741
amateur stations run by 3,302 operators.34 In 1920 the
government licensed 5,719 amateur stations and in 1921 an
additional 7,351.35 Growing even faster, however, was
32Hobbies would take on even more importance during the
enforced leisure of the 1930s depression years. See Steven
M. Gelber, "A Job You Can't Lose: Work and Hobbies in the
Great Depression," Journal of Social History 24 (1991): 741-
767.
33Although a radio amateur won second place in American
Magazine's 1916 "My HobbyAnd Why I Recommend It" contest,
the only technology-based hobby featured in 1923's version
of the contest was photography; the other two winners were
an executive with a "natural craze for earning" and a
housewife whose pastime was "thinking pleasant thoughts."
"My HobbyAnd Why I Recommend It," American Magazine, June
1916: 103-104; "My Hobby and Why I Recommend It," American
Magazine June 1923: 86+.
34United States Department of Commerce, 1919 Report of
the Secretary of Commerce and Reports of Bureaus.
(Washington: GPO, 1920) 983.


80
interest in merely "listening in"38 on wireless
communication, which required no license.37 The new radio
enthusiasts were often older and less technically proficient
than the amateurs, and were frequently "people of some
affluence and of influence in their communities."38 These
Broadcast Listeners, or "BCLs", often included "the mayor,
the eminent politician, the bank president, the leading
merchant, the doctor, the minister, the president of the
board of education."39
The greatest division between amateur radio and
broadcasting came early in 1922, when the Department of
Commerce ruled that amateurs could no longer broadcast
musical concerts, in order to eliminate interference with
35United States Department of Commerce, Annual Report
of the Commissioner of Navigation to the Secretary of
Commerce for the Fiscal Year ended June 30. 1921
(Washington: GPO, 1921) 25.
36In the usage of the 1920s one would "listen in" to
radio, and the audience was made up of "listeners-in." At
the same time, one spoke of "tuning" station KDKA rather
than "tuning to" or "tuning in."
37The Radio Bureau of the Department of Commerce in
mid-1922 offered a "conservative estimate" of 600,000 radio
receivers in use. United States Department of Commerce,
Annual Report of the Commissioner of Navigation to the
Secretary of Commerce for the Fiscal Year ended June 30.
1922 (Washington: GPO, 1922) 17.
38Clinton B. DeSoto, Two Hundred Meters and Down (West
Hartford: ARRL, 1936) 75.
39"Phones and Amateur Radio," editorial, OST March
1922: 31.


81
transmitting stations holding commercial licenses.40 In
addition, amateur stations were required to remain silent
from 8 to 10:30 p.m. daily and during Sunday morning church
broadcasts.41 Radio enthusiasts' magazines campaigned to
popularize BCL in order to secure radio's position and
garner support in the face of attempts at stronger
regulation. In 1922 the American Radio Relay League
suggested radio clubs open meetings to the "broadcast
public," in order to diffuse criticism of the amateurs'
interference with broadcast reception and to promote greater
public interest in radio.42
The Radio Fad of 1922
In the early months of 1922, newspapers still treated
broadcasting as a publicity stunt. Stories featured unusual
uses of the new technology: a soprano performed a benefit
40"Government Curbs Amateur Radio Music," New York
Times 4 Feb. 1922: 3. The amateur licenses now read, "This
station not licensed to broadcast weather reports, market
reports, music, concerts, speeches, news, or similar
information or entertainments." "Monthly Service Bulletin
of the National Amateur Wireless Association," Wireless Aae
Feb. 1922: 41.
41United States Department of Commerce, Annual Report
of the Commissioner of Navigation to the Secretary of
Commerce for the Fiscal Year ended June 30. 1923
(Washington: GPO, 1923) 20.
42Raymond Victor Bowers, "A Genetic Study of
Institutional Growth and Cultural Diffusion in Contemporary
American Civilization, an Analysis in Terms of Amateur
Radio," diss., U of Minnesota, 1934, 203.


82
concert from an airplane circling New York; the following
week a woman and man were married aloft in the same plane
(piloted by Belvin W. Maynard, the "flying parson") while
guests (and anyone else with a receiver) listened in by
radio on the ground.43
By 1922 both the American public and American business
were ripe for the growth of radio's popularity. The recent
war had expanded the geographical boundaries of people's
thought, and drawn them together in a common effort.44 The
country was finally relaxing from the strain of the war
years.45. Some businesses seeking recovery from the
depression of 1920 turned to radio manufacturing.46
As the radio fad took hold, the words radio and
broadcasting began to appear in advertisements for other
products and services. As early as 1916, American Safety
Razor company had advertised "Ever-Ready Radio Blade Safety
43"Concert from Plane Aids Veterans' Camp," New York
Times 15 April 1922: 3; "To Wed in Plane 3,000 Feet Above
Times Sguare," New York Times 24 April 1922: 1.
44Paul Schubert, The Electric Word: The Rise of Radio
(New York: Macmillan, 1928) 192. According to Carl Dreher,
Paul Schubert was the pseudonym of Pierre Boucheron, who was
in charge of press relations for RCA. Dreher, Sarnoff: An
American Success 56.
45Frederick Lewis Allen, Only Yesterday: An Informal
History of the Nineteen Twenties (New York: Harper, 1931)
76-7.
46Hiram L. Jome, Economics of the Radio Industry (1925;
New York: Arno, 1971) 86.


83
Razors" in the Saturday Evening Post.47 Now girls and women
could wear Radio Boots that went "on and off in a flash."4
By June of 1922, boys were advised in a full page ad to buy
Waterman's "Radio Recording Pen," the "favorite recording
instrument with both professional and amateur operators,"49
and in December could also choose the Esterbrook "Number 920
Radio Pen."50 The broadcasting metaphor was used to sell
chewing gum, men's suits, and even other media of
advertising ("Broadcast Your Message in Colors Via Poster
Advertising!" advised a billboard company in 1922; "People
remember what they see far more vividly than what they
hear.")51 Campbell's soup advised women to "Listen in!" to
what their friends were saying about Campbell's Tomato Soup:
"C E D is the station for me
C-ampbell's E-very D-ay!
47"Ever Ready," advertisement, Saturday Evening Post 15
July 1916: 38.
48"Radio Boot," advertisement, Saturday Evening Post 4
Nov. 1922: 80.
49"Recording Radio Messages," advertisement, Saturday
Evening Post 5 June 1922: 143.
50"Number 920 Radio Pen," advertisement, Saturday
Evening Post 16 Dec. 1922: 56.
51"After Every Meal," advertisement, Saturday Evening
Post 25 Nov. 1922: 56-57; "Reviving and Broadcasting
Throughout the Nation," advertisement, Saturday Evening Post
26 Aug. 1922: 76; "Broadcast Your Message in Colors Via
Poster Advertising," advertisement, Printers' Ink Monthly
April 1922: 43.


84
Its radiation brings jubilation
Just hear what your neighbors say!52
Radio Enters the Home
In 1922 the Radio Corporation of America published a
127-page catalogue cum instruction manual called Radio
Enters the Home. Radio eguipment had entered the house many
years earlier, but it was not until 1922 that radio was to
become part of the American household.53
In spite of post-war social changes, "marriage and
family remained the primary goal and homemaker the primary
occupation" for American women in the 1920s.54 According to
the 1920 census, only 9 percent of married women were
gainfully employed; by 1930 that had risen to only 11.7
percent.55 In 1875, Abby Morton Diaz had asked, "How may
woman enjoy the delights of culture, and at the same time
fulfill her duties to family and household?" Her solution
was local women's clubs, women's publications, and national
women's congresses.56 In the early 1920s, many homemakers
52"Great For Breakfast," advertisement, Literary Digest
26 Aug. 1922: 37.
53Radio Corporation of America, Radio Enters the Home
(1922; Vestal, NY: Vestal, [1980?]).
54Dorothy M. Brown, Setting a Course: American Women in
the 1920s (Boston: Twayne, 1987) 247.
55United States Department of Commerce, 15th Census
1930 r vol. 4: Occupations, (Washington: GPO, 1933) 77.
56Abby Morton Diaz, A Domestic Problem: Work and
Culture in the Household (Boston: Osgood, 1875) 7, 104.


85
realized that daytime radio programming could also provide a
solution.
The introduction of electrical appliances into the home
in the 1920s may have increased the efficiency and reduced
the drudgery of daily housework, but in many cases the new
eguipment merely allowed a larger number of chores to be
crammed into the homemaker's workday.57 Fewer households
included live-in servants and extended-family members,58 and
while appliances such as vacuum cleaners and clothes washers
could make up for the loss of an extra set of hands, nothing
replaced the lost companionship for house-bound women .
until radio entered the home.
The Department of Agriculture began offering home
economics courses by radio in late 1921, based on the
interest shown by rural housewives in the agricultural
market reports the government had been sending out since
earlier in the year.59 By the end of 1922 Wireless Acre
57"Thus, Spite of efficiency, the 12-hour workday
continued to be passed from one generation of housewives to
the next like an heirloom," according to Annegret S. Ogden,
The Great American Housewife; From Helpmate to Wage Earner,
1776-1986 (Westport: Greenwood, 1986) 153.
58Ruth Schwartz Cowan, "The 'Industrial Revolution' In
the Home," Technology and Change. ed. John G. Burke and
Marshall C. Eakin (San Francisco: Boyd, 1979) 279.
59J. Farrell, "The Housewife's Radio," Radio News 4
(1922): 1237.


86
claimed that "Broadcasting service that lightens the daily
household tasks has aroused enthusiasm among women, making
newspapers secondary in interest."60
"Though still a toy the radiophone has pushed back the
world's horizon so far that no woman can claim she is either
shut in or shut out," proclaimed Good Housekeeping in the
summer of 1922.61 Broadcasting had from the beginning been
seen as a boon to "shut-ins," those physically unable to
leave the home. For various physical and societal reasons,
much of the female population was "shut in" during this
period. Many stations that broadcast during the daytime
offered programs for homemakers: Detroit's WWJ offered
"hints to housewives" on weekdays from 9:30-9:40;62 WGI
offered clothing and marketing talks.63 Yet, as Diaz had
pointed out, the housebound woman's greatest need may have
been for programming outside the realm of homemaking
information. According to Christine Frederick, one of the
early advocates of scientific home management, "The mind,
emotions and senses need exercise also."64
60Rosemary Clarke, "Listening In with the Home Folks,"
Wireless Aae Dec. 1922: 45.
61In the introduction to Christine Frederick, "A Real
Use for the Radio," Good Housekeeping July 1922: 77.
62Radio Staff 25.
63"Women Interested in Radiophone," Radio News 3
(1922): 967.
64Christine Frederick, Household Engineering:


87
In the summer of 1922 Mrs. Frederick (her byline
usually carried the honorific before her name) told Good
Housekeeping's readers of radio's benefits for women in the
home. She proposed a plan of daytime broadcasting that
included physical education (setting-up exercises, health
and beauty talks), children's programs, household interests,
cultural topics (correct English, musical programs, drama
and book reviews, fashion and dress discussions), and social
interests (news, politics, worship, club activities).65
Women in Radio
Women had participated in radio from the beginning. In
1908 inventor Lee de Forest married civil engineer Nora
Blatch, granddaughter of early feminist Elizabeth Cady
Stanton. Blatch later studied electrical engineering and
worked in the laboratory with her husband.66 California's
"Doc" Herrold began teaching radio in 1909; in 1913 his new
wife learned Morse code and began giving classes at the
family dining table.67 Mary Texanna Loomis, a relative of
Scientific Management in the Home. (Chicago: American School
of Home Economics, 1919) 500.
65Christine Frederick, "A Real Use for the Radio," Good
Housekeeping July 1922: 77+.
66De Forest called this the "first grave mistake" of
their relationship, which ended within a year. Lee de
Forest, Father of Radio (Chicago: Wilcox, 1950) 223.
67Erik Barnouw, A Tower in Babel (New York: Oxford UP,
1966) 35.


88
19th-century radio experimenter Mahlon Loomis, went to
Washington to find war work, and signed up for radio school.
Her government license as a First-Class Radio Operator
earned her only the position of secretary at the radio
school, so in 1920 she founded her own school, Loomis Radio
College.68
"The Ladies are Coming," the American Radio Relay
League announced in its magazine OST in August 1917. An
editorial cautioned that when wartime restrictions were
lifted, amateurs should no longer feel free to use the
common nickname "Old Man" for fellow radio enthusiasts
contacted in code, as several hundred women were expected to
sign on. "Here's to them," the editorial closed, "and it
gives us great pleasure to extend the glad hand of
fellowship when the happy day comes, and we all re-open."69
In 1920 at least one hundred women were licensed as amateurs
in the New York area,70 and one writer noted the amateurs in
his town included a "great range of ages, nationality,
religion, station in the social life of the town, yes and
68Mabel Nelson Thurston, "This Young Woman Founded a
Radio School," American Magazine May 1924: 73-74.
69"The Ladies Are Coming," editorial, OST April 1917:
19. That month's cover showed a woman seated at a radio
receiver.
70Miss Marianne C. Brown, "One of the Gang," Radio
Amateur News 2 (1920): 148.


89
even the difference of sex."71 Photographs of women and
girls at their radio sets often appeared in enthusiast
magazines, almost always without gratuitous comments on
gender.72 A long article about a Brooklyn homemaker who
designed and built receivers noted the "value and interest
that radio holds for women."73 Obligue acknowledgment of
female interest in radio was reflected in the language of
many books and articles, such as a sentence that began:
"Even when the user knows what he or she is doing. "74
Exceptions to the equal treatment of male and female
enthusiasts were rare, but most often appeared in the pages
Radio News r whose breezy style sometimes lent itself to
facile stereotypes. (It was in Radio News that young men
were urged to interest their friends in the hobby by
pointing out the growing presence of "the fair sex" in the
ether, asking "what could be more interesting than a
radiofone conversation during a long, lonesome evening with
a sweet-voiced girl ?")75
71Wireless Acre September 1920: 41-42.
72For example, "The Girls at Radcliffe College ,"
Radio News 3 (1922): 1090.
73Alfred M. Caddell, "A Woman Who Makes Receiving
Sets," Radio Broadcast 4 (1923): 28-33. Women were often
employed by radio equipment manufacturers; see, for example,
"Making Five Thousand Radio Sets a Day," Popular Mechanics
Jan. 1925:13-16.
74A. Hyatt Verrill, Radio for Amateurs: How to Use.
Make and Install Wireless Telephone and Telegraph
Instruments (New York: Dodd, 1922) 144.
75"Get Your Friends Interested," Radio News 2 (1922):


90
Women and the Radio Fad
A Radio Broadcast article suggested radio retailers
could help make radio more attractive to women by setting up
the showroom to look like a living room.76 Radio News also
suggested that to attract more business, radio manufacturers
should cater to the "female faction;" editor Hugo Gernsback
envisioned a future in which women used "boudoir radio
outfits" with velvet knobs and gaily colored tubes to listen
to gossip and scandal all day.77 The women's magazines took
a much less frivolous view of the new technology. For
example, People's Home Journal's radio column offered purely
technical information, although no articles for men or
children were published in this otherwise traditional
homemaker magazine.78
"Instead of their symptoms, elderly women on our boats
and trains and in our sewing societies discuss the number of
680. Editor Hugo Gernsback also suggested that since the
boys of amateur radio were "radio bugs," the girls might be
called "radio butterflies." There is no indication the
terminology ever caught on.
76Lewis Wood, "Making Radio Attractive to Women," Radio
Broadcast 4 (1923): 221-2.
77H[ugo] Gernsback, "Soon," Radio News 3 (1922): 822.
78The column headed "Journal's Radio Department" first
appeared in July 1922. Marshall D. Beuick, "First Steps in
Radio," People's Home Journal July 1922: 31. The magazine
printed no non-technical radio articles until a September
1923 story about church broadcasts, "Preaching by Radio,"
People's Home Journal Sept. 1923: 25.


91
stages of amplification necessary for DX reception, a
California writer claimed in December 1922.79 A woman won
Radio Broadcast's 1924 DX contest, an achievement reported
without any comment about gender.80 Literary Digest printed
instructions for constructing an inexpensive radio receiver,
and later featured two schoolgirls who with no radio
training or knowledge successfully built their own set from
the magazine's plans. No emphasis was placed on the
youngsters' gender.81 Even as radio sets became easier to
operate, articles often noted many women's interest in
technical aspects of radio reception, and the number who
were joining the audience by building their own receivers.82
A newspaper story about radio classes in the public
schools was accompanied by the picture of a girl who had
built a portable set into her hat.83 Both males and females
appeared in articles about so-called "freak portable
79Wilbur Hall, "The Pacific Coast is 'On the Air',"
Radio Broadcast 1 (1922): 157.
80Mrs. Rhodes won in the category for "ready-made
receivers." "The DX Contest Winners," Radio Broadcast 5
(1924): 346.
81"How Two Girls Made a Receiving Radiophone," Literary
Digest 10 June 1922: 29.
82"Women and Wireless," Literary Digest 15 Dec. 1923:
25.
83"Radio Receiving Sets Capable of Picking Up Concerts
," Miami Herald 19 March 1922: 12A.


92
radiosbut while the men most often showed off achievements
in miniaturization (the ring radio, the radio hiking belt),
women's greater number of fashion encumbrances led to stunts
like the umbrella aerial,84 or fantasies like the "Radio
Girl"fully eguipped for receiving or sendingwith hoop
skirt for a coil and parasol for an antenna, headphones
hidden under her curls, a microphone in her fan, and
batteries in the hem of her skirt.85
According to Literary Digest, many women who attended
the 1923 radio show in New York showed "alert and
intelligent interest ... in new circuits, equipment, and
recent improvements in the art."86 But women in general
were even more interested in the content of radio
programming, and were quick to appreciate the various
programs offered by broadcasters during the first years of
the radio fad. Radio Broadcast's "Listener's Point of View"
84"Get Your Friends Interested," Radio News 2 (1922):
680.
85A. Mae Rogers, "The Radio Girl," Radio Amateur News 2
(1920): 74. Although there was no implication of any
purpose other than the wearer's own enjoyment, the "radio
girl" is reminiscent of the "illuminated girls" used to
publicize electricity in the 1880s. See Carolyn Marvin,
When Old Technologies Were New (New York: Oxford UP, 1988):
137-138.
86"Women and Wireless," Literary Digest 15 Dec. 1923:
25.


Full Text
145
and one trade magazine suggested radio would not be a
"public utility" to the city dweller until stations offered
brief news reports throughout the day.43
Plays were becoming more frequent over the air in
1925,44 but radio had as yet developed no programming suited
exclusively to the audio medium. There were apparently no
dramatic series with ongoing characters until January 1926
when two "song and patter" men working for Chicago's WGN
introduced a ten-minute-a-night radio comic strip about a
couple of "colored boys" named Sam and Henry.45
Few program segments had thematic continuity.46 One
Chicago station announced with pride a new rule that
soloists would be limited to three minutes, dance orchestras
and speakers to eight, causing the "Listener's Point of
View" columnist in Radio Broadcast, "who has . ranted at
43"Broadcasting of News May Prove Radio's 'White
Hope'," Radio Retailing 4 (1925): 471.
44See, for example, W. T. Meenam, "Back Stage with
'Radio Mike'," Popular Science Monthly Sept. 1924: 68;
Kingsley Welles, "The WGBS Prize Play Contest," Radio
Broadcast 7 (1925): 757.
45"Radio Programs for Today," Chicago Daily News 11
Jan. 1926: 25, "Radio Programs for Today," Chicago Daily
News 12 Jan. 1926: 21. Although the show was broadcast only
from WGN, its reputation was nationwide. In 1928 the show
moved to WMAQthe name changed to Amos 'n' Andyand was
syndicated nationally on transcription disk recordings.
Amos 'n' Andy joined the NBC Blue network in August of 1929.
46Wilson Wetherbee, "Broadcasting to Go: Next, 'Radio
Presentations," Chicago Sunday Tribune 3 May 1925, part 9:
12.


6
to radio amateurs in Pittsburgh and around the country. By
the end of 1922 interest in radio had taken on the
dimensions of a national fad; more than 500 broadcasting
stations were on the air around the country,15 and radio
broadcasting's listening audience had grown to an estimated
three million.16
Although throughout the 1920s thousands of Americans
participated in the now-organized pastime of amateur radio
sending and receiving messages, tinkering with antennas and
circuitsby the end of the decade a much larger number
could be found gathered in the living room at night,
"listening in" to their favorite radio programs. By 1930
radio had come to be considered a household utility, and an
important part of America's daily life.
Purpose
Most discussions of the developing years of radio
broadcasting after the initial period of individual
invention have been framed in terms of the struggles among
industrial and governmental forces. Yet without public
curiosity and participation, radio could not have made the
transition from a technical hobby to America's first
15Christopher H. Sterling, Electronic Media: A Guide to
Trends in Broadcasting and Newer Technologies. 1920-1983
(New York: Praeger, 1984) 5.
16"Statistical Survey of the Radio Business," Radio
Retailing March 1928: 36.


76
of the era, such as bobbed hair and wrist watches, matured
into permanent elements of the culture. The greatest of
these was radio.19
The Era of Goods and Gadgets
By 1920, the wartime financial boom had begun to
collapse; the gross national product declined and
unemployment rose.20 In January of 1921 the publishers of
Colliers magazine placed an ad in the New York Times,
urging consumer confidence,21 and the editor of McClure's
magazine used the development of radio technology as a
metaphor when he editorialized against business pessimism.22
Recovery began in 1922; production expanded, marking the
beginning of a growing market for "consumer durables" and
the acceptance of household debt through installment
buying.23 Electrical appliances began to appear throughout
February 27, 1921 the New York Times proclaimed the newest
craze to be butterfly "tattoos" made from real insects,
applied to women's bare shoulders.
19Emory S. Bogardus, "Social Psychology of Fads,"
Journal of Applied Sociology 8 (1924): 241.
20George Soule, Prosperity Decade: From War to
Depression: 1917-1929 (1947; New York: Harper, 1968) 96.
21"Stage Coach or Automobile? America Always Moves
Forward," advertisement, New York Times 12 Jan. 1921: 18.
22Herbert Kaufman, "Don't Listen to the Liar,"
McClure's 21 Jan. 1921: 5.
23Martha L. Olney, Buy Now. Pay Later: Advertising.
Credit, and Consumer Durables in the 1920s (Chapel Hill: U
of North Carolina P, 1991) 85-86.


as broadcasters began offering daytime "service" programming
in an era when most evening radio presentations were still
perfunctory programs featuring amateur musicians. Thus the
female audience was important to the development of radio
into something more than a fad or a scientific stunt. By
the spring of 1926, daytime "service" programming was
universally available, and both broadcasters and advertisers
had come to see the value of serving the segment of the
audience that controlled most of the purchasing power of the
family. Receiving equipment had become easy to use, and
loudspeakers allowed listeners the freedom to move around
the room and perform other activities while listening. The
audience began to make use of radio in ways that would mark
radio's place in the American household during the
subsequent three decades of broadcasting. Radio can be said
to have achieved the status of "household utility" by the
spring of 1926.
vii


212
Seldon, Anthony. Contemporary History: Practice and Method
Oxford: Blackwell, 1988.
Seldon, Anthony and Joanna Pappworth. By Word of Mouth:
'Elite7 Oral History. London: Methuen, 1983.
"Sets Up Wireless Phone" New York Times 6 Feb. 1921: 18.
"75,000 American Boys Have This Enthusiasm." American
Magazine June 1916: 103-104.
Shaw, William Howard. Value of Commodity Output since 1869
New York: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1947.
Shawell, Julia. "RadioAlarm Clock of a Nation." Radio
News 8 (1927): 96.
Shawell, Julia B. "Eveready Hour." Radio News 9 (1928):
1218+.
Shiers, George, ed. The Development of Wireless to 1920.
New York: Arno, 1977.
"Simple Radio Receiver for Everybody." Popular Science
Monthly Dec. 1921: 84.
"Sing Stasny Songs." Advertisement. American Magazine
March 1920: 247.
Sivowitch, Elliot N. "A Technological Survey of
Broadcasting's Prehistory, 1876-1920." Journal of
Broadcasting 15 (1970-71): 1-20.
Sklar, Robert, ed. The Plastic Aae (1917-1930). New York:
Braziller, 1970
Skolnik, Peter L. Alienation and Attitudes Toward Radio.
Diss. Michigan State U, 1970. Ann Arbor: UMI, 1971.
Skolnik, Peter L. Fads: America's Crazes. Fevers & Fancies
New York: Crowell, 1978.
Skornia, H. J., Robert H. Lee and Fred A. Brewer. Creative
Broadcasting. New York: Prentice, 1950.
Slate, Sam J. and Joe Cook. It Sounds Impossible. New
York: Macmillan, 1923.
Sloan, William David. Perspectives on Mass Communication
History. Hillsdale: Erlbaum, 1991.
Sloan, William David and Donald G. Godfrey.
"American


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Laura Pelner McCarthy was born in New York City on June
26, 1945. She has worked as a newspaper feature writer, and
held various positions in non-commercial and commercial
radio broadcasting for many years before beginning a career
in teaching. She received a B.S. degree in communications
(1989) and an M.S. degree in mass communications (1990) from
Florida International University, and joined the University
of Florida doctoral program in 1990. She is an assistant
professor at Lynn University, Boca Raton, Florida.
222


174
In the spring of 1926, before the court decision in U.S. v.
Zenith. radio had achieved a usefulness, or utility, to the
householdand specifically to the family woman who was in
charge of that householdthat assured its place in society
for the next several decades.
By the middle of 1926 radio service was nationwide.
Equipment had improved in reliability and ease of
operation,8 and loudspeakers were in universal use, freeing
listeners from the limitations imposed by headphones. By
spring of 1926, uninterrupted programming was available (on
a particular wavelength, if not by the same broadcaster).
Radio could now provide the background to other activities,
especially work within the household such as kitchen chores
and childcare. Receivers were widely available, as was
information about radio broadcasting. Local and national
program listings were printed in daily newspapers; these
listings contained detailed information on program content
that was to become unavailable by the end of the year
because of the newspapers publishers' campaign against free
publicity for radio sponsors.
The number of stations, and therefore the potential for
interference, was lower in the spring of 1926 than in
8Although radio sets that run on household electric
current were just being developed, the cumbersome and
hazardous wet-cell batteries of the earliest years had
already been replaced by smaller dry cells and the newer
battery eliminators.


170
Women and Radio
In order to understand radio's usefulness, or utility,
two questions required answers: (1) What groups of people
made up the earliest radio audience? and (2) What were the
characteristics of radio's place in the American household
that caused it to be considered a household utility?
During the 1920s the number of radio listeners grew
faster than the total number of receivers, as more members
of each household became interested in listening to the
radio.5 Because men and boys made up a large majority of
the earliest radio fans, it would appear the added household
members often included at least one adult woman. As a
consequence, the proportion of women in the audience
increased during the 1920s. This proportional increase,
more than the increase in actual number of listeners, may
have had the greatest impact on the acceptance of radio as a
part of daily life rather than as an occasional
entertainment medium like motion pictures or phonograph
5In 1922, there were an estimated average 1.25
listeners per set; by 1926, there were 4 per set.
Year
Homes with sets
Audience
Per set
1922
60,000
75,000
1.25
1923
1,500,000
3,000,000
2
1924
3,000,000
10,000,000
3
1925
4,000,000
15,000,000
3.75
1926
5,000,000
20,000,000
4
1927
6,500,000
26,000,000
4
1928
7,500,000
35,000,000
4.66
"Statistical Survey of the
Radio Business
." Radio
Retailing March 1928: 36-37. Estimates are as of January 1,
including factory- and home-built receivers.


126
night should write and express our pleasure and
appreciation.205
Listeners were warned that a lack of "appreciation"
gave performers little incentive to return to the
microphone, in this era of unpaid performances.206 An
editorial late in 1923 warned of a woeful slump in letters
of appreciation to those who entertain through the ether."
It is not nice to scold . [but] sometimes the
public has to be jolted into realization of its
place in the scheme of things. An amazingly small
percentage of the listeners are writing these
days. Two years ago, an impressive program
brought a response from one person in four; today
. . the ratio is one letter for every 20,000
listeners .... It can't go on. No artist can
be expected to continue broadcasting without the
stimulus of appreciation. . The situation is
serious. Continued carelessness will cost the
public dearly.207
By the spring of 1924, radio audiences had become
"frightfully blase . [and] many do not take the trouble
to send in either recommendations or even criticisms of the
programs heard."208 Listeners may have reduced the number
of letters they sent, but they apparently still felt the
obligation, and were often apologetic about neglecting their
duties. One listener wrote, "It has been my pleasure for
205Clark Collection, Smithsonian Institution, report
#30, box 535, number 134-818A.
206"Radiophone Broadcasting Station WDY," Wireless Acre
Feb. 1922: 19.
27"Taking the Listener to Task," editorial, Wireless
Aae Oct. 1923: 17.
28"what Listeners-In Want," Radio News 5 (1924): 1337.


56
In the fall of 1916, de Forest broadcast presidential
election returns, interspersed with phonograph music and
vocal selections, an "election-night innovation" described
in the next morning's New York Times.00 And it was in 1916
that David Sarnoff, twenty-five-year-old contract manager at
American Marconi, wrote a memo to higher management,
suggesting a "Radio Music Box."40
"Returns by Wireless," New York Times 8 Nov. 1916: 6
40The year of Sarnoff's "Radio Music Box" memo is
alternately given as 1915 and 1916. In his 1936 History of
Radio. Gleason Archer dated the memo from 1916, and wrote
that he had personally examined a reply from General Manager
Edward J. Nally, dated November 9, 1916 (Gleason L. Archer,
History of Radio to 1926 (New York: American Historical
Society P, 1938) 112). However, after the memo's
publication with the date September 30, 1915 in the 1968
book Looking Ahead: The Papers of David Sarnoff (New York:
McGraw, 1968), the year 1915 began to appear in both
scholarly articles and popular books. Sarnoff's earliest
printed use of the 1915 date may be an article he wrote for
the New York Herald Sunday Magazine, May 14, 1922 (David
Sarnoff, "Radio of Today and Tomorrow" New York Herald 14
May 1922, sec. 7: 2). Robert Sobel and Carl Dreher have
speculated that de Forest's development of further uses for
his audion tube may have been the cause of Sarnoff's
backdating. Robert Sobel, RCA (New York: Stein, 1986) 42.
In fact, in 1916 the Marconi and De Forest companies met in
court over patent claims and counterclaims centering around
the audion ("Audion Situation," OST March 1917: 16-17). In
addition, as Dreher has pointed out, in 1916 de Forest was
already broadcasting from his Highbridge, New York, station.
Carl Dreher, Sarnoff: An American Success (New York:
Quadrangle, 1977) 41. Recent research has suggested the
details usually cited from the "Music Box Memo" actually
come from a memo Sarnoff wrote in 1920. See Louise M.
Benjamin, "In Search of the Sarnoff 'Radio Music Box' Memo,"
Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media 37 (1993): 325-
335.


118
ofand improvements inloudspeakers began to transform
radio into a background activity and a form of family
entertainment.179
Although the public remained excited by the
possibilities of radio broadcasting, by the end of 1924
radio's potential was still unrealized. Equipment continued
to require attention and skill. Programming was haphazard
and in some cases merely perfunctory. Westinghouse's H. P.
Davis, the man credited with putting KDKA on the air in
1920, had sounded this cautionary note at the peak of the
1922 fad:
The growth of the public approval has been too
rapid to be healthy, as it outstrips the growth of
the development of the art, and while the
fascination of broadcasting is the impelling force
now, the period of development of not only the
apparatus, but of the service itself is going to
require patience and forbearance on the part of
the public.180
Radio as a noveltyincluding the sport of DX
probably reached its peak in the winter of 1924-1925.181
179Armstrong Perry, "The Itch for Distance," Radio News
4 (1923): 1777; Jesse Marsten, "An Aspect of the Future of
Broadcasting" Radio News 5 (1923): 248.
180H. P. Davis, "The Permanency of Broadcasting,"
Wireless Age May 1922: 28.
181Robert H. Marriott, paper presented to 4th annual
convention of the Institute of Radio Engineers, 13 May 1929,
Clark Collection Box 537, #134-1070A. A January, 1925 RCA
ad claimed "The 'distance fan' is now a listener!" "Radiola
X," advertisement, American Magazine Jan. 1925: 75.


90
Women and the Radio Fad
A Radio Broadcast article suggested radio retailers
could help make radio more attractive to women by setting up
the showroom to look like a living room.76 Radio News also
suggested that to attract more business, radio manufacturers
should cater to the "female faction;" editor Hugo Gernsback
envisioned a future in which women used "boudoir radio
outfits" with velvet knobs and gaily colored tubes to listen
to gossip and scandal all day.77 The women's magazines took
a much less frivolous view of the new technology. For
example, People's Home Journal's radio column offered purely
technical information, although no articles for men or
children were published in this otherwise traditional
homemaker magazine.78
"Instead of their symptoms, elderly women on our boats
and trains and in our sewing societies discuss the number of
680. Editor Hugo Gernsback also suggested that since the
boys of amateur radio were "radio bugs," the girls might be
called "radio butterflies." There is no indication the
terminology ever caught on.
76Lewis Wood, "Making Radio Attractive to Women," Radio
Broadcast 4 (1923): 221-2.
77H[ugo] Gernsback, "Soon," Radio News 3 (1922): 822.
78The column headed "Journal's Radio Department" first
appeared in July 1922. Marshall D. Beuick, "First Steps in
Radio," People's Home Journal July 1922: 31. The magazine
printed no non-technical radio articles until a September
1923 story about church broadcasts, "Preaching by Radio,"
People's Home Journal Sept. 1923: 25.


137
Other Uses. Other Users
Communication can serve two general functions:
transmittal of the factual and transmittal of the emotional,
or "referential" and "expressive" functions, in the terms of
Robert Park.20 While a similar distinction can be made
between radio's entertainment and "service" programs,21
programming of all types, as well as exposure to the medium
in general, has been shown to be useful to listeners on both
practical and psychological levels. For example, based on
Herzog's findings, soap operas may have functioned more as
service programming than as strictly "entertainment" for
their listeners. On the other hand, some news reports may
be useful only as entertainment.22
Popular and radio magazines during the 1920s mentioned
many (often humorous) needs served by the new communication
medium: one could now safely talk back to politicians, razz
inferior singers, and challenge the clergy;23 one could
perform supervised setting up exercises every morning;24 one
20Robert Park, "Reflections on Communication and
Culture," American Journal of Sociology 44 (Sept. 1938) 205.
21Lazarsfeld used this term to cover programs about
housekeeping matters, agricultural markets, hobbies, and
advice. Lazarsfeld, Radio and the Printed Page 49.
22Lazarsfeld grouped news and entertainment together,
separate from the category "serious programs." Lazarsfeld
and Field 55.
23Newman Levy, "Sweet are the Uses of a Radio,
Harper's Monthly Magazine 148 (1924): 273-4.
ft


101
In March, Ed Wynn brought the cast of "A Perfect Fool
from the theatre to WJZ's studio.117 The first nationally
advertised commercially sponsored programming may have been
a series of monthly concerts beginning April 14, 1922,
arranged by the musical instrument manufacturer C. G. Conn,
Ltd., in which four different musical programs were
broadcast simultaneously from four cities across the country
(Conn dealers scheduled "Radio Concerts" at their stores for
people without access to a radio receiver).118 Broadcasting
opera to the public had been one of Lee de Forest's earliest
goals, and from all accounts WDY's 1921 broadcast of the
entire Chicago Opera's season was a popular success.119 In
New York, however, neither RCA nor Westinghouse could
persuade the management of the Metropolitan Opera to put its
performances on the air.120 In the fall of 1922, General
Metropolis 28 May 1923: 1. This idea was also tried by
Plainfield, New Jersey, it is not known with what success.
"Plainfield Uses Wireless to Advertise City's Merits," New
York Times 15 Jan. 1922: 1.
117,1'A Perfect Fool' by Radio," Wireless Age March
1922: 36.
118"Hear These Great Artists by Radio," advertisement,
Saturday Evening Post 8 April 1922: 100; "Conn Radio
Concerts," advertisement, Saturday Evening Post 13 May 1922:
126; "From Coast to Coast Conn Music Fills the Air,"
advertisement, American Magazine May 1922: 121.
119George P. Stone, "Radio Has Gripped Chicago," Radio
Broadcast 1: 504.
120"No Opera by Radio During this Season," New York
Times 7 Nov. 1922: 31.


216
Feb. 1923: 77.
Townsend, Reginald T. This. That, and The Other Thing.
Freeport: Books for Libraries, 1929.
"Trade Names Back in N. Y. Radio Programs." Editor &
Publisher 12 March 1927: 9.
"Triumphs of the Telephone." Editorial. New York Daily
Graphic 28 Feb. 1877: 818.
Troldahl, Verling C. and Roger Skolnik. "The Meanings
People Have for Radio Today." Journal of Broadcasting 12
(1967-68): 57-67.
"27,000,000 Listen to 5,000,000 Radios." New York Times 8
April 1926: 21.
United States Bureau of the Census. Historical Statistics
of the United States. Colonial Times to 1970.
Washington: GPO, 1975.
United States Department of Commerce. Annual Report of the
Chief of Radio Division to the Secretary of Commerce for
the Fiscal Year Ended June 30. 1926. Washington: GPO,
1926.
United States Department of Commerce. Annual Report of the
Commissioner of Navigation to the Secretary of Commerce
for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30. 1921. Washington:
GPO, 1921.
United States Department of Commerce. Annual Report of the
Commissioner of Navigation to the Secretary of Commerce
for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30. 1922. Washington:
GPO, 1922.
United States Department of Commerce. Annual Report of the
Commissioner of Navigation to the Secretary of Commerce
for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30. 1923. Washington:
GPO, 1923.
United States Department of Commerce. Annual Report of the
Commissioner of Navigation. Washington: GPO, 1925.
United States Department of Commerce. 15th Census1930.
vol. 4: Occupations. Washington: GPO, 1933.
United States Department of Commerce. Recommendations for
Regulation of Radio. Washington: GPO, 1924.
United States Department of Commerce. Report of the
Secretary of Commerce and Reports of Bureaus.


2
the young, the adventurous, and the scholarly.2 Samuel
Morse demonstrated his telegraphic system for communicating
along a wire by code in 1838, and by 1861 the first
transcontinental telegraph circuit had been completed.3
Telephonic communication developed not long afterward, and
Alexander Graham Bell patented his eguipment for
transmitting and receiving the human voice by wire in 1876.4
By 1893 Budapest, Hungary, was served by twelve-hour-a-day
"broadcasts" of news, music, and lectures over the telephone
wires of Telefon-Hirmondo.5 In the United States, the New
Jersey Telephone Herald Company inaugurated a similar daily
service in October of 1911.6
Wireless communication, using radio or "Hertzian"7
2Alan Sutton, A Victorian World of Science (Boston:
Hilger, 1986).
3Andrew F. Inglis, Behind the Tube: A History of
Broadcasting Technology and Business (Boston: Focal, 1990)
29.
4Sydney W. Head and Christopher H. Sterling,
Broadcasting in America, 6th ed. (Boston: Houghton, 1990)
33.
5Thomas S. Denison, "The Telephone Newspaper," The
World's Work 1 (1900-1901): 640-641.
6G. C. B. Rowe, "Broadcasting in 1912," Radio News 6
(1925): 2219+.
7Named for Heinrich Hertz, who in 1888 proved the
existence of invisible waves of radio energy postulated in
1873 by James Clerk Maxwell.


57
I have in mind a plan of development which would
make radio a "household utility" in the same sense
as the piano or phonograph. The idea is to bring
music into the house by wireless. . The
receiver can be designed in the form of a simple
"Radio Music Box" and arranged for several
different wavelengths, which should be changeable
with the throwing of a single switch or pressing
of a single button. . .
The same principle can be extended to
numerous other fieldsas, for example, receiving
lectures at home which can be made perfectly
audible; also, events of national importance can
be simultaneously announced and received.
Baseball scores can be transmitted in the air by
the use of one set installed at the Polo
Grounds.41
American Marconi took no action on Sarnoff's memo. By
1917, however, Lee de Forest was offering a series of
concerts and "wireless newspaper" editions weekday evenings
at 8 o'clock.42 Response came immediately from nearby radio
amateurs, both by return radio transmissions and by mail.43
Wireless at War
Amateur radio operators sitting at an estimated 175,000
to 200,000 amateur wireless telegraphy and telephony
stations, especially those along the coastline, served a
useful monitoring function for the government during the
earliest years of the world war. When America entered the
41Gleason L. Archer, History of Radio to 1926 (New
York: American Historical Society Press, 1938) 112.
42"Concert by Wireless," OST January 1917: 26.
43"DeForest [sic] Wireless Telephone," OST 17 April:
72-73.


5 CONCLUSIONS
167
The Development of Radio Listening 167
Women and Radio 170
Learning about Radio 172
The Point of Transition 173
Suggestions for Further Study 177
WORKS CITED 180
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 222
v


22
with society's expectations for mass media, and the ways in
which the media are used to satisfy society's needs.52
Contemporary studies of the ways in which individuals made
use of the medium of radio during the 1930s, 1940s, and
1950s help point to specific stages at which radio was able
to satisfy particular needs and help identify some of the
specific uses that characterized radio's era of household
utility.53 Frederick H. Lumley's 1934 Measurement in Radio
provided a synthesis of the results of radio research to
that date that included mail surveys, personal and telephone
interviews, sales statistics, program attendance, and
analyses of audience mail.54
Plan of the Study
The first chapter of this study includes the background
52Elihu Katz, Jay G. Blumler, and Michael Gurevitch,
"Utilization of Mass Communication by the Individual," The
Uses of Mass Communication: Current Perspectives on
Gratifications Research, ed. Jay G. Blumler and Elihu Katz
(Beverly Hills: Sage, 1974) 20.
53For example, Hadley Cantril and Gordon W. Allport,
The Psychology of Radio (New York: Harper, 1935); Paul F.
Lazarsfeld and Patricia L. Kendall, eds., Radio Listening in
America: The People Look at RadioAgain (New York:
Prentice, 1948); Paul F. Lazarsfeld and Frank N. Stanton,
eds., Radio Research 1941 (New York: Duell, 1942); Paul F.
Lazarsfeld and Frank N. Stanton, eds., Radio Research 1942-
1943 (New York: Duell, 1944); Paul F. Lazarsfeld and Harry
Field, The People Look at Radio (Chapel Hill: U of North
Carolina P, 1946); Paul F. Lazarsfeld, Radio and the Printed
Page (New York: Duell, 1940).
54Frederick H. Lumley, Measurement in Radio (Columbus:
Ohio State UP, 1934) 2.


37
rather than in broadcast history, and when the paths of the
broadcast listener and the radio amateur diverge, he follows
the development of the amateur. In 1936, H. Earl Pemberton
published a brief study of the role of cities as centers of
diffusion, using the case of radio ownership in the United
States. The study analyzed the geographical and cultural
patterns by which radio ownership had permeated American
society by 1930 but did not examine the individual adoption
process.90
Although studies have been made of Americans' adoption
of television, the advent of radio broadcasting is not
analogous because of the distinction between discontinuous
innovation (involving a new product and new consumption
patterns) and continuous innovation (the alteration of an
existing product).91 Television was an adaptation of the
forms, structures, and uses of radio broadcasting.92
Retrospective Technology Assessment. Technology
assessment, a concept formalized by the United States
90H. Earl Pemberton, "Culture-Diffusion Gradients,"
American Journal of Sociology 42 (1936): 226-233.
91Lawrence A. Brown, Innovation Diffusion: A New
Perspective (London: Methuen, 1981) 7.
92See, for example, Saxon Graham, "Cultural
Compatibility in the Adoption of Television," Social Forces
33 (1954-55): 166-170; Saxon Graham, "Class and Conservatism
in the Adoption of Innovations" Human Relations 9 (1956):
91-100.


81
transmitting stations holding commercial licenses.40 In
addition, amateur stations were required to remain silent
from 8 to 10:30 p.m. daily and during Sunday morning church
broadcasts.41 Radio enthusiasts' magazines campaigned to
popularize BCL in order to secure radio's position and
garner support in the face of attempts at stronger
regulation. In 1922 the American Radio Relay League
suggested radio clubs open meetings to the "broadcast
public," in order to diffuse criticism of the amateurs'
interference with broadcast reception and to promote greater
public interest in radio.42
The Radio Fad of 1922
In the early months of 1922, newspapers still treated
broadcasting as a publicity stunt. Stories featured unusual
uses of the new technology: a soprano performed a benefit
40"Government Curbs Amateur Radio Music," New York
Times 4 Feb. 1922: 3. The amateur licenses now read, "This
station not licensed to broadcast weather reports, market
reports, music, concerts, speeches, news, or similar
information or entertainments." "Monthly Service Bulletin
of the National Amateur Wireless Association," Wireless Aae
Feb. 1922: 41.
41United States Department of Commerce, Annual Report
of the Commissioner of Navigation to the Secretary of
Commerce for the Fiscal Year ended June 30. 1923
(Washington: GPO, 1923) 20.
42Raymond Victor Bowers, "A Genetic Study of
Institutional Growth and Cultural Diffusion in Contemporary
American Civilization, an Analysis in Terms of Amateur
Radio," diss., U of Minnesota, 1934, 203.


66
pictures by the Chicago Daily Tribune, although neither the
call letters of the station nor the name Westinghouse was
mentioned in the stories.65
New York Times articles for 1921 indexed under the
headings for wireless telegraphy and wireless telephony (a
distinction wrongly made in several cases) most often
referred to telegraphic facilities such as RCA's giant new
transmitting station or records for long-distance point-to-
point voice communication. In addition to confusion between
the terms telegraphy and telephony, the words radio and
wireless were used interchangeably. In late 1921 one author
insisted that inconsistency was holding back public
understanding of broadcasting.66
In the Times the only wireless news from Pittsburgh
during 1921, while KDKA continued its regularly scheduled
broadcasts, was a small article about the installation of a
"wireless telephone" at the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce
that would enable members to make contact with 300,000
operators within the Pittsburgh area. Members were "invited
to make use of the instrument in the transaction of
business.1,67
5"Catching 'Butterfly' by Radio," Chicago Daily
Tribune 17 Nov. 1921: 3; "How the Opera is Carried by
Radio," Chicago Sunday Tribune 13 Nov. 1921, sec. 1: 12 .
66Yates 246.
67"Sets Up Wireless Phone," New York Times 6 Feb. 1921:


9
Definitions
The following section defines certain key terms used in
this study. Any work based primarily on accounts in
general-circulation magazines and newspapers must guard
against adopting the imprecise terminology common in the
popular press. The contemporary media often identified or
described developing communication technologies incorrectly;
thus, the following definitions may not apply to some quoted
material.
Point-to-point communication. In point-to-point
communication a message is sent from one individual sender
or sending location to a particular receiving individual or
location; point-to-point communication usually implies the
existence or possibility of two-way communication. During
the 1920s, four types of electrical point-to-point
communication over distance were in use:
1) Telegraphy, the sending of messages by wire using a
code of electrical pulses;
1988) ix. For discussions on the general shortcomings of
oral recollection, see Charles L. Briggs, Learning How to
Ask. (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1986) 13; Anthony Seldon,
Contemporary History: Practice and Method (Oxford:
Blackwell, 1988) 13; Anthony Seldon and Joanna Pappworth, By
Word of Mouth: 'Elite7 Oral History (London: Methuen, 1983)
17-26; Paul Thompson, The Voice of the Past: Oral History
(Oxford: Oxford UP, 1978) 210. Clearly, finding suitable
interviewees seventy years after the era under study would
also pose a considerable problem.


THE LIMIT OF HUMAN FELICITY:
RADIO'S TRANSITION FROM HOBBY TO HOUSEHOLD UTILITY
IN 1920S AMERICA
By
LAURA PELNER MCCARTHY
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1993


178
and entertainment technologies. An exception is the recent
work of Cheris Kramarae, who pointed out:
If technology practices are human structures and
organizations, how strange that most historians,
scientists and social critics haven't included
consideration of women's social relations as
essential to understanding technology. 3
Although it is important for society to become aware of
the contributions of individual women who as scientists or
entrepreneurs had a gender-neutral impact on technological
development and thereby demonstrated that invention and
business skill are not gender-specific, it is at least as
important to acknowledge that women's historically unique
place in society has allowed them, as a group, to effect
many changes in the social uses of invention, even those
technologies usually considered to be male dominated. In
the case of radio, women saw a new technology well suited to
their needs and found ways to make it useful within their
lives and their households.
A closer examination of women's effect on the
development of broadcasting practices and policies would
fill a large gap in the broadcast history literature. A
model for the in-depth historical study of women's role can
13Cheris Kramarae, "Gotta Go Myrtle, Technology's at
the Door," Technology and Women's Voices. Cheris Kramarae,
ed. (New York: Routledge, 1988) 6.


107
The Audience
"President Harding has a new toy to play with,"
announced the New York Times on February 9, 1922.137 Within
weeks the president declared himself a daily listener.138
Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover estimated 600,000 radio
receivers in American homes,139 and in May the self-
proclaimed "Father of Radio," Lee de Forest, predicted that
within five years America's one million radio listeners
would become twenty million.140
One man described his first radio experience as a
"revelation":
Once the head-phones were adjusted I might have
been completely off of this whirling sphere, for
all of the mental connection I had with it. It
was as though you were sitting up on top of the
globe, in a world made up solely of sound. First
a few clicks, then a steady humming, like a
distant hive of enormous bees, then, with
startling and sudden distinctness, a man's voice
saying "Baltimore, Maryland," in my ear. I
jumped. . .141
Many Americans learned about the remarkable new service
137"Wireless Telephone Receiver Installed in Harding's
Study," New York Times 9 Feb. 1922: 1.
138"president Radio Fan," New York Times 3 April 1922:
3.
139"Asks Radio Experts to Chart the Ether," New York
Times 28 Feb. 1922: 16.
140"Dr. Forest [sic] Predicts 20,000,000 Radios," New
York Herald 7 May 1922, sec. 2: 5.
141Stanley B. Jones, "How to Sell Ten Million Radio
Outfits," Radio News 3 (1922): 840.


20
local and national broadcast programming, as well as radio
columns offering technical and program information and
commentary. The newspapers chosen for this study included
the New York Times, as America's newspaper of record; the
Detroit News. probably the first major newspaper to own a
radio broadcasting facility; the Pittsburgh Post, hometown
paper of pioneer station KDKA; the Chicago Tribune. for
coverage of middle America's growing interest and
participation in radio; the Miami Herald, for an
understanding of how interest in radio developed in areas
geographically distant from the early broadcasting centers
of the northeast and midwest; and the Los Angeles Times f for
coverage of west coast radio development. In fact, coverage
of the development of broadcasting seldom seemed tied to the
location of the major broadcasting stations after 1922;
radio as a technology easily crossed state and regional
barriers, and the early interest in reception of distant
stations gave the phenomenon a national flavor. Thus, the
choice of newspapers served more to provide a variety of
editorial emphases than geographical contrast. Because the
methodology reguired close reading of entire issues from
various years, newspapers were selected from those available
for daily use in the University of Florida library.
Listener Letters
The Smithsonian Institution's Clark Radioana
collection, amassed and catalogued by the man who became


214
Stone, George P. "Radio Has Gripped Chicago." Radio
Broadcast 1 (1922): 504+.
Suchman, Edward A. "Radio Listening and Automobiles."
Journal of Applied Psychology 23 (1939): 148-157.
Sullivan, Mark. Our Times: The United States, 1900-1925.
Vol 6. The Twenties. New York: Scribner's, 1935.
Summers, Harrison B. A Thirty-Year History of Programs
Carried on National Radio Networks in the United States
1926-1956. 1958. New York: Arno, 1971.
Summers, Robert E. and Harrison B. Summers. Broadcasting
and the Public. Belmont: Wadsworth, 1966.
Super, Donald Edwin. Avocational Interest Patterns.
Stanford: Stanford UP, 1940.
"Survival of the Loudest." The Independent 117 (1926): 663.
Susman, Warren I. Culture as History: The Transformation of
American Society in the Twentieth Century. New York:
Pantheon, 1984.
Susman, Warren, ed. Culture and Commitment 1929-1945. New
York: Braziller, 1973.
Susman, Warren. "Communication and Culture." Mass Media
Between the Wars: Perceptions of Cultural Tension, 1918-
1941. Ed. Catherine L. Covert and John D. Stevens.
Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 1984. xvii-xxxii.
Sutton, Alan. A Victorian World of Science. Boston:
Hilger, 1986.
"Taking the Listener to Task." Editorial. Wireless Age
Oct. 1923: 17.
Tarr, Joel A., ed. Retrospective Technology Assessment
1976. San Francisco: San Francisco, 1977.
"Telephoning is the National Craze." Telephony 10 (1905):
412.
Terrace, Vincent. Radio's Golden Years. San Diego: Barnes,
1981.
"Terrors of the TelephoneThe Orator of the Future."
Cartoon. New York Daily Graphic 15 March 1877: 1.
"Tetrazzini by Wireless Telephone Will Sing to Sailors on
Navy Warships." New York Times 3 Dec. 1920.


221
Zanesville and 36 Other American Communities. New York:
Literary Digest, 1927.
Zanzig, Augustus Delafield. Music in American Life, Present
and Future. London: Oxford UP, 1932.


219
Feb. 1925: 137.
"Widespread Use of the Radio Telephone." American Review
of Reviews 65 (1922):102-3.
Williams, Albert N. Listening: A Collection of Critical
Articles on Radio. Denver: U of Denver P, 1948.
Williams, John M. "If Your Child is Taking Piano Lessons."
Ladies Home Journal Sept. 1916: 19+.
Williams, Raymond. Television: Technology and Cultural
Form. New York: Schocken, 1975.
Wilson, Joan Hoff, ed. The Twenties: The Critical Issues.
Boston: Little, 1972.
Winston, Brian. Misunderstanding Media. Cambridge: Harvard
UP, 1986.
Winston, Brian. The Image of the Media. London: Davis,
1973.
Winters, S. R. "Radio Just as Important as Tubs in Home."
Chicago Sunday Tribune 4 Oct. 1925, part 4: 10.
"Wireless! A Real Radio Station for Your Boy."
Advertisement. Saturday Evening Post 2 Oct. 1920: 174.
"Wireless Amateurs Are Arousing Much Interest In Miami."
Miami Herald 12 March 1922: 9A.
"Wireless for Farmers." Editorial. Farm Journal Feb. 1921:
10-11.
"Wireless Melody Jarred." New York Times 14 Jan. 1910: 2.
"Wireless Now Carries Late Market Reports." New York Times
19 June 1921, sec. 2: 1.
"Wireless Operators Have Busy Night." Pittsburgh Sun 3 Nov.
1920: 21.
"Wireless Phone Proves Success Election Night" Pittsburgh
Sun 4 Nov. 1920: 4.
"Wireless Phone Service Planned." Detroit News 21 July
1921: 1.
"Wireless Receiving Station Installed at Horne's."
Advertisement. Pittsburgh Sun 23 Sept. 1920: 9.
"Wireless Success in Broadcasting Returns one of Election


51
contend with careless or malicious interference from
loquacious or mischievous amateurs.25
In 1912, Hugo Gernsback, editor of Modern Electrics
magazine and an officer of the Wireless Association of
America, wrote a letter to the New York Times promoting the
benefits of amateur radio to society (improvement of
equipment, relaying distress calls) and to the amateur
himself (keeping him at home, away from other diversions
that might lead to "questionable resorts"). Gernsback
estimated the pastime had 400,000 participants.26 In June
1916, the third-prize in American Magazine's "My Hobby and
Why I Enjoy It" contest went to a twenty-two-year-old radio
operator who left his job to return to college but spent his
spare time on amateur radio, a pastime he claimed to share
with 75,000 other American youths. "I hear the dots and
dashes calling me," he wrote. "I can't shake the bug."27
Early experimenters and amateur operators were
concerned with building and perfecting equipment to transmit
and receive radio waves, and conversing in code with other
radio enthusiasts pursuing the same goals. After 1912 a
25Robert A. Morton, "The Amateur Wireless Operator,"
Outlook 15 Jan. 1910: 131.
26Hugo Gernsback, "400,000 Wireless Amateurs," New
York Times 29 March 1912: 12.
27"75,000 American Boys Have This Enthusiasm,"
American Magazine June 1916: 104.


70
The BCL Hobbv
With the advent of entertainment broadcasting, the
ranks of receive-only hobbyistsnow called "BCLs" or
Broadcast Listenerssteadily grew. Most found the greatest
pleasure in trying to receive distant stations, or "DXing",
a pursuit that required skill and patience.
In November, 1921, Popular Science Monthly's lead story
described "How I Listen In on the World by Radio: Sets Now
Bring Amazing Wireless Adventures to Every Home."77 The
next month, "Home Workshop" plans for building a receiver
were accompanied by the following boxed note:
Do you know the joy of receiving radio messages
and radio concerts? Long wintry nights are ahead
of us. Have you thought of sitting in your warm,
comfortable room and bringing the news of the
world to your ears? Nothing is more fascinating.
You can do it. Only a few dollars and a few
simple tools found in every tool chest are needed.
Start now.78
The Fad Begins
In a December 1921 Radio News editorial, Hugo
Gernsback wrote that "during the past six months it has
become apparent that we are finally headed in the right
direction as far as popularizing radio is concerned"79 and
77Armstrong Perry, "How I listen In on the World by
Radio, Popular Science Monthly Nov. 1921: 84.
78"Simple Radio Receiver for Everybody," Popular
Science Monthly Dec. 1921: 84.
79Hugo Gernsback, "The Radiotrola," Radio News 3
(1921): 479.


199
191-209.
Leach, Eugene E. Tuning Out Education: The Cooperation
Doctrine in Radio. 1922-1938. 1983. ERIC ED 248 835.
Leblebici, Huseyin, et al. "Institutional Change and the
Transformation of Interorganizational Fields: An
Organizational History of the U. S. Radio Broadcasting
Industry." Administrative Science Quarterly 36.3
(1991): 333-364.
Lescarboura, Austin C. "Amateurs in Name Only." Scientific
American 120 (1919): 688+.
Lescarboura, Austin C. "How Much it Costs to Broadcast."
Radio Broadcast 9 (1926): 369+.
Lescarboura, Austin C. Radio for Everybody. New York:
Scientific American, 1922.
Levinson, Paul. "Human Replay: A Theory of the Evolution of
Media". Diss. New York U, 1979.
Levy, Newman. "Sweet are the Uses of a Radio." Harpers
Monthly 148 (1924): 273-4.
Lichty, Lawrence W. "Who's Who on Firsts: A Search for
Challengers." Journal of Broadcasting 10 (1965) 83.
Lichty, Lawrence W. and Malachi C. Topping, eds. American
Broadcasting: A Source Book on the History of Radio and
Television. New York: Hastings House, 1976.
"Liner Republic Rammed at Sea." New York Times 24 Jan.
1909: 1.
"Listener's Point of View." Radio Broadcast 9 (1926): 318.
"'Listening In,' Our New National Pastime." Review of
Reviews 67 (1923): 52.
Loesser, Arthur. Men. Women and Pianos. New York: Simon,
1954.
"Long Arm of Radio is Reaching Everywhere." Current Opinion
72 (1922): 684-687.
Long, Stewart L. "Technological Change and Institutional
Response: The Creation of American Broadcasting."
Journal of Economic Issues 21 (1987): 743-749.
"Loudspeakers and their Characteristics."
(1926): 642+.
Radio News 8


193
Gernsback, Hugo.
584.
Gernsback, Hugo.
479.
"Radio 1921-1922." Radio News 3 (1922):
"The Radiotrola." Radio News 3 (1921):
Gernsback, Hugo. "Soon." Radio News 3 (1922): 822.
Gernsback, Hugo. "What Radio Broadcasting Needs."
Editorial. Radio News 5 (1924): 865.
Gernsback, H[ugo]. The Wireless Telephone. New York: Modern
Electrics, 1910.
"Get Your Friends Interested" Radio News 2 (1921): 680+ .
"Girl Entertains the Pacific Fleet with a Wireless Concert."
Pittsburgh Post 29 Oct. 1920: 1.
"The Girl Who Helped Put Radio on a Balanced Diet."
American Magazine May 1929: 65-66.
"The Girls at Radcliffe College." Radio News 3 (1922):
1090.
Goldsmith, Alfred N. and Austin C. Lescarboura. This Thing
Called Broadcasting. New York: Holt, 1930.
Gosney, Homer G. Letter. Radio News 8 (1927): 1132.
Gottschalk, Louis. "The Historian and the Historical
Document." The Use of Personal Documents in History.
Anthropology and Sociology. Ed. Louis Gottschalk. New
York: Social Science Research Council, 1945.
Gottschalk, Louis. Understanding History: A Primer of
Historical Method. 2nd ed. New York: Knopf, 1969.
"Government Curbs Amateur Radio Music." New York Times 4
Feb. 1922: 3.
"Government to Broadcast News by Radiophone." Radio News 3:
196.
"Graduates Will Wear Head Sets." Miami Herald 19 Jan. 1926:
14D.
Graham, Saxon. "Cultural Compatibility in the Adoption of
Television." Social Forces 33 (1954-55) 166-170.
Graham, Saxon. "Class and Conservatism in the Adoption of
Innovations." Human Relations 9 (1956) 91-100.


177
of the day's schedule, based more on the audience needs and
the rhythm of the day than on the quality of individual
programs.
It has been suggested that "the more closely the
behavior demanded for use of the innovation is compatible
with the structure of the culture prior to its introduction,
the greater are the chances of its acceptance."11 In the
case of radio's acceptance by the American woman, an
entertainment and information service that allowed or even
required women to remain within the home was compatible with
the society's perception of women's proper "place." The
importance of the female audience in the development of
radio service and program content continued in the years
following the 1920s, as advertisers realized to what extent
women controlled household spending.
Suggestions for Further Study
Daniel Czitrom has pointed out the contribution of "the
others"ethnic and racial minoritiesto the early cultural
history of American film, radio and television.12 Yet few
researchers have examined the role of women as a group in
the development of society's uses of such new information
i;iSaxon Graham, "Cultural Compatibility in the Adoption
of Television," Social Forces 33 (1954-55) 166-170.
12Daniel J. Czitrom, Media and the American Mind; From
Morse to McLuhan (Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1982)
191.


208
"Radio Business Growth." New York Times 11 May 1922: 28.
"Radio Catalog Free." Advertisement. Popular Science
Monthly Sept. 1923: 83.
"Radio Concerts for Public." New York Times 7 May 1922,
sec. 2: 5.
Radio Corporation of America. Radio Enters the Home. 1922
Vestal: Vestal, [1980?].
Radio Corporation of America. Radiola 20 (installation and
instruction booklet). No. 86990 Edition C, 1926.
Broadcast Pioneers Library RG79 #537.
"Radio Currents: An Editorial Interpretation." Editorial.
Radio Broadcast 1 (1922): 1-4.
"Radio Exposition Opens in Chicago on Aug. 31." Detroit
News 30 July 1921: 9.
"Radio for 1926: A Forecast." Radio Broadcast 8 (1926): 24
"Radio for Women." Literary Digest 28 Nov. 1825: 20.
"Radio in the Farmer's Home." Advertisement. Saturday
Evening Post 16 Sept. 1922: 114.
"Radio in the Home." Advertisement. Wireless Age Oct.
1921: 7.
Radio Industry: The Storv of its Development. Chicago:
Shaw, 1928.
"Radio Institute Opens." New York Times 23 Nov. 1934: 28.
"Radio; Necessity or Luxury?" Popular Radio 13 (1928): 264
"Radio 'Phone Heard Jersey to Scotland." New York Times 1
Nov. 1920: 1.
"Radio Programs for Today." Chicago Daily News 11 Jan.
1926: 25.
"Radio Programs for Today." Chicago Daily News 12 Jan.
1926: 21.
"Radio Programs Scheduled." New York Times 8 April 1926:
21.
"Radio Programs Scheduled for the Current Week." New York
Times 4 April 1926, sec. XX: 18.


61
home of Frank Conrad, Penn and Peebles avenues,
Wilkinsburg. Mr. Conrad is a wireless enthusiast
and "puts on" the wireless concerts periodically
for the entertainment of the many people in this
district who have wireless sets.
Amateur Wireless Sets, made by the maker of
the Set which is in operation in our store, are on
sale here $10.00 and up.
West Basement.53
To Westinghouse Vice-President H. P. Davis the ad
suggested that a permanent broadcasting service would
provide a growing market for the sale of Westinghouse
wireless receiving equipment, and the next day he proposed
the company procure a license for its own transmitting
facility.54
KDKA
In 1931, Frederick Lewis Allen called November 2, 1920
"a date schoolchildren may some day have to learn."55
However, little printed publicity was given what is usually
acknowledged as the first commercial broadcasting venture
the transmission in Pittsburgh of the Harding-Cox election
53"Horne Daily News," advertisement, Pittsburgh Post 29
Sept. 1920: 7. The previous week's ad had announced the
installation of a radio receiving set in a section of the
basement between the Toy Department and the Sporting Goods
Section, "for the accommodation of our patrons;" amateur
sets were on sale starting at ten dollars. "Wireless
Receiving Station Installed at Horne's," advertisement,
Pittsburgh Sun 23 Sept. 1920: 9.
54Kintner 1857.
55Frederick Lewis Allen, Only Yesterday: An Informal
History of the Nineteen Twenties (New York: Harper, 1931)
77.


152
simply good will publicity. You will notice that no prices
are ever given, no directions where to buy, nor anything but
a constant mention of the manufacturer's name or the name of
the article."71 By the end of 1926 "good will" broadcast
advertising was said to make up 80 percent of programming on
the leading stations; smaller stations tended to feature
"talks" rather than musical presentations, often including
specific product information.
By 1928 the Federal Radio Commission could say that
"without advertising, broadcasting could not exist."72
However, the FRC continued to debate the uses and limits of
radio advertising. The typical attitude of writers in the
popular media toward direct advertising, which no one could
deny was of great value to the newspaper-reading audience,
is reflected in this description by the former editor of
Scientific American:
One western station, for instance, broadcasts a
shopping service in the morning and evening,
mentioning definite stores, articles, gualities
well, everything but the price. And that is
typical of the extent to which some broadcasters
have gone in the way of collecting pay for their
efforts. Unfortunately, it is a fact that only
the largest concerns can see the value of genteel
publicity . ,73
71 Austin C. Lescarboura, "How Much it Costs to
Broadcast," Radio Broadcast 9 (1926); 370.
72United States Federal Radio Commission, Annual Report
of the Federal Radio Commission to the Congress of the
United States Covering the Period from October 1. 1928 to
November 1. 1928. (Washington: GPO, 1929) 35.


48
hero of the Republic's wireless operator Jack Binns,15 who
was mobbed by admirers whenever he appeared in public, and
was often asked to make impromptu speeches. When he was
discovered in the audience at a New York stage show, a group
of chorus girls was said to have pursued him out of the
theater and up New York's Sixth Avenue, blowing kisses.16
Three years later America's most notorious shipwreck,
the sinking of the luxury liner Titanic on its maiden
voyage, focused public attention once again on the safety
value of shipboard radio.17 Although wireless could not
prevent the loss of life caused by inadequate safety
equipment, radio messages did allow ships in the area to
pick up survivors and to relay information to shore.18
14.,C Q D," editorial, New York Times 25 Jan. 1909: 8.
15.,How Binns Flashed His Calls For Help," New York
Times 26 Jan. 1909: 4.
16.,Binns, Wireless, Kissed by Chorus," New York Times
29 January 1909: 2.
17"Scientific Aftermath of the 'Titanic'," Literary
Digest 44 (1912): 1097.
18The radio hero of this particular shipwreck would
eventually be David Sarnoff, who over subsequent years
developed the myth that he had been the Marconi operator who
received first word of the wreck and subsequent rescue
attempts, remaining at his key for 72 hours as reports of
survivors came in. The truth is apparently that Sarnoff was
at that time assigned to duty at a Marconi installation in
New York's Wanamaker department store, and the morning
following news of the Titanic's sinking participated in a
promotion sponsored by the New York American, in which the
Wanamaker station intercepted and relayed to reporters
messages of rescue information and survivor lists. Sarnoff


209
"Radio Publications in America." Radio News 7 (1926): 1526.
"Radio Receiving Sets Capable of Picking Up Concerts Can Be
Built For Small Cost." Miami Herald 19 March 1922: 12A.
"Radio Restrictions Removed." Wireless Age Oct. 1919: 21.
"Radio Society Asks Hoover to Bar WJZ." New York Times 23
July 1922: 17.
Radio Staff of the Detroit News. WWJThe Detroit News: The
History of Radiophone Broadcasting by the Earliest and
Foremost of Newspaper Stations; Together With Information
on Radio for Amateur and Expert. Detroit: Evening News
Assn., 1922.
"Radio Telephone Advertising." OST April 1917: 34+.
"Radio Welcomes Government Control." Literary Digest 9
April 1927: 21.
"Radiola X." Advertisement. American Magazine Jan. 1925:
75.
"Radiophone Broadcasting by Radio Corporation" Wireless Age
Oct. 1921: 20.
"Radio's Splendid ProgramsAre You Selling Them?" Radio
Retailing 3 (1926): 253.
"The Radiotrola." Editorial. Radio News 3 (1921): 479.
Randle, William McKinley, Jr. The History of Radio
Broadcasting and its Social and Economic Effect on the
Entertainment Industry. Diss. Case Western Reserve U,
1966. Ann Arbor: UMI, 1967.
"A Real Radio Magazine For the Whole Family."
Advertisement. Wireless Age June 1922: 102.
"Recording Radio Messages." Advertisement. Saturday
Evening Post 5 June 1922: 143.
"Returns by Wireless" New York Times 8 Nov. 1916: 6.
"Revival of Amateur Wireless." Illustrated World Sept.
1919: 104-5.
"Reviving and Broadcasting Throughout the Nation."
Advertisement. Saturday Evening Post 26 Aug. 1922: 76.
"Right and Wrong of Receiver Tuning." Wireless Age June


109
Many early radio fans offered neighborhood concerts, or
planned parties around broadcast music. According to the
Detroit News. during its station WWJ's first week of
broadcasting in 1920, "a party at the home of C. F. Hammond,
700 Parker Avenue, Detroit, danced to music sent out by the
News apparatus and this was considered the local beginning
of the social aspect of wireless telephone."150
One Massachusetts enthusiast described his Saturday
night in a letter to a local station:
I tuned in at about 9 o'clock and stayed on till
you finished. You see, I have a loudspeaker
attachment and I always open the window so people
outside may hear also. It was only about fifteen
minutes and a crowd of friends and residents were
standing outside listening and they stayed until
you signed off. Also tourists traveling along the
highway stopped to listen.151
In a small Mississippi town, the banker bought a
receiver for the community, installed it at the high school,
and invited the whole population (350) to a weekly Saturday
night concert of country music.152 In March Chicagoans were
treated to a demonstration of radiophone music during an
149"Radio Exposition Opens in Chicago on Aug. 31,"
Detroit News 30 July 1921: 9.
150Radio Staff of the Detroit News 9.
151Clark Radioana Collection, box 535, 134-818A.
152Bob McRaney, Sr., The History of Radio in
Mississippi (n.p.: Mississippi Broadcasters Assn., [1970s?])
7.


49
"A New Style of Adventures," Walter S. Hiatt called
wireless in a 1913 Collier's article about the exploits of
ships' operators: "A veritable host of new stories have
entered the world with these pounders of the brass."19
Later that month, under the heading "The World's New
Marvels," Collier's looked toward the future of the wireless
telephone. Describing the recent development of a small
portable radio outfit, the writer concluded that some day
"it may be that no farm or fireside will be without one."20
However, some technicians and scientists may have resented
the aura of mystery and romance fostered by such phrases as
"a million wireless ears."21 A March 1916 column of "Plain
was not even the lone operator manning the Wanamaker post
during the exercise: one of his co-workers was the original
wireless hero himself, Jack Binns. For a discussion of the
Sarnoff "Titanic myth," see Kenneth Bilby, The General (New
York: Harper, 1986) 30-35. It is possible that Sarnoff
concocted the myth because he had been unable to share in
the general adulation that followed the Republic collision
in 1909; although records show that Sarnoff was assigned to
Marconi's Siasconset installation at the time of the
collision, it was his fellow Siasconset operator A. H.
Ginman who received the publicity. See "Marconi Man's Own
Story," New York Times 24 Jan. 1909: 2; "First News of
Republic Loss," New York Times 25 Jan. 1909: 1.
19Walter S. Hiatt, "A New Style of Adventures,"
Collier's 18 Oct. 1913: 25.
20Carl Snyder, "The World's New Marvels," Collier's
25 Oct. 1913: 22.
21
Snyder, 22.


30
social history that began with questions not unlike those
raised in this study: How did technology and culture
interact to produce broadcasting? How did the American
press greet the invention of radio? What were the hopes and
possibilities radio broadcasting carried?74 However,
Douglas chose as her focus the earliest years of wireless
technology, not only of radiotelephony but of wireless
telegraphy, and thus her research ends as the transition to
broadcasting begins. When Douglas says that "technically,
economically, legislatively, and ideologically, the elements
of America's broadcasting system were, thus, in place by
1922,"75 she does not take into account the ways in which
the American public integrated radio broadcasting into its
daily life. One of the most important "elements" of a
system is the way it is used and the place it comes to
assume in society. In 1922 these uses and this place were
still largely unforeseen.
In a 1982 conference paper and a later book chapter,
Catherine Covert concluded that the public felt a sense of
loss resembling bereavement as it struggled to come to terms
74Susan Jeanne Douglas, Exploring Pathways in the
Ether, diss., Brown U, 1979 (Ann Arbor: UMI, 1979) 1; Susan
J. Douglas, Inventing American Broadcasting 1888-1922
(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1987).
75Douglas, Inventing 317.


122
Because the first broadcasters were more interested in
the act of broadcasting than in its content, they were
willing to provide whatever programming the public seemed to
enjoy. Many broadcasters sought goodwill publicity from
their investment in radio, and hoped to link their business
names with pleasing programs. Broadcasters relied on
letters, phone calls, and telegrams from the listening
public for guidance in programming their stations.
Throughout the earliest years of American radio
broadcasting, writers and broadcasters insisted the public
could get what it wanted from radio merely by making its
wishes known. "Here is what the radio people can give you
if you want it," wrote Stanley Frost in "Radio Dreams That
Can Come True."195
Broadcasting stations solicited listener mail for four
reasons: to ascertain the size of the listening audience,196
to measure the geographical coverage of their signal, to
195Stanley Frost, "Radio Dreams That Can Come True,"
Collier's 10 June 1922: 9. Twenty-five years later critic
John Crosby warned television not to repeat radio's
mistakes, writing that "it was not the responsibility of the
listener to request something he had never heard of." John
Crosby, "Seven Deadly Sins of the Air," Life 6 Nov. 1950:
150-151.
196Wireless Age estimated the size of the radio
audience in 1923 by tabulating responses to station
questionnaires about their volume of listener mail. The
magazine concluded that the national audience was
11,160,180. "How Large is the Radio Audience?" Wireless Acre
Sept. 1923: 23.


106
At this time in broadcasting's development, few foresaw
radio as a 24-hour-a-day service; most stations went on the
air for only a short period each day.134 Although in most
cities station owners worked out plans to share the
broadcast day, conflicts arose. In the New York area eleven
stations agreed to a tentative time-sharing schedule in May
1922.135 However, in July WJZ, one of the nation's earliest
and strongest broadcasting stations, refused to concede time
to WOR, a new station from Bamberger's department store;
WJZ, owned and operated jointly by the Radio Corporation of
America and Westinghouse, threatened to leave the air if
forced to limit its broadcast schedule for the benefit of
other stations.136
only eleven out of more than 500 stations had been
reclassified. "About the Radio Round-Table," Scientific
American Dec. 1922: 378.
134For example, WHAS in Louisville was licensed for 24-
hour service, but broadcast only from 4 to 5 p.m. each
afternoon and 7:30 to 9 p.m. every night but Sunday. Credo
Fitch Harris, Microphone Memoirs of the Horse and Buggy Days
of Radio (Indianapolis: Bobbs, 1937) 44. Because all
stations were assigned to the same 360-meter wavelength, a
station making only limited use of its license was not
hoarding a wavelength someone else might put to better use.
135"Broadcasting Stations Agree on Time Dividing
Schedule," New York Herald 21 May 1922, sec. 2: 5.
136"Radio Society Asks Hoover to Bar WJZ," New York
Times 23 July 1922: 17; "WJZ Extends WOR Courtesies of Air,"
New York Times 25 July 1922; WJZ May Close Up to End Radio
Row," New York Times 30 July 1922.


55
suggested that
radio-telephony has also a field in the
distribution of music from a central station, such
as an opera house. By installing a wireless
telephone transmission station on the roof, the
music of singers and orchestra could be supplied
to all subscribers who would have aerial wires on
or near their homes.35
On the first day of 1909, Charles David "Doc" Herrold
began regular transmissions of voice and music to the San
Jose, California, area from the Herrold College of
Engineering and Wireless.36 In the same year, three weeks
after the Republic and the Florida collided, a front-page
article in the New York Times touted Lee de Forest's latest
radio telephone system.37 In early 1910 de Forest attempted
to transmit grand opera to the public, working with the
National Dictograph Company, which was installing stage
microphones at New York's Metropolitan Opera House.
Newspaper reporters who participated in the demonstration
wrote they had difficulty hearing the voices at all clearly,
one noting that most of the "homeless song waves were kept
from finding themselves" by interference from a nearby
transmitter.38
35Herbert T. Wade, "Wireless Telephony by the De Forest
System," Review of Reviews 35 (1907): 685.
36See Gordon B. Greb, "The Golden Anniversary of
Broadcasting," Journal of Broadcasting 3 (1958-59): 3-13.
37De Forest Tells of a New Wireless," New York Times 14
Feb. 1909:1.
38"Wireless Melody Jarred," New York Times 14 Jan.
1910: 2.


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
It appears to me . that if we could have
devised an arrangement for providing everybody
with music in their homes, perfect in quality,
unlimited in quantity, suited to every mood, and
beginning and ceasing at will, we should have
considered the limit of human felicity already
attained, and ceased to strive for further
improvements.1
Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward (1887)
Background
At the time of the First World War wireless
communication provided a scientific pastime for a small
segment of the American public. By the beginning of World
War II, radio had become a pervasive source of popular
entertainment and information. This study examines the
transition of radio from a hobby to a fad to a household
utility in the United States during the 1920s.
Since the mid-1800s the public had shown increasing
interest in the growing world of scientific and technical
wonders. Science, combining the magical and the practical,
became a source of entertainment both passive and active for
1Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward (1887; Boston:
Houghton, 1926) 113-114.
1


85
realized that daytime radio programming could also provide a
solution.
The introduction of electrical appliances into the home
in the 1920s may have increased the efficiency and reduced
the drudgery of daily housework, but in many cases the new
eguipment merely allowed a larger number of chores to be
crammed into the homemaker's workday.57 Fewer households
included live-in servants and extended-family members,58 and
while appliances such as vacuum cleaners and clothes washers
could make up for the loss of an extra set of hands, nothing
replaced the lost companionship for house-bound women . .
until radio entered the home.
The Department of Agriculture began offering home
economics courses by radio in late 1921, based on the
interest shown by rural housewives in the agricultural
market reports the government had been sending out since
earlier in the year.59 By the end of 1922 Wireless Acre
57,,Thus, in spite of efficiency, the 12-hour workday
continued to be passed from one generation of housewives to
the next like an heirloom," according to Annegret S. Ogden,
The Great American Housewife; From Helpmate to Wage Earner,
1776-1986 (Westport: Greenwood, 1986) 153.
58Ruth Schwartz Cowan, "The 'Industrial Revolution' In
the Home," Technology and Change. ed. John G. Burke and
Marshall C. Eakin (San Francisco: Boyd, 1979) 279.
59J. Farrell, "The Housewife's Radio," Radio News 4
(1922): 1237.


112
circulation magazines began to present radio as a pastime
worth trying. Radio magazines became more popular, and the
arrival of Radio Broadcast in May of 1922159 prompted
changes in Wireless Age, the old Marconi magazine taken over
by RCA, which went from an amateur's publication to "A Real
Radio Magazine for the Whole Family."160
Stations printed program guides listing hours of
service and musical selections to be played, which were
mailed to radio clubs and other organizations, and to the
daily newspapers.161 By spring many newspaper were printing
a daily schedule of broadcasts available from the major
stations around the country.162 Forty-eight newspapers
themselves owned radio stations by 1922.163 As the radio
fad took hold, the technically-oriented Sunday radio page
159"The New Radio Magazine You've Been Looking For,"
advertisement, Outlook 12 April 1922: 20.
160"A Real Radio Magazine for the Whole Family,"
advertisement, Wireless Age June 1922: 102.
161Austin C. Lescarboura, Radio for Everybody (New
York: Scientific American, 1922) 40.
l62"Far-ReaChing Influence of the Radio Telephone,"
Electrical World 4 March 1922: 419. Within several years
publishers would begin to feel threatened by radio's success
as an advertising medium, and their attempts to limit free
program listings were the first shots in what has come to be
known as the Press-Radio War of the 1930s. See Arthur Robb,
"Cutting Free Publicity From Radio Programs," Editor &
Publisher 2 Oct. 1926: 5, 20.
163Lawrence W. Lichty and Malachi C. Topping, eds.,
American Broadcasting: A Source Book on the History of Radio
and Television (New York: Hastings, 1976) 154-55.


34
communication media. During the 1920s radio's audience in
general appears to have reacted with pleased acceptance to
the new medium's offerings, much as modern Americans sit
contentedly before their TV sets while the debate over the
failings, abuses, and excesses of commercial television
continues over their heads.
Broadcasting in Other Countries
Broadcast histories of other countries have limited
applicability to the examination of America's earliest
audiences, because of the individualistic and ad hoc nature
of American broadcasting throughout most of the 1920s. In
addition to cultural differences among societies, the
motivation of broadcasters and government (in many cases the
same entity) as well as the availability of eguipment often
guided the structure of the various national broadcasting
systems. British broadcasting began in 1922 with the
establishment of eight stations run by the British
Broadcasting Company.83 Those who wished to receive the
broadcasts were required to obtain a license, and receiving
equipment was legally limited to sets bearing a stamp of
approval from the Postmaster General; these sources provided
the funding of the British Broadcasting Company (later to
83Gordon Bussey, Wireless: The Crucial Decade: History
of the British Wireless Industry 1924-34 (London:
Peregrinus, 1990) 3.


71
in January 1922 declared the birth of popular radio:
It seems that 1921 will go down in radio history
as the birth of the radio telephone, as far as its
universal adoption, and its cognizance by the
public are concerned. An art may be said to have
"arrived" when it becomes universally known, and
when the public begins to use it one way or
another.8^
By the end of 1921, most people still viewed radio as
"an alluring mystery, a black art understood only by
highbrow college professors and curious youngsters who have
grasped the fundamentals, and who, through infinite patience
and care, have assembled a crude radio equipment with which
they listen in on the world."81 And then, in the spring of
1922, "all of a sudden it hit us. The first most of us saw
of it . was in first-page, first-column headlines from
New York . proclaiming that the East had gone mad over
radio.1,82
80Hugo Gernsback, "Radio 1921-1922," Radio News 3
(1922): 584.
81Raymond Frances Yates, "Winning the Public to Radio,"
Radio News 3 (1921): 494.
82Wilbur Hall, "The Pacific Coast is 'On the Air!',"
Radio Broadcast 1 (1922): 157.


146
great length against the 'kaleidoscope' program, to throw up
his hands in holy horror. . "47
Radio attracted little creative experimentation during
its first decade; the earliest broadcasters were
technicians. Likewise it has been said that "newspapers
were born of printers with spare time and surplus paper on
their hands,"48 and that "most [American] film directors
have been typesetters, not poets."49 According to historian
Page Smith,
When any new form of expression presents itself to
the members of a particular culture, it has the
power to attract the most creative individuals; in
the first moment, therefore, work is done that,
however crude and awkward technically, can never
again be egualed.50
Smith cannot have been speaking of American broadcasting.
F. Scott Fitzgerald said of the 1920s, "It was an age of
miracles, it was an age of art, it was an age of excess, and
it was an age of satire."51 Yet on the radioone of the
47John Wallace, "The Listener's Point of View," Radio
Broadcast 9 (1926): 40.
48G. Allen Foster, Communication: From Primitive Tom-
Toms to Telstar (New York: Criterion, 1965) 84.
49Gerald Mast, A Short History of the Movies. 3rd ed.
(Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1981) 98,450.
50Page Smith, Redeeming the Time. (New York: Penguin,
1987) 932.
51F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Echoes of the Jazz Age"
Scribner's Magazine Nov. 1931: 460.


156
a competent radio operator."8^ The modern dynamic speaker
with a paper cone was introduced by RCA in 1925.86 By early
1926, the loudspeaker had been "brought to a state of
perfection which would not have been dreamed of a year or
two ago."87 As cone-style speakers replaced tall speaker
horns, manufacturers began to incorporate the loudspeaker
into the radio cabinet. Yet few of these self-contained
receivers were small enough to place on a mantle or table.
Many cabinets were massive pieces of ornate wooden furniture
with space for the several dry and storage batteries
necessary to operate most sets during the 1920s. Between
1924 and 1926 this space could be used instead to house a
battery charger or the later "battery eliminators" (plug-in
transformers). At New York's World's Radio Fair in 1926,
the greatest interest was generated by sets that operated on
alternating current.88
850range Edward McMeans, "The Great Audience
Invisible," Scribner's Magazine March 1923: 412.
86 Robert Grinder and George H. Fathaver, Radio
Collector's Directory and Price Guide (Scottsdale: Ironwood,
1986) 50.
87M. C. Rypinski, "Radio, Our Newest Utility," Radio
Retailing March 1926: 277. For a review of loudspeaker
development and a description of loudspeakers available by
the end of 1926, see "Loudspeakers and Their
Characteristics," Radio News 8 (1926): 642+.
88"For Greater Harmony in the Air," The Independent 117
(1926): 378.


xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8
REPORT xmlns http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitss xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitssdaitssReport.xsd
INGEST IEID EPRSWLFYG_K0HMAB INGEST_TIME 2014-10-13T21:33:22Z PACKAGE AA00025834_00001
AGREEMENT_INFO ACCOUNT UF PROJECT UFDC
FILES


86
claimed that "Broadcasting service that lightens the daily
household tasks has aroused enthusiasm among women, making
newspapers secondary in interest."60
"Though still a toy the radiophone has pushed back the
world's horizon so far that no woman can claim she is either
shut in or shut out," proclaimed Good Housekeeping in the
summer of 1922.61 Broadcasting had from the beginning been
seen as a boon to "shut-ins," those physically unable to
leave the home. For various physical and societal reasons,
much of the female population was "shut in" during this
period. Many stations that broadcast during the daytime
offered programs for homemakers: Detroit's WWJ offered
"hints to housewives" on weekdays from 9:30-9:40;62 WGI
offered clothing and marketing talks.63 Yet, as Diaz had
pointed out, the housebound woman's greatest need may have
been for programming outside the realm of homemaking
information. According to Christine Frederick, one of the
early advocates of scientific home management, "The mind,
emotions and senses need exercise also."64
60Rosemary Clarke, "Listening In with the Home Folks,"
Wireless Aae Dec. 1922: 45.
61In the introduction to Christine Frederick, "A Real
Use for the Radio," Good Housekeeping July 1922: 77.
62Radio Staff 25.
63"Women Interested in Radiophone," Radio News 3
(1922): 967.
64Christine Frederick, Household Engineering:


197
"The Jealous Mike." Editorial. The Independent 117 (1926):
631.
John-Heine, Patricke and Hans H. Gerth. "Values in Mass
Periodical Fiction, 1921-1940." Public Opinion Quarterly
13 (1949) 105-113.
Johnson, Lesley. The Unseen Voice: A Cultural Study of
Early Australian Radio. London: Routledge, 1988.
Johnson, Lesley. "Radio and Everyday Life (Australia 1922-
45)." Media. Culture and Society 3 (1981): 167-178.
Jome, Hiram L. Economics of the Radio Industry. 1925. New
York: Arno, 1971.
Jones, Stanley B. "How to Sell Ten Million Radio Outfits."
Radio News 3 (1922): 840.
Jowett, Garth S. "Toward a History of Communication."
Journalism History 2.2 (1975): 36.
Julian, Joseph. This Was Radio: A Personal Memoir. New
York: Viking, 1975.
Kaempffert, Waldemar. "Radio Broadcasting." Review of
Reviews 65 (1922): 395-401.
Kaempffert, Waldemar. "The Progress of Radio Broadcasting."
American Review of Reviews 66 (1922): 303-8.
Kaplan, Milton Allen. Radio and Poetry. New York: Columbia
UP, 1949.
Katz, Elihu, Jay G. Blumler, and Michael Gurevitch.
"Utilization of Mass Communication by the Individual."
The Uses of Mass Communication: Current Perspectives on
Gratifications Research. Ed. Jay G. Blumler and Elihu
Katz. Beverly Hills: Sage, 1974. 19-32.
Kaufman, Herbert. "Don't Listen to the Liar." McClure's
21 Jan. 1921: 5.
Kintner, S. M. "Pittsburgh's Contributions to Radio."
Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers 20
(1932): 1849-1862.
Kipling, Rudyard. "Wireless." Scribner's Aug. 1902: 129-
143.
Kirkpatrick, Clifford. Report of a Research into the
Attitudes and Habits of Radio Listeners. St. Paul: Webb,
1933.


104
broadcasters. A movement began to assign regular "silent
nights" to different cities or regions, so radio fans could
receive distant stations without local interference.126
Monday was silent night in Chicago and in Louisville.127 At
WWL in New Orleans, Saturday became silent night.128 Hugo
Gernsback, editor of Radio News. later suggested that each
of the four national time zones observe an hour of silence
on successive nights.129 Calls for silent nights continued
throughout the first half of the 1920s, although as local
programming improved listeners began to lose interest in
distance for distance's sake, and as commercial sponsorship
became more prevalent silent periods became a financial
imposition on the broadcaster.130
As radio's popularity grew, so did the difficulty of
126"A Plea for a Night Off," Radio News 4: (1923) 1401.
127Richard Crabb, Radio's Beautiful Day (Aberdeen:
North Plains, 1983) 3; Credo Fitch Harris, Microphone
Memoirs of the Horse and Buggy Days of Radio (Indianapolis:
Bobbs, 1937) 253.
128C. Joseph Pusateri, Enterprise in Radio: WWL and the
Business of Broadcasting in America (Washington: UP of
America, 1980) 44. According to Erik Barnouw, other regular
silent nights included Cincinnati on Thursday, Kansas City
on Saturday, Dallas Wednesday after 3 p.m., and San
Francisco daily between 7 and 7:30 p.m. Erik Barnouw, A
Tower in Babel (New York: Oxford UP, 1966) 93.
129H[ugo] Gernsback, "What Broadcasting Needs,"
editorial, Radio News 5 (1924): 865.
130Kingsley Welles, "Do We Need 'Silent Nights' for
Radio Stations?" Radio Broadcast 7 (1925): 753.


42
In 1946 Donald McNicol, of the Institute of Radio
Engineers, whimsically suggested that radio producers might
replace the announcers' tedious biographies of long-dead
composers with a "biography" of the technology that made the
broadcast possible.102 This study describes the process by
which the technology of the wireless transmission of sound
became the mass medium of broadcasting. Neil Postman, in
Amusing Ourselves to Death, compared the difference between
a technology and a medium to the difference between a brain
and a mind:
A technology becomes a medium as it employs a
particular symbolic code, as it finds its place in
a particular social setting, as it insinuates
itself into economic and political contexts. A
technology, in other words, is merely a machine.
A medium is the social and intellectual
environment a machine creates.103
102Donald McNicol, Radio's Conquest of Space (1946; New
York: Arno, 1974) 329.
103Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death (New York:
Penguin, 1985) 84.


217
Washington: GPO, 1920.
United States Department of Commerce. Selection from Annual
Report of the Chief of Radio Division to the Secretary of
Commerce. Washington: GPO, 1927. Rptd. in Documents in
American Telecommunications Policy, Vol. 1. Ed. John M.
Kitross. New York: Arno, 1977.
United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
Report of Project on Understanding New Media. N.p.:
1960.
United States Federal Communications Commission. Public
Service Responsibility of Broadcast Licensees. 1946.
New York: Arno, 1974.
United States Federal Radio Commission. Annual Report of
the Federal Radio Commission to the Congress of the
United States for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1927.
Washington: GPO, 1927.
United States Federal Radio Commission. Annual Report of
the Federal Radio Commission to the Congress of the
United States for the Year Ended June 30, 1928.
Washington: GPO, 1928.
United States Federal Radio Commission. Third Annual Report
of the Federal Radio Commission. Washington: GPO, 1929.
United States Federal Trade Commission. Report on the Radio
Industry. Washington: GPO, 1924.
Van de Water, Virginia Terhune. "Other People's Children,
Dogs, and Radios." American Magazine May 1928: 190+.
Verrill, A. Hyatt. Radio for Amateurs: How to Use, Make and
Install Wireless Telephone and Telegraph Instruments.
New York: Dodd, 1922.
"Viewing Wireless Stations." New York Times 29 March 1912:
6.
Vipond, Mary. Listening In: The First Decade of Canadian
Broadcasting. 1922-1932. Montreal: McGill-Queen's UP,
1992.
Volek, Thomas W. "Examining the Emergence of Broadcasting
in the 1920s through Magazine Advertising." Paper
presented at the meeting of the Association for Education
in Journalism and Mass Communication, Boston, MA, 1991.
Volek, Thomas W. Examining Radio Receiver technology
through Magazine Advertising in the 1920s and 1930s.


94
corresponded roughly with the depression following
the crisis of 1920. A large number of business
men found themselves either in or on the verge of
bankruptcy. Some of these naturally turned to
radio [manufacturing] as the last resort. They
did this whether they knew anything about radio or
not. Conseguently, many inadeguate radio sets,
hardly worthy of the name, were turned out on a
gullible public.91
In the spring of 1922, according to Radio Broadcast,
customers found themselves "in the fourth or fifth row at
the radio counter waiting their turn only to be told when
they finally reached the counter that they might place an
order and it would be filled when possible."92 As QST. the
magazine of the amateurs' Radio Relay League, described the
radio situation in early 1922:
A year ago the radio [manufacturing] industry
consisted of a hundred or so firms, struggling
along as best they could with what by comparison
was a pitifully small amount of trade, counting
nickels to make ends meet. Then came the boom!
And now they can't keep up. In the east it is
practically impossible to buy a receiving set, one
has to stand in line to get waited upon only to
find that the store hasn't got even the parts one
wants, the factories are months behind in their
orders altho [sic] some of them have tripled their
production, and in general the business has taken
a boom that was beyond the fondest dreams of a
year ago.yj
The Radio Institute of America instituted Saturday night
91Hiram L. Jome, Economics of the Radio Industry
(Chicago: A. W. Shaw, 1925) 86.
92,,Radio Currents: An Editorial Interpretation," Radio
Broadcast (1922) 1: 1.
93"Phones and Amateur Radio," editorial, QST March
1922: 29-33.


24
broadcasting, along with "government bureaucrats,
businessmen, legislators, network executives, entertainers,
and advertisers."56 The radio listener, however passive or
active, was an important player in the unfolding creation of
American broadcasting during the 1920s. Little research has
examined the process by which the American people became
aware of the new medium, and how and when radio took its
place as a household utility.
Previous studies of broadcasting's early years can be
divided into three types: institutional histories,
technological histories, and cultural histories.
Institutional histories are characterized by an examination
of the structure of broadcasting organizations or the
broadcasting system, and of changes in management or
governance. Technological histories focus on the
development of the medium's technology and equipment;
usually determinist in nature, technology-based studies may
view societal changes as the result of changes in
technology. Cultural histories recount the social context
of historical development, often examining the ways in which
society influences the development of a technology or a
medium.
56
Rosen 574.


134
Female, no college, 40 + 59.3
Female, college, 40 + 41.3 10
In 1939 the Journal of Applied Psychology featured a
section titled "Radio Research and Applied Psychology."
Among the findings published was a study of "radio-
mindedness," the interest or importance attached to radio.
Women were found to be more radio-minded than men.11
Lazarsfeld wrote in 1948 that because women can more easily
listen to radio during the day, the sex difference in radio
listening is "due to the time schedules of men and women,
rather than to any inherent appeals or characteristics of
the medium."12 However, Lazarsfeld's colleague Herta Herzog
had already studied the audience for radio soap operas, and
concluded that the "appeals and characteristics" of certain
radio programs offered specific satisfactions to their
primarily female audience. The three types of
gratifications Herzog suggested were: (1) emotional release
(a good cry, pleasant surprises, other people's troubles);
(2) wishful thinking (to fill in gaps in their own lives);
(3) explanations of life (help in solving their own
problems, instruction in how to act).13
10Paul F. Lazarsfeld, Radio and the Printed Page (New
York: Duell, 1940) 19.
1;1Francis Ollry and Elias Smith, "An Index of 'Radio-
Mindedness' and Some Applications," Journal of Applied
Psychology 23 (1939): 17.
12Paul F. Lazarsfeld and Patricia L. Kendall, Radio
Listening in America: The People Look at RadioAgain (New
York: Prentice-Hall, 1948) 14.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
page
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS i i
ABSTRACT vi
CHAPTERS
1 INTRODUCTION 1
Background 1
Purpose 6
Research Questions 7
Scope and Limitations 8
Definitions 9
Methodology 15
Sources 18
Plan of the Study 23
Previous Research 23
Significance 40
2 THE RADIO HOBBY 43
Wire Telephony 44
Wireless Telegraphy and Telephony before WWI 45
Wireless at War 57
Post-War Experimentation 58
The Birth of Broadcasting 60
The Fad Begins 70
3 THE RADIO FAD: 1922 72
Home Entertainments and Amusements 73
The Radio Fad of 1922 81
"Listening in" in 1922 93
Problems and Disappointments 114
Prospects for the Future 117
4 A HOUSEHOLD UTILITY: 1926 129
Introduction 129
The Uses of Radio 129
Radio Service 1925-1926 140
The Household Utility 154
"A Radio Reign of Terror" 160
Radio's Entertainment Age 162
Radio Grows Up 166
IV


121
shut in the house; in 1923 the Radio Press Service claimed
that to women on isolated farms and in small towns, "radio
is not merely a joy, it is rapidly becoming a necessity."192
By the summer of 1924, Christine Frederick was
congratulating herself on the success of her radio cooking
school and the "radio teas" she organized in Chicago,
writing
They are a joy to uncounted thousands of women.
They may have a baby on their lap, or a dirty
apron on, and be too tired to get up out of a
chair, but they can "come to the radio tea"
nevertheless!193
Writing in The Bookman early in 1922, Mary Austin had
castigated women for allowing themselves to be merely
"passive spectator[s] to the male performance" in the arts,
rather than a true critical audience, with both "privilege
and obligation in respect to the quality of the
performance." In addition, Austin said, women must make
their concerns and experiences part of the cultural
product.194 As early broadcasters strove to understand
radio's place in American society, the input of female
listeners took on growing importance.
192"Women and Wireless," Literary Digest 15 Dec. 1923:
25.
193Christine Frederick, "How I Made a Career out of
Home and Radio," Wireless Age August 1924: 90.
194Mary Austin, "Women as Audience," The Bookman March
1922: 1-5.


143
Program Content
As Raymond Williams has pointed out, radio broadcasting
was developed as a technology without a purpose, an
"abstract process with little or no definition of preceding
content."38 Beginning with the experimenters who played
phonograph records in order to check transmission and
reception, broadcasters have found music the simplest
content to present. Early stations relied primarily on
O Q
music, interspersed with talks and lectures.-^
During the years of the radio fad, broadcasters
congratulated themselves for providing everything the
audience wanted and needed, based primarily on encouragement
from listener postcards and the growing number of home radio
sets; enthusiast magazines ran polls showing that current
program content was "meeting the public demand with really
astonishing accuracy."40
38Raymond Williams, Television: Technology and Cultural
Form (New York: Schocken, 1975) 25.
3Americans had historically attended lectures not only
for enlightenment but for the enjoyment of hearing a good
speaker. The Lyceum movement brought lectures, debates and
readings to many American towns before the Civil War. The
Chautaugua system grew out of a summer training camp for
Sunday school teachers held at Lake Chautaugua, New York in
1874; by the early 1900 local chautaugua centers and
travelling chautauquas were a popular form of adult
education. Encyclopedia Americana (Danbury: Grollier,
1990).
40"Radio Audience Decides Programs," Wireless Age Aug.
1923: 28. The "ballot" for the survey asked listeners to
assign the ideal number of hours a day for each of several
types of programming: classical and operatic music; jazz and


169
or service might be possible. Because the remarkable new
service did not replace an older technology or source of
entertainment, the public had nothing with which to compare
it.4 Still, a large number of listeners found that radio
could play an important role in daily life. Women, in
particular, found radio could provide companionship,
distraction, information, and entertainment within the
social and physical structure of the home, often without
interrupting other activities. The interest in and use of
radio by women grew steadily during the first half of the
decade. By the time the Zenith court case loosened
government control and brought increased reception problems
many women had come to view radio as a household necessity,
and therefore little momentum in radio's development was
lost during the uneasy year between Zenith and passage of
the Radio Act of 1927. Although the development of
nationwide network broadcasting after 1926 brought great
advances in radio entertainment and marked the start of
radio's "Golden Age," by that time radio had already
achieved a place of real utility to the radio-owning family.
4In a 1950 article warning television broadcasters not
to make the same mistakes made in early radio, critic John
Crosby wrote that "it was not the responsibility of the
listener to reguest something he had never heard of." John
Crosby, "Seven Deadly Sins of the Air," Life 6 Nov. 1950:
150.


148
exercises and beauty talks, interspersed with piano
recitals; early afternoon programming included scripture
readings, lectures on topics such as "scenario writing," and
programming from the League of Women Voters.56 WMCA listed
continuous programming from early morning to night,
including "food talks" and market reports.57 A group of 12
stations nationwide participated in a radio cooking school;
graduation classes were conducted on the air and "diplomas"
mailed to the thousands of women who participated.58
Although women won the constitutional right to vote in
1920, in 1924 the Lynds found that most of Middletown's
women adopted the political opinions of their husbands.59
As an RCA ad put it, "politics was no place for ladies, and
what little the women knew about it they gleaned from scraps
of the men folks' talk."60 The broadcasting of the
Democratic and Republican nominating conventions in 192461
sec. XX: 17.
56"Radio Programs Scheduled for the Current Week," New
York Times 4 April 1926, sec. XX: 18.
57"Radio Programs Scheduled", New York Times 8 April
1926: 21.
58"Graduates Will Wear Head Sets," Miami Herald 19 Jan.
1926: 14D.
59Robert S. Lynd and Helen Merrill Lynd, Middletown: A
Study in American Culture (New York: Harcourt, 1929) 118.
60"The Family Takes to Politics," advertisement,
Popular Science Monthly Nov. 1924: 109.
61
For a discussion of the use of radio at political


128
painting used to illustrate a magazine advertisement.212 By
the end of the decade most listeners had tired of being
"harangued," and found an announcer's invitation to write in
offensive.213 Most listener correspondence in the last
years of the 1920s responded either to programs about which
the writer had strong feelings, or to offers of samples,
brochures, or other premiums.
212Roy S. Durstine, "Audible Advertising," Radio and
its Future. ed. Martin Codel (New York: Harper, 1930) 51.
213Frederick H. Lumley, Measurement in Radio (Columbus:
Ohio State UP, 1934) 79-80. Many broadcasters did not
distinguish between DX fansresponding with reception
information and expecting verification from the station for
logging or contest purposesand listeners merely offering
input or "applause." Thus the lack of response from
broadcasters also dampened some correspondents' enthusiasm.
See, for example, Homer G. Gosney, letter, Radio News 8
(1927): 1132, and the editor's reply.


38
government in the 1960s, examines the impact on society of
the introduction of particular technologies. In 1974
"retrospective technology assessment" was introduced in an
attempt to clarify the historical implications of new
technologies, to examine expectations for past technologies,
and to forecast development.93 Although a retrospective
technology assessment of radio broadcasting has not been
published, a model may be provided by Ithiel de Sola Pool's
1983 Forecasting the Telephone, which examines predictions
in the popular literature of telephone's applications and
effects.94
Radio Comes of Aae
Although no one has examined the process of transition
of radio during the 1920s from the viewpoint of the audience
and its use of the medium, most researchers do identify,
implicitly or explicitly, a point at which radio "grew up."
Many different years are defensible based on the orientation
of the researcher and the research. Political use of radio
by the general public can be said to have begun with the
93 See Joel A. Tarr, ed., Retrospective Technology
Assessment1976 (San Francisco: San Francisco, 1977) for
details of the process of RTA.
94Ithiel de Sola Pool, Forecasting the Telephone
(Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1983); See also Ithiel de Sola Pool,
ed., The Social Impact of the Telephone (Cambridge: MIT P,
1977) .


46
imagination of scientists and philosophers around the world.
The public was apprised at regular intervals of the latest
advances in wireless technology during the early years of
the century; the word "wonder" appeared frequently in titles
and stories.8
Wireless was news during the pre-war years, even though
it did not touch people's daily lives directly as it would
after the advent of broadcasting. A researcher in the 1930s
counted the number of wireless articles in non-technical
magazines indexed by Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature
between 1900 and 1914, and found the following:9
1900-1 1904-8
1901-3 1905-5
1902-13 1906-6
1903-19 1907-15
1908-8
1909-14
1910-8
1911-12
1912-12
1913-12
1914-19
Between 1900 and 1918, the Reader's Guide listed under
"wireless" at least eleven pieces of fiction and four poems,
including Rudyard Kipling's 1902 story "Wireless."10
8 For example Eugene P. Lyle, Jr., "The Advance of
Wireless" World's Work 9 (1905): 5845-8; and Arthur W. Page,
"Communication by Wire and Wireless: The Wonders of the
Telegraph and Telephone" World's Work 13 (1907): 8408-8422.
9Raymond Victor Bowers, A Genetic Study of
Institutional Growth and Cultural Diffusion in Contemporary
American Civilization, an Analysis in Terms of Amateur
Radio, diss., U of Minnesota, 1934, 23.
10Rudyard Kipling, "Wireless," Scribner's Aug. 1902:
129-143.


132
percent).3 Mendelsohn wrote in 1964 that "generally
speaking, radio functions as a diverting 'companion' and
helps to fill voids that are created by (1) routine and
boring tasks and (2) feelings of social isolation and
loneliness."4 One of the largest categories of people
facing "routine and boring tasks" in an environment without
companionship (and with access to a radio) is the full-time
homemaker. A 1967 study found that in addition to its
passive "pleasant environment" function, radio was most
often viewed as "companionship," especially by women "who
must spend more time alone during the day than men."5
"Housewives" was early recognized as a specific group
to which radio was particularly useful, across geographical
and socio-economic barriers. When the Radio Institute of
the Audible Arts6 solicited comments about radio's use to
the farmer, Kansas senator Arthur Capper pointed out that
3Paul I. Bortz and Harold Mendelsohn, Radio TodayAnd
Tomorrow (Washington: Natl. Assn, of Broadcasters, 1982) 5.
4Harold Mendelsohn, "Listening to Radio," People.
Society, and Mass Communications. Lewis Anthony Dexter and
David Manning White, eds. (New York: Free, 1964) 242.
5Verling C. Troldahl and Roger Skolnik, "The Meanings
People Have for Radio Today," Journal of Broadcasting 12
(1967-68): 66.
6Philco Radio and Television Corporation founded the
institute in 1934 "to stimulate a wider and more active
appreciation of the audible arts among the American people."
"Radio Institute Opens," New York Times 23 Nov. 1934: 28.


21
RCA's corporate historian, contains valuable correspondence
from the files of early radio's major corporate powers in
addition to newspaper clippings and scrapbooks covering all
aspects of wireless technology. The Broadcast Pioneers
Library in Washington, DC, a mostly uncatalogued collection
of donations from individuals and businesses, includes
station files of listener correspondence, performers'
scrapbooks, and other ephemera and memorabilia of early
radio. Both collections provided listener correspondence
and station logs and program listings for this study.
Contemporaneous Studies
Additional sources of information include
contemporaneous studies such as Robert and Helen Merrell
Lynd's 1929 study Middletown.49 Report of a Research into
the Attitudes and Habits of Radio Listeners (1933)50 and
Recent Social Trends in the United States (1933).51
Uses and Gratifications Studies
The phrase "household utility" suggests a connection
with "uses and gratifications" research, which is concerned
49Robert S. Lynd and Helen Merrell Lynd, Middletown: A
Study in American Culture (New York: Harcourt, 1929).
50Clifford Kirkpatrick, Report of a Research into the
Attitudes and Habits of Radio Listeners (St. Paul: Webb,
1933).
51President's Research Committee on Social Trends,
Recent Social Trends in the United States (New York: McGraw,
1933).


75
The Era of Fads and Crazes
America has been called "a nation of faddists," and the
1920s the era of fads.13 One 1920s columnist wrote that
America "seemed to slumber along . for several years
with no particularly violent craze for amusements" until the
arrival of the Chinese table game mah-jongg in 1922.14 At
the height of the fad sets with genuine ivory tiles might
sell for $250, although less expensive sets were available
for $14.50 to $75 from the company that claimed to have
introduced the game to America,15 and a one-dollar complete
set "in brilliant colors" was offered by mail through an ad
in American Magazine.16 Mah-jongg was replaced in 1924 by
the crossword puzzle, a challenging fad embraced by "high
brows, low-brows, and near no-brows."17 The fads of the
1920s were played out against the background of minor crazes
that surfaced and sank more guickly.18 Several other fads
13Peter L. Skolnik, Fads: America's Crazes. Fevers &
Fancies (New York: Crowell, 1978) 2.
14Reginald T. Townsend, This. That, and The Other Thing
(Freeport: Books for Libraries, 1929) 79.
15"Mah Jongg," advertisement, Saturday Evening Post 12
Aug. 1922: 101.
16"Mah Jong [sic] Set," advertisement, American
Magazine April 1924: 196.
17Alan Harding, "Why We Have Gone Mad Over Cross-Word
Puzzles," American Magazine March 1925: 28.
18Donald A. Laird, "Have You a Fad?" Review of Reviews
March 1935: 33. New "crazes" were often featured in the
rotogravure section of the Sunday paper; for example, on


79
society as a way to maintain the American work ethic during
leisure hours.32 The definition of "hobby" was elusive, but
consensus seemed to require active participation; going to
the movies or listening to the radio might not be hobbies
but creating scrapbooks of screen stars or compiling log
books of stations received would qualify. Broadcast
listening, especially when it involved DX (reception of
distant stations), required a certain measure of skill
during the earliest years of radio broadcasting.
Amateur radio continued to grow in popularity during
the early 1920s. At the start of America's involvement in
the World War in 1917, the government had closed down 3,741
amateur stations run by 3,302 operators.34 In 1920 the
government licensed 5,719 amateur stations and in 1921 an
additional 7,351.35 Growing even faster, however, was
32Hobbies would take on even more importance during the
enforced leisure of the 1930s depression years. See Steven
M. Gelber, "A Job You Can't Lose: Work and Hobbies in the
Great Depression," Journal of Social History 24 (1991): 741-
767.
33Although a radio amateur won second place in American
Magazine's 1916 "My HobbyAnd Why I Recommend It" contest,
the only technology-based hobby featured in 1923's version
of the contest was photography; the other two winners were
an executive with a "natural craze for earning" and a
housewife whose pastime was "thinking pleasant thoughts."
"My HobbyAnd Why I Recommend It," American Magazine, June
1916: 103-104; "My Hobby and Why I Recommend It," American
Magazine June 1923: 86+.
34United States Department of Commerce, 1919 Report of
the Secretary of Commerce and Reports of Bureaus.
(Washington: GPO, 1920) 983.


181
American Academy of Political and Social Science. Radio:
Selected A.A.P.S.S. Surveys. 1929-1941. New York: Arno,
1971.
American Heritage History of the 20s and 30s. New York:
American Heritage, 1970.
"Amos 'n' Andy: The Air's First Comic Strip." Literary
Digest 19 April 1930: 37+.
Archer, Gleason L. History of Radio to 1926. New York:
American Historical Society, 1938.
Archer, Gleason L. Big Business and Radio. New York:
American Historical Company, 1939.
Arnold, Frank A. Broadcast Advertising: The Fourth
Dimension. New York: Wiley, 1931.
"Asks Radio Experts to Chart the Ether." New York Times 28
Feb. 1922: 16.
"Astonishing Growth of the Radiotelephone." Literary Digest
15 April 1922: 28.
"At Last! Six Tubes With One Control." Advertisement.
Literary Digest 6 Dec. 1924: 57.
"Atwater Kent Radio." Advertisement. Ladies Home Journal
Nov. 1925: 176-77.
"Audion Situation." OST March 1917: 16-17.
Austin, Mary. "Women as Audience." The Bookman March 1922:
1-5.
"The Average 1926 Radio Set ..." Radio Retailing Feb.
1926: 155.
Aylesworth, Merlin H. The Modern Stentor: Radio
Broadcasting in the United States. Princeton: Princeton
UP, 1928.
"Babson Sees Social Revolution as Radio Revives Home Life."
New York Times 5 April 1925, sec XX: 16.
Bannerman, R. LeRoy. Norman Corwin and Radio: The Golden
Years. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 1986.
Banning, William Peck. Commercial Broadcasting Pioneer: The
WEAF Experiment. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1946.
Baritz, Loren, ed. The Culture of the Twenties.


103
operators, that long-distance listening would be one of the
lures of the radio receiving hobby. 124 Although most BCLs
did not make an active hobby of keeping logs of distant
stations and entering DX contests, listeners would often
boast of their late-night achievements. Other
characteristics of 1922's radio service encouraged DXing
rather than relaxed listening. The guality of reception and
reproduction was usually markedly inferior to the sound
guality of a phonograph and programming was often episodic:
a one-hour concert might be followed by four hours of
silence, and early broadcasters thought nothing of allowing
silent intermissions between musical numbers.125 In
addition, the use of headphones made the listener a captive
of the receiver, unable to combine casual listening with
other chores.
As more stations joined the pioneers in the ether,
listeners seeking the thrill of pulling in a distant city's
station often found their reception interrupted by local
124The parallels to professional wireless operation
were reinforced in early radio advertising; according to one
RCA ad, "the romance is in getting the far-away messages."
"To-Night Listen In," advertisement, Literary Digest 24 Feb.
1923: 77.
125An announcer might say "[The artist] will render a
new selection in a few minutes," leaving music fans with
nothing to listen to and DXers nothing to tune in; Radio
News editor Gernsback suggested announcers run a metronome
or strike a bell during silent moments. H[ugo] Gernsback,
"What Radio Broadcasting Needs," Radio News 5 (1924): 865.


151
orchestra of "some New York hotel . will now play for
[your] edification";68 (3) publicity in which "the object of
the speaker is withheld" (4) advertising in its "customary
and recognized forms," as in newspapers and magazines; or
(5) a mail order house's "announcement of the week's
bargains.1,69
At the fourth National Radio Conference, held in 1925,
the committee on advertising and publicity resolved that
"the conference deprecates the use of radio broadcasting for
direct sales effort, and any form of special pleading for
the broadcaster or his products, which forms are entirely
appropriate when printed or through direct advertising
mediums."70 In 1926 the program manager of AT&T's WEAF
(then flagship of a thirteen-station network) told a group
of advertising executives "Radio broadcasting is not an
advertising medium. . Radio broadcasting is purely and
68 Although the author called this the "least
objectionable form," it was sometimes overdone. The
handwritten station log for South Bend, Indiana's, WSBT
notes that one performer "did too much advertising" when he
repeatedly told listeners to come up to hear the new band.
Station WSBT Log, Nov. 19 1925, Broadcast Pioneer's Library
RG 80-1.
69James C. Young, "How Will You Have Your Advertising?"
Radio Broadcast 6 (1924): 244-5
70Proceedings of the Fourth National Radio Conference
(Washington: GPO, 1926) 18; rptd. in Documents in American
Telecommunications Policy. Vol. lf ed. John M. Kitross (New
York: Arno, 1977)


69
installed at a train terminal in Hoboken. The men at
ringside described the action by wire to operators at the
transmitter site who passed the information along to the
eager public, "announcing it in the same manner as an
eyewitness would." In many locations throughout the east,
volunteer amateurs received the transmission and amplified
it for the benefit of audiences in theaters and halls; the
price of admission was a charitable contribution to the
Committee for a Devastated France and the Navy League.74
The New York Times estimated that at least 500,000 people
followed the fight by wireless.75
That fall, RCA's first broadcasting station, WDY in
Roselle Park, New Jersey, went on the air. By February of
1922 WDY operated three nights a week, from 8 to 10 p.m.
Because all stations were licensed to broadcast on the same
wavelength (360 meters), WDY shared its schedule with
Westinghouse's New York-area station WJZ.76
74Pierre Boucheron, "Reporting the Big Scrap by
Radiofone," Radio News 3 (1921): 97.
75"Wireless Telephone Spreads Fight News Over 120,000
Miles," New York Times 3 July 1921: 6.
76"Broadcasting Station WDY," Wireless Age Feb. 1922:
19.


CHAPTER 3
THE RADIO FAD: 1922
Wonder at the veritable epidemic of interest in
the new radio art is pretty sure to be followed
whenever radio is being talked aboutand it is
being talked about wherever people congregateby
the question as to whether this interest will
last.
"Is Radio Only a Passing Fad?"
Literary Digest. 3 June 1922
By the middle of April, 1922, at least 2,250,000
American familiessubscribers to the Saturday Evening
Postknew that something was "Up in the Air."1 For those
who missed the story, there was Norman Rockwell's cover
drawing two weeks later: an elderly couple share headphones,
a newspaper on the man's knee open to the listing of "radio
concerts."2 In June writer and advertising executive Bruce
Barton introduced "This Magic Called Radio" to the 1,750,000
homes receiving American Magazine.3
1Floyd W. Parsons, "Up in the Air," Saturday Evening
Post 15 April 1922: 6+. The claim "More than two million
and a quarter weekly" appears on page 150 of that issue.
2Norman Rockwell, illustration, Saturday Evening Post
20 May 1922: cover.
3Bruce Barton, "This Magic Called Radio," American
Magazine June 1922: 11+. The circulation figure is from the
masthead. Other introductory articles include Stanley
72


I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
tL
F. Leslie Smith, Chair
Professor of Journalism and
Communications
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
//. \
Mickie N. Edwardson
Distinguished Service Professor of
Journalism and Communications
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully ad^uate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
David Ostroff
Professor of Jo
Communications
nalism and
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
£
H. Sidney Pactor
Associate Professor of Journalism
and Communications


108
from relatives, or friends who had a "radiophan"142 in their
homes.143 But radio was also in the air on Main Street and
on 42nd Street. During the winter of 1921-22, radio supply
stores had "sprung up by the hundreds."144 Radio receivers
were found for sale in hardware stores, drug stores,
clothing stores.-*-45 Department stores had demonstration
displays. New York's Lord and Taylor department store
advertised radio sets to pick up the 1922 World Series,
offering free score sheets from its seventh-floor radio
department.146 In addition, demonstrations were often set
up at meetings and conventions.147 The annual fall radio
show joined the auto show as a popular introduction to
industry's new model season.148 Chicago's first Radio Show,
in August 1921, included military displays and exhibits by
fifty "radio and electrical concerns."149
142A nickname for "radiophone fan" often found in
enthusiast magazines.
143Austin C. Lescarboura, Radio for Everybody (New
York: Scientific American, 1922) 59.
144"Far-Reaching Influence of the Radio Telephone,"
Electrical World 4 March 1922: 419.
145H[ugo] Gernsback, "Soon!" Radio News 3 (1922): 822.
146'iThe World Series by Radio," New York Times 1 Oct.
1922, Sports sec.: 27.
147Stanley B. Jones, "How to Sell Ten Million Radio
Outfits," Radio News 3: 842.
148Fall radio shows continued through the decade. For
example, see Edgar H. Felix, "What's New at the Radio
Shows," Radio Broadcast 9 (1926): 518-522.


35
become the British Broadcasting Corporation).84 Australia's
broadcast history is also one of directed development: the
Australian government officially inaugurated radio
broadcasting in September of 1923, at a per-station receiver
fee that has been called "prohibitive."8^ Between August
1923 and June 1924 only 1,400 Australians (out of an
estimated population of almost six million) obtained
licenses, compared with an estimated three million radio
households in the United States (in a population estimated
at more than 114 million) by the beginning of 1924.86
Other Types of Studies
Two methodologies that have not been used to study the
development of the listening audience and the transition of
radio's place in the American home are diffusion of
innovation and retrospective technology assessment.
84The first part of a two-volume series examining
British broadcasting historically focuses on the structural
development of the service, devoting only a brief final
chapter to the listening audience; the second volume is
intended to examine British broadcasting's social
implications. Paddy Scannell and David Cardiff, A Social
History of British Broadcasting: Volume One 1922-1939:
Serving the Nation (Oxford: Blackwell, 1991). For a study
of early British radio listening, see Shaun Moores, "'The
Box on the Dresser': Memories of Early Radio and Everyday
Life," Media. Culture and Society 10 (1988): 23-40.
85Lesley Johnson, The Unseen Voice: A Cultural Study of
Early Australian Radio (London: Routledge, 1988) 12.
86"Statistical Survey of the Radio Business," Radio
Retailing March 1928: 36-37.


142
listings of both local stations and major stations in
distant cities. Gradually, however, as radio came to be
used for advertising (even if only so-called goodwill
publicity), publishers began to view the new medium as a
competitor for advertising dollars. In 1926 Editor &
Publisher magazine began the new year with a "Banish Free
Publicity in 1926" campaign, primarily aimed at radio-
related publicity and information.35 Later that year the
attack spread to the listing of programs that included
business names, such as the Happiness rCandy1 Bovs, or the
Goodrich Zippers.36 Daily logs guickly became less useful
to radio listeners, as program names were replaced by
generic descriptions; for example, the Goodrich Zippers show
was listed as "variety musicale" and the Whittall Anglo
Persians were referred to simply as "Oriental Orchestra."37
35Frank T. Carroll, "Banish Free Publicity in 1926,"
Editor & Publisher 2 Jan. 1926: 11.
36Ironically, the radio broadcasters were to be
penalized for unwelcome restrictions imposed on their
industry to some extent by their accusers: the newspapers
were vocally at the forefront of demands that radio limit
its commercial activities to "goodwill" advertisingthe
connection of a program with the name of a businessrather
than the direct advertising of products and prices they felt
to be their exclusive province.
37"Advertisers Miss Their Free Mention," Editor &
Publisher 22 Jan. 1927: 45. After five months of limited
listings, New York City's newspapers returned to publication
of "uncensored programs," citing concern for the
"convenience and welfare of the reader." "Trade Names Back
in N.Y. Radio Programs," Editor & Publisher 12 March 1927:
9.


87
In the summer of 1922 Mrs. Frederick (her byline
usually carried the honorific before her name) told Good
Housekeeping's readers of radio's benefits for women in the
home. She proposed a plan of daytime broadcasting that
included physical education (setting-up exercises, health
and beauty talks), children's programs, household interests,
cultural topics (correct English, musical programs, drama
and book reviews, fashion and dress discussions), and social
interests (news, politics, worship, club activities).65
Women in Radio
Women had participated in radio from the beginning. In
1908 inventor Lee de Forest married civil engineer Nora
Blatch, granddaughter of early feminist Elizabeth Cady
Stanton. Blatch later studied electrical engineering and
worked in the laboratory with her husband.66 California's
"Doc" Herrold began teaching radio in 1909; in 1913 his new
wife learned Morse code and began giving classes at the
family dining table.67 Mary Texanna Loomis, a relative of
Scientific Management in the Home. (Chicago: American School
of Home Economics, 1919) 500.
65Christine Frederick, "A Real Use for the Radio," Good
Housekeeping July 1922: 77+.
66De Forest called this the "first grave mistake" of
their relationship, which ended within a year. Lee de
Forest, Father of Radio (Chicago: Wilcox, 1950) 223.
67Erik Barnouw, A Tower in Babel (New York: Oxford UP,
1966) 35.


200
Lumley, Frederick H. Measurement in Radio. Columbus: Ohio
State UP, 1934.
Lundberg, George A. "The Content of Radio Programs."
Social Forces 7 (1928).
Lyle, Eugene P., Jr. "The Advance of Wireless." Worlds
Work 9 (1905): 5845-8.
Lynch, Arthur H. "A Wireless Telephone Receiving Set for
Ten Dollars." Popular Science Monthly Oct. 1921: 84.
Lynd, Robert S. and Helen Merrell Lynd. Middletown: A
Study in American Culture. New York: Harcourt, 1929.
Lynd, Robert S. and Helen Merrell Lynd. Middletown in
Transition: A Study in Cultural Conflicts. New York:
Harcourt, 1937.
Lyons, Eugene. David Sarnoff. New York: Harper, 1966.
MacLean, Owen. "The Man Who Made Radio Broadcasting
Possible." American Magazine Feb. 1924: 37+.
MacLeish, Archibald. "There Was Something About the
Twenties" Saturday Review 31 Dec. 1966: 10-12.
MacLeish, Archibald. The Fall of the City: A Verse Play
for Radio. New York: Farrar, 1937.
Mahajan, Vijay and Robert A. Peterson. Models for
Innovation Diffusion. Beverly Hills: Sage, 1985.
Mahajan, Vijay and Yoram Wind. Innovation Diffusion Models
of New Product Acceptance. Cambridge: Ballinger, 1986.
"Mah Jong Set." Advertisement. American Magazine April
1924: 196.
"Mah Jongg." Advertisement. Saturday Evening Post 12 Aug.
1922: 101.
"Making Five Thousand Radio Sets a Day." Popular Mechanics
Jan. 1925: 13-16.
Maltby, Richard, ed. Dreams for Sale: Popular Culture in
the 20th Century. London: Harrap, 1989.
Mander, Mary S. "The Public Debate About Broadcasting in
the Twenties: An Interpretive History." Journal of
Broadcasting 28 (1984): 167-185.


I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Associate Professor of History
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty
of the College of Journalism and Communications and to the
Graduate School and was accepted as partial fulfillment of
the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
December 1993
Dean /' college of Journalism and
Communications
Dean, Graduate School


147
decade's greatest miraclesit was an age of soprano
recitals and hygiene talks. Well into the 1930s, according
to one broadcast history, "the best literary brains of the
country had not vision enough to see where they might fit
into the picture,"52 although, as poet Archibald MacLeish
wrote, poets should be "storming the [radio] studios,"
because the technigue of radio had "developed tools which
could not have been more perfectly adapted to the poet's
uses had he devised them himself."53
Programming for women, an eager audience with access to
radio receivers during a large part of the day, grew
steadily between 1924 and 1926. By March of 1926, according
to Radio Retailing.
Practically every station devotes a good portion
of its time, particularly during the daylight
hours, to features which are intimately associated
with every woman's immediate personal interests.
So enthusiastic has been the response to these
women's features that many stations have
instituted both morning and afternoon programs to
comply with the demand.54
Through the winter of 1925 General Electric's WDY offered
weekly talks and "musical entertainments" by the Schenectady
Women's Club.55 WGBS, New York, offered mornings of
52Firth and Erskine 21.
53Archibald MacLeish, The Fall of the City: A Verse
Play for Radio (New York: Farrar, 1937) xi.
54"Radio's Splendid ProgramsAre You Selling Them?"
Radio Retailing 3 (1926): 253.
55"WGY Forms Women's Club," New York Times 4 Oct. 1925,


67
Although general circulation magazines did not herald
the new information and entertainment service during 1921,
Scientific American regularly featured radio articles in
both its weekly and monthly editions. The focus remained
technical information for and about radio amateurs, but
reception of "concerts" was occasionally mentioned.68
Popular Science Monthly featured many articles about the
radio hobby; however, few treated the reception of broadcast
programming, and it was not until October 1921, almost a
year after KDKA's debut, that Popular Science's "Home
Workshop" section offered instructions for building a ten-
dollar wireless set to "receive radio music and vaudeville
in your home."69
Radio amateurs had their own magazines: Wireless Age,
published by American Marconi, and OST. published by the
American Radio Relay League. In 1919 Hugo Gernsback, one of
the earliest suppliers of parts to wireless hobbyists and
publisher of Modern Electrics, launched Radio Amateur News
(the name was shortened to Radio News in July 1920).
18.
68Among the earliest was "PortaphoneA Wireless Set
for Dance Music or the Day's News," Scientific American 122
(1920): 571.
69Arthur H. Lynch, "A Wireless Telephone Receiving Set
for Ten Dollars," Popular Science Monthly Oct. 1921: 84.


47
Professional Radiotelearaphv
Wireless telegraphy was a boon to newspapers compiling
reports of the world's news, and papers were quick to boast
of their use of the new technology. By 1909 the New York
Times featured foreign news under a decorative banner
announcing "The Marconi Transatlantic Wireless
Dispatches."11 "The Times's Daily Wireless and Cable
Dispatches" might also include announcements of the new
wireless stations built by the Marconi Company.12
Both the romance and the respect accorded wireless
communications grew when the use of radio technology on
ships at sea was credited with saving lives. On January 24,
1909, the British liner Republic collided with the S. S.
Florida off Nantucket; through the many pages of newspaper
coverage, wireless telegraphy emerged as the hero.13
Praising the role of wireless in the rescue of all on board
who had not died in the initial collision, a Times editorial
proclaimed that "C Q D," the standard distress call at that
time, had now "come into the public knowledge and will be
fixed indelibly in the memory."14 The collision also made a
11"Marconi Transatlantic Wireless Dispatches," New York
Times 24 Jan. 1909, part 3: 1.
12"Viewing Wireless Stations," New York Times 29 March
1912: 6.
13"Liner Republic Rammed at Sea," New York Times 24
Jan. 1909: 1; "How Wireless Saved a Ship," New York Times 24
Jan. 1909: 1.


119
Certain segments of the American public, however, saw too
much value in radio service to abandon the new medium at the
first sign of trouble. For example, radio had early proved
itself useful to farm families. In 1910 Hugo Gernsback,
then publisher of Modern Electrics. prophesied that within
ten years farmers would have radio telephones as two-way
tools for communication.182 In mid-1921 the government
began sending out agricultural market reports by wireless.
Although intended to allow farmers to monitor daily market
conditions, the reports were to be received by extension
agents and volunteer amateur wireless operators, who would
pass the information along to individual farmers.183 Farm
Journal soon predicted that "in the near future any
progressive farmer may have his own automatic receiving
apparatus."184 In the summer of 1921 the federal government
proposed sending agricultural market reports and other
business news using the radio stations of the Air Mail
service,185 and by September 1921 market reports were
broadcast several times a day from the post office's Air
182H[ugo] Gernsback, The Wireless Telephone (New York:
Modern Electrics, 1910) preface.
I83"Wireless Now Carries Late Market Reports," New York
Times 19 June 1921, sec. 2: 1.
184"Wireless for Farmers," editorial, Farm Journal Feb.
1921: 11.
185"Wireless Phone Service Planned," Detroit News 21
July 1921: 1.


74
more than a hundred million dollars' worth of pianos and
organs, and almost one million dollars' worth of
phonographs; factories also turned out more than two hundred
thousand player pianos that year.9 Music continued to be an
important part of life during the war years and after.10
Well into the 1920s sheet music publishers ran lyrical ads
in popular magazines, with claims such as "every chap that
has ever dreamt of a lovely girl will like this song," and
"the mystic East will cast its magic spell over you when you
hear 'My Desert Fantasy.'"11 Family magazines featured
piano question-and-answer pages, song arrangements, and
dance diagrams, much as they soon would offer technical
advice and wiring diagrams to the new radio fans.12
York Times 22 Jan. 1922, sec 2: 13.
9William Howard Shaw, Value of Commodity Output Since
1869 (New York: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1947)
121; Harvey Roehl, Player Piano Treasury. 2d. ed. (Vestal:
Vestal, 1973) 51.
10England tried limiting the sale of musical
instruments as a luxury, but soon realized both soldiers and
civilians needed the relief music provided. The popularity
of musical instruments continued after the war; in 1924 an
estimated thirty million Americans played musical
instruments. John Howe, "Are You Among the 30,000,000 Who
Play Musical Instruments?" American Magazine Nov. 1924: 42.
llnSing Stasny Songs," advertisement, American Magazine
March 1920: 247.
12For example "New Social Dance: The Pavlowana," Ladies
Home Journal Jan. 1915: 10-12; Josef Hofman, "Piano
Questions Answered," Ladies Home Journal March 1916: 50;
John M. Williams, "If Your child is Taking Piano Lessons,"
Ladies Home Journal Sept. 1916: 19.


44
Wire Telephony
"This is the age of telephones," the journal Telephony
declared in 1905 of that "most useful and . most abused
feature of the household machinery." Patients expected
medical advice by phone, customers pestered their bankers
for football scores and political developments, stores were
asked to describe merchandise over the wire. "Bless the
telephone; it is the wonder of the age," the article
concluded; "it is making a careless, lazy, discourteous, but
comfortable and happy, civilization."4 Twenty-eight years
earlier, when the telephone was first patented, a newspaper
cartoonist predicted "The Terrors of the TelephoneThe
Orator of the Future": wires from a telephone instrument
spread out to all the cities of the world, as a frenetic
orator harangues the multitudes from Dublin to the Fiji
Islands.5 In fact, before the turn of the century this
transportation era and the communication era, see Carolyn
Marvin, The Electrical Imagination: Predicting the Future of
Communications in Britain and the United States in the Late
Nineteenth Century, diss., U Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 1979
(Ann Arbor: UMI, 1980).
4"Telephoning is the National Craze," Telephony
December 1905: 412.
5"Terrors of the TelephoneThe Orator of the Future,"
cartoon, New York Daily Graphic 15 March 1877: 1.
Apparently, public feeling about this scientific marvel was
ambivalent. Two weeks earlier the same newspaper had
editorialized about the "Triumphs of the Telephone," (28
February 1877: 818) and four weeks later the "Wonders of the
Telephone" (31 March 1877: 215).


31
with the new technology of radio during the early 1920s.76
In analyzing the "organizing ideas and images" of the
earliest broadcasting rhetoric, Covert found a tendency to
couch discussion in spiritual or religious terms (even
remarking on the dual meaning of the word "medium")77.
However, Covert's interpretation rests entirely on an elite
discussion: her sources were analyses and commentaries by
intellectuals, academics, and essayists that appeared in the
elite popular press (for example New Republic. Scientific
American, and the New York Times). Covert presented little
evidence that members of the American public were moved to
analyze or intellectualize the remarkable new service as
were these writers (by either inclination or profession), or
that before 1924 radio broadcasting caused individuals to
pass though a series of emotional stages similar to the
five-stage grief process (denial and isolation, anger,
bargaining, depression, acceptance) or that the term
"wireless" implied a "loss" of wires78 rather than the more
76Catherine L. Covert, "'Loss and Change': Radio and
the Shock to Sensibility in American life, 1919-1924,"
(Paper presented to the Association for Education in
Journalism, Athens, OH, 1982; ERIC ED 217 447) 4; Catherine
L. Covert, "We May Hear Too Much: American Sensibility and
the Response to Radio, 1919-1924," Mass Media Between the
Wars: Perceptions of Cultural Tension. 1918-1941. ed.
Catherine L. Covert and John D. Stevens (Syracuse: Syracuse
UP, 1984).
77Covert, "Loss and Change" 8.
78Covert, "Loss and Change" 34; "We May Hear" 219.


13
variations on a themesuch as shirt color or automobile
body styleand are frequently cyclical, whereas fads are
most often based on inventions or innovations that lack
historical continuity.27 Fads usually grow rapidly and
disappear completely, although some fads remain present in
society at a level below their peak of popularity.28
Technological innovations often enter the culture originally
as fads.29
Household utility. The phrase "household utility" to
describe radio's third phase is borrowed from David Sarnoff,
who as a 25-year-old manager at the American Marconi Company
in 1916 proposed a plan "to make radio a 'household
utility,'" with a "Radio Music Box" that could bring music,
lectures, sports scores, and "events of national importance"
into the home.30 Although magazine articles throughout the
1920s used the term "household utility," the meaning of the
phrase was never made clear.31 Dictionary definitions of
27Herbert Blumer, "Fashion," International Encyclopedia
of the Social Sciences ed. David L. Sills (New York:
McMillan, 1968) 5: 346.
28Thomas S. Robertson, Innovative Behavior and
Communication (New York: Holt, 1971) 49.
29Aguirre, Quarantelli, and Mendoza 577.
30Sarnoff, Looking Ahead 31.
31During the 1920s the phrase "public utility" was also
used, as people asked if radio should become a regulated
monopoly similar to electric service. See Robert D. Heinl,
"Is a Broadcasting Station a Public Utility?" Public


153
Although newspaper columnists and legislators decried
direct advertising as an aesthetic offense,74 to those for
whom radio was a useful service rather than an amusement
direct advertising might have added to the medium's value.
Listeners from rural areas wrote to the Federal Radio
Commission in support of direct advertising, pointing out
its economic advantages to the listener.75
During the 1920s women's domestic purchasing was
increasingly guided by advertising information. When
broadcast sponsors realized that women controlled most
household spending, sponsors showed increasing interest in
offering shows that would attract female audiences.76 A
73Lescarboura, "How Much it Costs to Broadcast" 370.
74Ironically, had direct advertising been allowed from
the beginning the need for hiding sponsorship within the
content of the programming would have been eliminated, and
stations might have sold "spot advertising" short messages
separate from editorial content, similar to newspaper and
magazine advertisingthus allowing the surrounding program
content to be produced by broadcasters and the creative
community rather than by advertising agencies.
75United States Federal Radio Commission, Second Annual
Report (Washington: GPO, 1928) 19.
76Home economist Christine Frederick turned her
interest in the late 1920s from scientific housekeeping to
boosting the new American consumerism. However, in spite of
her earlier support of radio as an aid to rational housework
there was no mention of the benefits of radio advertising in
her study of women as "purchasing agent of the family."
Christine Frederick, Selling Mrs. Consumer (New York:
Business Bourse, 1929) 12. For a recent historical study of
broadcast advertising targeted to women, see Eileen R.
Meehan, "Heads of Household and Ladies of the House: Gender,
Genre, and Broadcast Ratings, 1929-1990," Ruthless
Criticism: New Perspectives in U. S. Communication History,


164
eventually become the Columbia Broadcasting System, was
formed the same year.117 By early 1927 a wide variety of
shows was available for evening listening. Over the next
several years, as business began to recognize the potential
benefit of national exposure through radio broadcasting,
radio programming began to reflect the amount of money
invested by program sponsors.118
The year 1929 is often considered the beginning of the
1 1 Q
great entertainment age of American broadcasting.
Digest, 2 Oct. 1926: 13. Network broadcasting allowed
several stations to be interconnected, so that all could
broadcast programming originating at one. By January 1923,
American Telephone and Telegraph, with access to high-
guality telephone lines, had connected two stations; by June
of that year they could offer a 4-station network. By 1925,
13 stations participated in the WEAF network, and by 1926,
17. See William Peck Banning, Commercial Broadcasting
Pioneer: The WEAF Experiment. 1922-1926 (Cambridge: Harvard
UP, 1946): 264, 289. RCA's WJZ and WGY were networked with
several other stations; see Austin C. Lescarboura, "How Much
it Costs to Broadcast," Radio Broadcast 9 (1926): 370.
117By the fall of 1926 there were seven "chains" of
stations serving various areas of the country; see
"Broadcast Miscellany," Radio Broadcast 9 (1926): 393.
118Nationwide programming emanating from large cities
was not without its detractors. One commentator found that
performers were signed up for their name value only, even if
their skills did not translate well into the aural medium.
The author's examples included Will Rogers, and the lariat
that seemed so important an aspect of his stage appearances.
Rogers, however, went on to become a popular radio humorist
before he died in 1935. "The Jealous Mike," editorial, The
Independent 117 (1926): 631.
119Robert E. Summers and Harrison B. Summers,
Broadcasting and the Public (Belmont: Wadsworth, 1966) 54.


183
Bilby, Kenneth. The General: David Sarnoff and the Rise of
the Communications Industry. New York: Harper, 1986.
Binns, Jack. "A New Broadcasting Plan." Popular Science
Monthly May 1923: 38.
"Binns, Wireless, Kissed by Chorus." New York Times 29 Jan.
1909: 2.
Bliven, Bruce. "The Ether Will Now Oblige." New Republic
15 Feb. 1922: 328-330.
Bliven, Bruce. "How Radio is Remaking Our World." Century
108 (1924): 147-154.
Blumer, Herbert. "Fashion." International Encyclopedia of
the Social Sciences. Ed. David L. Sills. New York:
Macmillan, 1968.
Blumler, Jay G. and Elihu Katz, eds. The Uses of Mass
Communication: Current Perspectives on Gratifications
Research. Beverly Hills: Sage, 1974.
Blumler, Jay G. "The Role of Theory in Uses and
Gratifications Studies." Communication Research 6.1
(1979): 9-36.
Boddy, William. "The Rhetoric and the Economic Roots of the
American Broadcasting Industry." Cine-Tracts 2 (1979)
37-54.
Bogardus, Emory S. "Social Psychology of Fads." Journal of
Applied Sociology 8 (1924): 239-43.
Boorstin, Daniel J. The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in
America. New York: Harper, 1961.
Bortz, Paul I. and Harold Mendelsohn. Radio Todayand
Tomorrow. Washington: National Association of
Broadcasters, 1982.
Boucheron, Pierre. "Reporting the Big Scrap by Radiofone."
Radio News 3 (1921): 97.
Bowers, Raymond Victor. "A Genetic Study of Institutional
Growth and Cultural Diffusion in Contemporary American
Civilization, an Analysis in Terms of Amateur Radio."
Diss. U of Minnesota, 1934.
Bowers, Raymond V. "The Direction of Intra-Societal
Diffusion." American Sociological Review 2 (1937): 826-
36.


192
Frederick, Christine. Household Engineering: Scientific
Management in the Home. Chicago: American School of Home
Economics, 1919.
Frederick, Christine. "How I Made a Career out of Home and
Radio." Wireless Age Aug. 1924: 34+
Frederick, Christine. "Radio Makes Servants Contented."
Radio News 9 (1926): 1523+.
Frederick, Christine. "A Real Use for the Radio." Good
Housekeeping July 1922: 77+.
Frederick, Christine. Selling Mrs. Consumer. New York:
Business Bourse, 1929.
Frederick, Christine. "Women, Politics, and Radio."
Popular Radio 12 Oct. 1924: 36+.
"Free Radio 'Applause Cards'." Advertisement. American
Magazine March 1924: 176.
"From Coast to Coast Conn Music Fills the Air."
Advertisement. American Magazine May 1922: 121.
Frost, Stanley. "Radio Dreams That Can Come True."
Collier's 10 June 1922: 10+.
Frost, Stanley. "Radio, Our Next Great Step Forward."
Collier's 8 April 1922: 3+.
"Future of Radio." The New Republic 8 Oct. 1924: 135-6.
Gans, Herbert. Popular Culture and High Culture: An
Analysis and Evaluation of Taste. New York: Basic, 1974.
Gelatt, Roland. The Fabulous Phonograph. 1877-1977. 2nd
revised ed. New York: Macmillan, 1977.
Gelber, Steven M. "A Job You Can't Lose: Work and Hobbies
in the Great Depression." Journal of Social History 24
(1991): 741-767.
Gernsback, Hugo. "400,000 Wireless Amateurs." New York
Times 29 March 1912: 12.
Gernsback, Hugo. Radio For All. Philadelphia: Lippincott,
1922.
Gernsback, Hugo, ed. Radio-Craft Jubilee Souvenir Number:
50 Years of Radio. 1938. Vestal: Vestal, 1987.


218
Diss. U of Minnesota, 1990. Ann Arbor: UMI, 1991.
Wade, Herbert T. "Wireless Telephony by the De Forest
System." Review of Reviews 35 (1907): 681-5.
Walker, James R. Walker. "Old Media on New Media: National
Popular Press Reaction to Mechanical Television."
Journal of Popular Culture 25.1 (1991) 21-29.
Wallace, John. "The Listeners' Point of View." Radio
Broadcast 9 (1926): 37-40.
Weaver, J. Clark. "What Happened to Radio?" Southern
Speech Journal 25 (1959-60) 43-49.
Weeks, Lewis Elton. Order Out of Chaos: The Formative Years
of American Broadcasting. Diss. Michigan State, 1932.
Ann Arbor: UMI, 1963.
Welles, Kingsley. "Do We Need 'Silent Nights' for Radio
Stations?" Radio Broadcast 7 (1925): 753.
Welles, Kingsley. "The WGBS Prize Play Contest." Radio
Broadcast 7 (1925): 757.
Werstein, Irving. Shattered Decade 1919-1929. New York:
Scribner's, 1970.
Westinghouse Broadcasting Company. "History of Broadcasting
and KDKA Radio." American Broadcasting. Ed. Lawrence W.
Lichty and Malachi C. Topping. New York: Hastings, 1975.
102-110.
"Westinghouse Radio Station, KDKA." Detroit News 26 June
1921: 6.
"Westinghouse Radiophone Studio, Station KYW, ProgramWeek
of Feb. 27, 1922." Broadcast Pioneers Library, KYW
Station File.
Wetherbee, Wilson. "Broadcasting to Go; Next, 'Radio
Presentation'." Chicago Sunday Tribune 3 May 1925, pt.
9: 1-2.
"WGY Forms Women's Club." New York Times 4 Oct. 1925, sec.
XX: 17.
"What Listeners-In Want." Radio News 5 (1924): 1337.
"What Will Radio Mean to You?" Popular Science Monthly Feb.
1922: 27.
"What You Want .
II
Advertisement. American Magazine


CHAPTER 4
A HOUSEHOLD UTILITY: 1926
Radio is not a single, isolated experience such as
seeing a Broadway show or taking a vacation. It
is woven into the daily pattern of our lives year
in and year out.1
Paul F. Lazarsfeld and Harry Field,
The People Look at Radio (1946)
Introduction
Between 1924 and 1926 broadcasting continued to
develop. By the spring of 1926, radio's future role as a
household utility was assured. Radio's use to the American
family, and specifically to the family woman in the American
home had been established. This chapter describes the ways
in which people came to use radio in 1926 (and how these
same uses persisted in later years), and the aspects of the
radio service of mid-1926the stations, the programs, the
advertising, and the eguipmentthat combined to transform
radio broadcasting from a fad to a household utility.
The Uses of Radio
In the earliest years of the century, radio
experimentation could provide amusement, communication, and
1Paul F. Lazarsfeld and Harry Field, The People Look at
Radio (Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1946) 5.
129


215
"Tetrazzini's Voice Heard 400 Miles Away." New York Times
4 Dec. 1920: 2.
"The Girl Who Helped Put Radio on a Balanced Diet." The
American Magazine May 1929: 65-6.
"This Amazing Radio Feature." Advertisement. Literary
Digest 30 Sept. 1922: 41.
Thomas, Lowell. Maaic Dials: The Story of Radio and
Television. N.p.: Polygraphic, 1939.
Thompson, Paul. The Voice of the Past: Oral History.
Oxford: Oxford UP, 1978.
Thurston, Mabel Nelson. "This Young Woman Founded a Radio
School." American Magazine May 1924: 73-74.
"Times's Daily Wireless and Cable Dispatches." New York
Times 29 March 1912: 6.
"Times's Daily Wireless and Cable Dispatches." New York
Times 24 Jan. 1909: 2.
"Titanic Tragedy." Literary Digest 44 (1912): 865-868.
"To Flash Election Returns by Radio." Los Angeles Times 1
Nov. 1920: 2.
"To Hear Symphony Concert at Sea." New York Times 27 June
1920, sec. 6: 3.
"To Kill Off Broadcasting 'Pirates'." Literary Digest 7 May
1927: 13.
"To Sell Wireless Telephone Service." New York Times 11
Feb. 1922: 14.
"To the GirlsWorkers All." Advertisement. Life 21 Jan.
1926: 25.
"To Wed in Plane 3,000 Feet Above Times Sguare." New York
Times 24 April 1922: 1.
"Today's Radiophone Program." Advertisement. New York
Herald 20 May 1922: 20.
Toll, Robert C. The Entertainment Machine: American Show
Business in the Twentieth Century. Oxford: Oxford UP,
1982.
"To-Night Listen In."
Advertisement. Literary Digest 24


154
1933 study pointed out that
Surveys seem to show that the housewife is the one
to whom radio advertising should be directed. She
has the most influence upon family purchases and
spends the greatest amount of time in the home.
She is the member of the family most easily
reached by radio broadcasts.77
Access to housewives assured broad reach into various types
of homes, because radio use by women cut across socio
economic lines.78 In addition, servants in the homes of the
very wealthy found the same gratifications from radio as did
women in more modest householdsand often those servants
controlled some of the household purchasing. *
The Household Utility
David Sarnoff envisioned radio as a household utility
in his 1916 memo, but added the phrase "like the piano or
phonograph."80 In the memo, Sarnoff set out several
specific criteria he thought necessary to transform the
amateur hobbyist's mass of wires and boxes and knobs into a
ed. William S. Solomon and Robert W. McChesney (Minneapolis:
U of Minnesota P, 1993) 204-221.
77Frederick H. Lumley, Measurement in Radio (Columbus:
Ohio State UP, 1934): 204.
78"Women and Wireless," Literary Digest 15 Dec. 1923:
25.
79See Christine Frederick, "Radio Makes Servants
Contented," Radio News 7 (1926): 1523+.
80Gleason L. Archer, History of Radio to 1926 (New
York: American Historical Society, 1938) 112.


7
electronic home entertainment and information service.
Little has been written about the feelings and actions of
people outside the formal structure of the emerging industry
and its regulators during the years in which the public
became aware of the possibilities and pleasures of radio
listening, and no attempt has been made to identify a point
at which radio took its place as a household utility in the
American home.
The purpose of this research is to describe by what
means the American public learned about the new pastime of
radio listening, to understand for what reasons the public
was moved to participate in the radio fad, and to identify
the point at which broadcast listening made the transition
from a hobby to an important part of America's daily life.
Research Questions
The primary questions this study sought to answer were:
1. How did it happen that America's wireless hobby
developed during the 1920s into the daily activity of radio
listening, transforming radio into an information and
entertainment service considered a household utility?
2. At what point did radio become a household utility?
Answering those questions required asking several
others: (1) How did people learn about radio? (2) How did
people come to first try radio listening? (3) What groups


105
receiving a clear signal because of interference from
amateur transmitters and competing broadcasting stations.
In 1922 all entertainment broadcasting was assigned to the
same wavelength, 360 meters.-*-^1 Thus, all stations in one
city broadcast on the same frequency and interference made
clear reception impossible. Wireless communications were
still regulated under the Radio Act of 1912, which had not
anticipated the development of broadcasting to the public.
Because the law governed use of radio on ships, enforcement
fell to the Department of Commerce Bureau of Navigation.
Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover said, upon opening the
first national radio conference in February 1922, "This is
one of the few instances where the country is unanimous in
its desire for more regulation".132 The conference's final
report proposed moving amateurs to a lower waveband and
creating a new class of broadcast stations to be assigned a
wavelength other than 360.133
131Weather and all other Government reports were
broadcast on 485 meters, requiring a shift in wavelength
when that information was to be transmitted.
132"Asks Radio Experts to Chart the Ether," New York
Times 28 Feb. 1922: 16. For a description of the four
annual radio conferences, see Edward F. Sarno, Jr., "The
National Radio Conferences," Journal of Broadcasting 13
(1969): 189-202.
133npr0p0ses New Laws for Radio Control," New York
Times 28 April 1922: 21. In March the Department of
Commerce created a separate classification for stations of
500 watts power or more that agreed not to program
phonograph or other mechanical music, and assigned these
"Class B" stations to 400 meters. Yet as the year closed,


52
government test and license were required for transmission,
and a body of hobbyist listeners without transmitting
equipment began to grow. The hobbyists would listen in on
commercial and amateur communication both in code and by
voice, a "super eavesdropping" that was considered one of
radio's greatest attractions.28
Experiments in Wireless Broadcasting29
Although the ability to transmit human speech without
wires was developed gradually over the years before 1920,
broadcasting has been called the "surprise party" of
wireless technology.30 The goal of experimentation in
wireless communication during the first two decades of the
twentieth century was still the improvement of point-to-
point communication; it was assumed wireless would take its
place as an adjunct to wired telegraphy and, eventually,
wired telephony, crossing distances too vast or populations
too sparse to be served by wires and cable. The concept of
28Austin C. Lescarboura, "Amateurs in Name Only,"
Scientific American 120 (1919): 688.
29For a chronological discussion of the development of
broadcasting technology see Robert H. Marriott, "United
States Radio Broadcasting Development," Proceedings of the
Institute of Radio Engineers 17 (1929): 1395-1439; and
Elliot N. Sivowitch, "A Technological Survey of
Broadcasting's Prehistory, 1876-1920," Journal of
Broadcasting 15.1 (1970-71): 1-20.
30J. G. Harbord, "The Commercial Uses of Radio," Radio,
ed. Irwin Stewart (1929) rptd. in Radio: Selected A.A.P.S.S.
Surveys, 1929-1941 (New York: Arno, 1971) 57.


110
Edison Symphony concert at Orchestra Hall, where "a
receiving apparatus was set up on the stage, with an aerial
stretching from the stage to the gallery and another coiled
on a frame near by."153 The symphony's conductor
demonstrated the technigues and limitations of the new
technology.
Out west, rural Woodleaf, California, arranged a "Radio
Hoot Owl Picnic" that drew more than three thousand men,
women, and children. "Hundreds of listeners in, residents
of mountainous districts who had never before heard radio,
received their first opportunity last Sunday and were so
enthused and interested they stayed late into the night in
order to enjoy music from various Coast stations."154
Any family that received the Sears, Roebuck or
Montgomery Ward catalogue knew about the radio fad. Sears
went on the air with station WLS ("World's Largest Store")
and called itself "Radio Headquarters."155 Both Sears and
Montgomery Ward began offering radio equipment through both
153Edward Moore, "Edison Orchestra Gives Radio
Concert," Chicago Daily Tribune 3 March 1922: 19.
154Julius Mueller to Gladys Salisbury, KPO (San
Francisco), Broadcast Pioneers Library, scrapbook RG4-1.
The "Hoot Owls," a group of business and professional men,
broadcast late at night over Portland, Oregon station KGW.
See "Hoot Owl Stuff," Wireless Age May 1924: 40; "The 'Hoot
Owls' of KGW," Radio Broadcast 7 (1925): 755.
155"WLS, The World's Largest Store," advertisement,
American Magazine Nov. 1924: 155.


182
Indianapolis: Bobbs, 1970.
Barnouw, Erik. A Tower in Babel: A History of Broadcasting
in the United States. Volume Ito 1933. New York:
Oxford UP, 1966.
Barnouw, Erik. The Golden Web: A History of Broadcasting in
the United States. Volume 11 1933 to 1953. New York:
Oxford UP, 1968.
Barnouw, Erik. The Image Empire: A History of Broadcasting
in the United States. Volume IIIFrom 1953. New York:
Oxford UP, 1970.
Barton, Bruce. "This Magic Called Radio." American
Magazine June 1922: 11+.
Baudino, Joseph R. and John M. Kitross. "Broadcasting's
Oldest Stations: An Examination of Four Claimants."
Journal of Broadcasting 21 (1977): 61-83.
Baum, Willa K. Oral History for the Local Historical
Society. Nashville: American Association for State and
Local History, 1971.
"Beauty." Advertisement. American Magazine Nov. 1930: 125.
Bell, Raymond D. "Pioneer Radio Days." 1934. Radio
Station Treasury: 1900-1946. Ed. Tom Kneitel. Commack:
CRB, 1986.
Bellamy, Edward. Looking Backward. 1887. Boston: Houghton,
1926
Benjamin, Louise M. "In Search of the Sarnoff 'Radio Music
Box' Memo." Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media
37 (1993): 325-335.
Bent, Silas. "Radio Squatters." The Independent 117
(1926): 389.
Beuick, Marshall D. "The Limited Social Effect of Radio
Broadcasting." American Journal of Sociology 32 (1926-
27): 615-622.
Bickel, Karl A. New Empires: The Newspaper and the Radio.
Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1930.
Bikhchandani, Sushil, David Hirshleifer, and Ivo Welch. "A
Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change as
Informational Cascades." Journal of Political Economy
100 (1992): 992-1026.


26
content of American broadcasting that has been faulted for
errors and generalizations resulting from the use of
secondary sources and oral history remembrances.60 Other,
less ambitious, narratives often lack both analysis and
documentation, although one of these, George H. Douglas's
1987 The Early Days of Radio Broadcasting, includes a
comprehensive 18-page bibliography.61
Commercial sponsorship of radio programming is the most
distinctive institutional feature of American broadcasting.
The development of conditions to support this structure were
analyzed by John W. Spalding in an article that dated the
beginning of radio's era of commercial success to late
1928.62
Technological Histories
Studies of the history of communication technology
often adopt a deterministic point of view. Technological
determinism sees the development of a technology as driven
primarily by scientific or other inherent causes rather than
by social or political pressures or assumptions; it is
60Rosen 577.
61George H. Douglas, The Early Days of Radio
Broadcasting (Jefferson: McFarland, 1987).
62John W. Spalding, "1928: Radio Becomes a Mass
Advertising Medium," Journal of Broadcasting 8.1 (1963-64)
31-44.


60
announcements of their station call signs and requests for
feedback on the quality of their signals. These "radiophone
concerts" became popular with the growing body of listener-
hobbyists .
The "Birth of Broadcasting"
In the Pittsburgh area, Westinghouse engineer Frank
Conrad's experimental station 8XK had remained operational
during the war, to aid in the development of wireless
equipment for the military. Conrad continued testing his
transmitting equipment following the war, changing from
coded telegraphy to voice transmission and finally to music
from phonograph records.52 In late September of 1920, the
Joseph Horne department store, whose full-page
advertisements in the Pittsburgh Sun took the form of a mock
newspaper page, ran a "column" under the headline "Air
Concert 'Picked Up' By Radio Here":
Victrola music, played into the air over a
wireless telephone, was "picked up" by listeners
on the wireless receiving station which was
recently installed here for patrons interested in
wireless experiments. The concert was heard
Thursday night about 10 o'clock, and continued 20
minutes. Two orchestra numbers, a soprano solo
which rang particularly high and clear through the
airand a juvenile "talking piece" constituted
the program.
The music was from a Victrola pulled up close
to the transmitter of a wireless telephone in the
52S. M. Kintner, "Pittsburgh's Contributions to Radio,"
Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers 20 (1932):
1857.


4
The future use [of wireless telephony may be] to
distribute news and messages of all sorts from
central stations to an enormous number of
subscribers. And music, too. and possibly plays
and pictures as well. . .-11
Radiotelegraphy and radiotelephony became a popular
scientific pastime, as experimenters built equipment, sent
and received messages, and eavesdropped on commercial
communications. No official figures exist for the
popularity of wireless experimentation before the licensing
of amateur transmitters began in 1912, but the magazine
Modern Electrics claimed circulation of 52,000 in 1911, and
according to an article in American Magazine by 1916 75,000
amateurs were building their own equipment and testing their
work by communicating over ever greater distances.12
The American Navy suspended amateur and nonmilitary
experimental radio activity for the duration of the World
War; after transmitter restrictions were lifted in 1919,
several hundred thousand wireless enthusiasts13 eagerly
reclaimed the ether, including young men trained in the
service, and boys and girls whose imaginations were sparked
by the idea of moving the human voice through air. In
11Carl Snyder, "The World's2ew Marvels," Collier's 25
Oct. 1913: 22.
12"75,000 American Boys Have This Enthusiasm," American
Magazine June 1916:103.
13F. A. Collins, "Boys and the Wireless," Woman's Home
Companion April 1920: 44.


19
various specialty magazines, including technical
publications such as Scientific American and Popular Science
Monthly. The various enthusiast magazines such as Wireless
Age, Radio Broadcast and Radio Newsmagazines that actually
monitored the changes in public use and perception of
radiowere useful for their frank editorial discussions of
the spread of interest in broadcasting (a trend viewed, in
some cases, with alarm and dismay). In the case of Radio
Broadcast and Radio News. all issues from the period under
study were examined. Additionally, the Readers' Guide to
Periodical Literature was used to locate stories about radio
in any of the more than 100 magazines indexed therein.47
In the early 1920s several newspaper publishers
conceived of radio as a natural addition to their
journalistic enterprises as well as a novelty capable of
generating publicity and goodwill for their papers; at the
same time, other publishers viewed the new technology as a
threat to their monopoly as the community's source of timely
information and its major advertising outlet.48
Nevertheless, many newspapers printed complete schedules of
47Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature (New York:
Wilson). Between 1919 and 1924 the guide indexed 108
publications; between 1925 and 1928, 126.
48By the mid 1920s newspaper publishers and their trade
press had already begun the anti-radio campaigns that would
culminate in the Press-Radio War of the 1930s.


136
According to Senator Clarence Dill, a sponsor of early radio
legislation, radio, unlike the automobile, strengthens the
bonds of the family.18
Radio, wrote an RCA employee during broadcasting's
earliest days, was the first solution to the conflict
between the workingman who wants to stay home at the end of
the day and the homemaker, who "prefers her pleasures in
some other location than the scene of her daily labors."
The moving picture, the theatre, the automobile
have been on woman's side, and insidious fighters
they have been. Man has marshalled to his aid the
phonograph, the player piano, and recently the
radiola [sic]. This last, the newest recruit to
the army of home, is proving day by day more
potent, because its propaganda appeals to both
sides of the conflict. Some day a play will be
written entitled "Why girls do not leave home,"
and the hero will be a Radiola Grand.19
18S. R. Winters, "Radio Just as Important as Tubs in
Home," Chicago Sunday Tribune 4 Oct. 1925, part 4: 10.
Radio and the automobile were often compared for their
effects. By the mid 1930s, many automobiles were equipped
with radio receivers. At first feared as a distraction, car
radios soon won acceptance as an aid to both driving safety
and driver pleasure. For a discussion of the pros and cons
of listening to radio on the road, see Edward A. Suchman,
"Radio Listening and Automobiles," Journal of Applied
Psychology 23 (1939): 148-157.
19G. H. Clark, "Short Broadcast Talks on Radio: The
Influence of Radio Broadcasting on Modern Home Life" Clark
Collection, Smithsonian Institution, SRM 134 009/95 040.
Advertisements for radio eguipment also made this point;
see, for example, "Pals Again," advertisement, American
Magazine Jan. 1923: 72.


88
19th-century radio experimenter Mahlon Loomis, went to
Washington to find war work, and signed up for radio school.
Her government license as a First-Class Radio Operator
earned her only the position of secretary at the radio
school, so in 1920 she founded her own school, Loomis Radio
College.68
"The Ladies are Coming," the American Radio Relay
League announced in its magazine OST in August 1917. An
editorial cautioned that when wartime restrictions were
lifted, amateurs should no longer feel free to use the
common nickname "Old Man" for fellow radio enthusiasts
contacted in code, as several hundred women were expected to
sign on. "Here's to them," the editorial closed, "and it
gives us great pleasure to extend the glad hand of
fellowship when the happy day comes, and we all re-open."69
In 1920 at least one hundred women were licensed as amateurs
in the New York area,70 and one writer noted the amateurs in
his town included a "great range of ages, nationality,
religion, station in the social life of the town, yes and
68Mabel Nelson Thurston, "This Young Woman Founded a
Radio School," American Magazine May 1924: 73-74.
69"The Ladies Are Coming," editorial, OST April 1917:
19. That month's cover showed a woman seated at a radio
receiver.
70Miss Marianne C. Brown, "One of the Gang," Radio
Amateur News 2 (1920): 148.


64
first promotional article based on information provided by
Westinghouse appeared in the Pittsburgh Post, describing the
following week's "program" and giving the station's
wavelength.61
The Detroit News
Several months before KDKA's broadcast the Detroit News
had also transmitted election returns by wireless, an event
that was heavily promoted in its own pages. On August 31,
the News broadcast results of the primary election from
amateur station 8MK, which operated from the News building.
A front-page box headed "RADIO OPERATORS! ATTENTION!" gave
specific information on the time, call sign and wavelength
of the broadcast to which the public could "listen in
tonight and get election returns and hear a concert sent out
by the Detroit News Radiophone."
The next day's front page boasted of the experiment's
success:
The sending of the election returns by the Detroit
News radiophone on Tuesday night was fraught with
romance and must go down in the history of man's
conquest of the elements as a gigantic step in his
progress. In the four hours that the apparatus
. . was hissing and whirring its message into
space, few realized that a dream and a prediction
60Entertainment by Wireless," Pittsburgh Post 4 Jan
1921: 6.
61"Program Arranged for Benefit of Radio Operators,"
Pittsburgh Post 20 Jan. 1921: 5.


93
column was written by Jennie Irene Mix from its inception in
April 1924 until her death in 1925.87
"Listening in" in 1922
The radio listening experience in 1922 was molded by
the level of development of receiving equipment, the type of
service offered by the broadcasters, and the needs and
expectations of the listening audience.
The Equipment
Although Westinghouse had entered broadcasting in order
to create a market for its radio equipment, the company was
prevented by patent problems from selling receivers to the
public until it reached an agreement with RCA in June of
1921.88 westinghouse produced the first home radio set
advertised by RCA, the Aeriola Jr.89 By mid-1922, more than
200 manufacturing firms were producing radio receivers,
according to survey by the National Retail Dry Goods
Association.90 A 1925 study explained:
The period of the popularization of radio
87"Listener's Point of View," Radio Broadcast 4 (1924)
474.
88United States Federal Trade Commission, Report on the
Radio Industry (Washington: GPO, 1924) 23-24. Westinghouse
ran an ad in the October 1921 Wireless Age showing a
receiver in a family setting. "Radio in The Home,"
advertisement, Wireless Age Oct. 1921: 7.
89"Every Family Can Now 'Listen In'," advertisement,
Radio News 3 (1922): 798-99.
90"Radio Business Growth," New York Times 11 May 1922:
28.


210
1924: 42-3.
Robb, Arthur. "Cutting Free Publicity From Radio Programs."
Editor & Publisher 2 Oct. 1926: 5+.
Robertson, Thomas S. Innovative Behavior and Communication.
New York: Holt, 1971.
Rockwell, Norman. Illustration. Saturday Evening Post 20
May 1922: cover.
Roehl, Harvey. Plaver Piano Treasury. 2nd. ed. Vestal:
Vestal, 1973.
Rogers, Daniel C. "Broadcasting Radio Market News by the
Missouri State Board of Agriculture." Radio News 3
(1921): 105+.
Rogers, Everett M. Diffusion of Innovations. New York:
Free, 1962.
Rogers, Everett M. and Ronny Adhikarya. "Diffusion of
Innovations: An Up-to-Date Review and Commentary."
Communication Yearbook 3. Ed. Dan Nimmo. New Brunswick:
Transaction, 1979. 67-82.
Rogers, A. Mae. "The Radio Girl." Radio Amateur News 2
(1920): 74.
Rosen, P. "The Marvel of Radio." American Quarterly 31
(1979):52-81.
Rosen, Philip T. The Modern Stentors. Westport: Greenwood,
1980.
Rosengren, Karl Erik, Lawrence A. Wenner, and Philip
Palmgreen, eds. Media Gratifications Research. Beverly
Hills: Sage, 1985.
Rothafel, Samuel L. and Raymond Francis Yates.
Broadcasting: Its New Day. New York: Century, 1925.
Rowe, G. C. B. "Broadcasting in 1912." Radio News 6
(1925): 2219+.
Rubin, Alan M. "Media Gratifications Through the Life
Cycle." Media Gratifications Research: Current
Perspectives. Ed. Karl Erik Rosengren, Lawrence A.
Wenner, and Philip Palmgreen. Beverly Hills: Sage, 1985.
195-208.
Rypinsky, M. C. "Radio, Our Newest Utility." Radio
Retailing March 1926: 277.


98
Corporation for a fifteen-minute talk about its new housing
development.10^ By November, however, the phone company
admitted the concept was still "not much of a success."106
Part of the AT&T plan was a network of interconnected
stations, envisioned in 1921 as a service that would enable
"national and local advertisers, industrial institutions of
all kinds, and even individuals if they desire, to send
forth information and advertising matter audibly to
thousands."107 By January of 1923 the company had linked
two stations by telephone lines, and by June of that year
could offer programmers access to a four-station network.
Program material during radio's fad years was provided
free of charge primarily by amateur performers who
volunteered their time108 or by business people who realized
105The text of this first WEAF commercial is reprinted
in Gleason L. Archer, History of Radio to 1926 397-399.
Although Queensboro purchased fifteen minutes of air time,
the talk itself and the short introduction to the speaker,
Mr. Blackwell, seems not to have taken more than seven or
eight minutes, based on the script as printed. According to
Archer, the station log shows the handwritten entry:
"5:00/5:10 Queensborough Corpn. [sic] Our first customer."
Archer, History of Radio to 1926 276.
106"No Opera by Radio During this Season," New York
Times 7 Nov. 1922: 31.
107Banning 67.
108According to one article in early 1924, "no person
has ever been paid [by a station] to broadcast." Raymond
Francis Yates, "What Will Happen to Broadcasting?" Outlook
136 (1924): 604.


168
experts, an examination of the earliest years of
broadcasting service shows that the listening audience
helped guide radio's development by the uses to which it put
the new technology.
Radio broadcasting has been called "a classic example
of the unanticipated consequences of technological change."2
During the first year of the radio fad, much was written of
the new medium's potential usefulness to society.3 The
earliest broadcastersmostly scientific experimenters, or
businesspeople motivated by curiosity and later by the hope
of accruing goodwill publicityhad no vision of what
radio's service should be or would become. It was the
listening public that found roles for radio, and in that way
helped shape radio's development.
The listeners' control over the content and purpose of
radio broadcasting, however, was limited to a yea-or-nay
vote on whatever programming had already been offered.
Listeners expressed approval of many of broadcasting's
earliest offerings without considering what other material
2Hugh G. Aitken, The Continuous Wave: Technology and
American Radio (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1985) 12.
3According to one columnist, in 1922 radio was expected
to "make the world safe for democracy, bring the heathen to
light, keep the boy off the streets, encourage home cooking,
give wits to the witless, prevent war, and bring about an
early utopia." John Wallace, "The Listeners' Point of
View," Radio Broadcast 9 (1926): 37.


195
Saturday Evening Post 8 April 1922: 100.
"Hears Concerts Over Wireless Telephone." Miami Herald 19
March 1922: 10A.
Heinl, Robert D. "Is a Broadcasting Station a Public
Utility?" Public Utilities Fortnightly 6 (1930): 344-
349.
Herzog, Herta. "What Do We Really Know About Daytime Serial
Listeners?" Radio Research 1942-1943. Ed. Paul F.
Lazarsfeld and Frank N. Stanton. New York: Duell, 1944.
3-33.
Hiatt, Walter S. "A New Style of Adventures." Collier's
18 Oct. 1913: 25-27.
Hill, Roger W. "From Out of the Past: Radio Revisited."
Journal of Popular Culture 5 (1971): 588-591.
Hilmes, Michele. Hollywood and Broadcasting: From Radio to
Cable. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1990.
Hobson, Rixey. "Radio with the Romance Tuned Out."
American Bankers Association Journal. 16 (1924): 479-
482.
Hoffmann, Frank W. and William G. Bailey. Arts &
Entertainment Fads. New York: Haworth, 1990.
Hoffman, Frederick J. "The Temper of the Twenties." The
Twenties: The Critical Issues. Ed. Joan Hoff Wilson.
Boston: Little, 1972. 109-118.
Hofman, Josef. "Piano Questions Answered." Ladies Home
Journal March 1916: 50+.
Holter, Frances. "Radio Among the Unemployed." Journal of
Applied Psychology 23 (1939): 164-169.
"Hoover's Powers Over Radio Denied." New York Times 17
April 1926: 1.
Hopkins, A. A. "A Voice Around the World." Mentor Oct.
1920: 38-39.
"Horne Daily News." Advertisement. Pittsburgh Post 29
Sept. 1920: 7.
"Hot Hoot Owl Stuff." Wireless Age May 1924: 40.
"How Binns Flashed His Calls for Help." New York Times 26
Jan. 1909: 4.


65
had come true. The news of the world was being
given forth through this invisible trumpet to the
unseen crowds in the unseen marketplace.62
In November the Detroit News made no mention of KDKA's
debut, but promoted its own election-night use of the
technology in a front-page article the next morning.63 By
1921, the Sunday Detroit News was running a weekly "Radio
Department," with technical advice, government bulletins,
and news of the local amateur radio organizations. In June
of 1921 the column published KDKA's daily schedule, for the
benefit of Detroit amateurs.64
Further Development During 1921
KDKA continued to present a regular schedule of
broadcasts. In Chicago Westinghouse opened station KYW and
undertook to broadcast all performances of the Chicago Civic
Opera, a stunt that was well publicized in words and
62"Land and Water Hear Returns by Wireless" Detroit
News 1 Sept. 1920: 1. The hyperbolic style continued to
mark the News coverage of its radio adventures; New Year's
morning the paper boasted that "for the first time, as far
as known, a human voice singing a New Year's melody of cheer
and good fellowship went out across uncounted miles over the
invisible, mysterious waves of ether that are the media of
the wireless telephone. ..." "News' Radio Sounds Taps for
Old, Reveille for New," Detroit News 1 Jan. 1921: 1. In
fact, Aubrey Fessenden apparently "broadcast" musical
greetings on New Year's Eve 1906; see Fessenden 153.
63"Screen, Radio Give Returns; Detroit News Adds
Facilities of Cinema, Wireless to Power of Presses," Detroit
News 3 Nov. 1920: 1.
64"Westinghouse Radio Station, KDKA," Detroit News 26
June 1921: 6.


150
as a matter of fact that is where many of them
are, and the radio broadcasters know it and build
their programs on it. This has been done
instinctively and without any special plan, but
numbers that appeal especially to femininity have
been taking more and more of the daylight hours
and now programs are arranged for morning and
afternoon that will appeal especially to women. .
65
The use of radio for advertising continued to generate
debate through the 1920s. As early as 1917 the radio
amateur magazine OST. noting that Lee de Forest often
transmitted talks by designers of radio equipment, suggested
the possibility of "conducting regular advertising and news
talks by radio."66 Advertising as a method of funding for
broadcasting came to be considered acceptable as long as it
did not involve direct sales efforts such as the mention of
price.67 In a 1924 article describing the possible forms of
radio advertising, Radio Broadcast asked: "How Will You Have
Your Advertising?" The choices, in order of their subtlety,
were: (1) "Mr. Albert Wagh of the Baked Bean Corporation of
America will now describe the scientific preparation of the
bean, from pod to pot"; (2) An announcement that the
65"Radio for Women," Literary Digest 28 Nov. 1925: 20.
66"Radio Telephone Advertising," OST April 1917: 34,
47.
67In February, 1922, the first national radio
conference approved "indirect advertising," limited to "a
statement of the call letter of the sending station and of
the name of the concern responsible for the matter
broadcasted." "Proposes New Laws for Radio Control," New
York Times 28 April 1922: 21.


213
Radio, 1920-1948: Traditional Journalism or Revolutionary
Technology?" Perspectives on Mass Communication History.
William David Sloan. Hillsdale: Erlbaum, 1991. 300-318.
Smith, Page. Redeeming the Time: A People's History of the
1920s and the New Deal. Vol. 8. New York: Penguin, 1987.
Smulyan, Susan. "And Now a Word from our Sponsors...11:
Commercialization of American Broadcast Radio. 1920-1934.
Diss. Yale U, 1985. Ann Arbor: UMI, 1986.
Snyder, Carl. "The World's New Marvels." Collier's 25 Oct.
1913: 22-23.
Sobel, Robert. RCA. New York: Stein, 1986.
Soule, George. The Prosperity Decade: From War to
Depression: 1917-1929. 1947. New York: Harper, 1968.
Spalding, John W. "1928: Radio Becomes a Mass Advertising
Medium." Journal of Broadcasting 8 (1963-4): 31-44.
Special Reports on American Broadcasting. 1932-1947. New
York: Arno, 1974.
"Stage Coach or Automobile? America Always Moves Forward."
Advertisement. New York Times 12 Jan. 1921: 18.
Stamps, Charles Henry. The Concept of the Mass Audience in
American Broadcasting: An Historical-Descriptive Study.
Diss. Northwestern U, 1956. New York: Arno, 1979.
Startt, James D. and William David Sloan. Historical
Methods in Mass Communication. Hillsdale: Erlbaum, 1989.
"Statistical Survey of the Radio Business." Radio Retailing
March 1928: 36-37.
Stebbins, Robert A. Amateurs: On the Margin between Work
and Leisure. Beverly Hills: Sage, 1979
Stempel, Guido H., Ill and Bruce H. Westley, eds. Research
Methods in Mass Communication. 2nd ed. Englewood
Cliffs: Prentice, 1989.
Sterling, Christopher H. Electronic Media: A Guide to
Trends in Broadcasting and Newer Technologies. 1920-1983.
New York: Praeger, 1984.
Sterling, Christopher H. and John M. Kitross. Stay Tuned: A
Concise History of American Broadcasting. Belmont:
Wadsworth, 1978.


220
Features," Pittsburgh Post 5 Nov. 1920: 16.
"Wireless Telephone Receiver Installed in Harding's Study."
New York Times 9 Feb. 1922: 1.
"Wireless Telephone Spreads Fight News Over 120,000 Miles."
New York Times 3 July 1921: 6.
"WJZ Extends WOR Courtesies of Air." New York Times 25 July
1922: 5.
"WJZ May Close Up to End Radio Row." New York Times 30 July
1922, sec. 2: 1.
"WLS, The World's Largest Store." Advertisement. American
Magazine Nov. 1924: 155.
Wolfe, Charles Hull. Modern Radio Advertising. New York:
Funk, 1949.
"Women and Wireless." The Literary Digest 15 Dec. 1923: 25.
"Women Interested in Radiophone." Radio News 3 (1922): 967.
"Wonders of the Telephone." New York Daily Graphic 31 March
1877: 215.
Wood, Lewis. "Making Radio Attractive to Women." Radio
Broadcast 4 (1923): 221-2.
Woods, David L. "Semantics Versus the 'First' Broadcasting
Station." Journal of Broadcasting 11 (1967): 199-207.
"The World Series by Radio." New York Times 1 Oct. 1922,
Sports Sec.: 27.
"Wounded Veterans Discover New Joys in Wireless." Popular
Science Monthly March 1922: 121.
Yates, Raymond Francis. "What Will Happen to Broadcasting?"
The Outlook 9 April 1924: 604-606.
Yates, Raymond Frances. "Will Broadcasting Become A 'Public
Utility'?" Popular Radio 10 (1926): 172-174.
Yates, Raymond Frances. "Winning the Public to Radio."
Radio News 3 (1921): 494+.
"The Yes and No Man." Popular Radio 10 (1926): 280.
Young, James C. "How Will You Have Your Advertising."
Radio Broadcast 6 (1924): 244-5.


179
be found in Virginia Scharff's Taking the Wheel: Women and
the Coming of the Motor Age.14
Radio would also have an effect on the lives of women.
By 1930 radio's service to the women of America had been
recognized:
So it is that Radio has lifted Woman out of
herself; lessened her loneliness; placed her in
her proper relation to the world as it is today.
It has brought her a consciousness of the
importance of herself as a personality. Through
it she has found a life of broadened horizonsand
the road to fuller happiness.15
A study of the changes in individual women's lives as a
result of the arrival of radio in the American home during
the 1920s would be difficult at 70 years' distance.
However, more recent technological innovationsfor example,
the personal computermight be suitable subjects for such a
study.
14Virginia Scharff, Taking the Wheel: Women and the
Coming of the Motor Age (New York: Free, 1991).
15
125.
Betty McGee, "Opened Doors," Radio Digest Sept. 1930:


Ill
their regular home catalogues and special catalogues.
Sears's fall 1919 catalogue had offered Gilbert Telegraph
Outfits as toys for "the older boy" as well as a page of
"Telegraph Instruments-Morse-Wireless" and a coupon for the
"Radio Apparatus Catalog."156 Through the spring book of
1921, one page of "Radio Telegraph Apparatus" was offered;
by fall of 1921 the word "telegraph" had been dropped. In
the spring of 1923, Sears offered the fully-assembled
Aeriola Sr. set from Westinghouse ($65) in addition to three
pages of radio parts and eguipment.157 Montgomery Ward,
which advertised its radio catalogue in the enthusiasts'
magazines, offered complete sets for as little as $23.50 in
the fall of 1923.158
Popular technical and scientific magazines offered
instruction in radio construction and practice during the
winter of 1921-22, but general interest magazine coverage
was still at the "gee whiz" stage, informative about the
theory and technology, but short on suggestions for
participating. Gradually, through the spring, the mass
156Sears, Roebuck and Company, catalogue, fall 1919:
841, 1319.
157Sears, Roebuck and Company, catalogue, spring 1923:
807-809.
158Montgomery Ward, catalogue, fall/winter 1923: 618-
619. Ward's also advertised its separate radio equipment
catalogue in magazines; see "Radio Catalogue Free,"
advertisement, Popular Science Monthly Sept. 1923: 83.


28
installation procedures and the need for additional
accessories revealed in the instruction booklet that
accompanied the set; for example, the ad does not mention
the ten individual batteries or the 100-foot wire aerial
required for proper operation.67 An analysis of social
situations portrayed in magazine ads led Volek to conclude
that by 1930 "the thrill and magic of hearing ethereal waves
had been replaced by social thrills and the magic of
status,"68 although information and images in popular
advertisements are often more prescriptive than reflective
and are more likely merely to illustrate the range of
permissible discourse about a product or service than to
present an accurate picture of a product or technology and
its place in society.69 When Volek concluded that "a mass
communication technology moves from a technical novelty to
social and cultural integration through a process marked by
development of its usefulness to and usability by society,"
advertisement, American Magazine Nov. 1925: 91.
67Radio Corporation of America, Radiola 20. instruction
booklet, No. 86990 Edition C, 1926 (Broadcast Pioneers
Library RG79 #537) 5.
68Volek 174.
69Andrew Feldman, Selling the "Electrical Dream" in
the 1920s: A Case Study in the Manipulation of Consciousness
(Paper presented to the Association for Education in
Journalism and Mass Communication, Portland, OR, 1988) 8
(ERIC ED 298 576).


17
process by which a phenomenon came about ("How did it happen
that . .?)43
The use of contemporaneous sources helps prevent
inadvertent presentism. Any discussion of the development
of what is now a pervasive communication technology is
susceptible to such historiographic pitfalls as the so-
called teleological fallacy, "the view that events occurred
in the past simply for the purpose of creating the present
situation."44 The historian of a phenomenon that both
continues to exist and continues to change must guard
against present-mindedness. In When Old Technologies Were
New, Carolyn Marvin wrote that we often see history as the
process by which "our ancestors looked for and gradually
discovered us, rather than as a succession of distinct
social visions, each with its own integrity and concerns."45
What Robert E. Park wrote of the "Natural History of the
Newspaper" in 1925 is even more true of radio broadcasting:
it is "the outcome of a historic process in which many
individuals participated without foreseeing what the
43Nord 299.
44George H. Daniels, "Technological Change and Social
Change," Technology and Change, ed. John G. Burke and
Marshall C. Eakin (San Francisco: Boyd, 1970) 96.
45Carolyn Marvin, When Old Technologies Were New (New
York: Oxford UP, 1988) 154.


127
some time past to enjoy the programs being broadcast by you,
but I will admit that I have been lax in my 'applause'."209
Some magazine articles urged the listeners-in to keep
their negative comments to themselves. "People . .
[overlook] the fact that at last they are getting something
for nothing . ," one performer complained. Broadcasters
and performers are trying their best to please the audience,
she wrote. "If you don't like their stuff, . turn a
dial and cease to be a guest, [but don't] send in
thoughtless messages to mar the perfect pleasure of your
host. ,,21
Radio Broadcast magazine, while urging fans to make
their opinions known to broadcasters, decried the attitude
that listeners "owed" feedback to the station in return for
free entertainment.211 Few others guestioned this policy of
listener obligation even in later years when paid performers
were employed by commercial program sponsors, although
advertising executive Roy Durstine pointed out that
businesses would hardly expect people to write praising the
209Clark Collection, Smithsonian Institution, report
#30, box 535, number 134-819.
210Nellie Barnard Parker, "The Fly in the Ointment,"
Radio News 9 (1927): 15. This article was written from the
point of view of the performers who considered letters their
"applause."
211"Painless Ways of Improving Radio Programs," Radio
Broadcast 9 (1926): 237.


172
Sociology. radio broadcasting's only value was as a novelty:
"No powerful stimulation of man's instincts or emotions
accounts for the spread of the popularity of broadcasting."6
Although later research would challenge that statement, at
the time it may have been literally correct: by 1926 radio
may not have stimulated man's instincts or emotions; it had,
however, already come to fill some emotional needs in the
life of many American women. Susan Douglas has written that
broadcasting was a "white, middle-class, male construction",
and that "as we consider how meanings are constructed in our
culture we must never lose sight of whose meaning they are
and of who had no voice in the process."7 Yet this research
shows that women, through the uses they made of radio
between 1922 and 1939, played an important role in the
development of radio service and its meaning in American
life.
Learning about Radio
This study sought to describe by what means the
American public learned about radio listening and was moved
to participate. Examination of the popular press of the era
shows that people could learn about the technology of
6Marshall D. Beuick, "The Limited Social Effect of
Radio Broadcasting." American Journal of Sociology 32 (1926-
27): 619.
7Susan Douglas, Inventing American Broadcasting. 1888-
1922 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1987) xxix.


185
Technology." Technology and Culture 32.2 (1991): 365?.
Bussey, Gordon. Wireless: The Crucial Decade: History of
the British Wireless Industry 1924-34. London:
Peregrinus, 1990.
Caddell, Alfred M. "A Woman Who Makes Receiving Sets."
Radio Broadcast 4 (1923): 28-33.
Cantril, Hadley and Gordon W. Allport. The Psychology of
Radio. New York: Harper, 1935.
Cantril, Hadley and Hazel Gaudet. "Familiarity as a Factor
in Determining the Selection and Enjoyment of Radio
Programs." Journal of Applied Psychology 23 (1939): 85-
94.
Caporael, Linda R. "Computers, Prophecy and Experience: A
Historical Perspective." Journal of Social Issues 40.3
(1984): 15-29.
Carey, James W. Communication as Culture: Essays on Media
and Society. Boston: Unwin, 1989.
Carey, James W. "The Problem of Journalism History."
Journalism History 1.1 (1974): 1+
Carey, James W. and Albert L. Kreiling. "Popular Culture
and Uses and Gratifications: Notes Toward an
Accommodation." The Uses of Mass Communications: Current
Perspectives on Gratifications Research. Ed. Jay G.
Blumler and Elihu Katz. Beverly Hills: Sage, 1974. 225-
248.
Carey, John. "Adopting New Technologies." Society 26.5
(1989) 10-16.
Carroll, Frank T. "Banish Free Publicity in 1926." Editor
& Publisher 2 Jan. 1926: 11.
Carroll, Raymond L., et al. "Meanings of Radio to Teenagers
in a Niche-Programming Era." Journal of Broadcasting and
Electronic Media 37 (1993): 159-176.
Cashman, Sean Dennis. America in the Twenties and Thirties:
The Olympian Age of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. New York:
New York UP, 1989.
Caswell, Lucy Shelton. Guide to Sources in American
Journalism History. New York: Greenwood, 1989.
"Catching 'Butterfly' by Radio."
Nov. 1921: 3.
Chicago Daily Tribune 17


176
radio's potential to fill a great need persevered, and
continued to offer suggestions for improvement. In this
way, women in the audience who stuck with radio during the
difficult period between 1925 and 1927 had an impact on the
development of radio programming and scheduling, and on its
continuing importance in daily life.
It was neither the early radio stunts and specials nor
the mid-decade evening entertainment programming that first
gave radio its place in the American household and in
American life. Daytime programming demonstrated radio's
possibilities to the family woman, and began radio's gradual
integration into the household routine. It was true in 1926
as it would be more than fifty years later, that "radio
presents time according to 'normal' everyday routine . .
keeping pace with the listener's sense of real time
throughout the day."10
Radio would become a true entertainment medium in the
early 1930s, with paid entertainment, national network
coverage, and regularly scheduled evening programs. But by
then radio had already become a household utility. In fact,
the lack of discrete, separately produced and sponsored
programs probably aided radio's integration into the
household rhythm, as "listening-in" became an accepted part
10David L. Altheide and Robert P. Snow, Media Logic
(Beverly Hills: Sage, 1979) 25.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Few solitary achievements put a person so at the mercy
of others as navigating a doctoral program and writing and
defending a dissertation. Among the many people who made my
three years at the University of Florida gratifying,
interesting, and challenging, several deserve a special
thank you:
My adviser and committee chair Dr. Les Smith, for his
interest in radio history and in the success of his
students; and the other members of my dissertation
committee: Dr. Stephen Conroy, Dr. Mickie Edwardson, Dr.
David Ostroff, and Dr. Sid Pactor;
The rest of the faculty and staff of the College of
Journalism and Communications, who have struck an admirable
balance between support and challenge; especially
. .Dr. Kurt Kent, Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies,
for arranging my three-summer Grinter Fellowship;
. . Dr. Julie Dodd for her guidance and friendship, Dr.
Bill McKeen for his humor, and Dr. Leonard Tipton for his
attitude;
. . Harriet Bennetts, the Telecommunication Department's
friendly and efficient secretary, the kind of person who
would give you the slip off her waist;
. . and all the UF undergraduate students who made
11


114
Year Homes with sets
Audience Listeners per set
1922
1923
1924
1,500,000
3,000,000
60,000
75,000 1.25
3,000,000 2
10,000,000 3.3ib/
Problems and Disappointments
Most listeners understood the limits of the developing
technology, and the need for good humor and patient
fiddling. But while pundits rhapsodized in general terms,
retailers and advertisers often raised neophytes'
expectations to unrealistic heights. In February 1922, in
the opening weeks of the radio boom, with most of America's
300 stations broadcasting merely several hours per week (and
much of it from phonograph records), the National Radio
Institute advertised "Plug Your Home in On the Radio Line":
If you can listen over a telephone, you can listen
by wireless. It's just a matter of turning a
small knob. And the air is full of music and
entertainment. You can hear your favorite
artists, Bert Williams, A1 Jolson, Hofman,
Heifetz, or Farrar. Then there is the important
news of the world and special speeches by well-
known men. The program is continuous from morning
until night, ending with wireless bedtime stories
for the children. The radio age is surely
here."168
A panel of experts warned that broadcasting lacked
167"Statistical Survey of the Radio Business," Radio
Retailing March 1928: 36-37. Estimates are as of January 1,
including factory- and home-built receivers
168"piUg Your Home in On [sic] the Radio Line,"
advertisement, Popular Science Monthly Feb. 1922: 103. The
same issue of the magazine warned editorially that "readers
must remember that radiophone outfits are not yet perfect,
and that messages are heard far less satisfactorily in some
localities than they are in others. "What Will Radio Mean to
You?" Popular Science Monthly Feb. 1922: 27


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
THE LIMIT OF HUMAN FELICITY:
RADIO'S TRANSITION FROM HOBBY TO HOUSEHOLD UTILITY
IN 1920s AMERICA
By
Laura Pelner McCarthy
December 1993
Chair: F. Leslie Smith
Major Department: Journalism and Communications
Between World War I and World War II, radio in the
American home developed from an electrical experimenter's
pastime to a pervasive form of popular entertainment, an
important medium of mass communication, and an integral part
of daily life. This study, based primarily on material in
the popular press, describes the transition of radio from a
hobby to a fad to a household utility in the United States
during the 1920s, and seeks to explain why and when radio
took its place in the American household.
Radio gained publicity and respect during the first two
decades of the century as an aid to safety at sea.
Technological development allowed the public to begin
participating in the radio hobby by around 1920, and radio
listening became a widespread fad in 1922. This study finds
that radio soon showed itself useful to women in the home,
vi


196
"How Can the Home Compete with Jazz Halls and Shallow
Plays?" Advertisement. Saturday Evening Post 20 May
1922: 63.
"How Large is the Radio Audience?" Wireless Age Sept. 1923:
23.
"How the Opera is Carried by Radio." Chicago Sunday Tribune
13 Nov. 1921, sec. 1: 12.
"How Two Girls Made a Receiving Radiophone." Literary
Digest 10 June 1922: 29.
"How Westinghouse Announced Harding's Election."
Westinghouse Electric News 15 Nov. 1920: 2.
"How Wireless is Helping the Farmer." Popular Science
Monthly Sept. 1921: 59.
"How Wireless Saved a Ship." New York Times 24 Jan. 1909:
1.
Howe, John. "Are You Among the 30,000,000 Who Play Musical
Instruments?" American Magazine Nov. 1924: 24+.
Hungerford, Edward. "Transportation and Communication." A
Century of Progress. Ed. Charles A. Beard. 1932.
Freeport: Books for Libraries, 1970. 86-121.
"The Ideal Program." Wireless Age May 1923: 22.
"Ideal Radio Set: Results of the 1,000.00 Prize Contest."
Radio News 8 (1926): 8+.
"Improved Broadcasting." Literary Digest 30 April 1927: 23.
Inglis, Andrew F. Behind the Tube: A History of
Broadcasting Technology and Business. Boston: Focal,
1990.
"Is Radio Only a Passing Fad?" Literary Digest 3 June 1922:
31-2.
Jackaway, Gwenyth. "The Press Radio War, 1925-1937: A Fight
to Protect the Professional Boundaries of Journalism."
Paper presented to Association for Education in
Journalism and Mass Communication, 1990. ERIC ED 323
572.
Jacobs, Norman, ed. Culture for the Millions?: Mass Media
in Modern Society. Boston: Beacon, 1961.


41
planned while others, like the videocassette recorder,
surprised even their developers with not only their
popularity but the variety of their uses. Useful parallels
can also be drawn between radio and other technological
innovations that have become integrated into the lives of
most Americans, from the personal automobile in the early
years of the century to the growing use of personal
computers as the century ends.100 As one writer said of the
computer's development, "whenever a new technology is born,
few see its ultimate place in society."101
100Although the automobile developed much earlier than
radiotelephony, Wilfred Owen identified three periods of
automotive historya formative period before World War I, a
growth period from 1919 to mid-1930s, and a period of
maturitythat correspond to the timing of the three eras of
radio's development. Cited in Francis R. Allen, "The
Automobile," Technology and Social Change, ed. Francis R.
Allen, et al. (New York: Appleton, 1957) 109. For a
discussion of different approaches to the history of the
automobile, see James J. Flink, "The Car Culture Revisited,"
Michigan Quarterly Review 19 (1980): 772-781. The history
of the automobile was primarily recounted in terms of
inventors and industrial giants until Flink's America Adopts
the Automobile and The Car Culture. See James J. Flink,
America Adopts the Automobile. 1895-1910 (Cambridge: MIT P,
1970); James J. Flink, The Car Culture (Cambridge: MIT P,
1975). An example of the recent expansion in cultural focus
is Virginia Scharff, Taking the Wheel: Women and the Coming
of the Motor Age (New York: Free Press, 1991).
101Paul Cerruzi, "An Unforeseen Revolution: Computers
and Expectations, 1935-1985," Imaging Tomorrow: History.
Technology and the American Future. ed. Joseph J. Corn
(Cambridge: MIT P, 1986) 194. Discussions of the early
participants in home computing sound very much like stories
of the youngsters who first brought radio into the home;
see, for example, Florence Grossman, "Who Are the Computer
Kids?" onComputing Fall 1981: 24-25.


8
of people made up the earliest radio audience? (4) What were
the characteristics of radio's place in the American
household that caused it to be considered a household
utility? and (5) What have been the uses of radio in the
years since 1930?
Scope and Limitations
This study is an attempt to illuminate how the United
States listening public came to accept radio broadcasting
service, and to identify the point at which radio became a
useful service to the American home. This study is a
chronological narrative of broadcasting's first decade as
experienced by the listening public, based exclusively on
contemporaneous material, primarily accounts in the popular
press. No first-person accounts such as oral history
reminiscences or personal interviews recorded after the era
under study were used.17
17During the 1950s, many pioneer broadcasters
participated in Columbia University's Oral History Research
Project. Some excerpts were published as "Music in the Air .
. and Voices on the Crystal Set," American Heritage Aug.
1955: 65-88. Unfortunately, these remembrances are filtered
not only through the intervening years but through the
subject's later success and accomplishments in the field of
broadcasting. The Columbia collection, which contains many
errors and inaccuracies, has been called "more nostalgic and
reminiscent than historical in nature," by William McKinley
Randle, Jr., The History of Radio Broadcasting and its
Social and Economic Effect on the Entertainment Industry.
diss., Case Western Reserve U, 1966 (Ann Arbor: UMI, 1967)
77. In addition, a romantic view of radio's "golden age"
can easily color public remembrance of radio's place in the
life of the family; see Lesley Johnson, The Unseen Voice: A
Cultural Study of Early Australian Radio (London: Routledge,


102
Electric's WGY (Schenectady) announced a new schedule that
would devote one weeknight to dramatic productions, another
to opera, a third to semi-classical music, and a fourth to
popular music.121
Many stations offered news reports from one source or
another, although American Telephone and Telegraph announced
to the press that "America's first radio news service" would
be broadcast from its station WBAY weekday afternoons from
4:30 to 5:30 beginning September 1, under the guidance of a
former Daily News editor.122
From the beginning stations had presented football and
baseball games, and coverage of the 1922 World Series caused
a large increase in the number of radio fans. Many people
bought sets when they learned that specific sporting events
such as a prize fight would be broadcast. "Music has its
charms," one critic wrote, "but a fight for supremacy and
championship fascinates and guickens the pulse even by
radio."123
It was natural, after years of publicity for the great
distances achieved by experimenters and professional radio
121"New Program Schedule," Radio News 4: 1136.
122"News Service by Radio," New York Times 11 Aug.
1922: 3.
123"Public Criticism Aids Programs," New York Times 1
July 1923, sec. 6: 7.


32
positive removal of a restraint or the simplification of an
earlier technology. Her contention that a sense of loss was
inevitable "as Americans . gave up their complete
dependence on newspapers and wireless"79 does not take into
account that several years would pass before broadcast
programming duplicated the services offered by the daily
newspaper, and that what she called "wireless" was merely a
commercial message technology with little bearing on the
average American's life. Covert's title echoes the subtitle
of Clayton R. Koppes "The Social Destiny of the Radio: Hope
and Disillusionment in the 1920s."80 Koppes's article,
however, treated only the predictions of writers of the era
who tried to forecast radio's impact on American life, and
the disillusion he wrote of is on the part of the
intellectual elite in general and writers in the mass media
in particular. Radio's audience can hardly be called
disillusioned during what we have come to call radio's
"golden age." Advertising executive Roy Durstine
characterized the typical radio listeners of the 1930s as "a
tired, bored, middle-aged man and woman whose lives are
empty and who have exhausted their sources of outside
79Covert, "We May Hear" 212.
80Clayton R. Koppes, "The Social Destiny of the Radio,"
South Atlantic Quarterly 68 (1969): 363-376.


62
returns from Westinghouse's newly-licensed radio station
KDKA on November 2, 1920.56
The morning after the election, the Pittsburgh Sun
described the use of amateur wireless operators to receive
returns from various areas and pass them along to a "central
receiving station" in the Public Safety building, but made
no mention of KDKA or the broadcasting of gathered election
returns to the public.57 Later that week the Sun did run a
story headed "Wireless Phone Proves Success Election Night
Westinghouse Concerns Distribute Returns From East
Pittsburgh PlantPredict Great Future."
One of the interesting sidelights of the election
this year was the great success of the wireless
telephone broadcasting of the returns. So
convincing were the results obtained, it is
predicted that four years hence the radio method
of sending news of the election will be almost
universally used. ... By means of apparatus
installed in clubs throughout the city, large
assemblages were able to have social functions
while receiving the returns. At the Edgewood Club
a sounding horn was in use, and persons all over
56"How Westinghouse Announced Harding's Election,"
Westinghouse Electric News 15 Nov. 1920: 2. For information
on Westinghouse's radio work and the development of KDKA,
see S. M. Kintner, "Pittsburgh's Contributions to Radio,"
Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers 20 (1920):
1849-1862. For a discussion of newspaper coverage of the
introduction of the first television broadcasting
technology, see James R. Walker, "Old Media on New Media:
National Popular Press Reaction to Mechanical Television,"
Journal of Popular Culture 25.1 (1991): 21-19.
57i'wireless Operators Have Busy Night," Pittsburgh Sun
3 Nov. 1920: 21.


23
of the subject, a description the study's methodology and
sources, and definitions of some terms used in describing
the three radio eras under study. It also includes a review
of the major research that has addressed questions about the
nature and timing of radio's development. The second
chapter describes in detail the development of radio
listening from the post-WWI wireless hobby to the beginning
of the radio fad. Chapter three describes the radio fad of
1922. Chapter four describes the changes in the service and
its uses that turned the radio fad into a household utility.
Chapter five presents conclusions regarding the nature and
timing of the transition from era to era and the beginning
of radio's place as a household utility.
Previous Research
In a 1979 review essay, Philip T. Rosen wrote that
"while pundits have rhapsodized about broadcasting and its
impact on almost every facet of American society, historians
have largely ignored it" or at best have treated the advent
of broadcasting as an event rather than a process.55 Rosen
himself, however, is guilty of neglecting one important
aspect of broadcast history when he ignores the audience as
one set of participants in the development of American
55Philip T. Rosen, "The Marvel of Radio," American
Quarterly 31 (1979): 577.


18
ultimate product of their labors was to be. . No one
sought to make it just what it is."46 For these reasons,
the primary sources for this study were solely those written
without the knowledge of what American broadcasting was to
become in later decades.
Sources
Magazines and Newspapers
Central to this study is an understanding of how
America learned about the new pastime of radio listening.
Magazines and newspapers of the period provided the primary
data, as an indication of what type of information the
public received through the popular press. In addition,
articles, stories, letters, and advertisements in newspapers
and magazines often reflect or describe prevailing public
attitudes. Page-by-page examination of American Magazine
for the years 1920 through 1930, for example, provided
insight into the publishers' perception of radio's place in
American life, and also documented the development of the
advertising of radio receivers. Research for this study
also included an examination of many of the decade's other
general-interest periodicals, such as the Saturday Evening
Post, as well as elite magazines like Literary Digest and
46Robert E. Park, "The Natural History of the
Newspaper," The City, ed. Robert E. Park, Ernest W. Burgess,
and Robert D. McKenzie (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1925) 80.


161
licensing.105 In July the United States Attorney General
rendered an opinion that the Secretary of Commerce was
without the power to refuse licenses, limit transmission
power, assign wavelengths, or fix hours of operation.106
The Commissioner of Navigation's report to the
Secretary of Commerce in June of 1926 warned that in spite
of radio's "improved service" and the audience's "greater
satisfaction," in the absence of regulation "it is difficult
at this time to forecast what the actual conditions may be
during the coming winter."107 By the end of the summer The
Independent magazine could still say Hoover was mistaken
when he "vowed chaos would result," claiming that most
broadcasters "maintain a mutual respect." In spite of
hundreds of pending applications, fewer than thirty new
stations had gone on the air.108 However, by the beginning
of winter the same magazine warned that "new stations are
105"Hoover's Powers Over Radio Denied," New York Times
17 April 1926: 1.
106United States Department of Commerce, Selection from
Annual Report of the Chief of Radio Division to the
Secretary of Commerce (Washington: GPO, 1927) 1; rptd. in
Documents in American Telecommunications Policy, vol. 1, ed.
John M. Kitross (New York: Arno, 1977).
107United States Department of Commerce, Selection from
Annual Report of the Commissioner of Navigation to the
Secretary of Commerce for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30.
1026 (Washington: GPO, 1926) 18.
108Silas Bent, "Radio Squatters," The Independent 117
(1926): 389.


144
By the end of 1925 radio offered a variety of
programming, in spite of the continued reliance on unpaid
talent.41 One New York station began its broadcast day with
exercises and physical training talks between 6:45 and 8
a.m.; women's programming filled the afternoon: music to do
housework by, talks on fashion and housekeeping; a hotel
orchestra offered "Music While You Dine" from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Next came the regular evening program: "plenty of music,
with a few brief talks by well-known men," followed at 11 by
supper club music and appearances by stage and screen
performers, who might "talk about the stage, or give some
little skit."42 Newscasts were not yet standard radio fare,
popular music; market and weather reports; speeches and
lectures; and news, including sports. There was no space
for "other." "The Ideal Program," Wireless Age May 1923:
22; Ward Seeley, "Giving the Public What it Wants,"
Wireless Age May 1923: 23-26. The attitude that the
audience does not want and would not accept anything beyond
what broadcasters have offered survives to the present. In
his 1974 examination of popular cultural phenomena, Herbert
Gans wrote that no one had yet tried "socially realistic"
soap operas, but "the fact that they have not been tried .
. suggests that they might not be successful." Herbert J.
Gans, Popular Culture and High Culture: An Analysis and
Evaluation of Taste (New York: Basic, 1974) 59.
41It was news when St. Louis's new station announced in
January 1926 that it paid its "program artists"; the
station's total weekly payroll for station staff and
performers was $3,000. "KMOX Performers Get 3,000 a Week,"
New York Times. 17 Jan. 1926, sec. XX: 14.
42Allan Harding, "Behind the Scenes at WOR," American
Magazine Oct. 1925: 154.


95
open house "for the benefit of New Yorkers who are unable to
obtain suitable radio equipment . owing to the acute
shortage."94 The Miami Herald advised readers that
manufacturers of completely assembled sets were four months
behind in delivery, and offered advice on constructing a set
for $30 to $40.95 Amateurs and hobbyists made sets for
their neighbors, as a favor or for pay, like the Brooklyn
woman who designed and built 36 sets for family and
friends.96
Because of the expense and limited availability of
vacuum tubes, receivers using crystal detectors remained
popular through 1922 and 1923. Simple and inexpensive to
operate (they did not require batteries, as tube-sets did),
crystal sets, such as the Aeriola Jr., had a range limited
to about fifty miles, and required the use of headphones.97
Sets employing a vacuum tube as a detector could be coupled
with horn loudspeakers, allowing several persons to listen
in simultaneously. In the spring of 1922, RCA's Aeriola Jr.
crystal set cost $32.50 including headphones and antenna;
94"Radio Concerts for Public," New York Times 7 May
1922, sec. 2: 5.
95"Radio Receiving Sets Capable of Picking Up Concerts
. . Miami Herald 19 March 1922: 12A.
96Alfred M. Caddell, "A Woman Who Makes Receiving
Sets," Radio Broadcast 4 (1923): 28-33.
97Marriott, U.S. Radio Broadcasting 1408.


131
public and the electronic media has continued since then,
most often focusing on the media's effects on society.
However, within the past twenty years the "uses and
gratifications" approach to communication research has
focused on the audience members as active participants
rather than passive recipients, making use of various media
for both acknowledged and unacknowledged purposes.2
Although radio's place in American life has changed
over 70 years, the ubiquity of the service and the economic
value of the industry make it a continuing object of
research.
Women Use Radio
In a 1982 National Association of Broadcasters study
the most common reasons given for listening to the radio
were: "it lifts my spirits" (77 percent), "companionship"
(64 percent), and "to escape pressures of life" (62
2The uses and gratifications approach is "concerned
with (1) the social and psychological origins of (2) needs,
which generate (3) expectations of (4) the mass media or
other sources, which lead to (5) differential patterns of
media exposure (or engagement in other activities),
resulting in (6) need gratifications and (7) other
consequences, perhaps mostly unintended ones."
Gratification can be cognitive (the acquisition of
information), or affective (emotional gratification,
including entertainment, escape, companionship, validation),
and can have at least three distinct sources: media content,
exposure to the media per se, and the social context that
typifies media exposure. Elihu Katz, Jay G. Blumler, and
Michael Gurevitch, "Utilization of Mass Communication by the
Individual," The Uses of Mass Communication, ed. Jay G.
Blumler and Elihu Katz (Beverly Hills: Sage, 1974) 20, 24.


THE LIMIT OF HUMAN FELICITY:
RADIO'S TRANSITION FROM HOBBY TO HOUSEHOLD UTILITY
IN 1920S AMERICA
By
LAURA PELNER MCCARTHY
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1993

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Few solitary achievements put a person so at the mercy
of others as navigating a doctoral program and writing and
defending a dissertation. Among the many people who made my
three years at the University of Florida gratifying,
interesting, and challenging, several deserve a special
thank you:
My adviser and committee chair Dr. Les Smith, for his
interest in radio history and in the success of his
students; and the other members of my dissertation
committee: Dr. Stephen Conroy, Dr. Mickie Edwardson, Dr.
David Ostroff, and Dr. Sid Pactor;
The rest of the faculty and staff of the College of
Journalism and Communications, who have struck an admirable
balance between support and challenge; especially
. . .Dr. Kurt Kent, Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies,
for arranging my three-summer Grinter Fellowship;
. . . Dr. Julie Dodd for her guidance and friendship, Dr.
Bill McKeen for his humor, and Dr. Leonard Tipton for his
attitude;
. . . Harriet Bennetts, the Telecommunication Department's
friendly and efficient secretary, the kind of person who
would give you the slip off her waist;
. . . and all the UF undergraduate students who made
11

teaching such a pleasant break from my own studies;
The members of the University of Florida's library
staff who made my historical research a pleasure, especially
Journalism Librarian Dolores Jenkins; Interlibrary Loan's
Melanie Davis, who kept up an endless supply of obscure old
magazines and fresh good cheer; and the folks in Microforms,
especially Jo Talbird (for her roses), and Bill Sherman (for
his car talk).
My greatest gratitude and affection go to the other two
members of the "electronic sisterhood," Milagros Rivera-
Sanchez and Lynne Sallot, for their friendship, support, and
good example, in person and through the Internet.
This dissertation is dedicated to absent friends and
family:
To Paul Hartman . . . best friend, ever;
To Enrique Cardenas:
Apareces tantas veces; en
tantas cosas...
To my father, Nat Pelner (K2BIQ), who passed along to me a
love of radio;
To my mother, Beverley Pelner, who passed along to me a love
of words;
To Michael D. McCarthy and, most of all, to our daughter
Kerry Robin McCarthy.
iii

TABLE OF CONTENTS
page
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS i i
ABSTRACT vi
CHAPTERS
1 INTRODUCTION 1
Background 1
Purpose 6
Research Questions 7
Scope and Limitations 8
Definitions 9
Methodology 15
Sources 18
Plan of the Study 23
Previous Research 23
Significance 40
2 THE RADIO HOBBY 43
Wire Telephony 44
Wireless Telegraphy and Telephony before WWI 45
Wireless at War 57
Post-War Experimentation 58
The Birth of Broadcasting 60
The Fad Begins 70
3 THE RADIO FAD: 1922 72
Home Entertainments and Amusements 73
The Radio Fad of 1922 81
"Listening in" in 1922 93
Problems and Disappointments 114
Prospects for the Future 117
4 A HOUSEHOLD UTILITY: 1926 129
Introduction 129
The Uses of Radio 129
Radio Service 1925-1926 140
The Household Utility 154
"A Radio Reign of Terror" 160
Radio's Entertainment Age 162
Radio Grows Up 166
IV

5 CONCLUSIONS
167
The Development of Radio Listening 167
Women and Radio 170
Learning about Radio 172
The Point of Transition 173
Suggestions for Further Study 177
WORKS CITED 180
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 222
v

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
THE LIMIT OF HUMAN FELICITY:
RADIO'S TRANSITION FROM HOBBY TO HOUSEHOLD UTILITY
IN 1920s AMERICA
By
Laura Pelner McCarthy
December 1993
Chair: F. Leslie Smith
Major Department: Journalism and Communications
Between World War I and World War II, radio in the
American home developed from an electrical experimenter's
pastime to a pervasive form of popular entertainment, an
important medium of mass communication, and an integral part
of daily life. This study, based primarily on material in
the popular press, describes the transition of radio from a
hobby to a fad to a household utility in the United States
during the 1920s, and seeks to explain why and when radio
took its place in the American household.
Radio gained publicity and respect during the first two
decades of the century as an aid to safety at sea.
Technological development allowed the public to begin
participating in the radio hobby by around 1920, and radio
listening became a widespread fad in 1922. This study finds
that radio soon showed itself useful to women in the home,
vi

as broadcasters began offering daytime "service" programming
in an era when most evening radio presentations were still
perfunctory programs featuring amateur musicians. Thus the
female audience was important to the development of radio
into something more than a fad or a scientific stunt. By
the spring of 1926, daytime "service" programming was
universally available, and both broadcasters and advertisers
had come to see the value of serving the segment of the
audience that controlled most of the purchasing power of the
family. Receiving equipment had become easy to use, and
loudspeakers allowed listeners the freedom to move around
the room and perform other activities while listening. The
audience began to make use of radio in ways that would mark
radio's place in the American household during the
subsequent three decades of broadcasting. Radio can be said
to have achieved the status of "household utility" by the
spring of 1926.
vii

CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
It appears to me . . . that if we could have
devised an arrangement for providing everybody
with music in their homes, perfect in quality,
unlimited in quantity, suited to every mood, and
beginning and ceasing at will, we should have
considered the limit of human felicity already
attained, and ceased to strive for further
improvements.1
Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward (1887)
Background
At the time of the First World War wireless
communication provided a scientific pastime for a small
segment of the American public. By the beginning of World
War II, radio had become a pervasive source of popular
entertainment and information. This study examines the
transition of radio from a hobby to a fad to a household
utility in the United States during the 1920s.
Since the mid-1800s the public had shown increasing
interest in the growing world of scientific and technical
wonders. Science, combining the magical and the practical,
became a source of entertainment both passive and active for
1Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward (1887; Boston:
Houghton, 1926) 113-114.
1

2
the young, the adventurous, and the scholarly.2 Samuel
Morse demonstrated his telegraphic system for communicating
along a wire by code in 1838, and by 1861 the first
transcontinental telegraph circuit had been completed.3
Telephonic communication developed not long afterward, and
Alexander Graham Bell patented his eguipment for
transmitting and receiving the human voice by wire in 1876.4
By 1893 Budapest, Hungary, was served by twelve-hour-a-day
"broadcasts" of news, music, and lectures over the telephone
wires of Telefon-Hirmondo.5 In the United States, the New
Jersey Telephone Herald Company inaugurated a similar daily
service in October of 1911.6
Wireless communication, using radio or "Hertzian"7
2Alan Sutton, A Victorian World of Science (Boston:
Hilger, 1986).
3Andrew F. Inglis, Behind the Tube: A History of
Broadcasting Technology and Business (Boston: Focal, 1990)
29.
4Sydney W. Head and Christopher H. Sterling,
Broadcasting in America, 6th ed. (Boston: Houghton, 1990)
33.
5Thomas S. Denison, "The Telephone Newspaper," The
World's Work 1 (1900-1901): 640-641.
6G. C. B. Rowe, "Broadcasting in 1912," Radio News 6
(1925): 2219+.
7Named for Heinrich Hertz, who in 1888 proved the
existence of invisible waves of radio energy postulated in
1873 by James Clerk Maxwell.

3
waves, was developed primarily by Guglielmo Marconi during
the final years of the nineteenth century. In 1901, Marconi
sent a single code letter by wireless across the Atlantic
from Cornwall, England, to Newfoundland.8 The era of
wireless communication had begun.
By the end of the new century's first decade,
experimenters had developed the technigue of radiotelephony,
or the wireless transmission of the voice. Although
radiotelegraphy and radiotelephony were used for point-to-
point communication, any business or individual with
standard receiving eguipment could intercept the messages.
It was this lack of privacy of wireless communication that
was later turned to advantage in the concept of
broadcasting.
As early as 1910 Lee de Forest transmitted grand opera
to the public by wireless telephony.9 And although David
Sarnoff's 1916 memo proposing a "Radio Music Box"10 is
America's best-known broadcasting prophecy, three years
earlier Carl Snyder had written in Collier's magazine:
8Christopher H. Sterling and John M. Kitross, Stay
Tuned: A Concise History of American Broadcasting (Belmont:
Wadsworth, 1978) 26.
9"Wireless Melody Jarred," New York Times 14 Jan. 1910:
2.
10David Sarnoff, Looking Ahead: The Papers of David
Sarnoff (New York: McGraw, 1968) 31.

4
The future use [of wireless telephony may be] to
distribute news and messages of all sorts from
central stations to an enormous number of
subscribers. And music, too. and possibly plays
and pictures as well. . . .-11
Radiotelegraphy and radiotelephony became a popular
scientific pastime, as experimenters built equipment, sent
and received messages, and eavesdropped on commercial
communications. No official figures exist for the
popularity of wireless experimentation before the licensing
of amateur transmitters began in 1912, but the magazine
Modern Electrics claimed circulation of 52,000 in 1911, and
according to an article in American Magazine by 1916 75,000
amateurs were building their own equipment and testing their
work by communicating over ever greater distances.12
The American Navy suspended amateur and nonmilitary
experimental radio activity for the duration of the World
War; after transmitter restrictions were lifted in 1919,
several hundred thousand wireless enthusiasts13 eagerly
reclaimed the ether, including young men trained in the
service, and boys and girls whose imaginations were sparked
by the idea of moving the human voice through air. In
11Carl Snyder, "The World's2ew Marvels," Collier's 25
Oct. 1913: 22.
12"75,000 American Boys Have This Enthusiasm," American
Magazine June 1916:103.
13F. A. Collins, "Boys and the Wireless," Woman's Home
Companion April 1920: 44.

5
addition to amateur experimenters and two-way communicators,
a growing body of wireless hobbyist-listeners merely
eavesdropped on commercial and amateur communication both in
code and by voice, building or assembling equipment and
engaging in competitions (with themselves and others) to
bring in the most, and most distant, signals. After
experimenters began transmitting music from phonograph
records, the hobbyist-listeners could enjoy "radiophone
concerts" as well.
In the Pittsburgh area, the popularity of Dr. Frank
Conrad's phonograph record concerts led his employer to
erect a broadcasting station; most broadcast historians
agree that radio station KDKA, created and sustained by
Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company as a scheme
to promote the sale of radio equipment, was the first
ongoing, commercially based radio transmitting facility
sending entertainment and information to the public on an
announced schedule.14 According to most textbooks,
American broadcasting was "born" on the evening of November
2, 1920, when KDKA broadcast presidential election returns
14For a discussion of the other contenders for "first
station," see Lawrence W. Lichty, "Who's Who on Firsts: A
Search for Challengers," Journal of Broadcasting 10 (1965)
83; and Joseph R. Baudino and John M. Kitross,
"Broadcasting's Oldest Stations: An Examination of Four
Claimants," Journal of Broadcasting 21:1 (1977) 61-83.

6
to radio amateurs in Pittsburgh and around the country. By
the end of 1922 interest in radio had taken on the
dimensions of a national fad; more than 500 broadcasting
stations were on the air around the country,15 and radio
broadcasting's listening audience had grown to an estimated
three million.16
Although throughout the 1920s thousands of Americans
participated in the now-organized pastime of amateur radio—
sending and receiving messages, tinkering with antennas and
circuits—by the end of the decade a much larger number
could be found gathered in the living room at night,
"listening in" to their favorite radio programs. By 1930
radio had come to be considered a household utility, and an
important part of America's daily life.
Purpose
Most discussions of the developing years of radio
broadcasting after the initial period of individual
invention have been framed in terms of the struggles among
industrial and governmental forces. Yet without public
curiosity and participation, radio could not have made the
transition from a technical hobby to America's first
15Christopher H. Sterling, Electronic Media: A Guide to
Trends in Broadcasting and Newer Technologies. 1920-1983
(New York: Praeger, 1984) 5.
16"Statistical Survey of the Radio Business," Radio
Retailing March 1928: 36.

7
electronic home entertainment and information service.
Little has been written about the feelings and actions of
people outside the formal structure of the emerging industry
and its regulators during the years in which the public
became aware of the possibilities and pleasures of radio
listening, and no attempt has been made to identify a point
at which radio took its place as a household utility in the
American home.
The purpose of this research is to describe by what
means the American public learned about the new pastime of
radio listening, to understand for what reasons the public
was moved to participate in the radio fad, and to identify
the point at which broadcast listening made the transition
from a hobby to an important part of America's daily life.
Research Questions
The primary questions this study sought to answer were:
1. How did it happen that America's wireless hobby
developed during the 1920s into the daily activity of radio
listening, transforming radio into an information and
entertainment service considered a household utility?
2. At what point did radio become a household utility?
Answering those questions required asking several
others: (1) How did people learn about radio? (2) How did
people come to first try radio listening? (3) What groups

8
of people made up the earliest radio audience? (4) What were
the characteristics of radio's place in the American
household that caused it to be considered a household
utility? and (5) What have been the uses of radio in the
years since 1930?
Scope and Limitations
This study is an attempt to illuminate how the United
States listening public came to accept radio broadcasting
service, and to identify the point at which radio became a
useful service to the American home. This study is a
chronological narrative of broadcasting's first decade as
experienced by the listening public, based exclusively on
contemporaneous material, primarily accounts in the popular
press. No first-person accounts such as oral history
reminiscences or personal interviews recorded after the era
under study were used.17
17During the 1950s, many pioneer broadcasters
participated in Columbia University's Oral History Research
Project. Some excerpts were published as "Music in the Air .
. . and Voices on the Crystal Set," American Heritage Aug.
1955: 65-88. Unfortunately, these remembrances are filtered
not only through the intervening years but through the
subject's later success and accomplishments in the field of
broadcasting. The Columbia collection, which contains many
errors and inaccuracies, has been called "more nostalgic and
reminiscent than historical in nature," by William McKinley
Randle, Jr., The History of Radio Broadcasting and its
Social and Economic Effect on the Entertainment Industry.
diss., Case Western Reserve U, 1966 (Ann Arbor: UMI, 1967)
77. In addition, a romantic view of radio's "golden age"
can easily color public remembrance of radio's place in the
life of the family; see Lesley Johnson, The Unseen Voice: A
Cultural Study of Early Australian Radio (London: Routledge,

9
Definitions
The following section defines certain key terms used in
this study. Any work based primarily on accounts in
general-circulation magazines and newspapers must guard
against adopting the imprecise terminology common in the
popular press. The contemporary media often identified or
described developing communication technologies incorrectly;
thus, the following definitions may not apply to some quoted
material.
Point-to-point communication. In point-to-point
communication a message is sent from one individual sender
or sending location to a particular receiving individual or
location; point-to-point communication usually implies the
existence or possibility of two-way communication. During
the 1920s, four types of electrical point-to-point
communication over distance were in use:
1) Telegraphy, the sending of messages by wire using a
code of electrical pulses;
1988) ix. For discussions on the general shortcomings of
oral recollection, see Charles L. Briggs, Learning How to
Ask. (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1986) 13; Anthony Seldon,
Contemporary History: Practice and Method (Oxford:
Blackwell, 1988) 13; Anthony Seldon and Joanna Pappworth, By
Word of Mouth: 'Elite7 Oral History (London: Methuen, 1983)
17-26; Paul Thompson, The Voice of the Past: Oral History
(Oxford: Oxford UP, 1978) 210. Clearly, finding suitable
interviewees seventy years after the era under study would
also pose a considerable problem.

10
2) Telephony, the sending of voice messages by wire;
3) Radiotelegraphy, the wireless transmission of
telegraphic code;
4) Radiotelephony, the wireless transmission of the
voice.18
Broadcasting. Broadcasting, a one-way point-to-
multipoint service,19 has been defined as the "sending of
uncoded messages to an undifferentiated audience."20
Radio.21 The word "radio" as used in the title and
throughout this work means the social complex that developed
around America's broadcasting service as perceived or
experienced by members of the general public. Although the
18The technologies are listed in the order in which
they were developed.
19The Federal Communications Commission currently uses
the term "multipoint" to refer to certain specialized types
of program distribution; see 47 C.F.R. Sec. 21.1 (1991).
20Daniel J. Czitrom, Media and the American Mind: From
Morse to McLuhan (Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1982)
71.
21According to the Institute of Radio Engineers, the
word radio "came into marked use in place of 'wireless' in
1907, and was officially adopted by the Institute of Radio
Engineers in 1911 and shortly thereafter by the United
States Government." Robert H. Marriott, "United States
Radio Development," Proceedings of the Institute of Radio
Engineers 5 (1917) 187. A later article by the same author
dates the "standardization" of the term to 1913. Robert H.
Marriott, "United States Radio Broadcasting Development,"
Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers 17 (1929):
1396.

11
noun "radio" can mean the receiving set (as in, "I just
bought a radio"), the field of endeavor ("I just got a job
in radio"), or the technology of radiotelephony ("the
message was sent by radio"), its general use in this study
encompasses the receiving set, the existence of a broadcast
signal, the content of that signal, and the act of
listening. Although David Sarnoff proposed making radio a
"'household utility' in the same sense as the piano or
phonograph,"22 it was the cultural complex developed by the
advent of broadcasting that became a "household utility"
rather than the physical object called the radio receiver.
Eras of broadcast history. In this study, the years of
America's broadcast listening before the advent of
television have been divided into three eras: the hobby, the
fad, and the household utility.
Hobbies. A hobby has been defined as a "specialized
pursuit beyond one's occupation that has no professional
counterpart." The pursuit must involve some level of skill,
ability, or knowledge, and have a goal (immediate or long¬
term) other than entertainment or amusement.23
22Sarnoff, Looking Ahead 31.
23Robert A. Stebbins, Amateurs: On the Margin between
Work and Leisure (Beverly Hills: Sage, 1979) 34.

12
Amateurs. Amateurs "engage part-time in activities
that for other people constitute full-time work roles."24
The beginning amateur who has not yet achieved proficiency
may be called a novice. The distinction between hobbyist
and amateur is necessary to this study; an organized amateur
class of radio operators, whose work during the 1920s
closely paralleled that of professional commercial wireless
operators, has existed since before World War I, and the
development of amateur radio is outside the scope of this
research.
Fads. A fad is "a pursuit or interest followed usually
widely but briefly and capriciously with exaggerated zeal
and devotion."25 Research on fads is scanty, and some work,
such as Meyersohn and Katz's 1957 "Notes on a Natural
History of Fads" confuses fad with fashion, using the terms
interchangeably.26 Fashions, however, are most often merely
24Stebbins 28.
25,1 Fad," Webster's Third New International Dictionary.
1981 ed. A recent attempt to define the word "fad" yielded
this "minimum consensus" definition; "A non-traditional
preoccupation by diffuse collectivities on a circumscribed
object or process." B. E. Aguirre, E. L. Quarantelli, and
Jorge L. Mendoza, "The Collective Behavior of Fads: The
Characteristics, Effects, and Career of Streaking," American
Sociological Review 53.4 (1988): 569. A "craze" hits more
swiftly than a fad, and fades more guickly. See Donald A.
Laird, "Have You a Fad?" Review of Reviews March 1935: 33.
26Rolf Meyersohn and Elihu Katz, "Notes on a Natural
History of Fads," The American Journal of Sociology 62
(1957): 594-601.

13
variations on a theme—such as shirt color or automobile
body style—and are frequently cyclical, whereas fads are
most often based on inventions or innovations that lack
historical continuity.27 Fads usually grow rapidly and
disappear completely, although some fads remain present in
society at a level below their peak of popularity.28
Technological innovations often enter the culture originally
as fads.29
Household utility. The phrase "household utility" to
describe radio's third phase is borrowed from David Sarnoff,
who as a 25-year-old manager at the American Marconi Company
in 1916 proposed a plan "to make radio a 'household
utility,'" with a "Radio Music Box" that could bring music,
lectures, sports scores, and "events of national importance"
into the home.30 Although magazine articles throughout the
1920s used the term "household utility," the meaning of the
phrase was never made clear.31 Dictionary definitions of
27Herbert Blumer, "Fashion," International Encyclopedia
of the Social Sciences ed. David L. Sills (New York:
McMillan, 1968) 5: 346.
28Thomas S. Robertson, Innovative Behavior and
Communication (New York: Holt, 1971) 49.
29Aguirre, Quarantelli, and Mendoza 577.
30Sarnoff, Looking Ahead 31.
31During the 1920s the phrase "public utility" was also
used, as people asked if radio should become a regulated
monopoly similar to electric service. See Robert D. Heinl,
"Is a Broadcasting Station a Public Utility?" Public

14
utility include (1) Something useful or designed primarily
for use; adapted for general use; having or designed for a
number of useful and practical purposes; capable of serving
in any of various roles or positions; and (2) the capacity
to satisfy human wants or desires.32 A "household utility,"
as the term is used in this study, serves a number of useful
and practical purposes and is adapted for general use by the
household as well as its individual members. The era of
radio's role as household utility is marked by the service's
increased "capacity to satisfy human wants and desires" and
the importance of its role in the social or emotional life
of its listeners. A utility may be either a service or the
piece of eguipment providing such service;33 thus the term
"household utility" may also refer to the radio receiving
set itself.34
Utilities Fortnightly 6 (1930): 344-349.
32"Utility," Webster's Third New International
Dictionary. 1981 ed.
33"Utility," Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary,
1988 ed.
34An alternate definition of "utility" is "A device
used as an adjunct to a more important machine." "Utility,"
Webster's Third New International Dictionary. 1981 ed. As
radio became a household utility, the public's attention
shifted from the receiving apparatus itself to a more
important aspect, the service provided by radio
broadcasting.

15
Methodology
In 1961, Daniel Boorstin pointed out that subjects like
the history of photography, radio, and television were
"generally considered beneath the dignity (or at best on the
periphery) of the historian's profession.1,35 Until
recently, historical accounts of communications technology
tended to be either technical descriptions or theoretical
constructs, rather than social or cultural narratives.36
In 1979 the Journal of Popular Culture devoted an issue
to the subject of radio, a subject the lead article noted
had in the past been "left almost entirely to the nostalgia
merchants and their patrons."37 Although recently
broadcasting has emerged as a rich field for study by
business and political historians and economists, radio is
often ignored in favor of the more modern television.38
Furthermore, most studies of broadcast development after the
initial period of individual invention have focused on the
35Daniel J. Boorstin, The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-
Events in America (New York: Harper, 1961) 264.
36David Paul Nord, "The Nature of Historical Research,"
Research Methods in Mass Communication. 2nd ed., ed. Guido
H. Stempel III and Bruce H. Westley (Englewood Cliffs:
Prentice, 1989) 310.
37Alan Havig, "Beyond Nostalgia: American Radio as a
Field of Study," Journal of Popular Culture 12 (1979): 218.
38William David Sloan and Donald G. Godfrey, "American
Radio, 1920-1948: Traditional Journalism or Revolutionary
Technology?" Perspectives on Mass Communication History, ed.
William David Sloan (Hillsdale: Erlbaum, 1991) 300.

16
industry's structure and regulation. There continues to be
a shortage of historical studies of radio's audiences.
Warren Susman has suggested an "ecological" approach
that takes account of the total cultural context of
communication,39 and James Carey and others have long called
for a more holistic study of communication history.40 The
methodology of this study is cultural analysis through
immersion in contemporaneous sources, following Pauly's
recommendation of "immersion in the materials."41 The
emphasis is narrative rather than theoretical or social-
scientific. In the historiography of technology, Buchanan
wrote in 1991, the "theoretical element has received too
much emphasis and . . . the time has come to reassert the
importance of narrative."42 Historical narrative offers the
most complete response to research guestions that ask the
39Warren Susman, "Communication and Culture," Mass
Media Between the Wars: Perceptions of Cultural Tensionf
1918-1941. ed. Catherine L. Covert and John D. Stevens
(Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 1984) xviii.
40James W. Carey, "The Problem of Journalism History"
Journalism History 1.1 (1974): 4; David Paul Nord, "The
Nature of Historical Research," Research Methods in Mass
Communication. 2nd ed., ed. Guido H. Stempel III and Bruce
H. Westley (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice, 1989) 313.
41John J. Pauly, "A Beginner's Guide to Doing
Qualitative Research in Mass Communication, Journalism
Monographs 125 (1991): 19.
42R. A. Buchanan, "Theory and Narrative in the History
of Technology," Technology & Culture 32.2 (1991): 365.

17
process by which a phenomenon came about ("How did it happen
that . . .?»)43
The use of contemporaneous sources helps prevent
inadvertent presentism. Any discussion of the development
of what is now a pervasive communication technology is
susceptible to such historiographic pitfalls as the so-
called teleological fallacy, "the view that events occurred
in the past simply for the purpose of creating the present
situation."44 The historian of a phenomenon that both
continues to exist and continues to change must guard
against present-mindedness. In When Old Technologies Were
New, Carolyn Marvin wrote that we often see history as the
process by which "our ancestors looked for and gradually
discovered us, rather than as a succession of distinct
social visions, each with its own integrity and concerns."45
What Robert E. Park wrote of the "Natural History of the
Newspaper" in 1925 is even more true of radio broadcasting:
it is "the outcome of a historic process in which many
individuals participated without foreseeing what the
43Nord 299.
44George H. Daniels, "Technological Change and Social
Change," Technology and Change, ed. John G. Burke and
Marshall C. Eakin (San Francisco: Boyd, 1970) 96.
45Carolyn Marvin, When Old Technologies Were New (New
York: Oxford UP, 1988) 154.

18
ultimate product of their labors was to be. . . . No one
sought to make it just what it is."46 For these reasons,
the primary sources for this study were solely those written
without the knowledge of what American broadcasting was to
become in later decades.
Sources
Magazines and Newspapers
Central to this study is an understanding of how
America learned about the new pastime of radio listening.
Magazines and newspapers of the period provided the primary
data, as an indication of what type of information the
public received through the popular press. In addition,
articles, stories, letters, and advertisements in newspapers
and magazines often reflect or describe prevailing public
attitudes. Page-by-page examination of American Magazine
for the years 1920 through 1930, for example, provided
insight into the publishers' perception of radio's place in
American life, and also documented the development of the
advertising of radio receivers. Research for this study
also included an examination of many of the decade's other
general-interest periodicals, such as the Saturday Evening
Post, as well as elite magazines like Literary Digest and
46Robert E. Park, "The Natural History of the
Newspaper," The City, ed. Robert E. Park, Ernest W. Burgess,
and Robert D. McKenzie (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1925) 80.

19
various specialty magazines, including technical
publications such as Scientific American and Popular Science
Monthly. The various enthusiast magazines such as Wireless
Age, Radio Broadcast and Radio News—magazines that actually
monitored the changes in public use and perception of
radio—were useful for their frank editorial discussions of
the spread of interest in broadcasting (a trend viewed, in
some cases, with alarm and dismay). In the case of Radio
Broadcast and Radio News. all issues from the period under
study were examined. Additionally, the Readers' Guide to
Periodical Literature was used to locate stories about radio
in any of the more than 100 magazines indexed therein.47
In the early 1920s several newspaper publishers
conceived of radio as a natural addition to their
journalistic enterprises as well as a novelty capable of
generating publicity and goodwill for their papers; at the
same time, other publishers viewed the new technology as a
threat to their monopoly as the community's source of timely
information and its major advertising outlet.48
Nevertheless, many newspapers printed complete schedules of
47Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature (New York:
Wilson). Between 1919 and 1924 the guide indexed 108
publications; between 1925 and 1928, 126.
48By the mid 1920s newspaper publishers and their trade
press had already begun the anti-radio campaigns that would
culminate in the Press-Radio War of the 1930s.

20
local and national broadcast programming, as well as radio
columns offering technical and program information and
commentary. The newspapers chosen for this study included
the New York Times, as America's newspaper of record; the
Detroit News. probably the first major newspaper to own a
radio broadcasting facility; the Pittsburgh Post, hometown
paper of pioneer station KDKA; the Chicago Tribune. for
coverage of middle America's growing interest and
participation in radio; the Miami Herald, for an
understanding of how interest in radio developed in areas
geographically distant from the early broadcasting centers
of the northeast and midwest; and the Los Angeles Times f for
coverage of west coast radio development. In fact, coverage
of the development of broadcasting seldom seemed tied to the
location of the major broadcasting stations after 1922;
radio as a technology easily crossed state and regional
barriers, and the early interest in reception of distant
stations gave the phenomenon a national flavor. Thus, the
choice of newspapers served more to provide a variety of
editorial emphases than geographical contrast. Because the
methodology reguired close reading of entire issues from
various years, newspapers were selected from those available
for daily use in the University of Florida library.
Listener Letters
The Smithsonian Institution's Clark Radioana
collection, amassed and catalogued by the man who became

21
RCA's corporate historian, contains valuable correspondence
from the files of early radio's major corporate powers in
addition to newspaper clippings and scrapbooks covering all
aspects of wireless technology. The Broadcast Pioneers
Library in Washington, DC, a mostly uncatalogued collection
of donations from individuals and businesses, includes
station files of listener correspondence, performers'
scrapbooks, and other ephemera and memorabilia of early
radio. Both collections provided listener correspondence
and station logs and program listings for this study.
Contemporaneous Studies
Additional sources of information include
contemporaneous studies such as Robert and Helen Merrell
Lynd's 1929 study Middletown.49 Report of a Research into
the Attitudes and Habits of Radio Listeners (1933)50 and
Recent Social Trends in the United States (1933).51
Uses and Gratifications Studies
The phrase "household utility" suggests a connection
with "uses and gratifications" research, which is concerned
49Robert S. Lynd and Helen Merrell Lynd, Middletown: A
Study in American Culture (New York: Harcourt, 1929).
50Clifford Kirkpatrick, Report of a Research into the
Attitudes and Habits of Radio Listeners (St. Paul: Webb,
1933).
51President's Research Committee on Social Trends,
Recent Social Trends in the United States (New York: McGraw,
1933).

22
with society's expectations for mass media, and the ways in
which the media are used to satisfy society's needs.52
Contemporary studies of the ways in which individuals made
use of the medium of radio during the 1930s, 1940s, and
1950s help point to specific stages at which radio was able
to satisfy particular needs and help identify some of the
specific uses that characterized radio's era of household
utility.53 Frederick H. Lumley's 1934 Measurement in Radio
provided a synthesis of the results of radio research to
that date that included mail surveys, personal and telephone
interviews, sales statistics, program attendance, and
analyses of audience mail.54
Plan of the Study
The first chapter of this study includes the background
52Elihu Katz, Jay G. Blumler, and Michael Gurevitch,
"Utilization of Mass Communication by the Individual," The
Uses of Mass Communication: Current Perspectives on
Gratifications Research, ed. Jay G. Blumler and Elihu Katz
(Beverly Hills: Sage, 1974) 20.
53For example, Hadley Cantril and Gordon W. Allport,
The Psychology of Radio (New York: Harper, 1935); Paul F.
Lazarsfeld and Patricia L. Kendall, eds., Radio Listening in
America: The People Look at Radio—Again (New York:
Prentice, 1948); Paul F. Lazarsfeld and Frank N. Stanton,
eds., Radio Research 1941 (New York: Duell, 1942); Paul F.
Lazarsfeld and Frank N. Stanton, eds., Radio Research 1942-
1943 (New York: Duell, 1944); Paul F. Lazarsfeld and Harry
Field, The People Look at Radio (Chapel Hill: U of North
Carolina P, 1946); Paul F. Lazarsfeld, Radio and the Printed
Page (New York: Duell, 1940).
54Frederick H. Lumley, Measurement in Radio (Columbus:
Ohio State UP, 1934) 2.

23
of the subject, a description the study's methodology and
sources, and definitions of some terms used in describing
the three radio eras under study. It also includes a review
of the major research that has addressed questions about the
nature and timing of radio's development. The second
chapter describes in detail the development of radio
listening from the post-WWI wireless hobby to the beginning
of the radio fad. Chapter three describes the radio fad of
1922. Chapter four describes the changes in the service and
its uses that turned the radio fad into a household utility.
Chapter five presents conclusions regarding the nature and
timing of the transition from era to era and the beginning
of radio's place as a household utility.
Previous Research
In a 1979 review essay, Philip T. Rosen wrote that
"while pundits have rhapsodized about broadcasting and its
impact on almost every facet of American society, historians
have largely ignored it" or at best have treated the advent
of broadcasting as an event rather than a process.55 Rosen
himself, however, is guilty of neglecting one important
aspect of broadcast history when he ignores the audience as
one set of participants in the development of American
55Philip T. Rosen, "The Marvel of Radio," American
Quarterly 31 (1979): 577.

24
broadcasting, along with "government bureaucrats,
businessmen, legislators, network executives, entertainers,
and advertisers."56 The radio listener, however passive or
active, was an important player in the unfolding creation of
American broadcasting during the 1920s. Little research has
examined the process by which the American people became
aware of the new medium, and how and when radio took its
place as a household utility.
Previous studies of broadcasting's early years can be
divided into three types: institutional histories,
technological histories, and cultural histories.
Institutional histories are characterized by an examination
of the structure of broadcasting organizations or the
broadcasting system, and of changes in management or
governance. Technological histories focus on the
development of the medium's technology and equipment;
usually determinist in nature, technology-based studies may
view societal changes as the result of changes in
technology. Cultural histories recount the social context
of historical development, often examining the ways in which
society influences the development of a technology or a
medium.
56
Rosen 574.

25
Institutional Histories
Business historians need only point to the 1916 "Radio
Music Box" memo of David Sarnoff, the office boy who would
be radio's king, to defend the view that American
broadcasting was a corporate creation. Gleason Archer's
1938 History of Radio to 1926 and later Big Business and
Radio and William Banning's study of American Telephone &
Telegraph's WEAF present a well-documented but exclusively
corporate view of radio's development.57 More recently,
several articles have examined the development of American
broadcasting as case studies in organizational change.58
Erik Barnouw's three-volume History of Broadcasting in
the United States.59 while the most comprehensive and
detailed examination of the subject, is a primarily
anecdotal discussion of the development of the structure and
57Gleason L. Archer, History of Radio to 1926 (New
York: American Historical Society Press, 1938); Gleason L.
Archer, Big Business and Radio (New York: American
Historical Company, 1939); William Peck Banning, Commercial
Broadcasting Pioneer: The WEAF Experiment (Cambridge:
Harvard UP 1946). Banning was assistant vice-president for
public relations at AT&T when he retired in 1944.
58For example, Huseyin Leblebici et al., "Institutional
Change and the Transformation of Interorganizational Fields:
An Organizational History of the U. S. Radio Broadcasting
Industry," Administrative Science Quarterly 36.3 (1991):
333-364; Stewart L. Long, "Technological Change and
Institutional Response: The Creation of American
Broadcasting," Journal of Economic Issues 21 (1987): 743-
749.
59Erik Barnouw, A History of Broadcasting in the United
States. 3 vols. (New York: Oxford UP, 1966-1968).

26
content of American broadcasting that has been faulted for
errors and generalizations resulting from the use of
secondary sources and oral history remembrances.60 Other,
less ambitious, narratives often lack both analysis and
documentation, although one of these, George H. Douglas's
1987 The Early Days of Radio Broadcasting, includes a
comprehensive 18-page bibliography.61
Commercial sponsorship of radio programming is the most
distinctive institutional feature of American broadcasting.
The development of conditions to support this structure were
analyzed by John W. Spalding in an article that dated the
beginning of radio's era of commercial success to late
1928.62
Technological Histories
Studies of the history of communication technology
often adopt a deterministic point of view. Technological
determinism sees the development of a technology as driven
primarily by scientific or other inherent causes rather than
by social or political pressures or assumptions; it is
60Rosen 577.
61George H. Douglas, The Early Days of Radio
Broadcasting (Jefferson: McFarland, 1987).
62John W. Spalding, "1928: Radio Becomes a Mass
Advertising Medium," Journal of Broadcasting 8.1 (1963-64)
31-44.

27
assumed that the technology in turn causes social change.63
Mass communication research in general more often examines
the impact of the mass media on society than the impact of
society on the mass media.64
In 1990, Thomas W. Volek examined the development of
radio broadcasting through a study of radio advertising in
popular magazines during the 1920s and 1930s.65 Volek's
method was to examine receiver technology exclusively
through printed advertising; his only sources were
advertisements (not editorial material) in popular, general-
interest and women's magazines. In the 1920s as now,
however, advertisements both simplified and exaggerated the
manufacturer's product. For example, advertising copy for
RCA's 1926 Radiola 2066 does not reflect the complexity of
63Raymond Williams, Television; Technology and Cultural
Form (New York: Schocken, 1975) 13. For example, the
abstract of a Journal of Broadcasting article referred to
the home radio receiver as "the instrument that created the
broadcasting industry." Leslie J. Page, Jr., "The Nature of
the Broadcast Receiver and its Market in the United States
from 1922 to 1927," Journal of Broadcasting 4 (1959): 174.
64Garth S. Jowett, "Toward a History of Communication,"
Journalism History 2.2 (1975): 36. For a discussion of the
direction of causation between social change and
technological change, see George H. Daniels, "Technological
Change and Social Change," Technology and Change, ed. John
G. Burke and Marshall C. Eakin, (San Francisco: Boyd, 1970)
161-167.
65Thomas W. Volek, Examining Radio Receiver technology
through Magazine Advertising in the 1920s and 1930s. diss.,
U of Minnesota, 1990 (Ann Arbor: UMI, 1991) 4.
66"New Principles in Radio Developed by RCA,"

28
installation procedures and the need for additional
accessories revealed in the instruction booklet that
accompanied the set; for example, the ad does not mention
the ten individual batteries or the 100-foot wire aerial
required for proper operation.67 An analysis of social
situations portrayed in magazine ads led Volek to conclude
that by 1930 "the thrill and magic of hearing ethereal waves
had been replaced by social thrills and the magic of
status,"68 although information and images in popular
advertisements are often more prescriptive than reflective
and are more likely merely to illustrate the range of
permissible discourse about a product or service than to
present an accurate picture of a product or technology and
its place in society.69 When Volek concluded that "a mass
communication technology moves from a technical novelty to
social and cultural integration through a process marked by
development of its usefulness to and usability by society,"
advertisement, American Magazine Nov. 1925: 91.
67Radio Corporation of America, Radiola 20. instruction
booklet, No. 86990 Edition C, 1926 (Broadcast Pioneers
Library RG79 #537) 5.
68Volek 174.
69Andrew Feldman, Selling the "Electrical Dream" in
the 1920s: A Case Study in the Manipulation of Consciousness
(Paper presented to the Association for Education in
Journalism and Mass Communication, Portland, OR, 1988) 8
(ERIC ED 298 576).

29
he implied a change in technical specifications rather than
a change in public use. A deterministic presentmindedness
colors such statements as "ultimately, social and cultural
integration are achieved by the technology's ability to
become invisible in the user's consciousness;"70 in fact, a
technology often becomes transparent because it has achieved
social and cultural integration, in spite of what later
generations might consider a technology of intrusive
complexity.71
Cultural Histories
James Carey has called cultural history "the study of
consciousness in the past."72 Cultural historians emphasize
the need to examine a phenomenon in its social context or
Zeitgeist in order to fully understand the experiences of
the past.73
Susan Douglas's 1979 dissertation, which became the
1987 book Inventing American Broadcasting 1888-1922, is a
70Volek 241
71A short history of the radio receiver from 1922 to
1927 by Leslie J. Page, Jr. points to the latter year as the
"beginning of the broadcasting era." The receiver itself is
the "indispensable utility" in that study. Leslie J. Page,
Jr., "The Nature of the Broadcast Receiver and its Market in
the United States from 1922 to 1927," Journal of
Broadcasting 4 (1959): 174-182.
72Carey, "The Problem" 4.
73Startt and Sloan 44.

30
social history that began with questions not unlike those
raised in this study: How did technology and culture
interact to produce broadcasting? How did the American
press greet the invention of radio? What were the hopes and
possibilities radio broadcasting carried?74 However,
Douglas chose as her focus the earliest years of wireless
technology, not only of radiotelephony but of wireless
telegraphy, and thus her research ends as the transition to
broadcasting begins. When Douglas says that "technically,
economically, legislatively, and ideologically, the elements
of America's broadcasting system were, thus, in place by
1922,"75 she does not take into account the ways in which
the American public integrated radio broadcasting into its
daily life. One of the most important "elements" of a
system is the way it is used and the place it comes to
assume in society. In 1922 these uses and this place were
still largely unforeseen.
In a 1982 conference paper and a later book chapter,
Catherine Covert concluded that the public felt a sense of
loss resembling bereavement as it struggled to come to terms
74Susan Jeanne Douglas, Exploring Pathways in the
Ether, diss., Brown U, 1979 (Ann Arbor: UMI, 1979) 1; Susan
J. Douglas, Inventing American Broadcasting 1888-1922
(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1987).
75Douglas, Inventing 317.

31
with the new technology of radio during the early 1920s.76
In analyzing the "organizing ideas and images" of the
earliest broadcasting rhetoric, Covert found a tendency to
couch discussion in spiritual or religious terms (even
remarking on the dual meaning of the word "medium")77.
However, Covert's interpretation rests entirely on an elite
discussion: her sources were analyses and commentaries by
intellectuals, academics, and essayists that appeared in the
elite popular press (for example New Republic. Scientific
American, and the New York Times). Covert presented little
evidence that members of the American public were moved to
analyze or intellectualize the remarkable new service as
were these writers (by either inclination or profession), or
that before 1924 radio broadcasting caused individuals to
pass though a series of emotional stages similar to the
five-stage grief process (denial and isolation, anger,
bargaining, depression, acceptance) or that the term
"wireless" implied a "loss" of wires78 rather than the more
76Catherine L. Covert, "'Loss and Change': Radio and
the Shock to Sensibility in American life, 1919-1924,"
(Paper presented to the Association for Education in
Journalism, Athens, OH, 1982; ERIC ED 217 447) 4; Catherine
L. Covert, "We May Hear Too Much: American Sensibility and
the Response to Radio, 1919-1924," Mass Media Between the
Wars: Perceptions of Cultural Tension. 1918-1941. ed.
Catherine L. Covert and John D. Stevens (Syracuse: Syracuse
UP, 1984).
77Covert, "Loss and Change" 8.
78Covert, "Loss and Change" 34; "We May Hear" 219.

32
positive removal of a restraint or the simplification of an
earlier technology. Her contention that a sense of loss was
inevitable "as Americans . . . gave up their complete
dependence on newspapers and wireless"79 does not take into
account that several years would pass before broadcast
programming duplicated the services offered by the daily
newspaper, and that what she called "wireless" was merely a
commercial message technology with little bearing on the
average American's life. Covert's title echoes the subtitle
of Clayton R. Koppes "The Social Destiny of the Radio: Hope
and Disillusionment in the 1920s."80 Koppes's article,
however, treated only the predictions of writers of the era
who tried to forecast radio's impact on American life, and
the disillusion he wrote of is on the part of the
intellectual elite in general and writers in the mass media
in particular. Radio's audience can hardly be called
disillusioned during what we have come to call radio's
"golden age." Advertising executive Roy Durstine
characterized the typical radio listeners of the 1930s as "a
tired, bored, middle-aged man and woman whose lives are
empty and who have exhausted their sources of outside
79Covert, "We May Hear" 212.
80Clayton R. Koppes, "The Social Destiny of the Radio,"
South Atlantic Quarterly 68 (1969): 363-376.

33
amusement when they have taken a quick look at an evening
paper. They are utterly unlike those who are most vocal in
their criticism of radio programs. . . . "81
Much of the social historiography of broadcasting has
described the published debates over the issues faced by
radio during the 1920s, such as commercial support, the need
for political censorship, and the dangers of monopoly.
These studies include a dissertation by Elaine J. Prostak
and articles by Mary Mander and William Boddy.82 As in the
analyses by Covert and Koppes, the debaters were public
figures and intellectuals with access to the print
81Roy Durstine, "The Future of Radio Advertising in the
U. S.," Radio: The Fifth Estate (1935), rptd. in Radio:
Selected A.A.P.S.S. [American Academy of Political and
Social Science 1 Surveys. 1929-1941 (New York: Arno, 1971)
151.
82Elaine J. Prostak, Up in the Air: The Debates Over
Radio Use Purina the 1920s. diss., U Kansas, 1983 (Ann
Arbor: UMI, 1983); Mary Mander, "The Public Debate About
Broadcasting in the Twenties: An Interpretive History,"
Journal of Broadcasting 28.2 (1984): 167-185; William Boddy,
"The Rhetoric and the Economic Roots of the American
Broadcasting Industry," Cine-Tracts 2 (1979) 37-54. For an
examination of the rhetoric of later debates, and
specifically that over the educational use of radio
broadcasting, see Robert W. McChesney, The Battle for
America's Ears and Minds: The Debate Over the Control and
Structure of American Radio Broadcasting, 1930-1935. diss.,
U Washington, 1989 (Ann Arbor: UMI, 1989) and sections of
Robert Edward Davis, Response to Innovation: A Study of
Popular Argument About New Mass Media, diss., U of Iowa,
1965 (New York: Arno, 1976) which analyzed arguments used in
the public discourse about motion pictures, radio, and
television between 1891 and 1955.

34
communication media. During the 1920s radio's audience in
general appears to have reacted with pleased acceptance to
the new medium's offerings, much as modern Americans sit
contentedly before their TV sets while the debate over the
failings, abuses, and excesses of commercial television
continues over their heads.
Broadcasting in Other Countries
Broadcast histories of other countries have limited
applicability to the examination of America's earliest
audiences, because of the individualistic and ad hoc nature
of American broadcasting throughout most of the 1920s. In
addition to cultural differences among societies, the
motivation of broadcasters and government (in many cases the
same entity) as well as the availability of eguipment often
guided the structure of the various national broadcasting
systems. British broadcasting began in 1922 with the
establishment of eight stations run by the British
Broadcasting Company.83 Those who wished to receive the
broadcasts were required to obtain a license, and receiving
equipment was legally limited to sets bearing a stamp of
approval from the Postmaster General; these sources provided
the funding of the British Broadcasting Company (later to
83Gordon Bussey, Wireless: The Crucial Decade: History
of the British Wireless Industry 1924-34 (London:
Peregrinus, 1990) 3.

35
become the British Broadcasting Corporation).84 Australia's
broadcast history is also one of directed development: the
Australian government officially inaugurated radio
broadcasting in September of 1923, at a per-station receiver
fee that has been called "prohibitive."8^ Between August
1923 and June 1924 only 1,400 Australians (out of an
estimated population of almost six million) obtained
licenses, compared with an estimated three million radio
households in the United States (in a population estimated
at more than 114 million) by the beginning of 1924.86
Other Types of Studies
Two methodologies that have not been used to study the
development of the listening audience and the transition of
radio's place in the American home are diffusion of
innovation and retrospective technology assessment.
84The first part of a two-volume series examining
British broadcasting historically focuses on the structural
development of the service, devoting only a brief final
chapter to the listening audience; the second volume is
intended to examine British broadcasting's social
implications. Paddy Scannell and David Cardiff, A Social
History of British Broadcasting: Volume One 1922-1939:
Serving the Nation (Oxford: Blackwell, 1991). For a study
of early British radio listening, see Shaun Moores, "'The
Box on the Dresser': Memories of Early Radio and Everyday
Life," Media. Culture and Society 10 (1988): 23-40.
85Lesley Johnson, The Unseen Voice: A Cultural Study of
Early Australian Radio (London: Routledge, 1988) 12.
86"Statistical Survey of the Radio Business," Radio
Retailing March 1928: 36-37.

36
Diffusion of Innovation. Invention is the process by
which a new idea is created or developed, while innovation
is the process of adapting an existing idea.87 Wireless
telephony was an invention; broadcasting was an innovation.
Diffusion of innovation studies two processes: the pattern
of the appearance or use of an innovation within a social
system, and the individual's adoption process, a sequence of
stages from awareness to acceptance.88 Although as early as
1934 Raymond V. Bowers examined the geographical diffusion
of participation in amateur radio,89 diffusion of innovation
techniques have not been used to study the process by which
American individuals or families adopted radio listening,
nor to study the spread of interest in radio broadcasting as
it developed first into a fad and then into a household
utility. While Bowers's 1934 study provides some raw
material for analyzing the public's interest in radio
technology before the advent of broadcast listening, his
conclusions reflect his interest in diffusion patterns
87Everett M. Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations (New
York: Free, 1962) 76.
88Thomas S. Robertson, Innovative Behavior and
Communication (New York: Holt, 1971) 45; Vijay Mahajan and
Yoram Wind, Innovation Diffusion Models of New Product
Acceptance (Cambridge: Ballinger, 1986) 4.
89Raymond Victor Bowers, ”A Genetic Study of
Institutional Growth and Cultural Diffusion in Contemporary
American Civilization, an Analysis in Terms of Amateur
Radio,” diss., U of Minnesota, 1934.

37
rather than in broadcast history, and when the paths of the
broadcast listener and the radio amateur diverge, he follows
the development of the amateur. In 1936, H. Earl Pemberton
published a brief study of the role of cities as centers of
diffusion, using the case of radio ownership in the United
States. The study analyzed the geographical and cultural
patterns by which radio ownership had permeated American
society by 1930 but did not examine the individual adoption
process.90
Although studies have been made of Americans' adoption
of television, the advent of radio broadcasting is not
analogous because of the distinction between discontinuous
innovation (involving a new product and new consumption
patterns) and continuous innovation (the alteration of an
existing product).91 Television was an adaptation of the
forms, structures, and uses of radio broadcasting.92
Retrospective Technology Assessment. Technology
assessment, a concept formalized by the United States
90H. Earl Pemberton, "Culture-Diffusion Gradients,"
American Journal of Sociology 42 (1936): 226-233.
91Lawrence A. Brown, Innovation Diffusion: A New
Perspective (London: Methuen, 1981) 7.
92See, for example, Saxon Graham, "Cultural
Compatibility in the Adoption of Television," Social Forces
33 (1954-55): 166-170; Saxon Graham, "Class and Conservatism
in the Adoption of Innovations" Human Relations 9 (1956):
91-100.

38
government in the 1960s, examines the impact on society of
the introduction of particular technologies. In 1974
"retrospective technology assessment" was introduced in an
attempt to clarify the historical implications of new
technologies, to examine expectations for past technologies,
and to forecast development.93 Although a retrospective
technology assessment of radio broadcasting has not been
published, a model may be provided by Ithiel de Sola Pool's
1983 Forecasting the Telephone, which examines predictions
in the popular literature of telephone's applications and
effects.94
Radio Comes of Aae
Although no one has examined the process of transition
of radio during the 1920s from the viewpoint of the audience
and its use of the medium, most researchers do identify,
implicitly or explicitly, a point at which radio "grew up."
Many different years are defensible based on the orientation
of the researcher and the research. Political use of radio
by the general public can be said to have begun with the
93 See Joel A. Tarr, ed., Retrospective Technology
Assessment—1976 (San Francisco: San Francisco, 1977) for
details of the process of RTA.
94Ithiel de Sola Pool, Forecasting the Telephone
(Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1983); See also Ithiel de Sola Pool,
ed., The Social Impact of the Telephone (Cambridge: MIT P,
1977) .

39
multi-station broadcasting of the 1924 political nominating
conventions.95 The creation of the National Broadcasting
Company in 1926 forged the permanent links upon which was
built the national-network structure of American
broadcasting.96 Nineteen-twenty-seven was the year of the
Radio Act; it was also a year marked by the development of
improved, simplified receivers.97 Because commercial
sponsorship continues to be the basis of American
broadcasting, the turning point in radio's development can
be seen as 1922, the year of WEAF's initial experiment in
toll broadcasting, or 1928, when advances in eguipment,
programming, audience size and sponsorship allowed the
networks to develop a national listenership that could be
delivered to advertisers.98
Yet whether investigating the impact of society on
technology or technology on society, most broadcast
histories have examined changes in management, regulation,
95Lewis Elton Weeks, Order out of Chaos; The Formative
Years of American Broadcasting, 1920-1927. diss., Michigan
State U, 1962 (Ann Arbor: UMI, 1963) 155.
96Elaine J. Prostak, Up in the Air: The Debates Over
Radio Use During the 1920sf diss., U Kansas, 1983 (Ann
Arbor: UMI, 1983) 26.
97Page 181.
98John W. Spalding, "1928: Radio Becomes a Mass
Advertising Medium," Journal of Broadcasting 8.1 (1963-64):
31.

40
or structure, rather than changes in broadcasting's function
for the audience, or in the audience's perception of
broadcasting. Few studies have reflected the actions and
feelings of the public as it learned about and learned how
to use radio.
Significance
A need exists to study people's use of technological
innovations, especially previously unknown products that
establish new social patterns and become part of everyday
life." Little has been written about the evolution of the
radio audience and its role in broadcasting's development.
The aim of this study is to increase the understanding of
how, when, and why broadcasting took its place in the
American home and in American society. More important, the
study demonstrates the role of the public in the development
of useful technology, including segments of the public
previously viewed as lacking power, such as women in the
home.
The technologies of mass communication have continued
to develop since the first days of radio broadcasting.
Some—such as television—were much-heralded and well
"a need for examinations of technological fads and
their adoption by and integration into society has been
noted by B. E. Aguirre, E. L. Quarantelli, and Jorge L.
Mendoza in "The Collective Behavior of Fads: The
Characteristics, Effects, and Career of Streaking," American
Sociological Review 53.4 (1988): 577.

41
planned while others, like the videocassette recorder,
surprised even their developers with not only their
popularity but the variety of their uses. Useful parallels
can also be drawn between radio and other technological
innovations that have become integrated into the lives of
most Americans, from the personal automobile in the early
years of the century to the growing use of personal
computers as the century ends.100 As one writer said of the
computer's development, "whenever a new technology is born,
few see its ultimate place in society."101
100Although the automobile developed much earlier than
radiotelephony, Wilfred Owen identified three periods of
automotive history—a formative period before World War I, a
growth period from 1919 to mid-1930s, and a period of
maturity—that correspond to the timing of the three eras of
radio's development. Cited in Francis R. Allen, "The
Automobile," Technology and Social Change, ed. Francis R.
Allen, et al. (New York: Appleton, 1957) 109. For a
discussion of different approaches to the history of the
automobile, see James J. Flink, "The Car Culture Revisited,"
Michigan Quarterly Review 19 (1980): 772-781. The history
of the automobile was primarily recounted in terms of
inventors and industrial giants until Flink's America Adopts
the Automobile and The Car Culture. See James J. Flink,
America Adopts the Automobile. 1895-1910 (Cambridge: MIT P,
1970); James J. Flink, The Car Culture (Cambridge: MIT P,
1975). An example of the recent expansion in cultural focus
is Virginia Scharff, Taking the Wheel: Women and the Coming
of the Motor Age (New York: Free Press, 1991).
101Paul Cerruzi, "An Unforeseen Revolution: Computers
and Expectations, 1935-1985," Imaging Tomorrow: History.
Technology and the American Future. ed. Joseph J. Corn
(Cambridge: MIT P, 1986) 194. Discussions of the early
participants in home computing sound very much like stories
of the youngsters who first brought radio into the home;
see, for example, Florence Grossman, "Who Are the Computer
Kids?" onComputing Fall 1981: 24-25.

42
In 1946 Donald McNicol, of the Institute of Radio
Engineers, whimsically suggested that radio producers might
replace the announcers' tedious biographies of long-dead
composers with a "biography" of the technology that made the
broadcast possible.102 This study describes the process by
which the technology of the wireless transmission of sound
became the mass medium of broadcasting. Neil Postman, in
Amusing Ourselves to Death, compared the difference between
a technology and a medium to the difference between a brain
and a mind:
A technology becomes a medium as it employs a
particular symbolic code, as it finds its place in
a particular social setting, as it insinuates
itself into economic and political contexts. A
technology, in other words, is merely a machine.
A medium is the social and intellectual
environment a machine creates.103
102Donald McNicol, Radio's Conquest of Space (1946; New
York: Arno, 1974) 329.
103Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death (New York:
Penguin, 1985) 84.

CHAPTER 2
THE RADIO HOBBY
A few months ago the general public knew of radio,
or rather "wireless," as it knew of dirigible
airships—something very modern and interesting,
but of no direct relation to ordinary life.
Current History. April 19221
The remarkable advances in transportation technology of
the nineteenth century were overshadowed by astonishing new
methods of communication that developed with the approach of
the twentieth.2 During the first two decades of the new
century the press frequently publicized the technological
marvels that were becoming increasingly important tools in
its own profession: Morse's telegraph, Bell's telephone,
and the newest wonder, Marconi's wireless.3
-'-William H. Easton, "Wonders of the Radio Telephone,"
Current History 16 (1922): 27.
2The revolution in transportation began in the 1830s
with the coal-burning steamboat and the development of
inland navigation, which was followed by the coming of the
railroads in the 1840s and 1850s, as well as the electric
trolley-car and the emergence of the automobile at the turn
of the century. The advent of powered human flight in the
first decade of the new century provides an apt connection
with the simultaneous beginning of instantaneous
communication through that same air. See Edward Hungerford,
"Transportation and Communication," A Century of Progress.
ed. Charles A. Beard (1932; Freeport: Books for Libraries,
1970) 86-121.
3For a view of electricity as the bridge between the
43

44
Wire Telephony
"This is the age of telephones," the journal Telephony
declared in 1905 of that "most useful and . . . most abused
feature of the household machinery." Patients expected
medical advice by phone, customers pestered their bankers
for football scores and political developments, stores were
asked to describe merchandise over the wire. "Bless the
telephone; it is the wonder of the age," the article
concluded; "it is making a careless, lazy, discourteous, but
comfortable and happy, civilization."4 Twenty-eight years
earlier, when the telephone was first patented, a newspaper
cartoonist predicted "The Terrors of the Telephone—The
Orator of the Future": wires from a telephone instrument
spread out to all the cities of the world, as a frenetic
orator harangues the multitudes from Dublin to the Fiji
Islands.5 In fact, before the turn of the century this
transportation era and the communication era, see Carolyn
Marvin, The Electrical Imagination: Predicting the Future of
Communications in Britain and the United States in the Late
Nineteenth Century, diss., U Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 1979
(Ann Arbor: UMI, 1980).
4"Telephoning is the National Craze," Telephony
December 1905: 412.
5"Terrors of the Telephone—The Orator of the Future,"
cartoon, New York Daily Graphic 15 March 1877: 1.
Apparently, public feeling about this scientific marvel was
ambivalent. Two weeks earlier the same newspaper had
editorialized about the "Triumphs of the Telephone," (28
February 1877: 818) and four weeks later the "Wonders of the
Telephone" (31 March 1877: 215).

45
fanciful broadcasting prophecy had been fulfilled on a local
scale, and by 1900 6,200 subscribers were receiving a 12-
hour-daily service of "music, telegraphic news 'hot' from
the wires, literary criticism, stock guotations" and other
features as announced in a printed program from Budapest,
Hungary's "Telephone Newspaper."6 In the spring of 1912, a
group of New York businessmen visited Budapest, and returned
to organize the New Jersey Telephone Herald Company. By
July of that year, subscribers were being offered fashion
talks, sports talks, bedtime stories, dance music, and news
reports, as well as stock guotations every fifteen minutes,
for a fee of $1.50 per month. Although 5,000 households
subscribed in the initial months, interest waned by the end
of the first year and organizers disbanded the company, a
failure later blamed on poor technical quality.7
Wireless Telegraphy and Telephony before WWI
Marconi's 1901 transmission of the telegraphic code
for the single letter S across the Atlantic fired the
6Thomas S. Denison, "The Telephone Newspaper," The
World's Work 1 (1900-1901): 640-641. For a detailed history
of "Telefon Hirmondo" see David L. Woods, "Semantics versus
the 'First' Broadcasting Station," Journal of Broadcasting
11 (1967): 199-207.
7G. C. B. Rowe, "Broadcasting in 1912," Radio News 6
(1925): 2309. For a discussion of the telephone as an
entertainment medium see Asa Briggs, "The Pleasure
Telephone," Social Impact of the Telephone, ed. Ithiel de
Sola Pool (Cambridge: MIT P, 1977) 40-65.

46
imagination of scientists and philosophers around the world.
The public was apprised at regular intervals of the latest
advances in wireless technology during the early years of
the century; the word "wonder" appeared frequently in titles
and stories.8
Wireless was news during the pre-war years, even though
it did not touch people's daily lives directly as it would
after the advent of broadcasting. A researcher in the 1930s
counted the number of wireless articles in non-technical
magazines indexed by Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature
between 1900 and 1914, and found the following:9
1900-1 1904-8
1901-3 1905-5
1902-13 1906-6
1903-19 1907-15
1908-8
1909-14
1910-8
1911-12
1912-12
1913-12
1914-19
Between 1900 and 1918, the Reader's Guide listed under
"wireless" at least eleven pieces of fiction and four poems,
including Rudyard Kipling's 1902 story "Wireless."10
8 For example Eugene P. Lyle, Jr., "The Advance of
Wireless" World's Work 9 (1905): 5845-8; and Arthur W. Page,
"Communication by Wire and Wireless: The Wonders of the
Telegraph and Telephone" World's Work 13 (1907): 8408-8422.
9Raymond Victor Bowers, A Genetic Study of
Institutional Growth and Cultural Diffusion in Contemporary
American Civilization, an Analysis in Terms of Amateur
Radio, diss., U of Minnesota, 1934, 23.
10Rudyard Kipling, "Wireless," Scribner's Aug. 1902:
129-143.

47
Professional Radiotelearaphv
Wireless telegraphy was a boon to newspapers compiling
reports of the world's news, and papers were quick to boast
of their use of the new technology. By 1909 the New York
Times featured foreign news under a decorative banner
announcing "The Marconi Transatlantic Wireless
Dispatches."11 "The Times's Daily Wireless and Cable
Dispatches" might also include announcements of the new
wireless stations built by the Marconi Company.12
Both the romance and the respect accorded wireless
communications grew when the use of radio technology on
ships at sea was credited with saving lives. On January 24,
1909, the British liner Republic collided with the S. S.
Florida off Nantucket; through the many pages of newspaper
coverage, wireless telegraphy emerged as the hero.13
Praising the role of wireless in the rescue of all on board
who had not died in the initial collision, a Times editorial
proclaimed that "C Q D," the standard distress call at that
time, had now "come into the public knowledge and will be
fixed indelibly in the memory."14 The collision also made a
11"Marconi Transatlantic Wireless Dispatches," New York
Times 24 Jan. 1909, part 3: 1.
12"Viewing Wireless Stations," New York Times 29 March
1912: 6.
13"Liner Republic Rammed at Sea," New York Times 24
Jan. 1909: 1; "How Wireless Saved a Ship," New York Times 24
Jan. 1909: 1.

48
hero of the Republic's wireless operator Jack Binns,15 who
was mobbed by admirers whenever he appeared in public, and
was often asked to make impromptu speeches. When he was
discovered in the audience at a New York stage show, a group
of chorus girls was said to have pursued him out of the
theater and up New York's Sixth Avenue, blowing kisses.16
Three years later America's most notorious shipwreck,
the sinking of the luxury liner Titanic on its maiden
voyage, focused public attention once again on the safety
value of shipboard radio.17 Although wireless could not
prevent the loss of life caused by inadequate safety
equipment, radio messages did allow ships in the area to
pick up survivors and to relay information to shore.18
14.,C Q D," editorial, New York Times 25 Jan. 1909: 8.
15.,How Binns Flashed His Calls For Help," New York
Times 26 Jan. 1909: 4.
16.,Binns, Wireless, Kissed by Chorus," New York Times
29 January 1909: 2.
17"Scientific Aftermath of the 'Titanic'," Literary
Digest 44 (1912): 1097.
18The radio hero of this particular shipwreck would
eventually be David Sarnoff, who over subsequent years
developed the myth that he had been the Marconi operator who
received first word of the wreck and subsequent rescue
attempts, remaining at his key for 72 hours as reports of
survivors came in. The truth is apparently that Sarnoff was
at that time assigned to duty at a Marconi installation in
New York's Wanamaker department store, and the morning
following news of the Titanic's sinking participated in a
promotion sponsored by the New York American, in which the
Wanamaker station intercepted and relayed to reporters
messages of rescue information and survivor lists. Sarnoff

49
"A New Style of Adventures," Walter S. Hiatt called
wireless in a 1913 Collier's article about the exploits of
ships' operators: "A veritable host of new stories have
entered the world with these pounders of the brass."19
Later that month, under the heading "The World's New
Marvels," Collier's looked toward the future of the wireless
telephone. Describing the recent development of a small
portable radio outfit, the writer concluded that some day
"it may be that no farm or fireside will be without one."20
However, some technicians and scientists may have resented
the aura of mystery and romance fostered by such phrases as
"a million wireless ears."21 A March 1916 column of "Plain
was not even the lone operator manning the Wanamaker post
during the exercise: one of his co-workers was the original
wireless hero himself, Jack Binns. For a discussion of the
Sarnoff "Titanic myth," see Kenneth Bilby, The General (New
York: Harper, 1986) 30-35. It is possible that Sarnoff
concocted the myth because he had been unable to share in
the general adulation that followed the Republic collision
in 1909; although records show that Sarnoff was assigned to
Marconi's Siasconset installation at the time of the
collision, it was his fellow Siasconset operator A. H.
Ginman who received the publicity. See "Marconi Man's Own
Story," New York Times 24 Jan. 1909: 2; "First News of
Republic Loss," New York Times 25 Jan. 1909: 1.
19Walter S. Hiatt, "A New Style of Adventures,"
Collier's 18 Oct. 1913: 25.
20Carl Snyder, "The World's New Marvels," Collier's
25 Oct. 1913: 22.
21
Snyder, 22.

50
Talk on Scientific Achievement" pointed out that although
newspapers usually referred to "transmitting sound," in
reality radiotelephony was merely a wave of electromagnetic
force disturbing the ether, rather than "a voice 'through
the air.'"22
Amateur Radio Operators23
Meanwhile, experimenting with radiotelegraphy and
radiotelephony had become a popular scientific pastime. In
the wake of publicity about Jack Binns and the role of
wireless in the Republic disaster, interest in radio
experimentation grew, as did the amount of press coverage
accorded the experimenters. Many young people learned about
radio in high school physics classes; after graduation some
entered the field as professional radio operators and many
more joined the growing group of radio amateurs.24 This
"most popular scientific fad" had been embraced by an
estimated four thousand young Americans, to the occasional
dismay of professional and Navy operators who often had to
22C. H. Claudy, "A Voice Through the Air," McBride's
March 1916: 159.
23For a social history of amateur radio, see Susan J.
Douglas, "Amateur Operators and American Broadcasting:
Shaping the Future of Radio," Imagining Tomorrow, ed. Joseph
J. Corn (Cambridge: MIT P, 1986) 35-57.
24"Boys Forge Ahead in Wireless Work," New York Times
31 Jan. 1909, sec. 1: 18.

51
contend with careless or malicious interference from
loquacious or mischievous amateurs.25
In 1912, Hugo Gernsback, editor of Modern Electrics
magazine and an officer of the Wireless Association of
America, wrote a letter to the New York Times promoting the
benefits of amateur radio to society (improvement of
equipment, relaying distress calls) and to the amateur
himself (keeping him at home, away from other diversions
that might lead to "questionable resorts"). Gernsback
estimated the pastime had 400,000 participants.26 In June
1916, the third-prize in American Magazine's "My Hobby and
Why I Enjoy It" contest went to a twenty-two-year-old radio
operator who left his job to return to college but spent his
spare time on amateur radio, a pastime he claimed to share
with 75,000 other American youths. "I hear the dots and
dashes calling me," he wrote. "I can't shake the bug."27
Early experimenters and amateur operators were
concerned with building and perfecting equipment to transmit
and receive radio waves, and conversing in code with other
radio enthusiasts pursuing the same goals. After 1912 a
25Robert A. Morton, "The Amateur Wireless Operator,"
Outlook 15 Jan. 1910: 131.
26Hugo Gernsback, "400,000 Wireless Amateurs," New
York Times 29 March 1912: 12.
27"75,000 American Boys Have This Enthusiasm,"
American Magazine June 1916: 104.

52
government test and license were required for transmission,
and a body of hobbyist listeners without transmitting
equipment began to grow. The hobbyists would listen in on
commercial and amateur communication both in code and by
voice, a "super eavesdropping" that was considered one of
radio's greatest attractions.28
Experiments in Wireless Broadcasting29
Although the ability to transmit human speech without
wires was developed gradually over the years before 1920,
broadcasting has been called the "surprise party" of
wireless technology.30 The goal of experimentation in
wireless communication during the first two decades of the
twentieth century was still the improvement of point-to-
point communication; it was assumed wireless would take its
place as an adjunct to wired telegraphy and, eventually,
wired telephony, crossing distances too vast or populations
too sparse to be served by wires and cable. The concept of
28Austin C. Lescarboura, "Amateurs in Name Only,"
Scientific American 120 (1919): 688.
29For a chronological discussion of the development of
broadcasting technology see Robert H. Marriott, "United
States Radio Broadcasting Development," Proceedings of the
Institute of Radio Engineers 17 (1929): 1395-1439; and
Elliot N. Sivowitch, "A Technological Survey of
Broadcasting's Prehistory, 1876-1920," Journal of
Broadcasting 15.1 (1970-71): 1-20.
30J. G. Harbord, "The Commercial Uses of Radio," Radio,
ed. Irwin Stewart (1929) rptd. in Radio: Selected A.A.P.S.S.
Surveys, 1929-1941 (New York: Arno, 1971) 57.

53
"broadcasting," or sending out a message from a single point
to a wide audience (with its implication of one-way
communication) was not the goal of even the first voice
"broadcasters."31 A signal would be sent out in order to
test transmitting equipment: response from all those who
heard, or "copied," the signal would enable the experimenter
to learn more about the transmission of radio waves in
general, and the performance of that equipment in
particular.
In 1906 Reginald A. Fessenden invited a group of
scientists to witness his test of wireless telephony between
Brant Rock and Plymouth, Massachusetts, a distance of just
over ten miles.32 Three days before Christmas Fessenden
also notified nearby ships equipped with Fessenden apparatus
31The word "broadcast," meaning in agriculture to
scatter seed widely, had been used figuratively for many
years, though most often as an adverb or an adjective. For
example, in the 1898 story "The Blue Hotel," Stephen Crane
wrote that one man's gentle and respectful manner "appeared
to be a continual broadcast compliment." Stephen Crane, "The
Blue Hotel," Collier's Weekly 26 Nov. 1898: 16. The use of
"broadcast" as a verb became common only in 1922, according
to "Astonishing Growth of the Radiotelephone," Literary
Digest 15 April 1922: 28. However, the Pittsburgh Sun and
Pittsburgh Post used the word to describe KDKA's election
coverage in November, 1920. "Wireless Phone Proves Success
Election Night, Pittsburgh Sun 4 Nov. 1920: 4; "Wireless
Success in Broadcasting Returns one of Election Features,"
Pittsburgh Post 5 Nov. 1920.
32R[eginald] A[ubrey] Fessenden, "Wireless Telephony,"
Proceedings of the American Institute of Electrical
Engineers 27 (1908): 1309.

54
that he would make a speech transmission on Christmas Eve.
That early "broadcast" included, Fessenden later wrote,
a short speech by me saying what we were going to
do, then some phonograph music . . . being
Handel's Largo. Then came a violin solo by me,
being a composition of Gounod called "0, Holy
Night,". . . of which I sang one verse, in
addition to playing on the violin, though the
singing of course was not very good. Then came
the Bible text, "Glory to God in the highest and
on earth peace to men of good will," and finally
we wound up by wishing them a Merry Christmas and
then saying that we proposed to broadcast again
New Year's Eve.33
There seems to have been little publicity for what would
later be referred to in textbooks as the first radio
broadcast, although Fessenden did write a brief article for
Scientific American that referred to tests run four days
earlier in the presence of other wireless experts and the
technical press, during which he transmitted speech, music,
and "phonograph talking records."34 Later that year Review
of Reviews presented an explanation of the differences
between wire and wireless communication, and between
telegraphy and telephony, describing the "De Forest system"
of radiotelephony by which amateurs in the New York area had
received music from the de Forest station. De Forest
33Helen M. Fessenden, Fessenden: Builder of Tomorrows
(New York: Coward, 1940) 153.
34Reginald A. Fessenden, "Recent Progress in Wireless
Telephony," Scientific American 19 Jan. 1907: 68.

55
suggested that
radio-telephony has also a field in the
distribution of music from a central station, such
as an opera house. By installing a wireless
telephone transmission station on the roof, the
music of singers and orchestra could be supplied
to all subscribers who would have aerial wires on
or near their homes.35
On the first day of 1909, Charles David "Doc" Herrold
began regular transmissions of voice and music to the San
Jose, California, area from the Herrold College of
Engineering and Wireless.36 In the same year, three weeks
after the Republic and the Florida collided, a front-page
article in the New York Times touted Lee de Forest's latest
radio telephone system.37 In early 1910 de Forest attempted
to transmit grand opera to the public, working with the
National Dictograph Company, which was installing stage
microphones at New York's Metropolitan Opera House.
Newspaper reporters who participated in the demonstration
wrote they had difficulty hearing the voices at all clearly,
one noting that most of the "homeless song waves were kept
from finding themselves" by interference from a nearby
transmitter.38
35Herbert T. Wade, "Wireless Telephony by the De Forest
System," Review of Reviews 35 (1907): 685.
36See Gordon B. Greb, "The Golden Anniversary of
Broadcasting," Journal of Broadcasting 3 (1958-59): 3-13.
37De Forest Tells of a New Wireless," New York Times 14
Feb. 1909:1.
38"Wireless Melody Jarred," New York Times 14 Jan.
1910: 2.

56
In the fall of 1916, de Forest broadcast presidential
election returns, interspersed with phonograph music and
vocal selections, an "election-night innovation" described
in the next morning's New York Times.00 And it was in 1916
that David Sarnoff, twenty-five-year-old contract manager at
American Marconi, wrote a memo to higher management,
suggesting a "Radio Music Box."40
°°"Returns by Wireless," New York Times 8 Nov. 1916: 6
40The year of Sarnoff's "Radio Music Box" memo is
alternately given as 1915 and 1916. In his 1936 History of
Radio. Gleason Archer dated the memo from 1916, and wrote
that he had personally examined a reply from General Manager
Edward J. Nally, dated November 9, 1916 (Gleason L. Archer,
History of Radio to 1926 (New York: American Historical
Society P, 1938) 112). However, after the memo's
publication with the date September 30, 1915 in the 1968
book Looking Ahead: The Papers of David Sarnoff (New York:
McGraw, 1968), the year 1915 began to appear in both
scholarly articles and popular books. Sarnoff's earliest
printed use of the 1915 date may be an article he wrote for
the New York Herald Sunday Magazine, May 14, 1922 (David
Sarnoff, "Radio of Today and Tomorrow" New York Herald 14
May 1922, sec. 7: 2). Robert Sobel and Carl Dreher have
speculated that de Forest's development of further uses for
his audion tube may have been the cause of Sarnoff's
backdating. Robert Sobel, RCA (New York: Stein, 1986) 42.
In fact, in 1916 the Marconi and De Forest companies met in
court over patent claims and counterclaims centering around
the audion ("Audion Situation," OST March 1917: 16-17). In
addition, as Dreher has pointed out, in 1916 de Forest was
already broadcasting from his Highbridge, New York, station.
Carl Dreher, Sarnoff: An American Success (New York:
Quadrangle, 1977) 41. Recent research has suggested the
details usually cited from the "Music Box Memo" actually
come from a memo Sarnoff wrote in 1920. See Louise M.
Benjamin, "In Search of the Sarnoff 'Radio Music Box' Memo,"
Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media 37 (1993): 325-
335.

57
I have in mind a plan of development which would
make radio a "household utility" in the same sense
as the piano or phonograph. The idea is to bring
music into the house by wireless. . . . The
receiver can be designed in the form of a simple
"Radio Music Box" and arranged for several
different wavelengths, which should be changeable
with the throwing of a single switch or pressing
of a single button. . . .
The same principle can be extended to
numerous other fields—as, for example, receiving
lectures at home which can be made perfectly
audible; also, events of national importance can
be simultaneously announced and received.
Baseball scores can be transmitted in the air by
the use of one set installed at the Polo
Grounds.41
American Marconi took no action on Sarnoff's memo. By
1917, however, Lee de Forest was offering a series of
concerts and "wireless newspaper" editions weekday evenings
at 8 o'clock.42 Response came immediately from nearby radio
amateurs, both by return radio transmissions and by mail.43
Wireless at War
Amateur radio operators sitting at an estimated 175,000
to 200,000 amateur wireless telegraphy and telephony
stations, especially those along the coastline, served a
useful monitoring function for the government during the
earliest years of the world war. When America entered the
41Gleason L. Archer, History of Radio to 1926 (New
York: American Historical Society Press, 1938) 112.
42"Concert by Wireless," OST January 1917: 26.
43"DeForest [sic] Wireless Telephone," OST 17 April:
72-73.

58
war, 20,000 amateurs quickly put their skills to work in the
military effort.44 Although in April of 1917 the U. S.
government ordered all transmitters and receivers operated
by radio experimenters dismantled,45 technological advances
made in wireless telegraphy and telephony during the war by
commercial experimentation and the pooling of patents
resulted in the development of simpler, less expensive
transmitting and receiving equipment.
Post-War Experimentation
A Saturday Evening Post "Everybody's Business" column
in February of 1920 titled "New Day in Communication"
described recent advances in wireless technology,46 and
newspaper articles continued to feature the latest feats in
voice transmission, often involving entertainment sent to
ships at sea. Navy men were serenaded by opera singers,47
and high society took advantage of the novelty of radio
music to raise money for charity.48
44F. A. Collins, "Boys and the Wireless," Woman's Home
Companion April 1920: 44.
453,741 amateur transmitting stations were closed in
April 1917 according to the United States Department of
Commerce, Report of the Secretary of Commerce and Reports of
Bureaus, (Washington: GPO, 1920): 983.
46Floyd W. Parsons, "New Day in Communication,"
Saturday Evening Post 7 Feb. 1920: 30.
47"Girl Entertains the Pacific Fleet with a Wireless
Concert," Pittsburgh Sun 29 Oct. 1920: 1; "Tetrazzini by
Wireless Telephone Will Sing to Sailors on Navy Warships,"
New York Times 3 Dec. 1920: 17.
48"To Hear Symphony Concert at Sea," New York Times 27

59
Restrictions on amateur radio receiving equipment were
lifted in April of 1919, and although transmitters remained
sealed, the radio enthusiasts returned gratefully to their
listening posts. One writer estimated the number of
American amateurs at "several hundred thousand."49 Both the
long-time amateurs who had waited out the wartime silence
and a new group made up of men trained for radio work in the
service were eager to reclaim the ether:
There is a sense of restless expectancy not unlike
that which comes upon one waiting for the curtain
to rise for the decisive act of a play; for the
fact is that much has been done in wireless
telegraphy and telephony during the past two
years, and there are many new and strange signals,
also new apparatus, ready to greet the amateur.50
Restrictions on amateur radio transmission were lifted in
October of 1919.51 Although many amateurs returned to
telegraphy and its communication in code, others began to
work exclusively with radiotelephony. Many experimenters
rested their voices while they tested their transmitting
equipment by playing phonograph records between
June 1920, sec. 6: 3.
49Austin C.Lescarboura, "Amateurs in Name Only,"
Scientific American 120 (1919) 688.
50"Revival of Amateur Wireless," Illustrated World
Sept. 1919: 104.
51"Radio Restrictions Removed," Wireless Age Oct. 1919:
21.

60
announcements of their station call signs and requests for
feedback on the quality of their signals. These "radiophone
concerts" became popular with the growing body of listener-
hobbyists .
The "Birth of Broadcasting"
In the Pittsburgh area, Westinghouse engineer Frank
Conrad's experimental station 8XK had remained operational
during the war, to aid in the development of wireless
equipment for the military. Conrad continued testing his
transmitting equipment following the war, changing from
coded telegraphy to voice transmission and finally to music
from phonograph records.52 In late September of 1920, the
Joseph Horne department store, whose full-page
advertisements in the Pittsburgh Sun took the form of a mock
newspaper page, ran a "column" under the headline "Air
Concert 'Picked Up' By Radio Here":
Victrola music, played into the air over a
wireless telephone, was "picked up" by listeners
on the wireless receiving station which was
recently installed here for patrons interested in
wireless experiments. The concert was heard
Thursday night about 10 o'clock, and continued 20
minutes. Two orchestra numbers, a soprano solo—
which rang particularly high and clear through the
air—and a juvenile "talking piece" constituted
the program.
The music was from a Victrola pulled up close
to the transmitter of a wireless telephone in the
52S. M. Kintner, "Pittsburgh's Contributions to Radio,"
Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers 20 (1932):
1857.

61
home of Frank Conrad, Penn and Peebles avenues,
Wilkinsburg. Mr. Conrad is a wireless enthusiast
and "puts on" the wireless concerts periodically
for the entertainment of the many people in this
district who have wireless sets.
Amateur Wireless Sets, made by the maker of
the Set which is in operation in our store, are on
sale here $10.00 and up.
—West Basement.53
To Westinghouse Vice-President H. P. Davis the ad
suggested that a permanent broadcasting service would
provide a growing market for the sale of Westinghouse
wireless receiving equipment, and the next day he proposed
the company procure a license for its own transmitting
facility.54
KDKA
In 1931, Frederick Lewis Allen called November 2, 1920
"a date schoolchildren may some day have to learn."55
However, little printed publicity was given what is usually
acknowledged as the first commercial broadcasting venture—
the transmission in Pittsburgh of the Harding-Cox election
53"Horne Daily News," advertisement, Pittsburgh Post 29
Sept. 1920: 7. The previous week's ad had announced the
installation of a radio receiving set in a section of the
basement between the Toy Department and the Sporting Goods
Section, "for the accommodation of our patrons;" amateur
sets were on sale starting at ten dollars. "Wireless
Receiving Station Installed at Horne's," advertisement,
Pittsburgh Sun 23 Sept. 1920: 9.
54Kintner 1857.
55Frederick Lewis Allen, Only Yesterday: An Informal
History of the Nineteen Twenties (New York: Harper, 1931)
77.

62
returns from Westinghouse's newly-licensed radio station
KDKA on November 2, 1920.56
The morning after the election, the Pittsburgh Sun
described the use of amateur wireless operators to receive
returns from various areas and pass them along to a "central
receiving station" in the Public Safety building, but made
no mention of KDKA or the broadcasting of gathered election
returns to the public.57 Later that week the Sun did run a
story headed "Wireless Phone Proves Success Election Night—
Westinghouse Concerns Distribute Returns From East
Pittsburgh Plant—Predict Great Future."
One of the interesting sidelights of the election
this year was the great success of the wireless
telephone broadcasting of the returns. So
convincing were the results obtained, it is
predicted that four years hence the radio method
of sending news of the election will be almost
universally used. ... By means of apparatus
installed in clubs throughout the city, large
assemblages were able to have social functions
while receiving the returns. At the Edgewood Club
a sounding horn was in use, and persons all over
56"How Westinghouse Announced Harding's Election,"
Westinghouse Electric News 15 Nov. 1920: 2. For information
on Westinghouse's radio work and the development of KDKA,
see S. M. Kintner, "Pittsburgh's Contributions to Radio,"
Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers 20 (1920):
1849-1862. For a discussion of newspaper coverage of the
introduction of the first television broadcasting
technology, see James R. Walker, "Old Media on New Media:
National Popular Press Reaction to Mechanical Television,"
Journal of Popular Culture 25.1 (1991): 21-19.
57i'wireless Operators Have Busy Night," Pittsburgh Sun
3 Nov. 1920: 21.

63
the large ballroom could hear the voice of the
speaker at East Pittsburgh through the radio
apparatus. In addition to the phonograph music,
banjo duet selections were played during the
intervals between of [sic] the election returns.
The clear tone and loudness of all the music
greatly astonished the gatherings.58
Newspapers in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York,
Washington and Miami did not mention KDKA's transmission,
although the Los Angeles Times covered the American Radio
Relay League's plans to transmit election returns from
various locations around the country.59
After the election, KDKA stayed on the air with a
regular—if limited—schedule of music and talks. A January
4 editorial in the Pittsburgh Post acknowledged a church
service broadcast by KDKA the previous Sunday and the
station's "experiments" transmitting phonograph music. The
editorial predicted that "in the course of time
organizations will be formed to furnish music to wireless
patrons," in addition to lectures provided by speakers'
bureaus. In the future, subscribers to wireless services
"may be able to receive the most varied entertainment, night
after night, at small expense."60 On January 20, 1921, the
"Wireless Phone Proves Success Election Night,"
Pittsburgh Sun 4 Nov. 1920: 4. The Sun's sister newspaper,
the Pittsburgh Post, ran the same story that Friday:
"Wireless Success in Broadcasting Returns one of Election
Features," Pittsburgh Post 5 Nov. 1920: 16.
59To Flash Election Returns by Radio," Los Angeles
Times 1 Nov. 1920: 2.

64
first promotional article based on information provided by
Westinghouse appeared in the Pittsburgh Post, describing the
following week's "program" and giving the station's
wavelength.61
The Detroit News
Several months before KDKA's broadcast the Detroit News
had also transmitted election returns by wireless, an event
that was heavily promoted in its own pages. On August 31,
the News broadcast results of the primary election from
amateur station 8MK, which operated from the News building.
A front-page box headed "RADIO OPERATORS! ATTENTION!" gave
specific information on the time, call sign and wavelength
of the broadcast to which the public could "listen in
tonight and get election returns and hear a concert sent out
by the Detroit News Radiophone."
The next day's front page boasted of the experiment's
success:
The sending of the election returns by the Detroit
News radiophone on Tuesday night was fraught with
romance and must go down in the history of man's
conquest of the elements as a gigantic step in his
progress. In the four hours that the apparatus
. . . was hissing and whirring its message into
space, few realized that a dream and a prediction
60Entertainment by Wireless," Pittsburgh Post 4 Jan
1921: 6.
61"Program Arranged for Benefit of Radio Operators,"
Pittsburgh Post 20 Jan. 1921: 5.

65
had come true. The news of the world was being
given forth through this invisible trumpet to the
unseen crowds in the unseen marketplace.62
In November the Detroit News made no mention of KDKA's
debut, but promoted its own election-night use of the
technology in a front-page article the next morning.63 By
1921, the Sunday Detroit News was running a weekly "Radio
Department," with technical advice, government bulletins,
and news of the local amateur radio organizations. In June
of 1921 the column published KDKA's daily schedule, for the
benefit of Detroit amateurs.64
Further Development During 1921
KDKA continued to present a regular schedule of
broadcasts. In Chicago Westinghouse opened station KYW and
undertook to broadcast all performances of the Chicago Civic
Opera, a stunt that was well publicized in words and
62"Land and Water Hear Returns by Wireless" Detroit
News 1 Sept. 1920: 1. The hyperbolic style continued to
mark the News coverage of its radio adventures; New Year's
morning the paper boasted that "for the first time, as far
as known, a human voice singing a New Year's melody of cheer
and good fellowship went out across uncounted miles over the
invisible, mysterious waves of ether that are the media of
the wireless telephone. ..." "News' Radio Sounds Taps for
Old, Reveille for New," Detroit News 1 Jan. 1921: 1. In
fact, Aubrey Fessenden apparently "broadcast" musical
greetings on New Year's Eve 1906; see Fessenden 153.
63"Screen, Radio Give Returns; Detroit News Adds
Facilities of Cinema, Wireless to Power of Presses," Detroit
News 3 Nov. 1920: 1.
64"Westinghouse Radio Station, KDKA," Detroit News 26
June 1921: 6.

66
pictures by the Chicago Daily Tribune, although neither the
call letters of the station nor the name Westinghouse was
mentioned in the stories.65
New York Times articles for 1921 indexed under the
headings for wireless telegraphy and wireless telephony (a
distinction wrongly made in several cases) most often
referred to telegraphic facilities such as RCA's giant new
transmitting station or records for long-distance point-to-
point voice communication. In addition to confusion between
the terms telegraphy and telephony, the words radio and
wireless were used interchangeably. In late 1921 one author
insisted that inconsistency was holding back public
understanding of broadcasting.66
In the Times the only wireless news from Pittsburgh
during 1921, while KDKA continued its regularly scheduled
broadcasts, was a small article about the installation of a
"wireless telephone" at the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce
that would enable members to make contact with 300,000
operators within the Pittsburgh area. Members were "invited
to make use of the instrument in the transaction of
business.1,67
5"Catching 'Butterfly' by Radio," Chicago Daily
Tribune 17 Nov. 1921: 3; "How the Opera is Carried by
Radio," Chicago Sunday Tribune 13 Nov. 1921, sec. 1: 12 .
66Yates 246.
67"Sets Up Wireless Phone," New York Times 6 Feb. 1921:

67
Although general circulation magazines did not herald
the new information and entertainment service during 1921,
Scientific American regularly featured radio articles in
both its weekly and monthly editions. The focus remained
technical information for and about radio amateurs, but
reception of "concerts" was occasionally mentioned.68
Popular Science Monthly featured many articles about the
radio hobby; however, few treated the reception of broadcast
programming, and it was not until October 1921, almost a
year after KDKA's debut, that Popular Science's "Home
Workshop" section offered instructions for building a ten-
dollar wireless set to "receive radio music and vaudeville
in your home."69
Radio amateurs had their own magazines: Wireless Age,
published by American Marconi, and OST. published by the
American Radio Relay League. In 1919 Hugo Gernsback, one of
the earliest suppliers of parts to wireless hobbyists and
publisher of Modern Electrics, launched Radio Amateur News
(the name was shortened to Radio News in July 1920).
18.
68Among the earliest was "Portaphone—A Wireless Set
for Dance Music or the Day's News," Scientific American 122
(1920): 571.
69Arthur H. Lynch, "A Wireless Telephone Receiving Set
for Ten Dollars," Popular Science Monthly Oct. 1921: 84.

68
Gernsback encouraged amateurs to interest the general public
in the radio art, publishing articles such as "Get Your
Friends Interested," "Let the Average Man Know," and
"Winning the Public to Radio."70
RCA Enters Broadcasting
The Radio Corporation of America was formed in late
1919 to acquire the interests of British-based American
Marconi and combine them with radio patents held by General
Electric in order to establish America's growing wireless
communication business free of foreign ownership and
control.71 David Sarnoff became RCA's General Manager in
April 1921.72
The radio event of 1921 was the broadcast of the
Dempsey-Carpentier prizefight of July 2. Maj. J. Andrew
White, editor of Wireless Age, proposed the idea to David
Sarnoff,73 and a powerful GE generator was temporarily
70"Get Your Friends Interested," Radio News 2 (1921):
680+; Armstrong Perry, "Let the Average Man Know," Radio
News 3 (1921): 386+; Raymond Frances Yates, "Winning the
Public to Radio," Radio News 3 (1921): 494+.
71"New and Powerful Wireless Company," Wireless Aae
Nov. 1919: 10-12.
72"David Sarnoff Given Important Post by Radio
Corporation," Wireless Age June 1921: 10.
73Personal publicity for Sarnoff as a result of the
event was sparse, but the New York Times did note that "the
phones at the ringside were operated by J. N.[sic] White,
David Saranoff [sic] and H. L. Welter." "Wireless Telephone
Spreads Fight News Over 120,000 Miles," New York Times 3
July 1921: 6.

69
installed at a train terminal in Hoboken. The men at
ringside described the action by wire to operators at the
transmitter site who passed the information along to the
eager public, "announcing it in the same manner as an
eyewitness would." In many locations throughout the east,
volunteer amateurs received the transmission and amplified
it for the benefit of audiences in theaters and halls; the
price of admission was a charitable contribution to the
Committee for a Devastated France and the Navy League.74
The New York Times estimated that at least 500,000 people
followed the fight by wireless.75
That fall, RCA's first broadcasting station, WDY in
Roselle Park, New Jersey, went on the air. By February of
1922 WDY operated three nights a week, from 8 to 10 p.m.
Because all stations were licensed to broadcast on the same
wavelength (360 meters), WDY shared its schedule with
Westinghouse's New York-area station WJZ.76
74Pierre Boucheron, "Reporting the Big Scrap by
Radiofone," Radio News 3 (1921): 97.
75"Wireless Telephone Spreads Fight News Over 120,000
Miles," New York Times 3 July 1921: 6.
76"Broadcasting Station WDY," Wireless Age Feb. 1922:
19.

70
The BCL Hobbv
With the advent of entertainment broadcasting, the
ranks of receive-only hobbyists—now called "BCLs" or
Broadcast Listeners—steadily grew. Most found the greatest
pleasure in trying to receive distant stations, or "DXing",
a pursuit that required skill and patience.
In November, 1921, Popular Science Monthly's lead story
described "How I Listen In on the World by Radio: Sets Now
Bring Amazing Wireless Adventures to Every Home."77 The
next month, "Home Workshop" plans for building a receiver
were accompanied by the following boxed note:
Do you know the joy of receiving radio messages
and radio concerts? Long wintry nights are ahead
of us. Have you thought of sitting in your warm,
comfortable room and bringing the news of the
world to your ears? Nothing is more fascinating.
You can do it. Only a few dollars and a few
simple tools found in every tool chest are needed.
Start now.78
The Fad Begins
In a December 1921 Radio News editorial, Hugo
Gernsback wrote that "during the past six months it has
become apparent that we are finally headed in the right
direction as far as popularizing radio is concerned"79 and
77Armstrong Perry, "How I listen In on the World by
Radio, Popular Science Monthly Nov. 1921: 84.
78"Simple Radio Receiver for Everybody," Popular
Science Monthly Dec. 1921: 84.
79Hugo Gernsback, "The Radiotrola," Radio News 3
(1921): 479.

71
in January 1922 declared the birth of popular radio:
It seems that 1921 will go down in radio history
as the birth of the radio telephone, as far as its
universal adoption, and its cognizance by the
public are concerned. An art may be said to have
"arrived" when it becomes universally known, and
when the public begins to use it one way or
another.8^
By the end of 1921, most people still viewed radio as
"an alluring mystery, a black art understood only by
highbrow college professors and curious youngsters who have
grasped the fundamentals, and who, through infinite patience
and care, have assembled a crude radio equipment with which
they listen in on the world."81 And then, in the spring of
1922, "all of a sudden it hit us. The first most of us saw
of it . . . was in first-page, first-column headlines from
New York . . . proclaiming that the East had gone mad over
radio.1,82
80Hugo Gernsback, "Radio 1921-1922," Radio News 3
(1922): 584.
81Raymond Frances Yates, "Winning the Public to Radio,"
Radio News 3 (1921): 494.
82Wilbur Hall, "The Pacific Coast is 'On the Air!',"
Radio Broadcast 1 (1922): 157.

CHAPTER 3
THE RADIO FAD: 1922
Wonder at the veritable epidemic of interest in
the new radio art is pretty sure to be followed
whenever radio is being talked about—and it is
being talked about wherever people congregate—by
the question as to whether this interest will
last.
"Is Radio Only a Passing Fad?"
Literary Digest. 3 June 1922
By the middle of April, 1922, at least 2,250,000
American families—subscribers to the Saturday Evening
Post—knew that something was "Up in the Air."1 For those
who missed the story, there was Norman Rockwell's cover
drawing two weeks later: an elderly couple share headphones,
a newspaper on the man's knee open to the listing of "radio
concerts."2 In June writer and advertising executive Bruce
Barton introduced "This Magic Called Radio" to the 1,750,000
homes receiving American Magazine.3
1Floyd W. Parsons, "Up in the Air," Saturday Evening
Post 15 April 1922: 6+. The claim "More than two million
and a quarter weekly" appears on page 150 of that issue.
2Norman Rockwell, illustration, Saturday Evening Post
20 May 1922: cover.
3Bruce Barton, "This Magic Called Radio," American
Magazine June 1922: 11+. The circulation figure is from the
masthead. Other introductory articles include Stanley
72

73
Home Entertainments and Amusements
Despite the emergence of motion pictures and the
nickelodeon theater in the first years of the twentieth
century, Americans showed a growing interest in home
amusements and entertainments in the years before World War
I.4 Many of these amusements involved music. Robert and
Helen Lynd, in their anthropological study Middletown. noted
the popularity of group singing at gatherings in turn-of-
the-century Muncie, Indiana.5 The piano and the phonograph
had been instrumental in spreading the dance craze of the
century's first decade,5 and their presence in the home was
thought to contribute to a strong family life.7 By 1920
there were seven million pianos for a population of 105
million, one for every fifteen Americans, and by 1922 six
million phonographs.8. In 1919, American industry produced
Frost, "Radio, Our Next Great Step Forward," Collier's 8
April 1922: 3+; Armstrong Perry, "Listening In on the
Universe," Woman's Home Companion May 1922: 32.
4Lewis Erenberg, Steppin' Out: New York Nightlife and
the Transformation of American Culture. 1890-1930 (Westport:
Greenwood, 1981) 237.
5Robert S. Lynd and Helen Merrell Lynd, Middletown: A
Study in American Culture (New York: Harcourt, 1929) 244-5.
6"Piano Business Thrives," New York Times 19 Dec. 1915,
sec. 2: 18.
President's Research Committee on Social Trends,
Recent Social Trends in the United States (New York: McGraw,
1933) 149.
8Arthur Loesser, Men. Women and Pianos (New York:
Simon, 1954) 611; "Phonograph Sales Show Big Growth," New

74
more than a hundred million dollars' worth of pianos and
organs, and almost one million dollars' worth of
phonographs; factories also turned out more than two hundred
thousand player pianos that year.9 Music continued to be an
important part of life during the war years and after.10
Well into the 1920s sheet music publishers ran lyrical ads
in popular magazines, with claims such as "every chap that
has ever dreamt of a lovely girl will like this song," and
"the mystic East will cast its magic spell over you when you
hear 'My Desert Fantasy.'"11 Family magazines featured
piano question-and-answer pages, song arrangements, and
dance diagrams, much as they soon would offer technical
advice and wiring diagrams to the new radio fans.12
York Times 22 Jan. 1922, sec 2: 13.
9William Howard Shaw, Value of Commodity Output Since
1869 (New York: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1947)
121; Harvey Roehl, Player Piano Treasury. 2d. ed. (Vestal:
Vestal, 1973) 51.
10England tried limiting the sale of musical
instruments as a luxury, but soon realized both soldiers and
civilians needed the relief music provided. The popularity
of musical instruments continued after the war; in 1924 an
estimated thirty million Americans played musical
instruments. John Howe, "Are You Among the 30,000,000 Who
Play Musical Instruments?" American Magazine Nov. 1924: 42.
llnSing Stasny Songs," advertisement, American Magazine
March 1920: 247.
12For example "New Social Dance: The Pavlowana," Ladies
Home Journal Jan. 1915: 10-12; Josef Hofman, "Piano
Questions Answered," Ladies Home Journal March 1916: 50;
John M. Williams, "If Your child is Taking Piano Lessons,"
Ladies Home Journal Sept. 1916: 19.

75
The Era of Fads and Crazes
America has been called "a nation of faddists," and the
1920s the era of fads.13 One 1920s columnist wrote that
America "seemed to slumber along . . . for several years
with no particularly violent craze for amusements" until the
arrival of the Chinese table game mah-jongg in 1922.14 At
the height of the fad sets with genuine ivory tiles might
sell for $250, although less expensive sets were available
for $14.50 to $75 from the company that claimed to have
introduced the game to America,15 and a one-dollar complete
set "in brilliant colors" was offered by mail through an ad
in American Magazine.16 Mah-jongg was replaced in 1924 by
the crossword puzzle, a challenging fad embraced by "high¬
brows, low-brows, and near no-brows."17 The fads of the
1920s were played out against the background of minor crazes
that surfaced and sank more guickly.18 Several other fads
13Peter L. Skolnik, Fads: America's Crazes. Fevers &
Fancies (New York: Crowell, 1978) 2.
14Reginald T. Townsend, This. That, and The Other Thing
(Freeport: Books for Libraries, 1929) 79.
15"Mah Jongg," advertisement, Saturday Evening Post 12
Aug. 1922: 101.
16"Mah Jong [sic] Set," advertisement, American
Magazine April 1924: 196.
17Alan Harding, "Why We Have Gone Mad Over Cross-Word
Puzzles," American Magazine March 1925: 28.
18Donald A. Laird, "Have You a Fad?" Review of Reviews
March 1935: 33. New "crazes" were often featured in the
rotogravure section of the Sunday paper; for example, on

76
of the era, such as bobbed hair and wrist watches, matured
into permanent elements of the culture. The greatest of
these was radio.19
The Era of Goods and Gadgets
By 1920, the wartime financial boom had begun to
collapse; the gross national product declined and
unemployment rose.20 In January of 1921 the publishers of
Colliers magazine placed an ad in the New York Times,
urging consumer confidence,21 and the editor of McClure's
magazine used the development of radio technology as a
metaphor when he editorialized against business pessimism.22
Recovery began in 1922; production expanded, marking the
beginning of a growing market for "consumer durables" and
the acceptance of household debt through installment
buying.23 Electrical appliances began to appear throughout
February 27, 1921 the New York Times proclaimed the newest
craze to be butterfly "tattoos" made from real insects,
applied to women's bare shoulders.
19Emory S. Bogardus, "Social Psychology of Fads,"
Journal of Applied Sociology 8 (1924): 241.
20George Soule, Prosperity Decade: From War to
Depression: 1917-1929 (1947; New York: Harper, 1968) 96.
21"Stage Coach or Automobile? America Always Moves
Forward," advertisement, New York Times 12 Jan. 1921: 18.
22Herbert Kaufman, "Don't Listen to the Liar,"
McClure's 21 Jan. 1921: 5.
23Martha L. Olney, Buy Now. Pay Later: Advertising.
Credit, and Consumer Durables in the 1920s (Chapel Hill: U
of North Carolina P, 1991) 85-86.

77
the home; the United States of the 1920s was becoming a
"country of gadgets."24
The Era of Youth
Fitzgerald called 1922 "The peak of the younger
generation.1,25 American youth, aided by the growing
presence of the automobile, had begun to seek such pleasures
as "the joy ride, the silver flask and the jazz
orchestra."26 Player pianos were advertised as the only way
to make the home "compete with jazz halls and shallow
plays."27 Buy a new suite of furniture, another
advertisement counseled, and "you will then be bidding
intelligently against the outside world for the interest and
companionship of your children—a spirited challenge to the
Age of Jazz."28
24Irving Werstein, Shattered Decade 1919-1929 (New
York: Scribner's, 1970) 71.
25F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Echoes of the Jazz Age,"
Scribner's Magazine Nov. 1931: 460.
26"Competing with the Silver Flask and the Jazz
Orchestra," advertisement, American Magazine March 1925:
201.
27"How Can the Home Compete with Jazz Halls and Shallow
Plays?" advertisement, Saturday Evening Post 20 May 1922:
63.
28"Competing with the Silver Flask and the Jazz
Orchestra," advertisement, American Magazine March 1925:
201.

78
It is not known how many youngsters stayed home to
admire the sofa, but many began to spend hours fiddling with
wireless radiophone receivers. Some invited friends over
for radio concert dance parties. The wireless hobby,
popular with America's young people since before the war,
grew rapidly.29 Adults generally supported the youngsters'
scientific pastime; according to one article, "At the very
least it is taking the minds of the younger generation from
amusements that may be questionable and giving them
something that will be of tremendous use in the future."30
It was not long, however, before parents and other members
of the family discovered the joys and challenges of radio
listening, and often preempted the receiver and its
headphones (in this era before the loudspeaker made radio a
family pastime).31
The BCL Hobbv
The growth of leisure time early in the twentieth
century fed the development of adult hobbies, encouraged by
29Walter S. Hiatt, "A New Style of Adventures,"
Collier's 18 Oct. 1913: 27.
30"Far-Reaching Influence of the Radio Telephone,"
Electrical World 4 March 1922: 419.
3Fitzgerald wrote of these years in general they had
the feel of "a children's party taken over by the elders,
leaving the children puzzled and rather neglected and rather
taken aback." F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Echoes of the Jazz
Age," Scribner's Magazine Nov. 1931: 460.

79
society as a way to maintain the American work ethic during
leisure hours.32 The definition of "hobby" was elusive, but
consensus seemed to require active participation; going to
the movies or listening to the radio might not be hobbies
but creating scrapbooks of screen stars or compiling log
books of stations received would qualify. Broadcast
listening, especially when it involved DX (reception of
distant stations), required a certain measure of skill
during the earliest years of radio broadcasting.
Amateur radio continued to grow in popularity during
the early 1920s. At the start of America's involvement in
the World War in 1917, the government had closed down 3,741
amateur stations run by 3,302 operators.34 In 1920 the
government licensed 5,719 amateur stations and in 1921 an
additional 7,351.35 Growing even faster, however, was
32Hobbies would take on even more importance during the
enforced leisure of the 1930s depression years. See Steven
M. Gelber, "A Job You Can't Lose: Work and Hobbies in the
Great Depression," Journal of Social History 24 (1991): 741-
767.
33Although a radio amateur won second place in American
Magazine's 1916 "My Hobby—And Why I Recommend It" contest,
the only technology-based hobby featured in 1923's version
of the contest was photography; the other two winners were
an executive with a "natural craze for earning" and a
housewife whose pastime was "thinking pleasant thoughts."
"My Hobby—And Why I Recommend It," American Magazine, June
1916: 103-104; "My Hobby and Why I Recommend It," American
Magazine June 1923: 86+.
34United States Department of Commerce, 1919 Report of
the Secretary of Commerce and Reports of Bureaus.
(Washington: GPO, 1920) 983.

80
interest in merely "listening in"38 on wireless
communication, which required no license.37 The new radio
enthusiasts were often older and less technically proficient
than the amateurs, and were frequently "people of some
affluence and of influence in their communities."38 These
Broadcast Listeners, or "BCLs", often included "the mayor,
the eminent politician, the bank president, the leading
merchant, the doctor, the minister, the president of the
board of education."39
The greatest division between amateur radio and
broadcasting came early in 1922, when the Department of
Commerce ruled that amateurs could no longer broadcast
musical concerts, in order to eliminate interference with
35United States Department of Commerce, Annual Report
of the Commissioner of Navigation to the Secretary of
Commerce for the Fiscal Year ended June 30. 1921
(Washington: GPO, 1921) 25.
36In the usage of the 1920s one would "listen in" to
radio, and the audience was made up of "listeners-in." At
the same time, one spoke of "tuning" station KDKA rather
than "tuning to" or "tuning in."
37The Radio Bureau of the Department of Commerce in
mid-1922 offered a "conservative estimate" of 600,000 radio
receivers in use. United States Department of Commerce,
Annual Report of the Commissioner of Navigation to the
Secretary of Commerce for the Fiscal Year ended June 30.
1922 (Washington: GPO, 1922) 17.
38Clinton B. DeSoto, Two Hundred Meters and Down (West
Hartford: ARRL, 1936) 75.
39"Phones and Amateur Radio," editorial, OST March
1922: 31.

81
transmitting stations holding commercial licenses.40 In
addition, amateur stations were required to remain silent
from 8 to 10:30 p.m. daily and during Sunday morning church
broadcasts.41 Radio enthusiasts' magazines campaigned to
popularize BCL in order to secure radio's position and
garner support in the face of attempts at stronger
regulation. In 1922 the American Radio Relay League
suggested radio clubs open meetings to the "broadcast
public," in order to diffuse criticism of the amateurs'
interference with broadcast reception and to promote greater
public interest in radio.42
The Radio Fad of 1922
In the early months of 1922, newspapers still treated
broadcasting as a publicity stunt. Stories featured unusual
uses of the new technology: a soprano performed a benefit
40"Government Curbs Amateur Radio Music," New York
Times 4 Feb. 1922: 3. The amateur licenses now read, "This
station not licensed to broadcast weather reports, market
reports, music, concerts, speeches, news, or similar
information or entertainments." "Monthly Service Bulletin
of the National Amateur Wireless Association," Wireless Aae
Feb. 1922: 41.
41United States Department of Commerce, Annual Report
of the Commissioner of Navigation to the Secretary of
Commerce for the Fiscal Year ended June 30. 1923
(Washington: GPO, 1923) 20.
42Raymond Victor Bowers, "A Genetic Study of
Institutional Growth and Cultural Diffusion in Contemporary
American Civilization, an Analysis in Terms of Amateur
Radio," diss., U of Minnesota, 1934, 203.

82
concert from an airplane circling New York; the following
week a woman and man were married aloft in the same plane
(piloted by Belvin W. Maynard, the "flying parson") while
guests (and anyone else with a receiver) listened in by
radio on the ground.43
By 1922 both the American public and American business
were ripe for the growth of radio's popularity. The recent
war had expanded the geographical boundaries of people's
thought, and drawn them together in a common effort.44 The
country was finally relaxing from the strain of the war
years.45. Some businesses seeking recovery from the
depression of 1920 turned to radio manufacturing.46
As the radio fad took hold, the words radio and
broadcasting began to appear in advertisements for other
products and services. As early as 1916, American Safety
Razor company had advertised "Ever-Ready Radio Blade Safety
43"Concert from Plane Aids Veterans' Camp," New York
Times 15 April 1922: 3; "To Wed in Plane 3,000 Feet Above
Times Sguare," New York Times 24 April 1922: 1.
44Paul Schubert, The Electric Word: The Rise of Radio
(New York: Macmillan, 1928) 192. According to Carl Dreher,
Paul Schubert was the pseudonym of Pierre Boucheron, who was
in charge of press relations for RCA. Dreher, Sarnoff: An
American Success 56.
45Frederick Lewis Allen, Only Yesterday: An Informal
History of the Nineteen Twenties (New York: Harper, 1931)
76-7.
46Hiram L. Jome, Economics of the Radio Industry (1925;
New York: Arno, 1971) 86.

83
Razors" in the Saturday Evening Post.47 Now girls and women
could wear Radio Boots that went "on and off in a flash."4®
By June of 1922, boys were advised in a full page ad to buy
Waterman's "Radio Recording Pen," the "favorite recording
instrument with both professional and amateur operators,"49
and in December could also choose the Esterbrook "Number 920
Radio Pen."50 The broadcasting metaphor was used to sell
chewing gum, men's suits, and even other media of
advertising ("Broadcast Your Message in Colors Via Poster
Advertising!" advised a billboard company in 1922; "People
remember what they see far more vividly than what they
hear.")51 Campbell's soup advised women to "Listen in!" to
what their friends were saying about Campbell's Tomato Soup:
"C E D is the station for me—
C-ampbell's E-very D-ay!
47"Ever Ready," advertisement, Saturday Evening Post 15
July 1916: 38.
48"Radio Boot," advertisement, Saturday Evening Post 4
Nov. 1922: 80.
49"Recording Radio Messages," advertisement, Saturday
Evening Post 5 June 1922: 143.
50"Number 920 Radio Pen," advertisement, Saturday
Evening Post 16 Dec. 1922: 56.
51"After Every Meal," advertisement, Saturday Evening
Post 25 Nov. 1922: 56-57; "Reviving and Broadcasting
Throughout the Nation," advertisement, Saturday Evening Post
26 Aug. 1922: 76; "Broadcast Your Message in Colors Via
Poster Advertising," advertisement, Printers' Ink Monthly
April 1922: 43.

84
Its radiation brings jubilation—
Just hear what your neighbors say!52
Radio Enters the Home
In 1922 the Radio Corporation of America published a
127-page catalogue cum instruction manual called Radio
Enters the Home. Radio eguipment had entered the house many
years earlier, but it was not until 1922 that radio was to
become part of the American household.53
In spite of post-war social changes, "marriage and
family remained the primary goal and homemaker the primary
occupation" for American women in the 1920s.54 According to
the 1920 census, only 9 percent of married women were
gainfully employed; by 1930 that had risen to only 11.7
percent.55 In 1875, Abby Morton Diaz had asked, "How may
woman enjoy the delights of culture, and at the same time
fulfill her duties to family and household?" Her solution
was local women's clubs, women's publications, and national
women's congresses.56 In the early 1920s, many homemakers
52"Great For Breakfast," advertisement, Literary Digest
26 Aug. 1922: 37.
53Radio Corporation of America, Radio Enters the Home
(1922; Vestal, NY: Vestal, [1980?]).
54Dorothy M. Brown, Setting a Course: American Women in
the 1920s (Boston: Twayne, 1987) 247.
55United States Department of Commerce, 15th Census—
1930 r vol. 4: Occupations, (Washington: GPO, 1933) 77.
56Abby Morton Diaz, A Domestic Problem: Work and
Culture in the Household (Boston: Osgood, 1875) 7, 104.

85
realized that daytime radio programming could also provide a
solution.
The introduction of electrical appliances into the home
in the 1920s may have increased the efficiency and reduced
the drudgery of daily housework, but in many cases the new
eguipment merely allowed a larger number of chores to be
crammed into the homemaker's workday.57 Fewer households
included live-in servants and extended-family members,58 and
while appliances such as vacuum cleaners and clothes washers
could make up for the loss of an extra set of hands, nothing
replaced the lost companionship for house-bound women . . .
until radio entered the home.
The Department of Agriculture began offering home
economics courses by radio in late 1921, based on the
interest shown by rural housewives in the agricultural
market reports the government had been sending out since
earlier in the year.59 By the end of 1922 Wireless Acre
57,,Thus, in spite of efficiency, the 12-hour workday
continued to be passed from one generation of housewives to
the next like an heirloom," according to Annegret S. Ogden,
The Great American Housewife; From Helpmate to Wage Earner,
1776-1986 (Westport: Greenwood, 1986) 153.
58Ruth Schwartz Cowan, "The 'Industrial Revolution' In
the Home," Technology and Change. ed. John G. Burke and
Marshall C. Eakin (San Francisco: Boyd, 1979) 279.
59J. Farrell, "The Housewife's Radio," Radio News 4
(1922): 1237.

86
claimed that "Broadcasting service that lightens the daily
household tasks has aroused enthusiasm among women, making
newspapers secondary in interest."60
"Though still a toy the radiophone has pushed back the
world's horizon so far that no woman can claim she is either
shut in or shut out," proclaimed Good Housekeeping in the
summer of 1922.61 Broadcasting had from the beginning been
seen as a boon to "shut-ins," those physically unable to
leave the home. For various physical and societal reasons,
much of the female population was "shut in" during this
period. Many stations that broadcast during the daytime
offered programs for homemakers: Detroit's WWJ offered
"hints to housewives" on weekdays from 9:30-9:40;62 WGI
offered clothing and marketing talks.63 Yet, as Diaz had
pointed out, the housebound woman's greatest need may have
been for programming outside the realm of homemaking
information. According to Christine Frederick, one of the
early advocates of scientific home management, "The mind,
emotions and senses need exercise also."64
60Rosemary Clarke, "Listening In with the Home Folks,"
Wireless Aae Dec. 1922: 45.
61In the introduction to Christine Frederick, "A Real
Use for the Radio," Good Housekeeping July 1922: 77.
62Radio Staff 25.
63"Women Interested in Radiophone," Radio News 3
(1922): 967.
64Christine Frederick, Household Engineering:

87
In the summer of 1922 Mrs. Frederick (her byline
usually carried the honorific before her name) told Good
Housekeeping's readers of radio's benefits for women in the
home. She proposed a plan of daytime broadcasting that
included physical education (setting-up exercises, health
and beauty talks), children's programs, household interests,
cultural topics (correct English, musical programs, drama
and book reviews, fashion and dress discussions), and social
interests (news, politics, worship, club activities).65
Women in Radio
Women had participated in radio from the beginning. In
1908 inventor Lee de Forest married civil engineer Nora
Blatch, granddaughter of early feminist Elizabeth Cady
Stanton. Blatch later studied electrical engineering and
worked in the laboratory with her husband.66 California's
"Doc" Herrold began teaching radio in 1909; in 1913 his new
wife learned Morse code and began giving classes at the
family dining table.67 Mary Texanna Loomis, a relative of
Scientific Management in the Home. (Chicago: American School
of Home Economics, 1919) 500.
65Christine Frederick, "A Real Use for the Radio," Good
Housekeeping July 1922: 77+.
66De Forest called this the "first grave mistake" of
their relationship, which ended within a year. Lee de
Forest, Father of Radio (Chicago: Wilcox, 1950) 223.
67Erik Barnouw, A Tower in Babel (New York: Oxford UP,
1966) 35.

88
19th-century radio experimenter Mahlon Loomis, went to
Washington to find war work, and signed up for radio school.
Her government license as a First-Class Radio Operator
earned her only the position of secretary at the radio
school, so in 1920 she founded her own school, Loomis Radio
College.68
"The Ladies are Coming," the American Radio Relay
League announced in its magazine OST in August 1917. An
editorial cautioned that when wartime restrictions were
lifted, amateurs should no longer feel free to use the
common nickname "Old Man" for fellow radio enthusiasts
contacted in code, as several hundred women were expected to
sign on. "Here's to them," the editorial closed, "and it
gives us great pleasure to extend the glad hand of
fellowship when the happy day comes, and we all re-open."69
In 1920 at least one hundred women were licensed as amateurs
in the New York area,70 and one writer noted the amateurs in
his town included a "great range of ages, nationality,
religion, station in the social life of the town, yes and
68Mabel Nelson Thurston, "This Young Woman Founded a
Radio School," American Magazine May 1924: 73-74.
69"The Ladies Are Coming," editorial, OST April 1917:
19. That month's cover showed a woman seated at a radio
receiver.
70Miss Marianne C. Brown, "One of the Gang," Radio
Amateur News 2 (1920): 148.

89
even the difference of sex.”71 Photographs of women and
girls at their radio sets often appeared in enthusiast
magazines, almost always without gratuitous comments on
gender.72 A long article about a Brooklyn homemaker who
designed and built receivers noted the "value and interest
that radio holds for women."73 Obligue acknowledgment of
female interest in radio was reflected in the language of
many books and articles, such as a sentence that began:
"Even when the user knows what he or she is doing. . . . "74
Exceptions to the egual treatment of male and female
enthusiasts were rare, but most often appeared in the pages
Radio News r whose breezy style sometimes lent itself to
facile stereotypes. (It was in Radio News that young men
were urged to interest their friends in the hobby by
pointing out the growing presence of "the fair sex" in the
ether, asking "what could be more interesting than a
radiofone conversation during a long, lonesome evening with
a sweet-voiced girl . . . ?")75
71Wireless Acre September 1920: 41-42.
72For example, "The Girls at Radcliffe College . . . ,"
Radio News 3 (1922): 1090.
73Alfred M. Caddell, "A Woman Who Makes Receiving
Sets," Radio Broadcast 4 (1923): 28-33. Women were often
employed by radio eguipment manufacturers; see, for example,
"Making Five Thousand Radio Sets a Day," Popular Mechanics
Jan. 1925:13-16.
74A. Hyatt Verrill, Radio for Amateurs: How to Use.
Make and Install Wireless Telephone and Telegraph
Instruments (New York: Dodd, 1922) 144.
75"Get Your Friends Interested," Radio News 2 (1922):

90
Women and the Radio Fad
A Radio Broadcast article suggested radio retailers
could help make radio more attractive to women by setting up
the showroom to look like a living room.76 Radio News also
suggested that to attract more business, radio manufacturers
should cater to the "female faction;" editor Hugo Gernsback
envisioned a future in which women used "boudoir radio
outfits" with velvet knobs and gaily colored tubes to listen
to gossip and scandal all day.77 The women's magazines took
a much less frivolous view of the new technology. For
example, People's Home Journal's radio column offered purely
technical information, although no articles for men or
children were published in this otherwise traditional
homemaker magazine.78
"Instead of their symptoms, elderly women on our boats
and trains and in our sewing societies discuss the number of
680. Editor Hugo Gernsback also suggested that since the
boys of amateur radio were "radio bugs," the girls might be
called "radio butterflies." There is no indication the
terminology ever caught on.
76Lewis Wood, "Making Radio Attractive to Women," Radio
Broadcast 4 (1923): 221-2.
77H[ugo] Gernsback, "Soon," Radio News 3 (1922): 822.
78The column headed "Journal's Radio Department" first
appeared in July 1922. Marshall D. Beuick, "First Steps in
Radio," People's Home Journal July 1922: 31. The magazine
printed no non-technical radio articles until a September
1923 story about church broadcasts, "Preaching by Radio,"
People's Home Journal Sept. 1923: 25.

91
stages of amplification necessary for DX reception,” a
California writer claimed in December 1922.79 A woman won
Radio Broadcast's 1924 DX contest, an achievement reported
without any comment about gender.80 Literary Digest printed
instructions for constructing an inexpensive radio receiver,
and later featured two schoolgirls who with no radio
training or knowledge successfully built their own set from
the magazine's plans. No emphasis was placed on the
youngsters' gender.81 Even as radio sets became easier to
operate, articles often noted many women's interest in
technical aspects of radio reception, and the number who
were joining the audience by building their own receivers.82
A newspaper story about radio classes in the public
schools was accompanied by the picture of a girl who had
built a portable set into her hat.83 Both males and females
appeared in articles about so-called "freak” portable
79Wilbur Hall, "The Pacific Coast is 'On the Air',"
Radio Broadcast 1 (1922): 157.
80Mrs. Rhodes won in the category for "ready-made
receivers." "The DX Contest Winners," Radio Broadcast 5
(1924): 346.
81"How Two Girls Made a Receiving Radiophone," Literary
Digest 10 June 1922: 29.
82"Women and Wireless," Literary Digest 15 Dec. 1923:
25.
83"Radio Receiving Sets Capable of Picking Up Concerts
," Miami Herald 19 March 1922: 12A.

92
radios—but while the men most often showed off achievements
in miniaturization (the ring radio, the radio hiking belt),
women's greater number of fashion encumbrances led to stunts
like the umbrella aerial,84 or fantasies like the "Radio
Girl"—fully eguipped for receiving or sending—with hoop
skirt for a coil and parasol for an antenna, headphones
hidden under her curls, a microphone in her fan, and
batteries in the hem of her skirt.85
According to Literary Digest, many women who attended
the 1923 radio show in New York showed "alert and
intelligent interest ... in new circuits, equipment, and
recent improvements in the art."86 But women in general
were even more interested in the content of radio
programming, and were quick to appreciate the various
programs offered by broadcasters during the first years of
the radio fad. Radio Broadcast's "Listener's Point of View"
84"Get Your Friends Interested," Radio News 2 (1922):
680.
85A. Mae Rogers, "The Radio Girl," Radio Amateur News 2
(1920): 74. Although there was no implication of any
purpose other than the wearer's own enjoyment, the "radio
girl" is reminiscent of the "illuminated girls" used to
publicize electricity in the 1880s. See Carolyn Marvin,
When Old Technologies Were New (New York: Oxford UP, 1988):
137-138.
86"Women and Wireless," Literary Digest 15 Dec. 1923:
25.

93
column was written by Jennie Irene Mix from its inception in
April 1924 until her death in 1925.87
"Listening in" in 1922
The radio listening experience in 1922 was molded by
the level of development of receiving equipment, the type of
service offered by the broadcasters, and the needs and
expectations of the listening audience.
The Equipment
Although Westinghouse had entered broadcasting in order
to create a market for its radio equipment, the company was
prevented by patent problems from selling receivers to the
public until it reached an agreement with RCA in June of
1921.88 westinghouse produced the first home radio set
advertised by RCA, the Aeriola Jr.89 By mid-1922, more than
200 manufacturing firms were producing radio receivers,
according to survey by the National Retail Dry Goods
Association.90 A 1925 study explained:
The period of the popularization of radio
87"Listener's Point of View," Radio Broadcast 4 (1924)
474.
88United States Federal Trade Commission, Report on the
Radio Industry (Washington: GPO, 1924) 23-24. Westinghouse
ran an ad in the October 1921 Wireless Age showing a
receiver in a family setting. "Radio in The Home,"
advertisement, Wireless Age Oct. 1921: 7.
89"Every Family Can Now 'Listen In'," advertisement,
Radio News 3 (1922): 798-99.
90"Radio Business Growth," New York Times 11 May 1922:
28.

94
corresponded roughly with the depression following
the crisis of 1920. A large number of business
men found themselves either in or on the verge of
bankruptcy. Some of these naturally turned to
radio [manufacturing] as the last resort. They
did this whether they knew anything about radio or
not. Conseguently, many inadeguate radio sets,
hardly worthy of the name, were turned out on a
gullible public.91
In the spring of 1922, according to Radio Broadcast,
customers found themselves "in the fourth or fifth row at
the radio counter waiting their turn only to be told when
they finally reached the counter that they might place an
order and it would be filled when possible."92 As QST. the
magazine of the amateurs' Radio Relay League, described the
radio situation in early 1922:
A year ago the radio [manufacturing] industry
consisted of a hundred or so firms, struggling
along as best they could with what by comparison
was a pitifully small amount of trade, counting
nickels to make ends meet. Then came the boom!
And now they can't keep up. In the east it is
practically impossible to buy a receiving set, one
has to stand in line to get waited upon only to
find that the store hasn't got even the parts one
wants, the factories are months behind in their
orders altho [sic] some of them have tripled their
production, and in general the business has taken
a boom that was beyond the fondest dreams of a
year ago.yj
The Radio Institute of America instituted Saturday night
91Hiram L. Jome, Economics of the Radio Industry
(Chicago: A. W. Shaw, 1925) 86.
92,,Radio Currents: An Editorial Interpretation," Radio
Broadcast (1922) 1: 1.
93"Phones and Amateur Radio," editorial, QST March
1922: 29-33.

95
open house "for the benefit of New Yorkers who are unable to
obtain suitable radio equipment . . . owing to the acute
shortage."94 The Miami Herald advised readers that
manufacturers of completely assembled sets were four months
behind in delivery, and offered advice on constructing a set
for $30 to $40.95 Amateurs and hobbyists made sets for
their neighbors, as a favor or for pay, like the Brooklyn
woman who designed and built 36 sets for family and
friends.96
Because of the expense and limited availability of
vacuum tubes, receivers using crystal detectors remained
popular through 1922 and 1923. Simple and inexpensive to
operate (they did not require batteries, as tube-sets did),
crystal sets, such as the Aeriola Jr., had a range limited
to about fifty miles, and required the use of headphones.97
Sets employing a vacuum tube as a detector could be coupled
with horn loudspeakers, allowing several persons to listen
in simultaneously. In the spring of 1922, RCA's Aeriola Jr.
crystal set cost $32.50 including headphones and antenna;
94"Radio Concerts for Public," New York Times 7 May
1922, sec. 2: 5.
95"Radio Receiving Sets Capable of Picking Up Concerts
. . . Miami Herald 19 March 1922: 12A.
96Alfred M. Caddell, "A Woman Who Makes Receiving
Sets," Radio Broadcast 4 (1923): 28-33.
97Marriott, U.S. Radio Broadcasting 1408.

96
the one-tube Aeriola Sr., including headphones, antenna, and
dry batteries cost $75. RCA's Vocarola horn loudspeaker was
available for $30.98 Early loudspeakers often did not
produce high-quality sound, and more sophisticated listeners
usually preferred headphones. One expert claimed that
"loud-speakers ... in the hands of inexperienced persons
have done more harm to radio than almost any other
factor."99
The Service
By mid-1922 the government had licensed 382 "limited
commercial" (broadcasting) stations, which it called "the
largest and most unexpected development in radio."100
Beginning with Westinghouse, which launched KDKA in 1920 in
order to create a demand for radio equipment, companies
owning radio patents opened stations in the larger cities.
Westinghouse opened WBZ in Springfield, Massachusetts; WJZ
in Newark, New Jersey; and KYW in Chicago. RCA opened WDY
in Roselle Park, New Jersey; General Electric signed on with
WGY in Schenectady; in New York City American Telephone and
98"Every Family Can Now 'Listen In'," advertisement,
Radio News March 1922: 798-99.
""About the Radio Round-Table," Scientific American
Dec. 1922: 378.
100United States Department of Commerce, Annual Report
of the Commissioner of Navigation to the Secretary of
Commerce for the Fiscal Year ended June 30. 1922
(Washington: GPO, 1922) 23, 17.

97
Telegraph operated WEAF. Elsewhere, smaller radio
manufacturers and retailers also went on the air in order to
increase the size of the listening audience. By early 1923,
222 of 576 broadcasting stations were owned by radio or
electrical manufacturers and dealers; 72 were owned by
educational institutions, 69 by newspapers or other
publications, and 29 by department stores.101 Stations
sprang up in hotels and department stores, at trade schools
and universities.102
In February 1922, American Telephone and Telegraph had
announced plans to open a broadcasting station in the New
York area through which "any one with whom it makes a
contract can send out his own programs just as the company
leases its long distance telephone wire facilities."103 The
station went on the air as WBAY in late July but because of
technical problems moved three weeks later to a new location
with new call letters.104 As WEAF, the AT&T "toll" station
sold its first share-of-the-ether to the Queensboro
101William Peck Banning, Commercial Broadcasting
Pioneer: The WEAF Experiment (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1946)
132-133.
102The government list of broadcasting stations from
May 1922 was reprinted in Archer, History of Radio to 1926
393-397.
1°3"To Sell Wireless Telephone Service," New York Times
11 Feb. 1922: 14.
104
Banning 87.

98
Corporation for a fifteen-minute talk about its new housing
development.10^ By November, however, the phone company
admitted the concept was still "not much of a success."106
Part of the AT&T plan was a network of interconnected
stations, envisioned in 1921 as a service that would enable
"national and local advertisers, industrial institutions of
all kinds, and even individuals if they desire, to send
forth information and advertising matter audibly to
thousands."107 By January of 1923 the company had linked
two stations by telephone lines, and by June of that year
could offer programmers access to a four-station network.
Program material during radio's fad years was provided
free of charge primarily by amateur performers who
volunteered their time108 or by business people who realized
105The text of this first WEAF commercial is reprinted
in Gleason L. Archer, History of Radio to 1926 397-399.
Although Queensboro purchased fifteen minutes of air time,
the talk itself and the short introduction to the speaker,
Mr. Blackwell, seems not to have taken more than seven or
eight minutes, based on the script as printed. According to
Archer, the station log shows the handwritten entry:
"5:00/5:10 Queensborough Corpn. [sic] Our first customer."
Archer, History of Radio to 1926 276.
106"No Opera by Radio During this Season," New York
Times 7 Nov. 1922: 31.
107Banning 67.
108According to one article in early 1924, "no person
has ever been paid [by a station] to broadcast." Raymond
Francis Yates, "What Will Happen to Broadcasting?" Outlook
136 (1924): 604.

99
the publicity value of their company name attached to a
dance band or a market report.109 By the summer of 1921
KDKA was presenting a full week of varied evening
programming to radio listeners in Pittsburgh and around the
country, including music from 9 to 10 p.m. every weekday,
radio questions and answers at 10 p.m., baseball scores
three times an evening, and a newscast at 9:30.110 By the
start of the new year New York area stations offered
soloists and comedians from Broadway, news every hour on the
hour beginning at 11 a.m., and children's stories by "The
Man in the Moon," followed by "Sandman's Lullaby"111 In
Chicago Westinghouse's KYW broadcast on the following daily
schedule that February:
2:15 p.m. news and market reports
4:15 p.m. News Market and Stock Reports
6:00 p.m. News Final Market and Financial Report
7:00 p.m. Summary of Financial Report
7:30 p.m. Children's Bed Time Story
8:00 p.m. Musical Program
9:00 p.m. News and Sports
The musical programs relied heavily on traditional
American music and light classics such as "Carry Me Back to
i09This differed from later commercial sponsorship in
that the businesses did not pay for air time, and bore any
cost of program material. For examples of this type of
programming, see Barnouw A Tower in Babel. 133.
110"Westinghouse Radio Station, KDKA," Detroit News 26
June 1921: 6.
111F. A. Collins, "Broadcasting Broadway by Radio" New
York Times 1 Jan. 1922, sec. 7: 2.

100
01' Virginny," "Love's Old Sweet Song," and the "Blue Danube
Waltz," but also included other performances such as
"Readings by Rita Smith, Dramatic Reader," and a "monologist
(Famous Black Face)."112
Detroit's WWJ, which had begun broadcasting in 1920,
offered a broadcast day more than twelve hours long in mid-
1922, featuring evenings of "entertainment and edification
by musicians and speakers" as well as mornings of recorded
music and programming for housewives.113 Many stations
offered Sunday church services, and evening programs for
children. The editorial staff of Outlook magazine arrived
weekly at WJZ's studio beginning in April, to present talks
on current events.114 Popular Science Monthly's editor
spoke monthly.115 In Miami Beach the Chamber of Commerce
gave talks on WQAM to lure tourists, painting word pictures
of the "Playground of the World."116
112"Westinghouse Radiophone Studio, Station KYW,
Program—Week of February 27, 1922," Broadcast Pioneers
Library, KYW station file.
113Radio Staff of the Detroit News, WWJ—The Detroit
News: The History of Radiophone Broadcasting by the Earliest
and Foremost of Newspaper Stations; Together with
Information on Radio for Amateur and Expert (Detroit:
Evening News, 1922) 24-25.
114"Publisher's Notes," Outlook 14 June 1922: 327
115"Popular Science Monthly Gives Lectures by Radio,"
Popular Science Monthly Jan. 1922: 23.
°Dunng this era of long-distance listening, many
northerners could receive signals from Miami. "Miami Beach
Night Featured on Radio with Fine Program," Miami Daily

101
In March, Ed Wynn brought the cast of "A Perfect Fool”
from the theatre to WJZ's studio.117 The first nationally
advertised commercially sponsored programming may have been
a series of monthly concerts beginning April 14, 1922,
arranged by the musical instrument manufacturer C. G. Conn,
Ltd., in which four different musical programs were
broadcast simultaneously from four cities across the country
(Conn dealers scheduled "Radio Concerts" at their stores for
people without access to a radio receiver).118 Broadcasting
opera to the public had been one of Lee de Forest's earliest
goals, and from all accounts WDY's 1921 broadcast of the
entire Chicago Opera's season was a popular success.119 In
New York, however, neither RCA nor Westinghouse could
persuade the management of the Metropolitan Opera to put its
performances on the air.120 In the fall of 1922, General
Metropolis 28 May 1923: 1. This idea was also tried by
Plainfield, New Jersey, it is not known with what success.
"Plainfield Uses Wireless to Advertise City's Merits," New
York Times 15 Jan. 1922: 1.
117,1'A Perfect Fool' by Radio," Wireless Age March
1922: 36.
118"Hear These Great Artists by Radio," advertisement,
Saturday Evening Post 8 April 1922: 100; "Conn Radio
Concerts," advertisement, Saturday Evening Post 13 May 1922:
126; "From Coast to Coast Conn Music Fills the Air,"
advertisement, American Magazine May 1922: 121.
119George P. Stone, "Radio Has Gripped Chicago," Radio
Broadcast 1: 504.
120"No Opera by Radio During this Season," New York
Times 7 Nov. 1922: 31.

102
Electric's WGY (Schenectady) announced a new schedule that
would devote one weeknight to dramatic productions, another
to opera, a third to semi-classical music, and a fourth to
popular music.121
Many stations offered news reports from one source or
another, although American Telephone and Telegraph announced
to the press that "America's first radio news service" would
be broadcast from its station WBAY weekday afternoons from
4:30 to 5:30 beginning September 1, under the guidance of a
former Daily News editor.122
From the beginning stations had presented football and
baseball games, and coverage of the 1922 World Series caused
a large increase in the number of radio fans. Many people
bought sets when they learned that specific sporting events
such as a prize fight would be broadcast. "Music has its
charms," one critic wrote, "but a fight for supremacy and
championship fascinates and guickens the pulse even by
radio."123
It was natural, after years of publicity for the great
distances achieved by experimenters and professional radio
121"New Program Schedule," Radio News 4: 1136.
122"News Service by Radio," New York Times 11 Aug.
1922: 3.
123"Public Criticism Aids Programs," New York Times 1
July 1923, sec. 6: 7.

103
operators, that long-distance listening would be one of the
lures of the radio receiving hobby. 124 Although most BCLs
did not make an active hobby of keeping logs of distant
stations and entering DX contests, listeners would often
boast of their late-night achievements. Other
characteristics of 1922's radio service encouraged DXing
rather than relaxed listening. The guality of reception and
reproduction was usually markedly inferior to the sound
guality of a phonograph and programming was often episodic:
a one-hour concert might be followed by four hours of
silence, and early broadcasters thought nothing of allowing
silent intermissions between musical numbers.125 In
addition, the use of headphones made the listener a captive
of the receiver, unable to combine casual listening with
other chores.
As more stations joined the pioneers in the ether,
listeners seeking the thrill of pulling in a distant city's
station often found their reception interrupted by local
124The parallels to professional wireless operation
were reinforced in early radio advertising; according to one
RCA ad, "the romance is in getting the far-away messages."
"To-Night Listen In," advertisement, Literary Digest 24 Feb.
1923: 77.
125An announcer might say "[The artist] will render a
new selection in a few minutes," leaving music fans with
nothing to listen to and DXers nothing to tune in; Radio
News editor Gernsback suggested announcers run a metronome
or strike a bell during silent moments. H[ugo] Gernsback,
"What Radio Broadcasting Needs," Radio News 5 (1924): 865.

104
broadcasters. A movement began to assign regular "silent
nights" to different cities or regions, so radio fans could
receive distant stations without local interference.126
Monday was silent night in Chicago and in Louisville.127 At
WWL in New Orleans, Saturday became silent night.128 Hugo
Gernsback, editor of Radio News. later suggested that each
of the four national time zones observe an hour of silence
on successive nights.129 Calls for silent nights continued
throughout the first half of the 1920s, although as local
programming improved listeners began to lose interest in
distance for distance's sake, and as commercial sponsorship
became more prevalent silent periods became a financial
imposition on the broadcaster.130
As radio's popularity grew, so did the difficulty of
126"A Plea for a Night Off," Radio News 4: (1923) 1401.
127Richard Crabb, Radio's Beautiful Day (Aberdeen:
North Plains, 1983) 3; Credo Fitch Harris, Microphone
Memoirs of the Horse and Buggy Days of Radio (Indianapolis:
Bobbs, 1937) 253.
128C. Joseph Pusateri, Enterprise in Radio: WWL and the
Business of Broadcasting in America (Washington: UP of
America, 1980) 44. According to Erik Barnouw, other regular
silent nights included Cincinnati on Thursday, Kansas City
on Saturday, Dallas Wednesday after 3 p.m., and San
Francisco daily between 7 and 7:30 p.m. Erik Barnouw, A
Tower in Babel (New York: Oxford UP, 1966) 93.
129H[ugo] Gernsback, "What Broadcasting Needs,"
editorial, Radio News 5 (1924): 865.
130Kingsley Welles, "Do We Need 'Silent Nights' for
Radio Stations?" Radio Broadcast 7 (1925): 753.

105
receiving a clear signal because of interference from
amateur transmitters and competing broadcasting stations.
In 1922 all entertainment broadcasting was assigned to the
same wavelength, 360 meters.-*-^1 Thus, all stations in one
city broadcast on the same frequency and interference made
clear reception impossible. Wireless communications were
still regulated under the Radio Act of 1912, which had not
anticipated the development of broadcasting to the public.
Because the law governed use of radio on ships, enforcement
fell to the Department of Commerce Bureau of Navigation.
Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover said, upon opening the
first national radio conference in February 1922, "This is
one of the few instances where the country is unanimous in
its desire for more regulation".132 The conference's final
report proposed moving amateurs to a lower waveband and
creating a new class of broadcast stations to be assigned a
wavelength other than 360.133
131Weather and all other Government reports were
broadcast on 485 meters, requiring a shift in wavelength
when that information was to be transmitted.
132"Asks Radio Experts to Chart the Ether," New York
Times 28 Feb. 1922: 16. For a description of the four
annual radio conferences, see Edward F. Sarno, Jr., "The
National Radio Conferences," Journal of Broadcasting 13
(1969): 189-202.
133npr0p0ses New Laws for Radio Control," New York
Times 28 April 1922: 21. In March the Department of
Commerce created a separate classification for stations of
500 watts power or more that agreed not to program
phonograph or other mechanical music, and assigned these
"Class B" stations to 400 meters. Yet as the year closed,

106
At this time in broadcasting's development, few foresaw
radio as a 24-hour-a-day service; most stations went on the
air for only a short period each day.134 Although in most
cities station owners worked out plans to share the
broadcast day, conflicts arose. In the New York area eleven
stations agreed to a tentative time-sharing schedule in May
1922.135 However, in July WJZ, one of the nation's earliest
and strongest broadcasting stations, refused to concede time
to WOR, a new station from Bamberger's department store;
WJZ, owned and operated jointly by the Radio Corporation of
America and Westinghouse, threatened to leave the air if
forced to limit its broadcast schedule for the benefit of
other stations.136
only eleven out of more than 500 stations had been
reclassified. "About the Radio Round-Table," Scientific
American Dec. 1922: 378.
134For example, WHAS in Louisville was licensed for 24-
hour service, but broadcast only from 4 to 5 p.m. each
afternoon and 7:30 to 9 p.m. every night but Sunday. Credo
Fitch Harris, Microphone Memoirs of the Horse and Buggy Days
of Radio (Indianapolis: Bobbs, 1937) 44. Because all
stations were assigned to the same 360-meter wavelength, a
station making only limited use of its license was not
hoarding a wavelength someone else might put to better use.
135"Broadcasting Stations Agree on Time Dividing
Schedule," New York Herald 21 May 1922, sec. 2: 5.
136"Radio Society Asks Hoover to Bar WJZ," New York
Times 23 July 1922: 17; "WJZ Extends WOR Courtesies of Air,"
New York Times 25 July 1922; WJZ May Close Up to End Radio
Row," New York Times 30 July 1922.

107
The Audience
"President Harding has a new toy to play with,"
announced the New York Times on February 9, 1922.137 Within
weeks the president declared himself a daily listener.138
Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover estimated 600,000 radio
receivers in American homes,139 and in May the self-
proclaimed "Father of Radio," Lee de Forest, predicted that
within five years America's one million radio listeners
would become twenty million.140
One man described his first radio experience as a
"revelation":
Once the head-phones were adjusted I might have
been completely off of this whirling sphere, for
all of the mental connection I had with it. It
was as though you were sitting up on top of the
globe, in a world made up solely of sound. First
a few clicks, then a steady humming, like a
distant hive of enormous bees, then, with
startling and sudden distinctness, a man's voice
saying "Baltimore, Maryland," in my ear. I
jumped. . . .141
Many Americans learned about the remarkable new service
137"Wireless Telephone Receiver Installed in Harding's
Study," New York Times 9 Feb. 1922: 1.
138"president Radio Fan," New York Times 3 April 1922:
3.
139"Asks Radio Experts to Chart the Ether," New York
Times 28 Feb. 1922: 16.
140"Dr. Forest [sic] Predicts 20,000,000 Radios," New
York Herald 7 May 1922, sec. 2: 5.
141Stanley B. Jones, "How to Sell Ten Million Radio
Outfits," Radio News 3 (1922): 840.

108
from relatives, or friends who had a "radiophan"142 in their
homes.143 But radio was also in the air on Main Street and
on 42nd Street. During the winter of 1921-22, radio supply
stores had "sprung up by the hundreds."144 Radio receivers
were found for sale in hardware stores, drug stores,
clothing stores.-*-45 Department stores had demonstration
displays. New York's Lord and Taylor department store
advertised radio sets to pick up the 1922 World Series,
offering free score sheets from its seventh-floor radio
department.146 In addition, demonstrations were often set
up at meetings and conventions.147 The annual fall radio
show joined the auto show as a popular introduction to
industry's new model season.148 Chicago's first Radio Show,
in August 1921, included military displays and exhibits by
fifty "radio and electrical concerns."149
142A nickname for "radiophone fan" often found in
enthusiast magazines.
143Austin C. Lescarboura, Radio for Everybody (New
York: Scientific American, 1922) 59.
144"Far-Reaching Influence of the Radio Telephone,"
Electrical World 4 March 1922: 419.
145H[ugo] Gernsback, "Soon!" Radio News 3 (1922): 822.
146'iThe World Series by Radio," New York Times 1 Oct.
1922, Sports sec.: 27.
147Stanley B. Jones, "How to Sell Ten Million Radio
Outfits," Radio News 3: 842.
148Fall radio shows continued through the decade. For
example, see Edgar H. Felix, "What's New at the Radio
Shows," Radio Broadcast 9 (1926): 518-522.

109
Many early radio fans offered neighborhood concerts, or
planned parties around broadcast music. According to the
Detroit News. during its station WWJ's first week of
broadcasting in 1920, "a party at the home of C. F. Hammond,
700 Parker Avenue, Detroit, danced to music sent out by the
News apparatus and this was considered the local beginning
of the social aspect of wireless telephone."150
One Massachusetts enthusiast described his Saturday
night in a letter to a local station:
I tuned in at about 9 o'clock and stayed on till
you finished. You see, I have a loudspeaker
attachment and I always open the window so people
outside may hear also. It was only about fifteen
minutes and a crowd of friends and residents were
standing outside listening and they stayed until
you signed off. Also tourists traveling along the
highway stopped to listen.151
In a small Mississippi town, the banker bought a
receiver for the community, installed it at the high school,
and invited the whole population (350) to a weekly Saturday
night concert of country music.152 In March Chicagoans were
treated to a demonstration of radiophone music during an
149"Radio Exposition Opens in Chicago on Aug. 31,"
Detroit News 30 July 1921: 9.
150Radio Staff of the Detroit News 9.
151Clark Radioana Collection, box 535, 134-818A.
152Bob McRaney, Sr., The History of Radio in
Mississippi (n.p.: Mississippi Broadcasters Assn., [1970s?])
7.

110
Edison Symphony concert at Orchestra Hall, where "a
receiving apparatus was set up on the stage, with an aerial
stretching from the stage to the gallery and another coiled
on a frame near by."153 The symphony's conductor
demonstrated the technigues and limitations of the new
technology.
Out west, rural Woodleaf, California, arranged a "Radio
Hoot Owl Picnic" that drew more than three thousand men,
women, and children. "Hundreds of listeners in, residents
of mountainous districts who had never before heard radio,
received their first opportunity last Sunday and were so
enthused and interested they stayed late into the night in
order to enjoy music from various Coast stations."154
Any family that received the Sears, Roebuck or
Montgomery Ward catalogue knew about the radio fad. Sears
went on the air with station WLS ("World's Largest Store")
and called itself "Radio Headquarters."155 Both Sears and
Montgomery Ward began offering radio equipment through both
153Edward Moore, "Edison Orchestra Gives Radio
Concert," Chicago Daily Tribune 3 March 1922: 19.
154Julius Mueller to Gladys Salisbury, KPO (San
Francisco), Broadcast Pioneers Library, scrapbook RG4-1.
The "Hoot Owls," a group of business and professional men,
broadcast late at night over Portland, Oregon station KGW.
See "Hoot Owl Stuff," Wireless Age May 1924: 40; "The 'Hoot
Owls' of KGW," Radio Broadcast 7 (1925): 755.
155"WLS, The World's Largest Store," advertisement,
American Magazine Nov. 1924: 155.

Ill
their regular home catalogues and special catalogues.
Sears's fall 1919 catalogue had offered Gilbert Telegraph
Outfits as toys for "the older boy" as well as a page of
"Telegraph Instruments-Morse-Wireless" and a coupon for the
"Radio Apparatus Catalog."156 Through the spring book of
1921, one page of "Radio Telegraph Apparatus" was offered;
by fall of 1921 the word "telegraph" had been dropped. In
the spring of 1923, Sears offered the fully-assembled
Aeriola Sr. set from Westinghouse ($65) in addition to three
pages of radio parts and eguipment.157 Montgomery Ward,
which advertised its radio catalogue in the enthusiasts'
magazines, offered complete sets for as little as $23.50 in
the fall of 1923.158
Popular technical and scientific magazines offered
instruction in radio construction and practice during the
winter of 1921-22, but general interest magazine coverage
was still at the "gee whiz" stage, informative about the
theory and technology, but short on suggestions for
participating. Gradually, through the spring, the mass
156Sears, Roebuck and Company, catalogue, fall 1919:
841, 1319.
157Sears, Roebuck and Company, catalogue, spring 1923:
807-809.
158Montgomery Ward, catalogue, fall/winter 1923: 618-
619. Ward's also advertised its separate radio equipment
catalogue in magazines; see "Radio Catalogue Free,"
advertisement, Popular Science Monthly Sept. 1923: 83.

112
circulation magazines began to present radio as a pastime
worth trying. Radio magazines became more popular, and the
arrival of Radio Broadcast in May of 1922159 prompted
changes in Wireless Age, the old Marconi magazine taken over
by RCA, which went from an amateur's publication to "A Real
Radio Magazine for the Whole Family."160
Stations printed program guides listing hours of
service and musical selections to be played, which were
mailed to radio clubs and other organizations, and to the
daily newspapers.161 By spring many newspaper were printing
a daily schedule of broadcasts available from the major
stations around the country.162 Forty-eight newspapers
themselves owned radio stations by 1922.163 As the radio
fad took hold, the technically-oriented Sunday radio page
159"The New Radio Magazine You've Been Looking For,"
advertisement, Outlook 12 April 1922: 20.
160"A Real Radio Magazine for the Whole Family,"
advertisement, Wireless Age June 1922: 102.
161Austin C. Lescarboura, Radio for Everybody (New
York: Scientific American, 1922) 40.
l62"Far-ReaChing Influence of the Radio Telephone,"
Electrical World 4 March 1922: 419. Within several years
publishers would begin to feel threatened by radio's success
as an advertising medium, and their attempts to limit free
program listings were the first shots in what has come to be
known as the Press-Radio War of the 1930s. See Arthur Robb,
"Cutting Free Publicity From Radio Programs," Editor &
Publisher 2 Oct. 1926: 5, 20.
163Lawrence W. Lichty and Malachi C. Topping, eds.,
American Broadcasting: A Source Book on the History of Radio
and Television (New York: Hastings, 1976) 154-55.

113
(with its circuit diagrams and code-practice schedules)
evolved into a program guide, with accompanying columns of
general news of broadcasting and broadcast programming. In
addition, radio stories in other sections of the paper were
more often about broadcast listeners than scientists or
inventors. The Miami Herald's various one-page neighborhood
news and advertising sections boasted about local radio
achievements, such as the "young wireless operator residing
in Highland Park [who] hears music from Newark and
Pittsburgh."164 The local radio club announced that 10 of
Miami's radio amateurs had eguipment capable of receiving
KDKA's musical concerts and talks.165 Department stores
that owned stations usually announced their programs within
the stores' newspaper ads.166
As radio broadcasting service developed and family
members began to take an interest in listening in, the size
of the audience grew even faster than the number of sets in
use. The number of listeners per set grew even higher as
loudspeakers became more widely used:
164"Hears Concerts over Wireless Telephone," Miami
Herald 19 March 1922: 10A.
165"Wireless Amateurs Are Arousing Much Interest In
Miami," Miami Herald 12 March 1922: 9A.
166For example, "Today's Radiophone Program,"
advertisement, New York Herald 20 May 1922: 20.

114
Year Homes with sets
Audience Listeners per set
1922
1923
1924
1,500,000
3,000,000
60,000
75,000 1.25
3,000,000 2
10,000,000 3.3ib/
Problems and Disappointments
Most listeners understood the limits of the developing
technology, and the need for good humor and patient
fiddling. But while pundits rhapsodized in general terms,
retailers and advertisers often raised neophytes'
expectations to unrealistic heights. In February 1922, in
the opening weeks of the radio boom, with most of America's
300 stations broadcasting merely several hours per week (and
much of it from phonograph records), the National Radio
Institute advertised "Plug Your Home in On the Radio Line":
If you can listen over a telephone, you can listen
by wireless. It's just a matter of turning a
small knob. And the air is full of music and
entertainment. You can hear your favorite
artists, Bert Williams, A1 Jolson, Hofman,
Heifetz, or Farrar. Then there is the important
news of the world and special speeches by well-
known men. The program is continuous from morning
until night, ending with wireless bedtime stories
for the children. The radio age is surely
here."168
A panel of experts warned that broadcasting lacked
167"Statistical Survey of the Radio Business," Radio
Retailing March 1928: 36-37. Estimates are as of January 1,
including factory- and home-built receivers
168"piUg Your Home in On [sic] the Radio Line,"
advertisement, Popular Science Monthly Feb. 1922: 103. The
same issue of the magazine warned editorially that "readers
must remember that radiophone outfits are not yet perfect,
and that messages are heard far less satisfactorily in some
localities than they are in others. "What Will Radio Mean to
You?" Popular Science Monthly Feb. 1922: 27

115
organization, direction, and secure financing, and "should
be taken down to its very foundations and reconstructed
along safe and sane lines."169
Spring's radio fever heated the clamor for receiving
eguipment, but summer atmospheric conditions brought poorer
reception. As Scientific American described the situation,
A demand of overwhelming proportions was created
for radio eguipment, thousands of inexperienced
firms and persons got into the radio business,
millions upon millions of dollars' worth of
apparatus was dumped on the market, the bottom
fell out with the first signs of "static" at the
approach of last summer's warm days, at a time
when production was reaching the peak, and a
serious slump followed.170
Attempting to keep enthusiasm up, magazine articles
touted radio as a "companionable chum on motor trips and
around the campfire."171 Ads encouraged buying new
eguipment "before weighing anchor for that pleasure cruise-
or packing up to spend your vacation in secluded camp or
f armhouse."17 2
Most broadcasters had anticipated the summer lull, but
as Radio News put it, "the worst of it is, it lingered on
169,1 About the Radio Round-Table," Scientific American
Dec. 1922: 378.
170"About the Radio Round-Table" 378.
171Armstrong Perry, "How Radio Adds to the Joys of My
Vacation," Popular Science Monthly June 1922: 68.
172"An Essential Part of Every Receiving Set,"
advertisement, American Magazine Aug. 1922: 103.

116
into the winter."173 Literary Digest said Americans had
"tasted of radio and made a wry face," because of
interference.174 Wireless hero Jack Binns decried the state
of the art:
Publicity seekers are nightly disturbing the ether
with worthless talk that interrupts really good
radio programs. Business concerns are doing
unwelcome advertising by radio, and filling up the
intervals in their programs with canned jazz that
is equally unwelcome.175
Even those who disagreed with Binns' opinion on programming
acknowledged that the proliferation of stations was a
disservice to both the listening public and the
broadcasters.
In the face of flagging interest, the radio
publications organized a "National Radio Week" promotion,
offering free postcards for radio set owners to use for
inviting friends to come over and sample radio's wares.
"Today not one man out of 25 really knows about radio,"
claimed Radio News. "Not one out of a hundred has been able
to listen to a good radio set in the home. . . . Most of
the population have heard loud-speakers in front of stores
173Armstrong Perry, "Keeping the Public Sold on Radio,"
Radio News 4 (1923) 1444.
174"The Need for Laws to Soft-Pedal Radio Chaos,"
Literary Digest 13 Jan. 1923: 25.
175Jack Binns, "A New Broadcasting Plan," Popular
Science Monthly May 1923: 38.

117
and have probably become discouraged on account of this."178
By mid-1923 there were 573 radio broadcasting stations
and still no radio regulation.177 Secretary Hoover's second
radio conference recommended reallocation of wavelengths
(between 222 and 545), silencing of amateur communications
between 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. daily, and primary
identification of stations by frequency (kilocycles per
second) rather than wavelength. Three classes of station
were to be created: Class A at 222 to 300 meters, with power
not exceeding 500 watts, and Class B at 300 to 545 meters,
with 500 to 1,000 watts of power, both with "quality of
program" standards; and Class C for stations remaining at
360 meters. No new licenses would be issued for the 360
meter wavelength.178
Prospects for the future
As the radio fad cooled down, interest in distance for
distance's sake decreased, and a larger proportion of the
audience began to take pleasure in the passive entertainment
afforded by listening in. The novelty of pulling voices
from the air began to wear off and the growing availability
176"National Radio Week," Radio News 4 (1923): 1280.
177United States Department of Commerce, Annual Report
of the Commissioner of Navigation to the Secretary of
Commerce for the Fiscal Year ended June 30. 1923
(Washington: GPO, 1923) 18.
178
43.
"The New Radio Regulations," Wireless Age May 1923:

118
of—and improvements in—loudspeakers began to transform
radio into a background activity and a form of family
entertainment.179
Although the public remained excited by the
possibilities of radio broadcasting, by the end of 1924
radio's potential was still unrealized. Equipment continued
to require attention and skill. Programming was haphazard
and in some cases merely perfunctory. Westinghouse's H. P.
Davis, the man credited with putting KDKA on the air in
1920, had sounded this cautionary note at the peak of the
1922 fad:
The growth of the public approval has been too
rapid to be healthy, as it outstrips the growth of
the development of the art, and while the
fascination of broadcasting is the impelling force
now, the period of development of not only the
apparatus, but of the service itself is going to
require patience and forbearance on the part of
the public.180
Radio as a novelty—including the sport of DX—
probably reached its peak in the winter of 1924-1925.181
179Armstrong Perry, "The Itch for Distance," Radio News
4 (1923): 1777; Jesse Marsten, "An Aspect of the Future of
Broadcasting" Radio News 5 (1923): 248.
180H. P. Davis, "The Permanency of Broadcasting,"
Wireless Age May 1922: 28.
181Robert H. Marriott, paper presented to 4th annual
convention of the Institute of Radio Engineers, 13 May 1929,
Clark Collection Box 537, #134-1070A. A January, 1925 RCA
ad claimed "The 'distance fan' is now a listener!" "Radiola
X," advertisement, American Magazine Jan. 1925: 75.

119
Certain segments of the American public, however, saw too
much value in radio service to abandon the new medium at the
first sign of trouble. For example, radio had early proved
itself useful to farm families. In 1910 Hugo Gernsback,
then publisher of Modern Electrics. prophesied that within
ten years farmers would have radio telephones as two-way
tools for communication.182 In mid-1921 the government
began sending out agricultural market reports by wireless.
Although intended to allow farmers to monitor daily market
conditions, the reports were to be received by extension
agents and volunteer amateur wireless operators, who would
pass the information along to individual farmers.183 Farm
Journal soon predicted that "in the near future any
progressive farmer may have his own automatic receiving
apparatus."184 In the summer of 1921 the federal government
proposed sending agricultural market reports and other
business news using the radio stations of the Air Mail
service,185 and by September 1921 market reports were
broadcast several times a day from the post office's Air
182H[ugo] Gernsback, The Wireless Telephone (New York:
Modern Electrics, 1910) preface.
I83"Wireless Now Carries Late Market Reports," New York
Times 19 June 1921, sec. 2: 1.
184"Wireless for Farmers," editorial, Farm Journal Feb.
1921: 11.
185"Wireless Phone Service Planned," Detroit News 21
July 1921: 1.

120
Mail Radio Service to amateur operators, in "hope that these
operators will receive the reports and see that they are
placed in the hands of interested persons."186 In September
1922, RCA advertised to farmers that, in addition to market
and weather reports, "with proper Radiola amplification
units, radio parties may be given even in the barn, where
the young folks can dance to the music from America's famous
orchestras."187 One survey estimated 10,000 radio sets on
farms in 1922, 145,000 in 1923, and 360,000 in 1924.188
Radio was also a boon to the shut-in and the blind.189
Radio listening helped pass the time in hospital wards,190
and one technically astute tuberculosis patient provided
each bed in his sanitarium with a receiver.191
The family woman running a household was also often
186"How Wireless is Helping the Farmer," Popular
Science Monthly Sept. 1921: 59.
187"Radio in the Farmer's Home," advertisement,
Saturday Evening Post 16 Sept. 1922: 114.
188"Statistical Survey of the Radio Business," Radio
Retailing March 1928: 36.
189United States Department of Commerce, Annual Report
of the Commissioner of Navigation to the Secretary of
Commerce for the Fiscal Year ended June 30. 1923
(Washington: GPO, 1923) 18.
190"Wounded Veterans Discover New Joys in Wireless,"
Popular Science Monthly Mar. 1922: 121.
191"He Furnishes Radiophone Cheer to Sick People,
American Magazine Sept. 1922: 65-66.
II

121
shut in the house; in 1923 the Radio Press Service claimed
that to women on isolated farms and in small towns, "radio
is not merely a joy, it is rapidly becoming a necessity."192
By the summer of 1924, Christine Frederick was
congratulating herself on the success of her radio cooking
school and the "radio teas" she organized in Chicago,
writing
They are a joy to uncounted thousands of women.
They may have a baby on their lap, or a dirty
apron on, and be too tired to get up out of a
chair, but they can "come to the radio tea"
nevertheless!193
Writing in The Bookman early in 1922, Mary Austin had
castigated women for allowing themselves to be merely
"passive spectator[s] to the male performance" in the arts,
rather than a true critical audience, with both "privilege
and obligation in respect to the quality of the
performance." In addition, Austin said, women must make
their concerns and experiences part of the cultural
product.194 As early broadcasters strove to understand
radio's place in American society, the input of female
listeners took on growing importance.
192"Women and Wireless," Literary Digest 15 Dec. 1923:
25.
193Christine Frederick, "How I Made a Career out of
Home and Radio," Wireless Age August 1924: 90.
194Mary Austin, "Women as Audience," The Bookman March
1922: 1-5.

122
Because the first broadcasters were more interested in
the act of broadcasting than in its content, they were
willing to provide whatever programming the public seemed to
enjoy. Many broadcasters sought goodwill publicity from
their investment in radio, and hoped to link their business
names with pleasing programs. Broadcasters relied on
letters, phone calls, and telegrams from the listening
public for guidance in programming their stations.
Throughout the earliest years of American radio
broadcasting, writers and broadcasters insisted the public
could get what it wanted from radio merely by making its
wishes known. "Here is what the radio people can give you
if you want it," wrote Stanley Frost in "Radio Dreams That
Can Come True."195
Broadcasting stations solicited listener mail for four
reasons: to ascertain the size of the listening audience,196
to measure the geographical coverage of their signal, to
195Stanley Frost, "Radio Dreams That Can Come True,"
Collier's 10 June 1922: 9. Twenty-five years later critic
John Crosby warned television not to repeat radio's
mistakes, writing that "it was not the responsibility of the
listener to request something he had never heard of." John
Crosby, "Seven Deadly Sins of the Air," Life 6 Nov. 1950:
150-151.
196Wireless Age estimated the size of the radio
audience in 1923 by tabulating responses to station
questionnaires about their volume of listener mail. The
magazine concluded that the national audience was
11,160,180. "How Large is the Radio Audience?" Wireless Acre
Sept. 1923: 23.

123
gauge reaction to program content,197 and to encourage
performers (who were otherwise unpaid).
Feedback to broadcasters was a natural outgrowth of the
two-way communication that characterized and still
characterizes amateur radio telegraphy and telephony. In
addition to chatting, relaying messages, and exchanging
technical information, amateurs use information from those
receiving their signal to judge their own transmitter power
and coverage. Likewise, the best gauge of receiving
eguipment is the location and number of stations received.
Amateurs verified their communications by exchanging so-
called QSL cards, postcards printed with the amateur's name,
call letters, and location.198
In much the same way, broadcast listeners during
radio's first years often wrote describing their receivers
and detailing the guality of reception, as well as
commenting incidentally on program content. Listeners also
197Pioneer station KDKA paid Marjory Stewart, a blind
graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, to monitor and
critigue the station's programming. Among her suggestions
were setting a 15-minute limit on talks, telling the stories
of operas before they were broadcast, and broadcasting
theatre and book reviews; see "The Girl Who Helped Put Radio
on a Balanced Diet," American Magazine May 1929: 65-66. It
is not known how many other stations employed professional
in-house critics, but in 1926 WGN signed up more than 1,000
"official listeners;" see "Broadcasting Miscellany," Radio
Broadcast May 1926: 40.
198Amateur radio shorthand includes a series of three-
letter abbreviations for common phrases. "QSL" is the
acknowledgment that a message was received.

124
telephoned stations and sent telegrams; announcers often
read out the names over the air. Later, when interest
shifted to program content, listeners could use pre-printed
"applause cards,"199 which were often provided by equipment
manufacturers and radio stores as a supplemental method of
advertising. One radio writer suggested the stations
themselves provide stamped cards to all nearby radio
listeners in order to encourage the audience to express its
likes and dislikes.200 In 1924, the Milwaukee Journal radio
department formed a "broadcast listeners' club" to send out
a "constant stream of applause" via pre-printed cards.201
Early in 1922 station WGI followed a broadcast of
"fashion talks" with a plea to women in the audience for
feedback on continuing the series. The number of letters
received persuaded the station to make it a regular
feature.202
199For example, see "Free Radio 'Applause Cards',"
advertisement, American Magazine March 1924: 176.
200Armstrong Perry, "Radio as Entertainment," Radio
News 4 (1922): 1056. Many letters, while thanking the
station for its service, expressed dislike for certain
performers or types of programming, and these too may have
been read on the air; one letter to station WGI said "I do
not agree with the party who called you such names." Clark
Collection, Smithsonian Institution, Box 188 Series 8.
201"Broadcast Listeners' Club," Radio Dealer April
1924: 91.
202"women Interested in Radiophone," Radio News 3
(1922): 967.

125
Through 1923, however, most correspondents were
probably BCLs more interested in radio reception than in
program content. A typical letter read:
In response to your request of last Saturday
night, I wish to state that the dance music played
by the Albany Hotel Orchestra and broadcast by
your station WGY was received very loud and
clear.203
As interest shifted from technical information to
program content, more women sent in their comments. An early
broadcaster later said,
[At first] we had to depend on the men, and as
every woman knows, men are mighty poor letter
writers.
When women began to listen in, when they
realized that they had something in their home
that helped them with their work and entertained
them while they were alone all day, we began to
get all kinds of suggestions for improving the
programs. ... If the standard of radio
entertainment has risen perceptibly in the past
three years, the women of the country are largely
to blame.204
Requests for listener mail were often couched in terms
of etiquette and social obligation. Women used their social
skills to write gracious thank-you notes to stations and
performers. For example,
My husband and I are only too pleased to comply
with your request that those who listened in to
the service at the Methodist Episcopal church last
20broadcast Pioneers Library, scrapbook, RG 4-1.
204Frederick L. Collins, "Growing Up With the Radio,"
Woman's Home Companion July 1928: 75.

126
night should write and express our pleasure and
appreciation.205
Listeners were warned that a lack of "appreciation"
gave performers little incentive to return to the
microphone, in this era of unpaid performances.206 An
editorial late in 1923 warned of a woeful slump in letters
of appreciation to those who entertain through the ether."
It is not nice to scold . . . [but] sometimes the
public has to be jolted into realization of its
place in the scheme of things. An amazingly small
percentage of the listeners are writing these
days. Two years ago, an impressive program
brought a response from one person in four; today
. . . the ratio is one letter for every 20,000
listeners .... It can't go on. No artist can
be expected to continue broadcasting without the
stimulus of appreciation. . . . The situation is
serious. Continued carelessness will cost the
public dearly.207
By the spring of 1924, radio audiences had become
"frightfully blase . . . [and] many do not take the trouble
to send in either recommendations or even criticisms of the
programs heard."208 Listeners may have reduced the number
of letters they sent, but they apparently still felt the
obligation, and were often apologetic about neglecting their
duties. One listener wrote, "It has been my pleasure for
205Clark Collection, Smithsonian Institution, report
#30, box 535, number 134-818A.
206"Radiophone Broadcasting Station WDY," Wireless Acre
Feb. 1922: 19.
2°7"Taking the Listener to Task," editorial, Wireless
Aae Oct. 1923: 17.
2°8"what Listeners-In Want," Radio News 5 (1924): 1337.

127
some time past to enjoy the programs being broadcast by you,
but I will admit that I have been lax in my 'applause'."209
Some magazine articles urged the listeners-in to keep
their negative comments to themselves. "People . . .
[overlook] the fact that at last they are getting something
for nothing . . . ," one performer complained. Broadcasters
and performers are trying their best to please the audience,
she wrote. "If you don't like their stuff, . . . turn a
dial and cease to be a guest, [but don't] send in
thoughtless messages to mar the perfect pleasure of your
host. ,,21°
Radio Broadcast magazine, while urging fans to make
their opinions known to broadcasters, decried the attitude
that listeners "owed" feedback to the station in return for
free entertainment.211 Few others guestioned this policy of
listener obligation even in later years when paid performers
were employed by commercial program sponsors, although
advertising executive Roy Durstine pointed out that
businesses would hardly expect people to write praising the
209Clark Collection, Smithsonian Institution, report
#30, box 535, number 134-819.
210Nellie Barnard Parker, "The Fly in the Ointment,"
Radio News 9 (1927): 15. This article was written from the
point of view of the performers who considered letters their
"applause."
211"Painless Ways of Improving Radio Programs," Radio
Broadcast 9 (1926): 237.

128
painting used to illustrate a magazine advertisement.212 By
the end of the decade most listeners had tired of being
"harangued," and found an announcer's invitation to write in
offensive.213 Most listener correspondence in the last
years of the 1920s responded either to programs about which
the writer had strong feelings, or to offers of samples,
brochures, or other premiums.
212Roy S. Durstine, "Audible Advertising," Radio and
its Future. ed. Martin Codel (New York: Harper, 1930) 51.
213Frederick H. Lumley, Measurement in Radio (Columbus:
Ohio State UP, 1934) 79-80. Many broadcasters did not
distinguish between DX fans—responding with reception
information and expecting verification from the station for
logging or contest purposes—and listeners merely offering
input or "applause." Thus the lack of response from
broadcasters also dampened some correspondents' enthusiasm.
See, for example, Homer G. Gosney, letter, Radio News 8
(1927): 1132, and the editor's reply.

CHAPTER 4
A HOUSEHOLD UTILITY: 1926
Radio is not a single, isolated experience such as
seeing a Broadway show or taking a vacation. It
is woven into the daily pattern of our lives year
in and year out.1
Paul F. Lazarsfeld and Harry Field,
The People Look at Radio (1946)
Introduction
Between 1924 and 1926 broadcasting continued to
develop. By the spring of 1926, radio's future role as a
household utility was assured. Radio's use to the American
family, and specifically to the family woman in the American
home had been established. This chapter describes the ways
in which people came to use radio in 1926 (and how these
same uses persisted in later years), and the aspects of the
radio service of mid-1926—the stations, the programs, the
advertising, and the eguipment—that combined to transform
radio broadcasting from a fad to a household utility.
The Uses of Radio
In the earliest years of the century, radio
experimentation could provide amusement, communication, and
1Paul F. Lazarsfeld and Harry Field, The People Look at
Radio (Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1946) 5.
129

130
scientific knowledge. After World War I, radio became a
satisfying pastime for many American hobbyists and amateurs.
Gradually, during the 1920s, radio became useful within the
structure of the family, and came to be viewed as a
household utility. An examination of the ways in which
people use radio today and used it during the years between
the Depression and the advent of television can be added to
the anecdotal information about the place of radio in
people's lives during the 1920s to provide a picture of
radio's usefulness, or utility.
In 1937 the Rockefeller Foundation funded a grant to
Princeton University to study the role of radio in American
life, and an Office of Radio Research was opened under the
direction of Paul Lazarsfeld, Frank Stanton, and Hadley
Cantril. In 1940 the Office of Radio Research was
transferred to Columbia University. Dr. Stanton became
director of research for the Columbia Broadcasting System in
1938 and later vice-president and general manager (1945),
but continued editing volumes of radio research with
Lazarsfeld throughout the 1940s. Lazarsfeld's work for the
Office of Radio Research and later Columbia's Bureau of
Applied Social Research forms the first body of systematic
research attempting to identify radio's meaning for
individuals and society.
Research into the relationship between the American

131
public and the electronic media has continued since then,
most often focusing on the media's effects on society.
However, within the past twenty years the "uses and
gratifications" approach to communication research has
focused on the audience members as active participants
rather than passive recipients, making use of various media
for both acknowledged and unacknowledged purposes.2
Although radio's place in American life has changed
over 70 years, the ubiquity of the service and the economic
value of the industry make it a continuing object of
research.
Women Use Radio
In a 1982 National Association of Broadcasters study
the most common reasons given for listening to the radio
were: "it lifts my spirits" (77 percent), "companionship"
(64 percent), and "to escape pressures of life" (62
2The uses and gratifications approach is "concerned
with (1) the social and psychological origins of (2) needs,
which generate (3) expectations of (4) the mass media or
other sources, which lead to (5) differential patterns of
media exposure (or engagement in other activities),
resulting in (6) need gratifications and (7) other
consequences, perhaps mostly unintended ones."
Gratification can be cognitive (the acquisition of
information), or affective (emotional gratification,
including entertainment, escape, companionship, validation),
and can have at least three distinct sources: media content,
exposure to the media per se, and the social context that
typifies media exposure. Elihu Katz, Jay G. Blumler, and
Michael Gurevitch, "Utilization of Mass Communication by the
Individual," The Uses of Mass Communication, ed. Jay G.
Blumler and Elihu Katz (Beverly Hills: Sage, 1974) 20, 24.

132
percent).3 Mendelsohn wrote in 1964 that "generally
speaking, radio functions as a diverting 'companion' and
helps to fill voids that are created by (1) routine and
boring tasks and (2) feelings of social isolation and
loneliness."4 One of the largest categories of people
facing "routine and boring tasks" in an environment without
companionship (and with access to a radio) is the full-time
homemaker. A 1967 study found that in addition to its
passive "pleasant environment" function, radio was most
often viewed as "companionship," especially by women "who
must spend more time alone during the day than men."5
"Housewives" was early recognized as a specific group
to which radio was particularly useful, across geographical
and socio-economic barriers. When the Radio Institute of
the Audible Arts6 solicited comments about radio's use to
the farmer, Kansas senator Arthur Capper pointed out that
3Paul I. Bortz and Harold Mendelsohn, Radio Today—And
Tomorrow (Washington: Natl. Assn, of Broadcasters, 1982) 5.
4Harold Mendelsohn, "Listening to Radio," People.
Society, and Mass Communications. Lewis Anthony Dexter and
David Manning White, eds. (New York: Free, 1964) 242.
5Verling C. Troldahl and Roger Skolnik, "The Meanings
People Have for Radio Today," Journal of Broadcasting 12
(1967-68): 66.
6Philco Radio and Television Corporation founded the
institute in 1934 "to stimulate a wider and more active
appreciation of the audible arts among the American people."
"Radio Institute Opens," New York Times 23 Nov. 1934: 28.

133
"farmers get from the radio something specifically useful to
them in their own business. City people for the most part
do not get anything comparable, because there is no
sufficiently large unit among them engaged in one field of
effort, except homemakinq" (emphasis added).7
A gender difference in radio listening has also been
found within groups that do not include home-bound family
women. For example, although about half of a group of
college students surveyed in 1950 listened to the radio
while studying, women were found to listen to radio more
overall, both on weekdays and weekends.8 A 1993 study found
that female teenagers listen to radio more than male teens,
and "make greater use of music for mood management."9
As early as 1940, Paul Lazarsfeld found women made more
use of radio than men:
The proportion of each group listening to the
radio more than two hours on an average evening
after 6 p.m.:
Male, no college, below 40 47.5
Male, college, below 40 44.4
Male, no college, 40 + 42.3
Male, college, 40 + 40.7
Female, no college, below 40 65.1
Female, college, below 40 48.2
7Edmund deS. Brunner, Radio and the Farmer (New York:
RIAA, 1935) 10.
8A. L. Chapman, College-Level Students and Radio
Listening (Austin: U of Texas, 1950) 20.
9Raymond L. Carroll et al., "Meanings of Radio to
Teenagers in a Niche-Programming Era," Journal of
Broadcasting and Electronic Media 37.2 (1993): 161.

134
Female, no college, 40 + 59.3
Female, college, 40 + 41.3 10
In 1939 the Journal of Applied Psychology featured a
section titled "Radio Research and Applied Psychology."
Among the findings published was a study of "radio-
mindedness," the interest or importance attached to radio.
Women were found to be more radio-minded than men.11
Lazarsfeld wrote in 1948 that because women can more easily
listen to radio during the day, the sex difference in radio
listening is "due to the time schedules of men and women,
rather than to any inherent appeals or characteristics of
the medium."12 However, Lazarsfeld's colleague Herta Herzog
had already studied the audience for radio soap operas, and
concluded that the "appeals and characteristics" of certain
radio programs offered specific satisfactions to their
primarily female audience. The three types of
gratifications Herzog suggested were: (1) emotional release
(a good cry, pleasant surprises, other people's troubles);
(2) wishful thinking (to fill in gaps in their own lives);
(3) explanations of life (help in solving their own
problems, instruction in how to act).13
10Paul F. Lazarsfeld, Radio and the Printed Page (New
York: Duell, 1940) 19.
1;1Francis Ollry and Elias Smith, "An Index of 'Radio-
Mindedness' and Some Applications," Journal of Applied
Psychology 23 (1939): 17.
12Paul F. Lazarsfeld and Patricia L. Kendall, Radio
Listening in America: The People Look at Radio—Again (New
York: Prentice-Hall, 1948) 14.

135
In 1933, an extensive study of radio attitudes and
habits in Minneapolis found that radio "seems to be most
popular in the middle class and among housewives."14
According to another study in the same area 28 percent of
mothers and 16 percent of fathers listened more than 4 hours
a day.15 Other researchers found that parents used radio as
an aid in disciplining children and in maintaining the
children's daily schedules; radio was also used to encourage
family entertaining and socializing at home.16
During the early 1920s, the automobile took Americans
out of the house to an unprecedented extent. In 1925 one
commentator suggested that
Radio with its magic is working a social
revolution. The home is growing once more, and as
we value it more highly and spend more time and
thought on it the American home promises to become
an even finer and more beautiful institution than
it has been in times past when we have been proud
as a home-loving nation.17
13Herta Herzog, "What Do We Really Know About Daytime
Serial Listeners?" Radio Research 1942-1943. ed. Paul F.
Lazarsfeld and Frank N. Stanton (New York: Duell, 1944) 8.
14Clifford Kirkpatrick, Report of a Research into the
Attitudes and Habits of Radio Listeners (St. Paul: Webb,
1933) 25-26.
15Cited in Clifford Kirkpatrick, Report of a Research
into the Attitudes and Habits of Radio Listeners (St. Paul:
Webb, 1933) 26.
16Frances Holter, "Radio Among the Unemployed," Journal
of Applied Psychology 23 (1939): 164-5.
17"Babson Sees Social Revolution as Radio Revives Home
Life," The New York Times 5 April 1925, sec. XX: 16.

136
According to Senator Clarence Dill, a sponsor of early radio
legislation, radio, unlike the automobile, strengthens the
bonds of the family.18
Radio, wrote an RCA employee during broadcasting's
earliest days, was the first solution to the conflict
between the workingman who wants to stay home at the end of
the day and the homemaker, who "prefers her pleasures in
some other location than the scene of her daily labors."
The moving picture, the theatre, the automobile
have been on woman's side, and insidious fighters
they have been. Man has marshalled to his aid the
phonograph, the player piano, and recently the
radiola [sic]. This last, the newest recruit to
the army of home, is proving day by day more
potent, because its propaganda appeals to both
sides of the conflict. Some day a play will be
written entitled "Why girls do not leave home,"
and the hero will be a Radiola Grand.19
18S. R. Winters, "Radio Just as Important as Tubs in
Home," Chicago Sunday Tribune 4 Oct. 1925, part 4: 10.
Radio and the automobile were often compared for their
effects. By the mid 1930s, many automobiles were equipped
with radio receivers. At first feared as a distraction, car
radios soon won acceptance as an aid to both driving safety
and driver pleasure. For a discussion of the pros and cons
of listening to radio on the road, see Edward A. Suchman,
"Radio Listening and Automobiles," Journal of Applied
Psychology 23 (1939): 148-157.
19G. H. Clark, "Short Broadcast Talks on Radio: The
Influence of Radio Broadcasting on Modern Home Life" Clark
Collection, Smithsonian Institution, SRM 134 009/95 040.
Advertisements for radio eguipment also made this point;
see, for example, "Pals Again," advertisement, American
Magazine Jan. 1923: 72.

137
Other Uses. Other Users
Communication can serve two general functions:
transmittal of the factual and transmittal of the emotional,
or "referential" and "expressive" functions, in the terms of
Robert Park.20 While a similar distinction can be made
between radio's entertainment and "service" programs,21
programming of all types, as well as exposure to the medium
in general, has been shown to be useful to listeners on both
practical and psychological levels. For example, based on
Herzog's findings, soap operas may have functioned more as
service programming than as strictly "entertainment" for
their listeners. On the other hand, some news reports may
be useful only as entertainment.22
Popular and radio magazines during the 1920s mentioned
many (often humorous) needs served by the new communication
medium: one could now safely talk back to politicians, razz
inferior singers, and challenge the clergy;23 one could
perform supervised setting up exercises every morning;24 one
20Robert Park, "Reflections on Communication and
Culture," American Journal of Sociology 44 (Sept. 1938) 205.
21Lazarsfeld used this term to cover programs about
housekeeping matters, agricultural markets, hobbies, and
advice. Lazarsfeld, Radio and the Printed Page 49.
22Lazarsfeld grouped news and entertainment together,
separate from the category "serious programs." Lazarsfeld
and Field 55.
23Newman Levy, "Sweet are the Uses of a Radio,
Harper's Monthly Magazine 148 (1924): 273-4.
ft

138
could attend events unsafe or unfitting to attend in person,
such as prize fights.
The "Armchair Mood" vs. Secondary Listening
Until 1930 specific radio content was usually of
secondary importance to the mere act of listening. In
broadcasting's earliest years, the search for distant
stations often took precedence over the search for enjoyable
or interesting program content.25 Although by the mid 1920s
listeners were more interested in good local reception of
pleasant programming, most stations' offerings were a
similar blend of music and "talks" rather than discrete
shows. Listeners were concerned only that the service be
there, offering a type of programming appropriate to their
needs or desires of the moment.
A 1925 Ladies Home Journal ad for Atwater Kent radios
showed four typical scenes of radio listening: a bridge and
tea party, a dinner party, dancing, and "listening in" (for
which the ad suggested the weekly Atwater Kent Radio Artists
program on seven listed stations).26 In earlier years,
24Julia Shawell, "Radio—The Alarm Clock of a Nation,"
Radio News 8 (1927) 96.
25Interest in distance reception peaked in the winter
of 1924-25, according to Robert H. Marriott, "United States
Radio Broadcasting Development," Proceedings of the
Institute of Radio Engineers 17 (1929): 1409.
26"Atwater Kent Radio," advertisement, Ladies Home
Journal Nov. 1925: 176-177.

139
broadcast listeners had sat with headphones clamped over
their ears, listening intently for elusive signals from
distant cities. As radiophone concerts became more popular
and receiving equipment improved, many more people joined
the radio audience; gradually interest in DX (distance
reception) gave way to a more passive enjoyment of the
broadcasters' programming. One radio book called this the
"Armchair Mood."27 Soon, however, as receivers and
loudspeakers offered more consistent quality, people began
to take radio music for granted and to use it as background
for other activities.28 This use of radio in the home has
been called secondary listening.29 By 1928, the radio had
become a background to many people's daily lives. Visitors
complained about radios left playing in the background
during social calls.30 Some critics even decried the
27Major Ivan Firth and Gladys Shaw Erskine, Gateway to
Radio (New York: McCaulay, 1934) 290.
28In 1923 a listener wrote to radio organist Gladys
Salisbury, "I put the receiver to my ears and paint
pictures. . . It sure is a pleasure to paint hearing the
sweet voices and the wonderful music played on your organ."
Letter from George Newbert to organist Gladys Salisbury at
KPO, San Francisco, Broadcast Pioneer's Library, scrapbook
RG 4-1.
29Secondary listening probably accounts for most radio
use in 1990s America. A study from the 1950s suggested
secondary listening was higher than primary listening.
Delbert C. Miller, "Radio and Television," Technology and
Social Change, ed. Francis R. Allen, et al. (New York:
Appleton, 1957) 159.
30Virginia Terhune Van de Water, "Other People's
Children, Dogs, and Radios," American Magazine May 1928:

140
ubiquity of "good music," fearing that serious music was
being devalued. While sympathizing with the housewife who
enjoys washing dishes to radio music, one author warned of a
growing tendency to use music "as a sort of characterless
stimulant" to replace at home the constant noise of the
workplace and the street. Music was becoming "a sort of
mechanical accompaniment to our daily lives," just another
public utility like the electricity, gas, and water.31
Radio Service 1925-1926
Many changes in the service offered by American
broadcasting combined to increase radio's usefulness to the
audience by 1926, including regularly scheduled programming,
printed program listings in daily newspapers, daytime and
other service programming, improved receiving and
reproducing equipment, and changes in advertising practices.
In 1922 home economist Christine Frederick wrote that
"the sooner radio broadcasting adopts . . . definite
schedules of subjects and hours . . . , the more greatly
will the public benefit."32 By 1926 this had been
190.
31Creighton Peet, "Music as Narcotic," Forum Aug. 1930:
113. A 1926 Article described the use of radio to increase
production in a factory; however, the workers apparently
listened to actual programs, such as the world series
baseball games. John J. Morgan, "Radio Makes Factory Work
Congenial," Radio News 8 (1926): 33.
32Christine Frederick, "A Real Use for the Radio," Good
Housekeeping July 1922: 144.

141
accomplished to a large extent, especially during the
daytime hours and on stations that broadcast major sponsored
evening programs like The Evereadv Hour, programs that "come
around every seven days at a fixed hour which makes them
easy to locate . . . [and that] maintain a more or less
uniform type of program, so the listener knows what to
expect."33
Newspaper coverage of broadcasting also helped
listeners know what to expect, and daily program listings
helped solidify the regular radio habit. During the early
1920s many newspapers owned radio stations,34 and a large
number of papers featured columns of radio information for
their subscribers. By 1926 most newspapers featured
33John Wallace, "The Listener's Point of View," Radio
Broadcast 9 (1926): 41. The Eveready Hour went on the air
in late 1923, offering a wide variety of entertainment,
often unified by a program theme. See Julia B. Shawell,
"Eveready Hour," Radio News 9 (1928): 1218+.
34By 1922 48 newspapers owned radio stations (compared
with 126 owned by radio stores and only 10 owned by
"broadcasting companies"). Lawrence W. Lichty and Malachi
C. Topping, eds., American Broadcasting: A Source Book on
the History of Radio and Television (New York: Hastings
House, 1976) 154-55. A 1927 survey by the American
Newspaper Publishers Association found that 18 newspapers
had studios in stations that were owned by other businesses,
and 69 newspapers sponsored programs on unowned stations,
while 97 papers gave "news, scores, market bulletins or
other information over the air." More than half the "high
grade stations" had some newspaper affiliation. Edwin
Emery, History of the American Newspaper Publishers
Association (1950; Westport: Greenwood, 1970) 198

142
listings of both local stations and major stations in
distant cities. Gradually, however, as radio came to be
used for advertising (even if only so-called goodwill
publicity), publishers began to view the new medium as a
competitor for advertising dollars. In 1926 Editor &
Publisher magazine began the new year with a "Banish Free
Publicity in 1926" campaign, primarily aimed at radio-
related publicity and information.35 Later that year the
attack spread to the listing of programs that included
business names, such as the Happiness rCandy1 Bovs, or the
Goodrich Zippers.36 Daily logs guickly became less useful
to radio listeners, as program names were replaced by
generic descriptions; for example, the Goodrich Zippers show
was listed as "variety musicale" and the Whittall Anglo
Persians were referred to simply as "Oriental Orchestra."37
35Frank T. Carroll, "Banish Free Publicity in 1926,"
Editor & Publisher 2 Jan. 1926: 11.
36Ironically, the radio broadcasters were to be
penalized for unwelcome restrictions imposed on their
industry to some extent by their accusers: the newspapers
were vocally at the forefront of demands that radio limit
its commercial activities to "goodwill" advertising—the
connection of a program with the name of a business—rather
than the direct advertising of products and prices they felt
to be their exclusive province.
37"Advertisers Miss Their Free Mention," Editor &
Publisher 22 Jan. 1927: 45. After five months of limited
listings, New York City's newspapers returned to publication
of "uncensored programs," citing concern for the
"convenience and welfare of the reader." "Trade Names Back
in N.Y. Radio Programs," Editor & Publisher 12 March 1927:
9.

143
Program Content
As Raymond Williams has pointed out, radio broadcasting
was developed as a technology without a purpose, an
"abstract process with little or no definition of preceding
content."38 Beginning with the experimenters who played
phonograph records in order to check transmission and
reception, broadcasters have found music the simplest
content to present. Early stations relied primarily on
O Q
music, interspersed with talks and lectures.-^
During the years of the radio fad, broadcasters
congratulated themselves for providing everything the
audience wanted and needed, based primarily on encouragement
from listener postcards and the growing number of home radio
sets; enthusiast magazines ran polls showing that current
program content was "meeting the public demand with really
astonishing accuracy."40
38Raymond Williams, Television: Technology and Cultural
Form (New York: Schocken, 1975) 25.
3Americans had historically attended lectures not only
for enlightenment but for the enjoyment of hearing a good
speaker. The Lyceum movement brought lectures, debates and
readings to many American towns before the Civil War. The
Chautaugua system grew out of a summer training camp for
Sunday school teachers held at Lake Chautaugua, New York in
1874; by the early 1900 local chautaugua centers and
travelling chautauquas were a popular form of adult
education. Encyclopedia Americana (Danbury: Grollier,
1990).
40"Radio Audience Decides Programs," Wireless Age Aug.
1923: 28. The "ballot" for the survey asked listeners to
assign the ideal number of hours a day for each of several
types of programming: classical and operatic music; jazz and

144
By the end of 1925 radio offered a variety of
programming, in spite of the continued reliance on unpaid
talent.41 One New York station began its broadcast day with
exercises and physical training talks between 6:45 and 8
a.m.; women's programming filled the afternoon: music to do
housework by, talks on fashion and housekeeping; a hotel
orchestra offered "Music While You Dine" from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Next came the regular evening program: "plenty of music,
with a few brief talks by well-known men," followed at 11 by
supper club music and appearances by stage and screen
performers, who might "talk about the stage, or give some
little skit."42 Newscasts were not yet standard radio fare,
popular music; market and weather reports; speeches and
lectures; and news, including sports. There was no space
for "other." "The Ideal Program," Wireless Age May 1923:
22; Ward Seeley, "Giving the Public What it Wants,"
Wireless Age May 1923: 23-26. The attitude that the
audience does not want and would not accept anything beyond
what broadcasters have offered survives to the present. In
his 1974 examination of popular cultural phenomena, Herbert
Gans wrote that no one had yet tried "socially realistic"
soap operas, but "the fact that they have not been tried . .
. suggests that they might not be successful." Herbert J.
Gans, Popular Culture and High Culture: An Analysis and
Evaluation of Taste (New York: Basic, 1974) 59.
41It was news when St. Louis's new station announced in
January 1926 that it paid its "program artists"; the
station's total weekly payroll for station staff and
performers was $3,000. "KMOX Performers Get 3,000 a Week,"
New York Times. 17 Jan. 1926, sec. XX: 14.
42Allan Harding, "Behind the Scenes at WOR," American
Magazine Oct. 1925: 154.

145
and one trade magazine suggested radio would not be a
"public utility" to the city dweller until stations offered
brief news reports throughout the day.43
Plays were becoming more frequent over the air in
1925,44 but radio had as yet developed no programming suited
exclusively to the audio medium. There were apparently no
dramatic series with ongoing characters until January 1926
when two "song and patter" men working for Chicago's WGN
introduced a ten-minute-a-night radio comic strip about a
couple of "colored boys" named Sam and Henry.45
Few program segments had thematic continuity.46 One
Chicago station announced with pride a new rule that
soloists would be limited to three minutes, dance orchestras
and speakers to eight, causing the "Listener's Point of
View" columnist in Radio Broadcast, "who has . . . ranted at
43"Broadcasting of News May Prove Radio's 'White
Hope'," Radio Retailing 4 (1925): 471.
44See, for example, W. T. Meenam, "Back Stage with
'Radio Mike'," Popular Science Monthly Sept. 1924: 68;
Kingsley Welles, "The WGBS Prize Play Contest," Radio
Broadcast 7 (1925): 757.
45"Radio Programs for Today," Chicago Daily News 11
Jan. 1926: 25, "Radio Programs for Today," Chicago Daily
News 12 Jan. 1926: 21. Although the show was broadcast only
from WGN, its reputation was nationwide. In 1928 the show
moved to WMAQ—the name changed to Amos 'n' Andy—and was
syndicated nationally on transcription disk recordings.
Amos 'n' Andy joined the NBC Blue network in August of 1929.
46Wilson Wetherbee, "Broadcasting to Go: Next, 'Radio
Presentations," Chicago Sunday Tribune 3 May 1925, part 9:
12.

146
great length against the 'kaleidoscope' program, to throw up
his hands in holy horror. . . . "47
Radio attracted little creative experimentation during
its first decade; the earliest broadcasters were
technicians. Likewise it has been said that "newspapers
were born of printers with spare time and surplus paper on
their hands,"48 and that "most [American] film directors
have been typesetters, not poets."49 According to historian
Page Smith,
When any new form of expression presents itself to
the members of a particular culture, it has the
power to attract the most creative individuals; in
the first moment, therefore, work is done that,
however crude and awkward technically, can never
again be egualed.50
Smith cannot have been speaking of American broadcasting.
F. Scott Fitzgerald said of the 1920s, "It was an age of
miracles, it was an age of art, it was an age of excess, and
it was an age of satire."51 Yet on the radio—one of the
47John Wallace, "The Listener's Point of View," Radio
Broadcast 9 (1926): 40.
48G. Allen Foster, Communication: From Primitive Tom-
Toms to Telstar (New York: Criterion, 1965) 84.
49Gerald Mast, A Short History of the Movies. 3rd ed.
(Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1981) 98,450.
50Page Smith, Redeeming the Time. (New York: Penguin,
1987) 932.
51F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Echoes of the Jazz Age"
Scribner's Magazine Nov. 1931: 460.

147
decade's greatest miracles—it was an age of soprano
recitals and hygiene talks. Well into the 1930s, according
to one broadcast history, "the best literary brains of the
country had not vision enough to see where they might fit
into the picture,"52 although, as poet Archibald MacLeish
wrote, poets should be "storming the [radio] studios,"
because the technigue of radio had "developed tools which
could not have been more perfectly adapted to the poet's
uses had he devised them himself."53
Programming for women, an eager audience with access to
radio receivers during a large part of the day, grew
steadily between 1924 and 1926. By March of 1926, according
to Radio Retailing.
Practically every station devotes a good portion
of its time, particularly during the daylight
hours, to features which are intimately associated
with every woman's immediate personal interests.
So enthusiastic has been the response to these
women's features that many stations have
instituted both morning and afternoon programs to
comply with the demand.54
Through the winter of 1925 General Electric's WDY offered
weekly talks and "musical entertainments" by the Schenectady
Women's Club.55 WGBS, New York, offered mornings of
52Firth and Erskine 21.
53Archibald MacLeish, The Fall of the City: A Verse
Play for Radio (New York: Farrar, 1937) xi.
54"Radio's Splendid Programs—Are You Selling Them?"
Radio Retailing 3 (1926): 253.
55"WGY Forms Women's Club," New York Times 4 Oct. 1925,

148
exercises and beauty talks, interspersed with piano
recitals; early afternoon programming included scripture
readings, lectures on topics such as "scenario writing," and
programming from the League of Women Voters.56 WMCA listed
continuous programming from early morning to night,
including "food talks" and market reports.57 A group of 12
stations nationwide participated in a radio cooking school;
graduation classes were conducted on the air and "diplomas"
mailed to the thousands of women who participated.58
Although women won the constitutional right to vote in
1920, in 1924 the Lynds found that most of Middletown's
women adopted the political opinions of their husbands.59
As an RCA ad put it, "politics was no place for ladies, and
what little the women knew about it they gleaned from scraps
of the men folks' talk."60 The broadcasting of the
Democratic and Republican nominating conventions in 192461
sec. XX: 17.
56"Radio Programs Scheduled for the Current Week," New
York Times 4 April 1926, sec. XX: 18.
57"Radio Programs Scheduled", New York Times 8 April
1926: 21.
58"Graduates Will Wear Head Sets," Miami Herald 19 Jan.
1926: 14D.
59Robert S. Lynd and Helen Merrill Lynd, Middletown: A
Study in American Culture (New York: Harcourt, 1929) 118.
60"The Family Takes to Politics," advertisement,
Popular Science Monthly Nov. 1924: 109.
61
For a discussion of the use of radio at political

149
offered many women their first opportunity to "catch the
inflection, to be thrown wholly into the political
spirit."62 Radio took political discourse out of the
masculine preserves like meeting rooms, clubs, and bars, and
brought it into the home. "The radio," according to one
article, "may even claim to be a pronounced step in the
emancipation of womankind."63
In 1925 Radio Retailing magazine enlisted the aid of
the League of Women voters to increase female listenership,
by offering programming about local and national issues.
The campaign also encouraged women's groups to hold "radio
teas" in homes and clubrooms, and asked those groups not
only to advise stations but to provide actual programming,
citing "the scarcity of good programs for and by women."64
By the end of 1925, Literary Digest pointed out that
Woman's place may or may not be in the home, but
conventions, see "Radio Convention Year," The Nation 9 July
1924: 34, and "Radio Never Weathered . . . , editorial, The
Nation 23 July 1924: 85. Radio equipment manufacturers used
the election coverage as a selling point; see, for example,
"The Family Takes to Politics," advertisement, Popular
Science Monthly Nov. 1924: 109; "Who's Elected,"
advertisement, Literary Digest 18 Oct. 1924: 67.
62Christine Frederick, "Women, Politics, and Radio"
Wireless Aae Oct. 1924: 36.
63"Domestic Uses for the Radio," American Review of
Reviews Aug. 1922: 202.
64"Radio for Women," Literary Digest 28 Nov. 1925: 20.

150
as a matter of fact that is where many of them
are, and the radio broadcasters know it and build
their programs on it. This has been done
instinctively and without any special plan, but
numbers that appeal especially to femininity have
been taking more and more of the daylight hours
and now programs are arranged for morning and
afternoon that will appeal especially to women. .
65
The use of radio for advertising continued to generate
debate through the 1920s. As early as 1917 the radio
amateur magazine OST. noting that Lee de Forest often
transmitted talks by designers of radio equipment, suggested
the possibility of "conducting regular advertising and news
talks by radio."66 Advertising as a method of funding for
broadcasting came to be considered acceptable as long as it
did not involve direct sales efforts such as the mention of
price.67 In a 1924 article describing the possible forms of
radio advertising, Radio Broadcast asked: "How Will You Have
Your Advertising?" The choices, in order of their subtlety,
were: (1) "Mr. Albert Wagh of the Baked Bean Corporation of
America will now describe the scientific preparation of the
bean, from pod to pot"; (2) An announcement that the
65"Radio for Women," Literary Digest 28 Nov. 1925: 20.
66"Radio Telephone Advertising," OST April 1917: 34,
47.
67In February, 1922, the first national radio
conference approved "indirect advertising," limited to "a
statement of the call letter of the sending station and of
the name of the concern responsible for the matter
broadcasted." "Proposes New Laws for Radio Control," New
York Times 28 April 1922: 21.

151
orchestra of "some New York hotel . . . will now play for
[your] edification";68 (3) publicity in which "the object of
the speaker is withheld" (4) advertising in its "customary
and recognized forms," as in newspapers and magazines; or
(5) a mail order house's "announcement of the week's
bargains.1,69
At the fourth National Radio Conference, held in 1925,
the committee on advertising and publicity resolved that
"the conference deprecates the use of radio broadcasting for
direct sales effort, and any form of special pleading for
the broadcaster or his products, which forms are entirely
appropriate when printed or through direct advertising
mediums."70 In 1926 the program manager of AT&T's WEAF
(then flagship of a thirteen-station network) told a group
of advertising executives "Radio broadcasting is not an
advertising medium. . . . Radio broadcasting is purely and
68 Although the author called this the "least
objectionable form," it was sometimes overdone. The
handwritten station log for South Bend, Indiana's, WSBT
notes that one performer "did too much advertising" when he
repeatedly told listeners to come up to hear the new band.
Station WSBT Log, Nov. 19 1925, Broadcast Pioneer's Library
RG 80-1.
69James C. Young, "How Will You Have Your Advertising?"
Radio Broadcast 6 (1924): 244-5
70Proceedings of the Fourth National Radio Conference
(Washington: GPO, 1926) 18; rptd. in Documents in American
Telecommunications Policy. Vol. lf ed. John M. Kitross (New
York: Arno, 1977)

152
simply good will publicity. You will notice that no prices
are ever given, no directions where to buy, nor anything but
a constant mention of the manufacturer's name or the name of
the article."71 By the end of 1926 "good will" broadcast
advertising was said to make up 80 percent of programming on
the leading stations; smaller stations tended to feature
"talks" rather than musical presentations, often including
specific product information.
By 1928 the Federal Radio Commission could say that
"without advertising, broadcasting could not exist."72
However, the FRC continued to debate the uses and limits of
radio advertising. The typical attitude of writers in the
popular media toward direct advertising, which no one could
deny was of great value to the newspaper-reading audience,
is reflected in this description by the former editor of
Scientific American:
One western station, for instance, broadcasts a
shopping service in the morning and evening,
mentioning definite stores, articles, gualities—
well, everything but the price. And that is
typical of the extent to which some broadcasters
have gone in the way of collecting pay for their
efforts. Unfortunately, it is a fact that only
the largest concerns can see the value of genteel
publicity . . . ,73
71 Austin C. Lescarboura, "How Much it Costs to
Broadcast," Radio Broadcast 9 (1926); 370.
72United States Federal Radio Commission, Annual Report
of the Federal Radio Commission to the Congress of the
United States Covering the Period from October 1. 1928 to
November 1. 1928. (Washington: GPO, 1929) 35.

153
Although newspaper columnists and legislators decried
direct advertising as an aesthetic offense,74 to those for
whom radio was a useful service rather than an amusement
direct advertising might have added to the medium's value.
Listeners from rural areas wrote to the Federal Radio
Commission in support of direct advertising, pointing out
its economic advantages to the listener.75
During the 1920s women's domestic purchasing was
increasingly guided by advertising information. When
broadcast sponsors realized that women controlled most
household spending, sponsors showed increasing interest in
offering shows that would attract female audiences.76 A
73Lescarboura, "How Much it Costs to Broadcast" 370.
74Ironically, had direct advertising been allowed from
the beginning the need for hiding sponsorship within the
content of the programming would have been eliminated, and
stations might have sold "spot advertising"— short messages
separate from editorial content, similar to newspaper and
magazine advertising—thus allowing the surrounding program
content to be produced by broadcasters and the creative
community rather than by advertising agencies.
75United States Federal Radio Commission, Second Annual
Report (Washington: GPO, 1928) 19.
76Home economist Christine Frederick turned her
interest in the late 1920s from scientific housekeeping to
boosting the new American consumerism. However, in spite of
her earlier support of radio as an aid to rational housework
there was no mention of the benefits of radio advertising in
her study of women as "purchasing agent of the family."
Christine Frederick, Selling Mrs. Consumer (New York:
Business Bourse, 1929) 12. For a recent historical study of
broadcast advertising targeted to women, see Eileen R.
Meehan, "Heads of Household and Ladies of the House: Gender,
Genre, and Broadcast Ratings, 1929-1990," Ruthless
Criticism: New Perspectives in U. S. Communication History,

154
1933 study pointed out that
Surveys seem to show that the housewife is the one
to whom radio advertising should be directed. She
has the most influence upon family purchases and
spends the greatest amount of time in the home.
She is the member of the family most easily
reached by radio broadcasts.77
Access to housewives assured broad reach into various types
of homes, because radio use by women cut across socio¬
economic lines.78 In addition, servants in the homes of the
very wealthy found the same gratifications from radio as did
women in more modest households—and often those servants
controlled some of the household purchasing. *
The Household Utility
David Sarnoff envisioned radio as a household utility
in his 1916 memo, but added the phrase "like the piano or
phonograph."80 In the memo, Sarnoff set out several
specific criteria he thought necessary to transform the
amateur hobbyist's mass of wires and boxes and knobs into a
ed. William S. Solomon and Robert W. McChesney (Minneapolis:
U of Minnesota P, 1993) 204-221.
77Frederick H. Lumley, Measurement in Radio (Columbus:
Ohio State UP, 1934): 204.
78"Women and Wireless," Literary Digest 15 Dec. 1923:
25.
79See Christine Frederick, "Radio Makes Servants
Contented," Radio News 7 (1926): 1523+.
80Gleason L. Archer, History of Radio to 1926 (New
York: American Historical Society, 1938) 112.

155
simple-to-operate table-top "music box" that would interest
members of the public who possessed no technical ability.
Sarnoff wanted the music to be available by moving a single
switch or knob. He specified a "loudspeaking telephone"
rather than the headphones commonly used by radio amateurs,
and a price of $75 per set.81
The earliest sets used by broadcast listeners, however,
usually reguired three adjustments; later in the 1920s
receivers often had "four or five controls, three of which
were critical."82 Articles in radio magazines gave
instructions for proper tuning.83 It was not until 1924
that several manufacturers introduced single-dial tuning,
and replaced arbitrary scales with markings in wavelengths
and, later, frequencies to aid in finding specific
stations.84 Early loudspeakers were a mixed blessing, often
emitting a "squawking, rasping noise" unless "manipulated by
81In 1921, when most radio equipment was still sold as
discrete parts to be assembled by the enthusiast, Hugo
Gernsback, editor of Radio News, proposed a unified
"Radiotrola" with a single adjusting knob and integrated
speaker. See "The Radiotrola," editorial, Radio News 3
(1921): 479; Raymond Frances Yates, "Winning the Public to
Radio," Radio News 3 (1921): 494.
82E. P. Edwards, "Research and Manufacture in the Radio
Art," The Radio Industry. 1928. (New York: Arno, 1974) 153.
83"Right and Wrong of Receiver Tuning," Wireless Age
June 1924: 42-3.
84"At Last! Six Tubes With One Control," advertisement,
Literary Digest 6 Dec. 1924: 57.

156
a competent radio operator."8^ The modern dynamic speaker
with a paper cone was introduced by RCA in 1925.86 By early
1926, the loudspeaker had been "brought to a state of
perfection which would not have been dreamed of a year or
two ago."87 As cone-style speakers replaced tall speaker
horns, manufacturers began to incorporate the loudspeaker
into the radio cabinet. Yet few of these self-contained
receivers were small enough to place on a mantle or table.
Many cabinets were massive pieces of ornate wooden furniture
with space for the several dry and storage batteries
necessary to operate most sets during the 1920s. Between
1924 and 1926 this space could be used instead to house a
battery charger or the later "battery eliminators" (plug-in
transformers). At New York's World's Radio Fair in 1926,
the greatest interest was generated by sets that operated on
alternating current.88
850range Edward McMeans, "The Great Audience
Invisible," Scribner's Magazine March 1923: 412.
86 Robert Grinder and George H. Fathaver, Radio
Collector's Directory and Price Guide (Scottsdale: Ironwood,
1986) 50.
87M. C. Rypinski, "Radio, Our Newest Utility," Radio
Retailing March 1926: 277. For a review of loudspeaker
development and a description of loudspeakers available by
the end of 1926, see "Loudspeakers and Their
Characteristics," Radio News 8 (1926): 642+.
88"For Greater Harmony in the Air," The Independent 117
(1926): 378.

157
A 1926 survey by Radio Retailing magazine found
customers most interested in (1) simplicity of control, (2)
quality of tone, and (3) battery elimination.89 Emphasis
was shifting to improved local reception, as interest in the
sport of DX waned.90 When Radio News asked its readers to
describe the ideal radio set, the result sounded remarkably
like Sarnoff's Radio Music Box.91 There was no indication,
however, that this ideal set was readily available
commercially. Small self-contained radio sets of good
quality were the exception until after 1930,92 and few sold
for less than Sarnoff's predicted $75. According to Radio
Retailing the average set of 1926 cost $80, had two tuning
controls, employed five tubes, and used storage batteries
and a loudspeaker.93
Before 1926, it was necessary "to be an expert
technician in order to qualify as the owner of a Radio [sic]
89William C. Alley, "What Will Your Patrons Demand in
the Sets They Buy This Fall?" Radio Retailing Aug. 1926: 48-
51.
""Radio for 1926: A Forecast," Radio Broadcast 8
(1925): 24.
91"Ideal Radio Set," Radio News 8 (1926): 8.
92In 1930, Crosley introduced the "Buddy" a "table,
mantel or clock type self-contained receiving set" with
built-in power speaker and AC power. The price was $64.50
including tubes. "Beauty," advertisement, American Magazine
Nov. 1930: 125.
93"The Average 1926 Radio Set . . . ," Radio Retailing
Feb. 1926: 155.

158
set."94 Yet by 1922 the radio had already overtaken the
piano in importance to some American households. An article
in the Saturday Evening Post predicted that "soon there will
be more radiophones in use than pianos, and who dares say it
will not be as much a household utility in the future as the
telephone, the bathtub and the kitchen stove?"95 David
Sarnoff may have underestimated the public's willingness to
fiddle and tinker (and to spend a high percentage of its
disposable income96) for the magic of plucking voices and
music out of the air. A simple "Radio Music Box" was not
necessary in order to entice a large percentage of the
American public to try out the new form of entertainment.97
940rrin E. Dunlap, Jr., "From a Toy to the Nation's
Joy," Radio Digest Jan. 1931: 56.
95Floyd W. Parsons, "New Day in Communication," The
Saturday Evening Post, 15 April 1922: 145.
96In 1925 radio receivers cost between $50 and $460, or
between 1.9 percent and 17.6 percent of disposable household
income. Martha Olney, Buy Now, Pay Later: Advertising.
Credit, and Consumer Durables in the 1920s (Chapel Hill: U
of North Carolina, 1991) 104.
97Sarnoff felt the project would be economically
feasible if RCA could sell one million "radio music boxes,"
putting "radio music boxes" in 7 percent of American
households. By 1926 one million complete radio sets had
already been produced for the public; in 1923 more than one
million radios of all sorts were already in use, including
many receivers assembled from parts by hobbyists. Seven
percent of the households in the 1920 census (1.7 million
out of 24.4 million) had at least one radio by 1923; by 1933
56.2 percent of American households had radios according to
a study by the CBS network (figures from "Statistical
Survey. . . "; Page, "The Nature of the Broadcast Receiver";
and Lumley).

159
However, something more than a small box with a simple
switch or dial was necessary before listening to the radio
could become integrated into the quotidian rhythm of the
household. Radio did have to demonstrate a usefulness
beyond its novelty value to the American family. For this
reason, many manufacturers in the mid 1920s featured women
in advertisements for radio receivers.98 Almost all the ads
featuring women emphasized radio broadcasting's appeal to
that group, rather than using women to demonstrate ease of
operation.99 In many American homes, largely as a result of
interest on the part of the family woman, radio had by the
98See, for example, "Radak Radio Receiving Sets,"
advertisement, American Magazine Dec. 1922: 156; "Half a
Continent on Indoor Loop," advertisement, American Magazine
April 1923: 189. The oddest women-oriented receiver ad is
probably the one addressed "To the Girls—Workers All," that
ran in the humor magazine Life's 1926 "Working Girls" issue.
All girls are workers, it read, Rosie the store clerk, Annie
the secretary . . . even "Tottie Brightlife who works Jack
Nuriche for the good things in life" and "little Gloria
Staholm" who is also working when she "slips an arm around
Daddy's neck and playfully pulls his ear." How else, the ad
asked, is she to "gain those things that make life
pleasant," such as a new Grebe Synchrophase radio? "To the
Girls—Workers All," advertisement, Life 21 Jan. 1926: 25.
"The "ease-of-operation" ads often featured children.
See, for example, "What you Want . . . ," advertisement,
American Magazine Feb. 1925: 137. The advertisements were
not always believable; for example, a small 1924 ad in
Popular Science Monthly showed a little girl about four
years old sitting at a $177 set that featured "three simply
operated controls" for tuning, and five additional knobs for
the "finer shades of tone refinement." "Federal's Finest,"
advertisement, Popular Science Monthly Sept. 1924: 129.

160
end of the winter of 1926 made the transition from novelty
fad to household utility. By mid 1926, 528 American
broadcasting stations100 were offering programming to 27
million people over five million radio sets.101 Radio was
becoming "part of the warp and woof of our lives" proclaimed
the March 1926 issue of Radio Retailing, with an increase in
"strictly utility" programming regularly available.102
"A Radio Reign of Terror"103
In the spring of 1926, 519 applicants sought to join
the 530 stations already on the air. Because of
overcrowding and interference, Secretary of Commerce Herbert
Hoover had not issued a new license since October 1925.104
In April the U.S. District Court in Illinois, in United
States v. Zenith, held that Secretary Hoover did not have
the right under the 1912 Radio Act to control broadcast
100United States Department of Commerce, Annual Report
of the Chief of Radio Division to the Secretary of Commerce
for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30. 1926 (Washington: GPO,
1926).
101"27,000,000 Listen to 5,000,000 Radios," New York
Times 8 April 1926: 21.
102M. C. Rypinski, "Radio, Our Newest Utility," Radio
Retailing March 1926: 277.
103The phrase is from a 1930 description of the radio
chaos in the second half of 1926, in Alfred N. Goldsmith and
Austin C. Lescarboura, This Thing Called Broadcasting (New
York: Holt, 1930) 60.
104"519 Have Applied for Radio Licenses," New York
Times 4 April 1926, sec. XX: 17.

161
licensing.105 In July the United States Attorney General
rendered an opinion that the Secretary of Commerce was
without the power to refuse licenses, limit transmission
power, assign wavelengths, or fix hours of operation.106
The Commissioner of Navigation's report to the
Secretary of Commerce in June of 1926 warned that in spite
of radio's "improved service" and the audience's "greater
satisfaction," in the absence of regulation "it is difficult
at this time to forecast what the actual conditions may be
during the coming winter."107 By the end of the summer The
Independent magazine could still say Hoover was mistaken
when he "vowed chaos would result," claiming that most
broadcasters "maintain a mutual respect." In spite of
hundreds of pending applications, fewer than thirty new
stations had gone on the air.108 However, by the beginning
of winter the same magazine warned that "new stations are
105"Hoover's Powers Over Radio Denied," New York Times
17 April 1926: 1.
106United States Department of Commerce, Selection from
Annual Report of the Chief of Radio Division to the
Secretary of Commerce (Washington: GPO, 1927) 1; rptd. in
Documents in American Telecommunications Policy, vol. 1, ed.
John M. Kitross (New York: Arno, 1977).
107United States Department of Commerce, Selection from
Annual Report of the Commissioner of Navigation to the
Secretary of Commerce for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30.
1026 (Washington: GPO, 1926) 18.
108Silas Bent, "Radio Squatters," The Independent 117
(1926): 389.

162
now crowding in at the rate of nearly one a day."109 In
Philadelphia, listeners who tuned in for a ball game were
"obliged ... to listen at the same time to a piano solo, a
talk on the care of the baby, a lecture on the Chinese
situation and the farm market reports."110 As one of the
new Federal Radio Commissioners later described the period,
"interference between broadcasters on the same wave length
became so bad at many points on the dial that the listener
might suppose instead of a receiving set he had a peanut
roaster with assorted whistles."111 Calls for the passage
of radio legislation increased,112 and in February of 1927 a
new Radio Act was finally passed.
Radio's Entertainment Acre
In 1926 a long-time radio writer pointed out that "the
transition from amateur programs to professional programs
has been so gradual that radio audiences have failed to
realize the vast change that has taken place in the services
of the leading broadcasting stations."113 Identifiable
109"Survival of the Loudest," The Independent 117
(1926): 663.
110H. 0. Davis, Empire of the Air (Ventura: Ventura
Free Press, 1932) 52.
111Federal Radio Commission, Annual Report of the
Federal Radio Commission to the Congress of the United
States for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30. 1927 (Washington:
GPO, 1927) 11.
112For example, "Every Man His Own Broadcaster," The
Independent 116 (1926): 507.

163
radio programs presented on regular schedules had come to
predominate in station schedules, and listeners began to
take more interest in radio performers and announcers.114
In July 1926 Popular Radio magazine began its first regular
column about the "broadcast artists," answering questions
from readers about the marital status of sweet-voiced
announcers, the race of comedy duos, and the clothing
preferences of commentators.115
The biggest change in American radio broadcasting came
with the arrival of true national networks at the start of
1927. In July of 1926, American Telephone and Telegraph
announced the sale of WEAF to RCA, and by the time the Radio
Act went into effect in early 1927 the RCA's National
Broadcasting Company had two networks on the air, the "red"
network with WEAF as flagship station, and the "blue" from
WJZ.116 A second national network organization, that would
113Austin C. Lescarboura, "How Much it Costs to
Broadcast," Radio Broadcast 9 (1926): 369.
114For a description of the radio broadcasting industry
at the beginning of 1927, see Chester T. Crowell, "The
Business End of Broadcasting," Saturday Evening Post 26
February 1927: 47+.
H5"The Yes and No Man," Popular Radio 10 (1926): 280.
By mid-1926, radio magazines were serving a large number of
home listeners as well as technical hobbyists and
enthusiasts: Radio News boasted a circulation of a quarter
million; Popular Radio. 96,000; Radio in the Home. 80,000;
and Radio Broadcast, 66,000. "Radio Publications in
America, Radio News 7 (1926): 1526.
116For a description of the new National Broadcasting
Company, see "Broadcasting on a National Scale," Literary

164
eventually become the Columbia Broadcasting System, was
formed the same year.117 By early 1927 a wide variety of
shows was available for evening listening. Over the next
several years, as business began to recognize the potential
benefit of national exposure through radio broadcasting,
radio programming began to reflect the amount of money
invested by program sponsors.118
The year 1929 is often considered the beginning of the
• , 1 1 Q
great entertainment age of American broadcasting.
Digest, 2 Oct. 1926: 13. Network broadcasting allowed
several stations to be interconnected, so that all could
broadcast programming originating at one. By January 1923,
American Telephone and Telegraph, with access to high-
guality telephone lines, had connected two stations; by June
of that year they could offer a 4-station network. By 1925,
13 stations participated in the WEAF network, and by 1926,
17. See William Peck Banning, Commercial Broadcasting
Pioneer: The WEAF Experiment. 1922-1926 (Cambridge: Harvard
UP, 1946): 264, 289. RCA's WJZ and WGY were networked with
several other stations; see Austin C. Lescarboura, "How Much
it Costs to Broadcast," Radio Broadcast 9 (1926): 370.
117By the fall of 1926 there were seven "chains" of
stations serving various areas of the country; see
"Broadcast Miscellany," Radio Broadcast 9 (1926): 393.
118Nationwide programming emanating from large cities
was not without its detractors. One commentator found that
performers were signed up for their name value only, even if
their skills did not translate well into the aural medium.
The author's examples included Will Rogers, and the lariat
that seemed so important an aspect of his stage appearances.
Rogers, however, went on to become a popular radio humorist
before he died in 1935. "The Jealous Mike," editorial, The
Independent 117 (1926): 631.
119Robert E. Summers and Harrison B. Summers,
Broadcasting and the Public (Belmont: Wadsworth, 1966) 54.

165
According to critic Gilbert Seldes, a "revolution" took
place in late 1929 "when millions of Americans, with more
money to spend on recreation than they had ever had before,
spent nothing because they were staying home to be
entertained by the Amos 'n' Andy radio program."120
Actually, such simple "character shows,"121 which moved at
the actual pace of daily life, may have served more as
companionship than entertainment; Amos 'n/ Andy. whose
predecessor Sam 'n' Henry went on the air in 1926,122 can be
seen as the bridge from radio's emergence as a household
utility to the medium's heyday as America's primary form of
entertainment.
Gradually, as America entered the 1930s, vaudeville
moved from the stage to the microphone and the depression
economy gave Americans more reason to seek entertainment at
home.123 The 1930s came to be known as radio's Golden
Age.12 4
120Gilbert Seldes, The Public Arts (New York: Simon,
1956) 1.
121Creators Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll faced
each other across a table in a small room, without
supporting cast, sound effects, or studio audience.
122See "Radio Programs for Today," Chicago Daily News
12 Jan. 1926: 21, for a description of the new show.
123See Arthur Frank Wertheim, "Relieving Social
Tensions: Radio Comedy and the Great Depression," Journal of
Popular Culture 10 (1976): 501-519.
124Norman Corwin, the radio writer who finally
developed an original style of audio presentation during the

166
Radio Grows Up
As political unrest grew in Europe, radio took on added
importance to the American household as a source of up-to-
the-minute information; wartime reporting completed the
development of radio journalism. Radio entertainment
continued during the war years, important both as a
diversion and as a medium for patriotic messages. The
decade following the end of World War II saw a radio service
similar to that of the previous years, in the face of
growing interest in and availability of television.
Radio's role shifted as the popularity of evening
entertainment television grew, but its importance in
American life can hardly be said to have diminished. Radio
was still the nation's alarm clock, its daytime companion
(especially for homemakers and the home-bound), its "music
box." In the face of a constantly expanding galaxy of
electronic home entertainment offerings, radio continues to
provide companionship in the cars and homes of almost all
Americans.125
1930s, has called this era "the shortest golden age in
history." Norman Corwin, Trivializing America (Secaucus:
Stuart, 1983) 39.
125Ninety-nine percent of American households have at
least one radio; the average number per household is 5.6.
Ninety-six percent of Americans listen to radio at some time
during the week. Radio Advertising Bureau, Radio Facts for
Advertisers (New York: RAB, 1990) 3-4.

CHAPTER 5
CONCLUSIONS
This study has traced the development of radio from a
scientific pursuit to a household utility during the 1920s
in the United States of America. Accounts in the popular
press call attention to the importance of the female
listening audience in the acceptance of radio as part of
America's daily life, and indicate that by the spring of
1926 radio had taken its place in the American home.
The Development of Radio Listening
The guestion underlying this study was "How did it
happen that America's wireless hobby developed during the
1920s into the daily activity of radio listening,
transforming radio into an information and entertainment
service considered a household utility?" According to
Merlin Aylesworth, the National Broadcasting Company's first
president, "like that beloved character 'Topsy' in Uncle
Tom's Cabin, broadcasting was an experiment that just
'growed and growed.'"1 Although from a corporate viewpoint
radio broadcasting developed without the guidance of
1Merlin H. Aylesworth, The Modern Stentor: Radio
Broadcasting in the United States (Princeton: Princeton UP,
1928) 7.
167

168
experts, an examination of the earliest years of
broadcasting service shows that the listening audience
helped guide radio's development by the uses to which it put
the new technology.
Radio broadcasting has been called "a classic example
of the unanticipated consequences of technological change."2
During the first year of the radio fad, much was written of
the new medium's potential usefulness to society.3 The
earliest broadcasters—mostly scientific experimenters, or
businesspeople motivated by curiosity and later by the hope
of accruing goodwill publicity—had no vision of what
radio's service should be or would become. It was the
listening public that found roles for radio, and in that way
helped shape radio's development.
The listeners' control over the content and purpose of
radio broadcasting, however, was limited to a yea-or-nay
vote on whatever programming had already been offered.
Listeners expressed approval of many of broadcasting's
earliest offerings without considering what other material
2Hugh G. Aitken, The Continuous Wave: Technology and
American Radio (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1985) 12.
3According to one columnist, in 1922 radio was expected
to "make the world safe for democracy, bring the heathen to
light, keep the boy off the streets, encourage home cooking,
give wits to the witless, prevent war, and bring about an
early utopia." John Wallace, "The Listeners' Point of
View," Radio Broadcast 9 (1926): 37.

169
or service might be possible. Because the remarkable new
service did not replace an older technology or source of
entertainment, the public had nothing with which to compare
it.4 Still, a large number of listeners found that radio
could play an important role in daily life. Women, in
particular, found radio could provide companionship,
distraction, information, and entertainment within the
social and physical structure of the home, often without
interrupting other activities. The interest in and use of
radio by women grew steadily during the first half of the
decade. By the time the Zenith court case loosened
government control and brought increased reception problems
many women had come to view radio as a household necessity,
and therefore little momentum in radio's development was
lost during the uneasy year between Zenith and passage of
the Radio Act of 1927. Although the development of
nationwide network broadcasting after 1926 brought great
advances in radio entertainment and marked the start of
radio's "Golden Age," by that time radio had already
achieved a place of real utility to the radio-owning family.
4In a 1950 article warning television broadcasters not
to make the same mistakes made in early radio, critic John
Crosby wrote that "it was not the responsibility of the
listener to reguest something he had never heard of." John
Crosby, "Seven Deadly Sins of the Air," Life 6 Nov. 1950:
150.

170
Women and Radio
In order to understand radio's usefulness, or utility,
two questions required answers: (1) What groups of people
made up the earliest radio audience? and (2) What were the
characteristics of radio's place in the American household
that caused it to be considered a household utility?
During the 1920s the number of radio listeners grew
faster than the total number of receivers, as more members
of each household became interested in listening to the
radio.5 Because men and boys made up a large majority of
the earliest radio fans, it would appear the added household
members often included at least one adult woman. As a
consequence, the proportion of women in the audience
increased during the 1920s. This proportional increase,
more than the increase in actual number of listeners, may
have had the greatest impact on the acceptance of radio as a
part of daily life rather than as an occasional
entertainment medium like motion pictures or phonograph
5In 1922, there were an estimated average 1.25
listeners per set; by 1926, there were 4 per set.
Year
Homes with sets
Audience
Per set
1922
60,000
75,000
1.25
1923
1,500,000
3,000,000
2
1924
3,000,000
10,000,000
3
1925
4,000,000
15,000,000
3.75
1926
5,000,000
20,000,000
4
1927
6,500,000
26,000,000
4
1928
7,500,000
35,000,000
4.66
"Statistical Survey of the
Radio Business
." Radio
Retailing March 1928: 36-37. Estimates are as of January 1,
including factory- and home-built receivers.

171
records. The particular service that gave radio value and
utility in the American household during the 1920s was its
usefulness to the American woman in the home. When radio
was brought into the household, the family woman found not
just pleasing entertainment, but companionship and a useful
and informative service. It was this utility that prevented
radio from becoming merely a more sophisticated phonograph,
or a "radio music box," especially during those earliest
years when reception was difficult and programming
perfunctory.
The availability of the loudspeaker meant women could
listen to radio while they were engaged in other chores.
The advent of all-day programming, and specifically programs
of interest to homemakers, heightened women's interest in
listening. Although musical programming could provide
pleasant background to the day's housework, women found the
"service" programming provided both companionship and
information, and aided in household management and
scheduling. This knowledgeable companionship offered by
daytime radio programming ensured radio's place in the
American home. A review of research into the more modern
uses of radio, covering the years from the depression to the
present, showed that radio has consistently served a
companionship function for the listening audience.
According to a 1926 article in the American Journal of

172
Sociology. radio broadcasting's only value was as a novelty:
"No powerful stimulation of man's instincts or emotions
accounts for the spread of the popularity of broadcasting."6
Although later research would challenge that statement, at
the time it may have been literally correct: by 1926 radio
may not have stimulated man's instincts or emotions; it had,
however, already come to fill some emotional needs in the
life of many American women. Susan Douglas has written that
broadcasting was a "white, middle-class, male construction",
and that "as we consider how meanings are constructed in our
culture we must never lose sight of whose meaning they are
and of who had no voice in the process."7 Yet this research
shows that women, through the uses they made of radio
between 1922 and 1939, played an important role in the
development of radio service and its meaning in American
life.
Learning about Radio
This study sought to describe by what means the
American public learned about radio listening and was moved
to participate. Examination of the popular press of the era
shows that people could learn about the technology of
6Marshall D. Beuick, "The Limited Social Effect of
Radio Broadcasting." American Journal of Sociology 32 (1926-
27): 619.
7Susan Douglas, Inventing American Broadcasting. 1888-
1922 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1987) xxix.

173
wireless communication primarily from magazines, and about
the applications of that technology from articles in
newspapers. However, during the 1920s the general-interest
press seems to have offered very few "how to become a
listener-in" or "how to choose a radio" articles. Many
newspapers during the first half of the decade offered
weekly columns of technical advice for both the seasoned
participant and the beginner who had just purchased
eguipment, but few gave the merely curious enough
information to enter the pastime. Once someone became a
radio enthusiast, he or she could subscribe to one of the
radio magazines, but only those people who already read
scientific magazines such as Scientific American or Popular
Science Monthly got specific information on how to begin
participating. Many people learned how to become users of
radio through word of mouth and by visits to stores selling
radio receivers. Neighbors and friends sparked people's
interest in radio; youngsters often learned about radio
through scouting or school, and introduced their parents to
the new pastime. Advertisements for eguipment and
announcements of radio shows helped spread interest, as did
displays in department stores and specialty shops.
The Point of Transition
At what point did radio become a household utility?

174
In the spring of 1926, before the court decision in U.S. v.
Zenith. radio had achieved a usefulness, or utility, to the
household—and specifically to the family woman who was in
charge of that household—that assured its place in society
for the next several decades.
By the middle of 1926 radio service was nationwide.
Equipment had improved in reliability and ease of
operation,8 and loudspeakers were in universal use, freeing
listeners from the limitations imposed by headphones. By
spring of 1926, uninterrupted programming was available (on
a particular wavelength, if not by the same broadcaster).
Radio could now provide the background to other activities,
especially work within the household such as kitchen chores
and childcare. Receivers were widely available, as was
information about radio broadcasting. Local and national
program listings were printed in daily newspapers; these
listings contained detailed information on program content
that was to become unavailable by the end of the year
because of the newspapers publishers' campaign against free
publicity for radio sponsors.
The number of stations, and therefore the potential for
interference, was lower in the spring of 1926 than in
8Although radio sets that run on household electric
current were just being developed, the cumbersome and
hazardous wet-cell batteries of the earliest years had
already been replaced by smaller dry cells and the newer
battery eliminators.

175
previous years and lower than it would be in the future. At
that time 528 stations were on the air, compared with 571
the previous year and 694 in 1927.9 Although nighttime
programming at this point was still almost exclusively music
and other light entertainment, daytime programming was
varied, and was aimed specifically at service to the
audience, primarily women in the home.
After the decision in U.S. v. Zenith showed the
Department of Commerce to be powerless to control radio
broadcasting, some listeners-in, especially in urban areas,
tired of the constant battle to extract a clear signal from
the overcrowded ether as stations jumped frequencies or
increased the power of their signals. Also, the newspaper
publishers7 campaign to eliminate clear and complete program
listings made program selection more difficult. American
radio broadcasting in the spring of 1926 was no longer a
novelty, yet programming had not achieved the variety and
professionalism that was to characterize the network era
that would begin in 1927. Still, those segments of the
population who found radio's service useful and who saw
9Figures from United States Department of Commerce,
Annual Report of the Chief of Radio Division to the
Secretary of Commerce for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30f
1926 (Washington, GPO, 1926); United States Department of
Commerce, Selection from Annual Report of the Chief of Radio
Division to the Secretary of Commerce (Washington: GPO,
1927; rptd. in Documents in American Telecommunication
Policy. Yol. 1. ed. John M. Kitross (New York: Arno, 1977).

176
radio's potential to fill a great need persevered, and
continued to offer suggestions for improvement. In this
way, women in the audience who stuck with radio during the
difficult period between 1925 and 1927 had an impact on the
development of radio programming and scheduling, and on its
continuing importance in daily life.
It was neither the early radio stunts and specials nor
the mid-decade evening entertainment programming that first
gave radio its place in the American household and in
American life. Daytime programming demonstrated radio's
possibilities to the family woman, and began radio's gradual
integration into the household routine. It was true in 1926
as it would be more than fifty years later, that "radio
presents time according to 'normal' everyday routine . . .
keeping pace with the listener's sense of real time
throughout the day."10
Radio would become a true entertainment medium in the
early 1930s, with paid entertainment, national network
coverage, and regularly scheduled evening programs. But by
then radio had already become a household utility. In fact,
the lack of discrete, separately produced and sponsored
programs probably aided radio's integration into the
household rhythm, as "listening-in" became an accepted part
10David L. Altheide and Robert P. Snow, Media Logic
(Beverly Hills: Sage, 1979) 25.

177
of the day's schedule, based more on the audience needs and
the rhythm of the day than on the quality of individual
programs.
It has been suggested that "the more closely the
behavior demanded for use of the innovation is compatible
with the structure of the culture prior to its introduction,
the greater are the chances of its acceptance."11 In the
case of radio's acceptance by the American woman, an
entertainment and information service that allowed or even
required women to remain within the home was compatible with
the society's perception of women's proper "place." The
importance of the female audience in the development of
radio service and program content continued in the years
following the 1920s, as advertisers realized to what extent
women controlled household spending.
Suggestions for Further Study
Daniel Czitrom has pointed out the contribution of "the
others"—ethnic and racial minorities—to the early cultural
history of American film, radio and television.12 Yet few
researchers have examined the role of women as a group in
the development of society's uses of such new information
i;iSaxon Graham, "Cultural Compatibility in the Adoption
of Television," Social Forces 33 (1954-55) 166-170.
12Daniel J. Czitrom, Media and the American Mind; From
Morse to McLuhan (Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1982)
191.

178
and entertainment technologies. An exception is the recent
work of Cheris Kramarae, who pointed out:
If technology practices are human structures and
organizations, how strange that most historians,
scientists and social critics haven't included
consideration of women's social relations as
essential to understanding technology. 3
Although it is important for society to become aware of
the contributions of individual women who as scientists or
entrepreneurs had a gender-neutral impact on technological
development and thereby demonstrated that invention and
business skill are not gender-specific, it is at least as
important to acknowledge that women's historically unique
place in society has allowed them, as a group, to effect
many changes in the social uses of invention, even those
technologies usually considered to be male dominated. In
the case of radio, women saw a new technology well suited to
their needs and found ways to make it useful within their
lives and their households.
A closer examination of women's effect on the
development of broadcasting practices and policies would
fill a large gap in the broadcast history literature. A
model for the in-depth historical study of women's role can
13Cheris Kramarae, "Gotta Go Myrtle, Technology's at
the Door," Technology and Women's Voices. Cheris Kramarae,
ed. (New York: Routledge, 1988) 6.

179
be found in Virginia Scharff's Taking the Wheel: Women and
the Coming of the Motor Age.14
Radio would also have an effect on the lives of women.
By 1930 radio's service to the women of America had been
recognized:
So it is that Radio has lifted Woman out of
herself; lessened her loneliness; placed her in
her proper relation to the world as it is today.
It has brought her a consciousness of the
importance of herself as a personality. Through
it she has found a life of broadened horizons—and
the road to fuller happiness.15
A study of the changes in individual women's lives as a
result of the arrival of radio in the American home during
the 1920s would be difficult at 70 years' distance.
However, more recent technological innovations—for example,
the personal computer—might be suitable subjects for such a
study.
14Virginia Scharff, Taking the Wheel: Women and the
Coming of the Motor Age (New York: Free, 1991).
15
125.
Betty McGee, "Opened Doors," Radio Digest Sept. 1930:

WORKS CITED
"About the Radio Round-Table." Scientific American Dec.
1922: 378+.
"Advertisers Miss Their Free Mention." Editor & Publisher
22 Jan. 1927: 45.
"After Every Meal." Advertisement. Saturday Evening Post
25 Nov. 1922: 56-57.
Aguirre, B. E., E. L. Quarantelli, and Jorge L. Mendoza.
"The Collective Behavior of Fads: The Characteristics,
Effects, and Career of Streaking." American Sociological
Review 53 (1988): 569-584.
Aitken, Hugh G.J. Svntonv and Spark: The Origins of Radio.
New York: Wiley, 1976.
Aitken, Hugh G. The Continuous Wave: Technology and
American Radio. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1985.
Allen, Barbara and William Lynwood Montell. From Memory to
History: Using Oral Sources in Local Historical Research.
Nashville: American Association for State and Local
History, 1981.
Allen, Francis R. "The Automobile." Technology and Social
Change. Ed. Francis R. Allen, Hornell Hart, Delbert C.
Miller, William F. Ogburn, and Meyer F. Nimkoff. New
York: Appleton, 1957. 107-132.
Allen, Frederick Lewis. Only Yesterday: An Informal History
of the Nineteen Twenties. New York: Harper, 1931.
Allen, Frederick Lewis. The Big Change: America Transforms
Itself. 1900-1950. New York: Harper, 1952.
Alley, William C. "What Will Your Patrons Demand in the
Sets They Buy This Fall?" Radio Retailing Aug. 1926: 48-
51.
Altheide, David L. and Robert P. Snow. Media Logic.
Beverly Hills: Sage, 1979.
"Amateur Wireless Outfits Increase." New York Times 11 Jan.
1921: 25.
180

181
American Academy of Political and Social Science. Radio:
Selected A.A.P.S.S. Surveys. 1929-1941. New York: Arno,
1971.
American Heritage History of the 20s and 30s. New York:
American Heritage, 1970.
"Amos 'n' Andy: The Air's First Comic Strip." Literary
Digest 19 April 1930: 37+.
Archer, Gleason L. History of Radio to 1926. New York:
American Historical Society, 1938.
Archer, Gleason L. Big Business and Radio. New York:
American Historical Company, 1939.
Arnold, Frank A. Broadcast Advertising: The Fourth
Dimension. New York: Wiley, 1931.
"Asks Radio Experts to Chart the Ether." New York Times 28
Feb. 1922: 16.
"Astonishing Growth of the Radiotelephone." Literary Digest
15 April 1922: 28.
"At Last! Six Tubes With One Control." Advertisement.
Literary Digest 6 Dec. 1924: 57.
"Atwater Kent Radio." Advertisement. Ladies Home Journal
Nov. 1925: 176-77.
"Audion Situation." OST March 1917: 16-17.
Austin, Mary. "Women as Audience." The Bookman March 1922:
1-5.
"The Average 1926 Radio Set ..." Radio Retailing Feb.
1926: 155.
Aylesworth, Merlin H. The Modern Stentor: Radio
Broadcasting in the United States. Princeton: Princeton
UP, 1928.
"Babson Sees Social Revolution as Radio Revives Home Life."
New York Times 5 April 1925, sec XX: 16.
Bannerman, R. LeRoy. Norman Corwin and Radio: The Golden
Years. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 1986.
Banning, William Peck. Commercial Broadcasting Pioneer: The
WEAF Experiment. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1946.
Baritz, Loren, ed. The Culture of the Twenties.

182
Indianapolis: Bobbs, 1970.
Barnouw, Erik. A Tower in Babel: A History of Broadcasting
in the United States. Volume I—to 1933. New York:
Oxford UP, 1966.
Barnouw, Erik. The Golden Web: A History of Broadcasting in
the United States. Volume 11 — 1933 to 1953. New York:
Oxford UP, 1968.
Barnouw, Erik. The Image Empire: A History of Broadcasting
in the United States. Volume III—From 1953. New York:
Oxford UP, 1970.
Barton, Bruce. "This Magic Called Radio." American
Magazine June 1922: 11+.
Baudino, Joseph R. and John M. Kitross. "Broadcasting's
Oldest Stations: An Examination of Four Claimants."
Journal of Broadcasting 21 (1977): 61-83.
Baum, Willa K. Oral History for the Local Historical
Society. Nashville: American Association for State and
Local History, 1971.
"Beauty." Advertisement. American Magazine Nov. 1930: 125.
Bell, Raymond D. "Pioneer Radio Days." 1934. Radio
Station Treasury: 1900-1946. Ed. Tom Kneitel. Commack:
CRB, 1986.
Bellamy, Edward. Looking Backward. 1887. Boston: Houghton,
1926
Benjamin, Louise M. "In Search of the Sarnoff 'Radio Music
Box' Memo." Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media
37 (1993): 325-335.
Bent, Silas. "Radio Squatters." The Independent 117
(1926): 389.
Beuick, Marshall D. "The Limited Social Effect of Radio
Broadcasting." American Journal of Sociology 32 (1926-
27): 615-622.
Bickel, Karl A. New Empires: The Newspaper and the Radio.
Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1930.
Bikhchandani, Sushil, David Hirshleifer, and Ivo Welch. "A
Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change as
Informational Cascades." Journal of Political Economy
100 (1992): 992-1026.

183
Bilby, Kenneth. The General: David Sarnoff and the Rise of
the Communications Industry. New York: Harper, 1986.
Binns, Jack. "A New Broadcasting Plan." Popular Science
Monthly May 1923: 38.
"Binns, Wireless, Kissed by Chorus." New York Times 29 Jan.
1909: 2.
Bliven, Bruce. "The Ether Will Now Oblige." New Republic
15 Feb. 1922: 328-330.
Bliven, Bruce. "How Radio is Remaking Our World." Century
108 (1924): 147-154.
Blumer, Herbert. "Fashion." International Encyclopedia of
the Social Sciences. Ed. David L. Sills. New York:
Macmillan, 1968.
Blumler, Jay G. and Elihu Katz, eds. The Uses of Mass
Communication: Current Perspectives on Gratifications
Research. Beverly Hills: Sage, 1974.
Blumler, Jay G. "The Role of Theory in Uses and
Gratifications Studies." Communication Research 6.1
(1979): 9-36.
Boddy, William. "The Rhetoric and the Economic Roots of the
American Broadcasting Industry." Cine-Tracts 2 (1979)
37-54.
Bogardus, Emory S. "Social Psychology of Fads." Journal of
Applied Sociology 8 (1924): 239-43.
Boorstin, Daniel J. The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in
America. New York: Harper, 1961.
Bortz, Paul I. and Harold Mendelsohn. Radio Today—and
Tomorrow. Washington: National Association of
Broadcasters, 1982.
Boucheron, Pierre. "Reporting the Big Scrap by Radiofone."
Radio News 3 (1921): 97.
Bowers, Raymond Victor. "A Genetic Study of Institutional
Growth and Cultural Diffusion in Contemporary American
Civilization, an Analysis in Terms of Amateur Radio."
Diss. U of Minnesota, 1934.
Bowers, Raymond V. "The Direction of Intra-Societal
Diffusion." American Sociological Review 2 (1937): 826-
36.

184
Bowers, Raymond V. "Differential Intensity of Intra-
Societal Diffusion." American Sociological Review 3
(1938): 21-31.
"Boys Forge Ahead in Wireless Work." New York Times 31
Jan. 1909, sec. 1: 18.
Briggs, Asa. "The Pleasure Telephone" Social Impact of the
Telephone. Ed. Ithiel de Sola Pool. Cambridge: MIT P,
1977. 40-65.
Briggs, Charles L. Learning How to Ask. Cambridge:
Cambridge UP, 1986
"Broadcast Listeners' Club." Radio Dealer April 1924: 91.
"Broadcast Your Message in Colors Via Poster Advertising."
Advertisement. Printers' Ink Monthly April 1922: 43.
"Broadcasting is Not a Public Utility." Radio Broadcast 9
(1926): 375-6.
"Broadcasting Miscellany." Radio Broadcast 9 (1926): 40.
"Broadcasting Miscellany." Radio Broadcast 9 (1926): 393.
"Broadcasting of News May Prove Radio's 'White Hope'."
Radio Retailing 4 (1925): 471.
"Broadcasting on a National Scale." Literary Digest 2 Oct.
1926: 13.
"Broadcasting Station WDY." Wireless Age Feb. 1922: 19+.
"Broadcasting Stations Agree on Time Dividing Schedule."
New York Herald 21 May 1922, sec. 2: 5.
Brookeman, Christopher. American Culture and Society Since
the 1930s. New York: Schocken, 1984.
Brown, Dorothy M. Setting a Course: American Women in the
1920s. Boston: Twayne, 1987.
Brown, Lawrence A. Innovation Diffusion: A New Perspective.
London: Methuen, 1981.
Brown, Marianne C. "One of the Gang." Radio Amateur News 2
(1920): 148.
Brunner, Edmund deS. Radio and the Farmer. New York: Radio
Institute of the Audible Arts, 1935.
Buchanan, R. A. "Theory and Narrative in the History of

185
Technology." Technology and Culture 32.2 (1991): 365?.
Bussey, Gordon. Wireless: The Crucial Decade: History of
the British Wireless Industry 1924-34. London:
Peregrinus, 1990.
Caddell, Alfred M. "A Woman Who Makes Receiving Sets."
Radio Broadcast 4 (1923): 28-33.
Cantril, Hadley and Gordon W. Allport. The Psychology of
Radio. New York: Harper, 1935.
Cantril, Hadley and Hazel Gaudet. "Familiarity as a Factor
in Determining the Selection and Enjoyment of Radio
Programs." Journal of Applied Psychology 23 (1939): 85-
94.
Caporael, Linda R. "Computers, Prophecy and Experience: A
Historical Perspective." Journal of Social Issues 40.3
(1984): 15-29.
Carey, James W. Communication as Culture: Essays on Media
and Society. Boston: Unwin, 1989.
Carey, James W. "The Problem of Journalism History."
Journalism History 1.1 (1974): 1+
Carey, James W. and Albert L. Kreiling. "Popular Culture
and Uses and Gratifications: Notes Toward an
Accommodation." The Uses of Mass Communications: Current
Perspectives on Gratifications Research. Ed. Jay G.
Blumler and Elihu Katz. Beverly Hills: Sage, 1974. 225-
248.
Carey, John. "Adopting New Technologies." Society 26.5
(1989) 10-16.
Carroll, Frank T. "Banish Free Publicity in 1926." Editor
& Publisher 2 Jan. 1926: 11.
Carroll, Raymond L., et al. "Meanings of Radio to Teenagers
in a Niche-Programming Era." Journal of Broadcasting and
Electronic Media 37 (1993): 159-176.
Cashman, Sean Dennis. America in the Twenties and Thirties:
The Olympian Age of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. New York:
New York UP, 1989.
Caswell, Lucy Shelton. Guide to Sources in American
Journalism History. New York: Greenwood, 1989.
"Catching 'Butterfly' by Radio."
Nov. 1921: 3.
Chicago Daily Tribune 17

186
Cerruzi, Paul. "An Unforeseen Revolution: Computers and
Expectations, 1935-1985." Imaging Tomorrow: History,
Technology and the American Future. Ed. Joseph J. Corn.
Cambridge: MIT Press, 1986. 188-201.
Chapman, A. L. College-Level Students and Radio Listening.
Austin: University of Texas, 1950.
Chapman, Allen. The Radio Bovs" First Wireless. New York:
Grosset, 1922.
Chase, Francis, Jr. Sound and Fury: An Informal History of
Broadcasting. New York: Harper, 1942.
Cheney, Sheldon and Martha Cheney. Art and the Machine.
New York: McGraw, 1936.
Cherry, Colin. "The Telephone System: Creator of Mobility
and Social Change." The Social Impact of the Telephone.
Ed. Ithiel de Sola Pool. Cambridge: MIT P, 1977. 112-
126.
"Chides Clubwomen for Lecture Habit." New York Times 18
Jan. 1926: 7.
"Chinese Game Table Has Every Playing Aid." Popular Science
Monthly March 1924: 81+.
Churchill, Allen. The Year the World Went Mad. New York:
Crowell, 1960.
Churchill, Allen. Remember When: A Loving Look at Days Gone
Bv—1900-1942. New York: Golden, 1967.
Clark, G. H. "Short Broadcast Talks on Radio: The Influence
of Radio Broadcasting on Modern Home Life." Smithsonian
Clark Collection, SRM 143-009/85-040.
Clarke, Rosemary. "Listening In with the Home Folks."
Wireless Age Dec. 1922: 45.
Claudy, C. H. "A Voice Through the Air." McBride's March
1916: 159-160.
Codel, Martin, ed. Radio and its Future. New York: Harper,
1930.
Collins, F. A. "Boys and the Wireless." Woman's Home
Companion April 1920: 44.
Collins, F. A. "Broadcasting Broadway by Radio." New York
Times 1 Jan. 1922, sec. 7: 2.

187
Collins, Frederick L. "Growing Up With the Radio." Woman' s
Home Companion July 1928: 7+; Aug. 1928: 12+; Sept. 1928:
13+; Oct. 1928: 30+.
"Competing with the Silver Flask and the Jazz Orchestra."
Advertisement. American Magazine March 1925: 201.
"Concert by Wireless." OST Jan. 1917: 26.
"Concert from Plane Aids Veterans' Camp." New York Times 15
April 1922: 3.
Congdon, Don. The '30s: A Time to Remember. New York:
Simon, 1962.
"Conn Radio Concerts." Advertisement. Saturday Evening
Post 13 May 1922: 126.
Corn, Joseph J., ed. Imaging Tomorrow: History, Technology
and the American Future. Cambridge: MIT P, 1986.
Corwin, Norman. Trivializing America. Secaucus: Stuart,
1983.
Cowan, Ruth Schwartz. "The 'Industrial Revolution' In the
Home." Technology and Change. Ed. John G. Burke and
Marshall C. Eakin. San Francisco: Boyd, 1979. 276-282.
Covert, Catherine L. and John D. Stevens. Mass Media
Between the Wars: Perceptions of Cultural Tension. 1918-
1941. Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 1984.
Covert, Catherine L. "'Loss and Change': Radio and the
Shock to Sensibility in American life, 1919-1924." Paper
presented to the Association for Education in Journalism,
Athens, OH, 1982. ERIC ED 217 447.
Covert, Catherine L. "We May Hear Too Much: American
Sensibility and the Response to Radio, 1919-1924." Mass
Media Between the Wars: Perceptions of Cultural Tension.
1918-1941. Ed. Catherine L. Covert and John D. Stevens.
Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 1984. 199-220.
"CQD." Editorial. New York Times 25 Jan. 1909: 8.
Crabb, Richard. Radio's Beautiful Day. Aberdeen: North
Plains, 1983.
Crane, Stephen. "The Blue Hotel." Collier's Weekly 26 Nov.
1898: 14-16; 3 Dec. 1898: 14-16.
Crosby, John. "Seven Deadly Sins of the Air." Life 6 Nov.

188
1950: 147+.
Crosley, Powel, Jr. Simplicity of Radio: The Blue Book of
Radio. 16th ed. Cincinnati: Crosley, 1924.
Cutler, William III. "Accuracy in Oral History
Interviewing." Oral History: An Interdisciplinary
Anthology. Eds. David K. Dunaway and Willa K. Baum.
Nashville: American Assn, for State and Local History,
1984.
Czitrom, Daniel J. Media and the American Mind: From Morse
to McLuhan. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1982.
Daniels, George H. "Technological Change and Social
Change." Technology and Change. Ed. John G. Burke and
Marshall C. Eakin. San Francisco: Boyd, 1970. 161-167.
"David Sarnoff Given Important Post by Radio Corporation."
Wireless Age June 1921: 10.
Davis, H. P. "The Early History of Broadcasting in the
United States." The Storv of Radio. 1928. New York:
Arno, 1974.
Davis, H. P. "The Permanency of Broadcasting." Wireless
Age May 1922: 28.
Davis, Robert Edward. Response to Innovation: A Study of
Popular Argument About New Mass Media. Diss. U of Iowa,
1965. New York: Arno, 1976.
Davis, Wallace Edmond. The Effect of the Influence
Structure on the Diffusion of Innovation Within a Social
System. Diss. U of Texas-Austin, 1971. Ann Arbor: UMI,
1972.
De Forest, Lee. The Father of Radio. Chicago: Wilcox,
1950.
"De Forest Tells of a New Wireless." New York Times 14 Feb.
1909: 1.
"DeForest [sic] Wireless Telephone." OST 17 April: 72-73.
Dearman, Marion and John Howells. "An Essay: Computer
Technology and the Return of the Printer-Journalist."
Journalism History 2.4 (1975-76): 133-36.
Denison, Thomas S. "The Telephone Newspaper." The World's
Work 1 (1900-1901): 640-641.
DeSoto, Clinton B. Two Hundred Meters and Down. West

189
Hartford: American Radio Relay League, 1936.
Diaz, Abby Morton. A Domestic Problem: Work and Culture in
the Household. Boston: Osgood, 1875.
Dixon, Peter. Radio Writing. New York: Century, 1931.
"Dr. Forest [sic] Predicts 20,000,000 Radios." New York
Herald 7 May 1922, sec. 2: 5.
"Domestic Uses for the Radio." American Review of Reviews
Aug. 1922: 202.
Douglas, Alan. Radio Manufacturers of the 1920s. 2 vols.
Vestal: Vestal, 1988.
Douglas, George H. The Early Days of Radio Broadcasting.
Jefferson: McFarland, 1987.
Douglas, Susan. "Amateur Operators and American
Broadcasting: Shaping the Future of Radio." Imagining
Tomorrow. Ed. Joseph J. Corn. Cambridge: MIT P, 1986.
35-57.
Douglas, Susan. Inventing American Broadcasting, 1888-1922
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1987.
Douglas, Susan. Exploring Pathways in the Ether. Diss.
Brown U, 1979. Ann Arbor: UMI, 1979.
Dreher, Carl. Sarnoff: An American Success. New York:
Quadrangle, 1977.
Dunlap, Orrin E., Jr. "From a Toy to the Nation's Joy."
Radio Digest Jan. 1931: 56.
Durstine, Roy S. "Audible Advertising." Radio and its
Future. Ed. Martin Codel. New York: Harper, 1930. 50-
60.
Durstine, Roy S. "The Future of Radio Advertising in the U
S." Radio: The Fifth Estate. Ed. Herman S. Hettinger.
1935. 147-153. Rptd. in Radio: Selected A.A.P.S.S.
Surveys. 1929-1941. American Academy of Political and
Social Science. New York: Arno, 1971.
"The DX Contest Winners." Radio Broadcast 5 (1924): 346.
Easton, William H. "Wonders of the Radio Telephone."
Current History 16 (1922): 26-32.
Edwards, E. P. "Research and Manufacture in the Radio Art.
The Radio Industry. 1928. New York: Arno, 1974. 140-

190
155.
"8 1/2 Per Cent. Fall in December Prices." New York Times 3
Jan. 1921: 8.
Emery, Edwin. History of the American Newspaper Publishers
Association. 1950. Westport: Greenwood, 1970.
"Entertainment by Wireless." Pittsburgh Post 4 Jan. 1921:
6.
Erenberg, Lewis. Steppin' Out: New York Nightlife and the
Transformation of American Culture. 1890-1930. Westport:
Greenwood, 1981.
"An Essential Part of Every Receiving Set." Advertisement.
American Magazine Aug. 1922: 103.
"Every Man His Own Broadcaster." The Independent 116
(1926): 507.
"Ever Ready." Advertisement. Saturday Evening Post 15 July
1916: 38.
"Every Family Can Now 'Listen In'." Advertisement. Radio
News 3 (1922): 798-99.
"The Family Takes to Politics." Advertisement. Popular
Science Monthly Nov. 1924: 109.
"Far-Reaching Influence of the Radio Telephone." Electrical
World 4 March 1922: 419.
"Farmers Need Radio Service." Radio News 3 (1922): 967.
Farrell, J. "The Housewife's Radio." Radio News 4 (1922):
1237.
Fass, Paula S. The Damned and the Beautiful: American Youth
in the 1920s. New York: Oxford UP, 1977.
Faulkner, Harold Underwood. From Versailles to the New
Deal. New Haven: Yale UP, 1950.
Faunce, W. H. P. "Will the Radio Create a 'Mob Mind' in
America?" California Christian Advocate 1 July 1924: 5.
"Federal's Finest." Advertisement. Popular Science Monthly
Sept. 1924: 129.
Feldman, Andrew. Selling the "Electrical Dream" in the
1920s: A Case Study in the Manipulation of Consciousness.
Paper presented to the Association for Education in

191
Journalism and Mass Communication, Portland, OR, 1988.
ERIC ED 298 576.
Felix, Edgar H. "What's New at the Radio Shows?" Radio
Broadcast 9 (9126): 518-522.
Fessenden, Helen M. Fessenden: Builder of Tomorrows. New
York: Coward, 1940.
Fessenden, Reginald A. "Recent Progress in Wireless
Telephony." Scientific American 19 Jan. 1907: 68.
Fessenden, R[eginald] A[ubrey]. "Wireless Telephony."
Proceedings of the American Institute of Electrical
Engineers 27 (1908): 1283-1358.
"First News of Republic Loss." New York Times 25 Jan. 1909:
1.
Firth, Major Ivan and Gladys Shaw Erskine. Gateway to
Radio. New York: McCaulay, 1934.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. "Echoes of the Jazz Age." Scribner's
Magazine Nov. 1931: 459-465.
"519 Have Applied for Radio Licenses." New York Times 4
April 1926, sec. XX: 17.
"500,000 to Follow Fight." New York Times 19 June 1921,
sec. 8: 1.
Flink, James J. America Adopts the Automobile. 1895-1910.
Cambridge: MIT P, 1970.
Flink, James J. The Automobile Age. Cambridge: MIT P,
1988.
Flink, James J. The Car Culture. Cambridge: MIT P, 1975.
Flink, James J. "The Car Culture Revisited." Michigan
Quarterly Review 19 (1980): 772-781.
Floherty, John J. Behind the Microphone. Philadelphia:
Lippincott, 1944.
"For Greater Harmony in the Air." The Independent 117
(1926): 378.
Fornatale, Peter and Joshua E. Mills. Radio in the
Television Age. Woodstock: Overlook, 1980.
Foster, G. Allen. Communication: From Primitive Tom-Toms to
Telstar. New York: Criterion, 1965.

192
Frederick, Christine. Household Engineering: Scientific
Management in the Home. Chicago: American School of Home
Economics, 1919.
Frederick, Christine. "How I Made a Career out of Home and
Radio." Wireless Age Aug. 1924: 34+
Frederick, Christine. "Radio Makes Servants Contented."
Radio News 9 (1926): 1523+.
Frederick, Christine. "A Real Use for the Radio." Good
Housekeeping July 1922: 77+.
Frederick, Christine. Selling Mrs. Consumer. New York:
Business Bourse, 1929.
Frederick, Christine. "Women, Politics, and Radio."
Popular Radio 12 Oct. 1924: 36+.
"Free Radio 'Applause Cards'." Advertisement. American
Magazine March 1924: 176.
"From Coast to Coast Conn Music Fills the Air."
Advertisement. American Magazine May 1922: 121.
Frost, Stanley. "Radio Dreams That Can Come True."
Collier's 10 June 1922: 10+.
Frost, Stanley. "Radio, Our Next Great Step Forward."
Collier's 8 April 1922: 3+.
"Future of Radio." The New Republic 8 Oct. 1924: 135-6.
Gans, Herbert. Popular Culture and High Culture: An
Analysis and Evaluation of Taste. New York: Basic, 1974.
Gelatt, Roland. The Fabulous Phonograph. 1877-1977. 2nd
revised ed. New York: Macmillan, 1977.
Gelber, Steven M. "A Job You Can't Lose: Work and Hobbies
in the Great Depression." Journal of Social History 24
(1991): 741-767.
Gernsback, Hugo. "400,000 Wireless Amateurs." New York
Times 29 March 1912: 12.
Gernsback, Hugo. Radio For All. Philadelphia: Lippincott,
1922.
Gernsback, Hugo, ed. Radio-Craft Jubilee Souvenir Number:
50 Years of Radio. 1938. Vestal: Vestal, 1987.

193
Gernsback, Hugo.
584.
Gernsback, Hugo.
479.
"Radio 1921-1922." Radio News 3 (1922):
"The Radiotrola." Radio News 3 (1921):
Gernsback, Hugo. "Soon." Radio News 3 (1922): 822.
Gernsback, Hugo. "What Radio Broadcasting Needs."
Editorial. Radio News 5 (1924): 865.
Gernsback, H[ugo]. The Wireless Telephone. New York: Modern
Electrics, 1910.
"Get Your Friends Interested" Radio News 2 (1921): 680+ .
"Girl Entertains the Pacific Fleet with a Wireless Concert."
Pittsburgh Post 29 Oct. 1920: 1.
"The Girl Who Helped Put Radio on a Balanced Diet."
American Magazine May 1929: 65-66.
"The Girls at Radcliffe College." Radio News 3 (1922):
1090.
Goldsmith, Alfred N. and Austin C. Lescarboura. This Thing
Called Broadcasting. New York: Holt, 1930.
Gosney, Homer G. Letter. Radio News 8 (1927): 1132.
Gottschalk, Louis. "The Historian and the Historical
Document." The Use of Personal Documents in History.
Anthropology and Sociology. Ed. Louis Gottschalk. New
York: Social Science Research Council, 1945.
Gottschalk, Louis. Understanding History: A Primer of
Historical Method. 2nd ed. New York: Knopf, 1969.
"Government Curbs Amateur Radio Music." New York Times 4
Feb. 1922: 3.
"Government to Broadcast News by Radiophone." Radio News 3:
196.
"Graduates Will Wear Head Sets." Miami Herald 19 Jan. 1926:
14D.
Graham, Saxon. "Cultural Compatibility in the Adoption of
Television." Social Forces 33 (1954-55) 166-170.
Graham, Saxon. "Class and Conservatism in the Adoption of
Innovations." Human Relations 9 (1956) 91-100.

194
"Great For Breakfast." Advertisement. Literary Digest 26
Aug. 1922: 37.
Greb, Gordon B. "The Golden Anniversary of Broadcasting."
Journal of Broadcasting 3 (1958-9): 3-13.
Grinder, Robert E. and George H. Fathaver. Radio
Collector's Directory and Price Guide. Scottsdale:
Ironwood, 1986.
Grossman, Florence. "Who Are the Computer Kids?"
onComputina [sic] Fall 1981: 24-25.
"Half a Continent on Indoor Loop." Advertisement. American
Magazine April 1923: 189.
Hall, Wilbur. "The Pacific Coast Is 'On The Air!'" Radio
Broadcast 2 (1922): 157-161.
Harbord, J. G. "The Commercial Uses of Radio." Radio. Ed.
Irwin Stewart. 1929. 7-63. Rptd. in Radio: Selected
A.A.P.S.S. Surveys. 1929-1941. American Academy of
Political and Social Science. New York: Arno, 1971.
Harbord, J. G. "Radio in the World War and the Organization
of an American-Owned Transoceanic Radio Service." The
Story of Radio. 1928. New York: Arno, 1974. 67-96.
Harding, Allan. "Behind the Scenes at WOR." American
Magazine Oct. 1925: 154.
Harding, Allan. "Why We Have Gone Mad Over Cross-Word
Puzzles." American Magazine March 1925: 28
Harding, Allan. "What Radio Has Done and What it Will Do
Next." American Magazine March 1926: 46+.
Harris, Credo Fitch. Microphone Memories of the Horse and
Buggy Days of Radio. Indianapolis: Bobbs, 1937.
Havig, Alan. Beyond Nostalgia: American Radio as a Field of
Study. Journal of Popular Culture 12 (1979): 218-227.
Hayes, John S. and Horace J. Gardner. Both Sides of the
Microphone. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1938.
"He Furnishes Radiophone Cheer to Sick People." American
Magazine Sept. 1922: 65-66.
Head, Sydney W. and Christopher H. Sterling. Broadcasting
in America. 6th ed. Boston: Houghton, 1990.
"Hear These Great Artists by Radio."
Advertisement.

195
Saturday Evening Post 8 April 1922: 100.
"Hears Concerts Over Wireless Telephone." Miami Herald 19
March 1922: 10A.
Heinl, Robert D. "Is a Broadcasting Station a Public
Utility?" Public Utilities Fortnightly 6 (1930): 344-
349.
Herzog, Herta. "What Do We Really Know About Daytime Serial
Listeners?" Radio Research 1942-1943. Ed. Paul F.
Lazarsfeld and Frank N. Stanton. New York: Duell, 1944.
3-33.
Hiatt, Walter S. "A New Style of Adventures." Collier's
18 Oct. 1913: 25-27.
Hill, Roger W. "From Out of the Past: Radio Revisited."
Journal of Popular Culture 5 (1971): 588-591.
Hilmes, Michele. Hollywood and Broadcasting: From Radio to
Cable. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1990.
Hobson, Rixey. "Radio with the Romance Tuned Out."
American Bankers Association Journal. 16 (1924): 479-
482.
Hoffmann, Frank W. and William G. Bailey. Arts &
Entertainment Fads. New York: Haworth, 1990.
Hoffman, Frederick J. "The Temper of the Twenties." The
Twenties: The Critical Issues. Ed. Joan Hoff Wilson.
Boston: Little, 1972. 109-118.
Hofman, Josef. "Piano Questions Answered." Ladies Home
Journal March 1916: 50+.
Holter, Frances. "Radio Among the Unemployed." Journal of
Applied Psychology 23 (1939): 164-169.
"Hoover's Powers Over Radio Denied." New York Times 17
April 1926: 1.
Hopkins, A. A. "A Voice Around the World." Mentor Oct.
1920: 38-39.
"Horne Daily News." Advertisement. Pittsburgh Post 29
Sept. 1920: 7.
"Hot Hoot Owl Stuff." Wireless Age May 1924: 40.
"How Binns Flashed His Calls for Help." New York Times 26
Jan. 1909: 4.

196
"How Can the Home Compete with Jazz Halls and Shallow
Plays?" Advertisement. Saturday Evening Post 20 May
1922: 63.
"How Large is the Radio Audience?" Wireless Age Sept. 1923:
23.
"How the Opera is Carried by Radio." Chicago Sunday Tribune
13 Nov. 1921, sec. 1: 12.
"How Two Girls Made a Receiving Radiophone." Literary
Digest 10 June 1922: 29.
"How Westinghouse Announced Harding's Election."
Westinghouse Electric News 15 Nov. 1920: 2.
"How Wireless is Helping the Farmer." Popular Science
Monthly Sept. 1921: 59.
"How Wireless Saved a Ship." New York Times 24 Jan. 1909:
1.
Howe, John. "Are You Among the 30,000,000 Who Play Musical
Instruments?" American Magazine Nov. 1924: 24+.
Hungerford, Edward. "Transportation and Communication." A
Century of Progress. Ed. Charles A. Beard. 1932.
Freeport: Books for Libraries, 1970. 86-121.
"The Ideal Program." Wireless Age May 1923: 22.
"Ideal Radio Set: Results of the 1,000.00 Prize Contest."
Radio News 8 (1926): 8+.
"Improved Broadcasting." Literary Digest 30 April 1927: 23.
Inglis, Andrew F. Behind the Tube: A History of
Broadcasting Technology and Business. Boston: Focal,
1990.
"Is Radio Only a Passing Fad?" Literary Digest 3 June 1922:
31-2.
Jackaway, Gwenyth. "The Press Radio War, 1925-1937: A Fight
to Protect the Professional Boundaries of Journalism."
Paper presented to Association for Education in
Journalism and Mass Communication, 1990. ERIC ED 323
572.
Jacobs, Norman, ed. Culture for the Millions?: Mass Media
in Modern Society. Boston: Beacon, 1961.

197
"The Jealous Mike." Editorial. The Independent 117 (1926):
631.
John-Heine, Patricke and Hans H. Gerth. "Values in Mass
Periodical Fiction, 1921-1940." Public Opinion Quarterly
13 (1949) 105-113.
Johnson, Lesley. The Unseen Voice: A Cultural Study of
Early Australian Radio. London: Routledge, 1988.
Johnson, Lesley. "Radio and Everyday Life (Australia 1922-
45)." Media. Culture and Society 3 (1981): 167-178.
Jome, Hiram L. Economics of the Radio Industry. 1925. New
York: Arno, 1971.
Jones, Stanley B. "How to Sell Ten Million Radio Outfits."
Radio News 3 (1922): 840.
Jowett, Garth S. "Toward a History of Communication."
Journalism History 2.2 (1975): 36.
Julian, Joseph. This Was Radio: A Personal Memoir. New
York: Viking, 1975.
Kaempffert, Waldemar. "Radio Broadcasting." Review of
Reviews 65 (1922): 395-401.
Kaempffert, Waldemar. "The Progress of Radio Broadcasting."
American Review of Reviews 66 (1922): 303-8.
Kaplan, Milton Allen. Radio and Poetry. New York: Columbia
UP, 1949.
Katz, Elihu, Jay G. Blumler, and Michael Gurevitch.
"Utilization of Mass Communication by the Individual."
The Uses of Mass Communication: Current Perspectives on
Gratifications Research. Ed. Jay G. Blumler and Elihu
Katz. Beverly Hills: Sage, 1974. 19-32.
Kaufman, Herbert. "Don't Listen to the Liar." McClure's
21 Jan. 1921: 5.
Kintner, S. M. "Pittsburgh's Contributions to Radio."
Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers 20
(1932): 1849-1862.
Kipling, Rudyard. "Wireless." Scribner's Aug. 1902: 129-
143.
Kirkpatrick, Clifford. Report of a Research into the
Attitudes and Habits of Radio Listeners. St. Paul: Webb,
1933.

198
"KMOX Performers Get 3,000 a Week." New York Times 17 Jan.
1926, sec. XX: 14.
Kneitel, Tom. Radio Station Treasury: 1900-1946. Commack,
NY: CRB Research, 1986.
Koch, Howard. The Panic Broadcast. Boston: Little, Brown,
1970.
Koppes, Clayton R. "The Social Destiny of the Radio."
South Atlantic Quarterly 68 (1969): 363-376.
Kramarae, Cheris. "Gotta Go Myrtle, Technology's at the
Door." Technology and Women's Voices. Ed. Cheris
Kramarae. New York: Routledge, 1988. 1-14.
Kranzberg, Melvin and William H. Davenport. Eds.
Technology and Culture. New York: Schocken, 1972.
Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth. On Death and Dying. New York:
Macmillan, 1969.
"The Ladies are Coming." Editorial. OST April 1917: 19.
Laird, Donald A. "Have You a Fad?" Review of Reviews
March 1935: 31-34.
"Land and Water Hear Returns by Wireless." Detroit News 1
Sept. 1920: 1
Larrabee, Eric and Rolf Meyersohn. Mass Leisure. Glencoe:
Free, 1958.
Lazarsfeld, Paul F. Radio and the Printed Page. New York:
Duell, 1940.
Lazarsfeld, Paul F. and Harry Field. The People Look at
Radio. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1946.
Lazarsfeld, Paul F. and Patricia L. Kendall. Radio
Listening in America: The People Look at Radio—Again.
New York: Prentice, 1948.
Lazarsfeld, Paul F. and Frank N. Stanton, eds. Radio
Research 1941. New York: Duell, 1942.
Lazarsfeld, Paul F. and Frank N. Stanton, eds. Radio
Research 1942-1943. New York: Duell, 1944.
Leach, Eugene E. "Voices Out of the Night: Radio Research
and Ideas about Mass Behavior in the United States, 1920-
1950." Canadian Review of American Studies 20 (1989):

199
191-209.
Leach, Eugene E. Tuning Out Education: The Cooperation
Doctrine in Radio. 1922-1938. 1983. ERIC ED 248 835.
Leblebici, Huseyin, et al. "Institutional Change and the
Transformation of Interorganizational Fields: An
Organizational History of the U. S. Radio Broadcasting
Industry." Administrative Science Quarterly 36.3
(1991): 333-364.
Lescarboura, Austin C. "Amateurs in Name Only." Scientific
American 120 (1919): 688+.
Lescarboura, Austin C. "How Much it Costs to Broadcast."
Radio Broadcast 9 (1926): 369+.
Lescarboura, Austin C. Radio for Everybody. New York:
Scientific American, 1922.
Levinson, Paul. "Human Replay: A Theory of the Evolution of
Media". Diss. New York U, 1979.
Levy, Newman. "Sweet are the Uses of a Radio." Harpers
Monthly 148 (1924): 273-4.
Lichty, Lawrence W. "Who's Who on Firsts: A Search for
Challengers." Journal of Broadcasting 10 (1965) 83.
Lichty, Lawrence W. and Malachi C. Topping, eds. American
Broadcasting: A Source Book on the History of Radio and
Television. New York: Hastings House, 1976.
"Liner Republic Rammed at Sea." New York Times 24 Jan.
1909: 1.
"Listener's Point of View." Radio Broadcast 9 (1926): 318.
"'Listening In,' Our New National Pastime." Review of
Reviews 67 (1923): 52.
Loesser, Arthur. Men. Women and Pianos. New York: Simon,
1954.
"Long Arm of Radio is Reaching Everywhere." Current Opinion
72 (1922): 684-687.
Long, Stewart L. "Technological Change and Institutional
Response: The Creation of American Broadcasting."
Journal of Economic Issues 21 (1987): 743-749.
"Loudspeakers and their Characteristics."
(1926): 642+.
Radio News 8

200
Lumley, Frederick H. Measurement in Radio. Columbus: Ohio
State UP, 1934.
Lundberg, George A. "The Content of Radio Programs."
Social Forces 7 (1928).
Lyle, Eugene P., Jr. "The Advance of Wireless." Worlds
Work 9 (1905): 5845-8.
Lynch, Arthur H. "A Wireless Telephone Receiving Set for
Ten Dollars." Popular Science Monthly Oct. 1921: 84.
Lynd, Robert S. and Helen Merrell Lynd. Middletown: A
Study in American Culture. New York: Harcourt, 1929.
Lynd, Robert S. and Helen Merrell Lynd. Middletown in
Transition: A Study in Cultural Conflicts. New York:
Harcourt, 1937.
Lyons, Eugene. David Sarnoff. New York: Harper, 1966.
MacLean, Owen. "The Man Who Made Radio Broadcasting
Possible." American Magazine Feb. 1924: 37+.
MacLeish, Archibald. "There Was Something About the
Twenties" Saturday Review 31 Dec. 1966: 10-12.
MacLeish, Archibald. The Fall of the City: A Verse Play
for Radio. New York: Farrar, 1937.
Mahajan, Vijay and Robert A. Peterson. Models for
Innovation Diffusion. Beverly Hills: Sage, 1985.
Mahajan, Vijay and Yoram Wind. Innovation Diffusion Models
of New Product Acceptance. Cambridge: Ballinger, 1986.
"Mah Jong Set." Advertisement. American Magazine April
1924: 196.
"Mah Jongg." Advertisement. Saturday Evening Post 12 Aug.
1922: 101.
"Making Five Thousand Radio Sets a Day." Popular Mechanics
Jan. 1925: 13-16.
Maltby, Richard, ed. Dreams for Sale: Popular Culture in
the 20th Century. London: Harrap, 1989.
Mander, Mary S. "The Public Debate About Broadcasting in
the Twenties: An Interpretive History." Journal of
Broadcasting 28 (1984): 167-185.

201
"Marconi Man's Own Story." New York Times 24 Jan. 1909: 2.
"Marconi Transatlantic Wireless Dispatches." New York Times
24 Jan. 1909, sec. 3: 1.
Marriott, Robert H. "How Radio Grew Up." Radio Broadcast
8 (1925): 159+.
Marriott, Robert H. "United States Radio Development."
Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers 5 (1917):
179-197.
Marriott, Robert H. "United States Radio Broadcasting
Development." Proceedings of the Institute of Radio
Engineers 17 (1929): 1395-1439.
Marriott, Robert H. Paper presented to the 4th annual
convention of the Institute of Radio Engineers, 13 May
1929. Smithsonian Clark collection, Box 537, #134-1070A.
Marsten, Jesse. "An Aspect of the Future of Broadcasting."
Radio News 5 (1923): 248.
Marvin, Carolyn. When Old Technologies Were New. New York:
Oxford UP, 1988.
Marvin, Carolyn. The Electrical Imagination: Predicting the
Future of Communications in Britain and the United States
in the Late Nineteenth Century. Diss. U of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign, 1979. Ann Arbor: UMI, 1979.
Marx, Herbert L., ed. Television and Radio in American
Life. New York: Wilson, 1953.
Mast, Gerald. A Short History of the Movies. 3rd. ed.
Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1981.
McChesney, Robert Waterman. The Battle for America's Ears
and Minds: The Debate Over the Control and Structure of
American Radio Broadcasting. 1930-1935. Diss. U of
Washington, 1989. Ann Arbor: UMI, 1989.
McGee, Betty. "Opened Doors." Radio Digest Sept. 1930:
125.
McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media. 2nd ed. New
York: NAL, 1964.
McMeans, Orange Edward. "The Great Audience Invisible."
Scribner's Magazine March 1923: 410-416.
McNamee, Graham with Robert Gordon Anderson. You're On The
Air. New York: Harper's, 1926.

202
McNicol, Donald. Radio's Conquest of Space. 1946. New
York: Arno, 1974.
McRaney, Bob, Sr. The History of Radio in Mississippi. N.
p.: Mississippi Broadcasters Association, [1970?].
Meehan, Eileen R. "Critical Theorizing on Broadcast
History." Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media
30 (1986): 393-411.
Meehan, Eileen R. "Heads of Household and Ladies of the
House: Gender, Genre, and Broadcast Ratings, 1929-1990."
Ruthless Criticism: New Perspectives in U. S.
Communication History. Ed. William S. Solomon and Robert
W. McChesney. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1993. 204-
221.
Meenam, W. T. "Back Stage with 'Radio Mike'." Popular
Science Monthly Sept. 1924: 68.
Mendelsohn, Harold. "Listening to Radio." People. Society,
and Mass Communications. Ed. Lewis Anthony Dexter and
David Manning White. New York: Free, 1964. 239-249.
Meyersohn, Rolf and Elihu Katz. "Notes on a Natural History
of Fads." The American Journal of Sociology 62 (1957):
594-601.
Meyrowitz, Alvin and Marjorie Fiske. "The Relative
Preference of Low Income Groups for Small Stations."
Journal of Applied Psychology 23 (1939): 162.
"Miami Beach Night Featured on Radio with Fine Program."
Miami Daily Metropolis 28 May 1923: 1.
Miller, Delbert C. "Radio and Television." Technology and
Social Change. Ed. Frances R. Allen, et al. New York:
Appleton, 1957. 157-186.
Mix, Jennie Irene. "Is Radio Standardizing the American
Mind?" Radio Broadcast 6 (1924): 48-49.
Mix, Jennie Irene. "Opinions about the Jazz Age in Radio."
Radio Broadcast 6 (1925): 1050-51.
Mix, Jennie Irene. "When Good Music is Broadcast." Radio
Broadcast 6 (1925): 457-8.
"Monthly Service Bulletin of the National Amateur Wireless
Association." Wireless Age Feb. 1922: 41.
Moore, Edward.
"Edison Orchestra Gives Radio Concert."

203
Chicago Daily Tribune 3 March 1922: 19.
Moores, Shaun. "'The Box on the Dresser': Memories of Early
Radio and Everyday Life." Media. Culture and Society 10
(1988): 23-40.
"More Good News for the Amateur." Radio News 3 (1921): 196.
Morgan, John J. "Radio Makes Factory Work Congenial."
Radio News 8 (1926): 33.
Morris, Lloyd. Not So Long Ago. New York: Random, 1949.
Morton, Robert A. "The Amateur Wireless Operator." Outlook
15 Jan. 1910: 131-35.
Mowry, George E., ed. The Twenties: Fords. Flappers and
Fanatics. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice, 1963.
"Music in the Air . . . and Voices on the Crystal Set."
American Heritage Aug. 1955: 65-88.
"My Hobby—And Why I Recommend It." American Magazine June
1916: 103-104.
"My Hobby and Why I Recommend It." American Magazine June
1923: 86+.
Nash, Roderick. The Nervous Generation: American Thought.
1917-1930. Chicago: Rand, 1970
National Broadcasting Company. Let's Look at Radio
Together. New York: NBC, 1936.
"National Radio Week." Radio News 4 (1923): 1280.
"The Need for Laws to Soft-Pedal Radio Chaos." Literary
Digest 13 Jan. 1923: 25.
"New and Powerful Wireless Company." Wireless Age. Nov.
1919: 10-12.
"New Principles in Radio Developed by RCA." Advertisement.
American Magazine Nov. 1925: 91.
"New Program Schedule." Radio News 4 (1923): 1136.
"The New Radio Magazine You've Been Looking For."
Advertisement. Outlook 12 April 1922: 20.
"The New Radio Regulations." Wireless Age May 1923: 43.
"New Social Dance: The Pavlowana." Ladies Home Journal Jan.

204
1915: 10-12.
"News' Radio Sounds Taps for Old, Reveille for New."
Detroit News 1 Jan. 1921: 1.
"News Service by Radio." New York Times 11 Aug. 1922: 3.
"Next Year's Radio Set Will Be Designed to Operate On House
Electric Current." Advertisement. Radio News 7 (1926):
1179.
"No News on the Air." Survey Oct. 1927: 53-54.
"No Opera by Radio During this Season." New York Times 7
Nov. 1922: 31.
Nord, David Paul. "The Nature of Historical Research."
Research Methods in Mass Communication. 2nd ed. Ed.
Guido H. Stempel III and Bruce H. Westley. Englewood
Cliffs: Prentice, 1989. 290-315.
"Number 920 Radio Pen." Advertisement. Saturday Evening
Post 16 Dec. 1922: 56.
Ogden, Annegret S. The Great American Housewife: From
Helpmate to Wage Earner. 1776-1986. Westport: Greenwood,
1986.
Ollry, Francis and Elias Smith. "An Index of 'Radio-
Mindedness' and Some Applications." Journal of Applied
Psychology 23 (1939): 8-18.
Olney, Martha L. Buy Now. Pay Later: Advertising. Credit,
and Consumer Durables in the 1920s. Chapel Hill: U of
North Carolina, 1991.
Ostrander, Gilman M. American Civilization in the First
Machine Age: 1890-1940. New York: Harper, 1970.
Ostrander, Gilman M. "The Revolution in Morals." The
Twenties: The Critical Issues. Ed. Joan Hoff Wilson.
Boston: Little, 1972. 128-139.
Page, Arthur W. "Communication by Wire and Wireless: The
Wonders of the Telegraph and Telephone." World's Work 13
(1907): 8408-8422.
Page, Leslie J., Jr. "The Nature of the Broadcast Receiver
and its Market in the U.S. from 1922-1927." Journal of
Broadcasting 4 (1959): 174-182
"Painless Ways of Improving Radio Programs." Radio
Broadcast 9 (1926): 237.

205
Palmgreen, Philip. " Uses and Gratifications: A Theoretical
Perspective." Communication Yearbook 8. Ed. Robert N.
Bostrom. Beverly Hills: Sage, 1984. 20-55.
"Pals Again." Advertisement. American Magazine Jan. 1923:
72.
Park, Robert E. "The Natural History of the Newspaper."
The City. Ed. Robert E. Park, Ernest W. Burgess, and
Robert D. McKenzie. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1925. 80-
98.
Park, Robert E. "Reflections on Communication and Culture."
American Journal of Sociology 44 (1938): 187-205.
Parker, Nellie Barnard. "The Fly in the Ointment." Radio
News 9 (1927): 15.
Parsons, Floyd W. "New Day in Communication." Saturday
Evening Post 7 Feb. 1920: 30+.
Parsons, Floyd W. "Up in the Air." Saturday Evening Post
15 April 1922: 6+.
"The Passing of Radio Jazz." Scientific American May 1925:
351.
Pauly, John J. "A Beginners Guide to Doing Qualitative
Research in Mass Communication." Journalism Monographs
125 (1991).
Pauly, John J. "New Directions for Research in Journalism
History." Guide to Sources in American Journalism
History. Ed. Lucy Shelton Caswell. New York: Greenwood,
1989. 31-46.
Peet, Creighton. "Music as Narcotic." Forum Aug. 1930:
113.
Pegg, Mark. Broadcasting and Society: 1918-1939. London:
Croom, 1983.
Pemberton, H. Earl. "Culture-Diffusion Gradients."
American Journal of Sociology 42 (1936): 226-233.
n/A Perfect Fool' by Radio." Wireless Age March 1922: 36.
Perrett, Geoffrey. America in the Twenties: A History. New
York: Simon, 1982.
Perry, Armstrong. "How I Listen In on the World by Radio."
Popular Science Monthly Nov. 1921: 21+.

206
Perry, Armstrong. "How Radio Adds to the Joys of My
Vacation." Popular Science Monthly June 1922: 68.
Perry, Armstrong. "The Itch for Distance." Radio News 4
(1923): 1777.
Perry, Armstrong. "Keeping the Boys at Work." Radio News
3 (1922): 710+
Perry, Armstrong. "Keeping the Public Sold on Radio."
Radio News 4 (1923): 1444.
Perry, Armstrong. "Let the Average Man Know." Radio News 3
(1921): 386+.
Perry, Armstrong. "Listening in on the Universe." Woman/s
Home Companion May 1922: 32+.
Perry, Armstrong. "Radio as Entertainment." Radio News 4
(1922): 1056.
Phillips, H. D. "Farmers are Shown How to Receive Radio
Market Reports." Radio News 3 (1921): 379.
"Phones and Amateur Radio." Editorial. OST March 1922:
29-33.
"Phonograph Sales Show Big Growth." New York Times 22 Jan.
1922, sec. 2: 13.
"Piano Business Thrives." New York Times 19 Dec. 1915,
sec. 2: 18.
"Plainfield Uses Wireless to Advertise City's Merits." New
York Times 15 Jan. 1922: 1.
"A Plea for a Night Off." Radio News 4 (1923): 1401.
"Plug Your Home in on the Radio Line." Advertisement.
Popular Science Monthly Feb. 1922: 103.
"Poets on the Air." Literary Digest 4 Oct. 1930: 21.
Pool, Ithiel de Sola, ed. The Social Impact of the
Telephone. Cambridge: MIT P, 1977.
Pool, Ithiel de Sola. Forecasting the Telephone. Norwood:
Ablex, 1983.
"Popular Science Monthly Gives Lectures by Radio." Popular
Science Monthly Jan. 1922: 23.

207
"Portaphone—A Wireless Set for Dance Music or the Day's
News." Scientific American 122 (1920): 571.
Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves to Death. New York:
Penguin, 1985.
"Preaching by Radio." People's Home Journal Sept. 1923: 25.
"President Radio Fan." New York Times 3 April 1922: 3.
President's Research Committee on Social Trends. Recent
Social Trends in the United States. New York: McGraw,
1933.
Proceedings of the Fourth National Radio Conference.
Washington: GPO, 1926. Rptd. in Documents in American
Telecommunications Policy. Ed. John M. Kitross. New
York: Arno, 1977.
"Program Arranged for Benefit of Radio Operators."
Pittsburgh Post 20 Jan. 1921: 5
"Proposes New Laws for Radio Control." New York Times 28
April 1922: 21.
Prostak, Elaine J. Up in the Air: The Debates Over Radio
Use During the 1920s. Diss. U of Kansas, 1983. Ann
Arbor: UMI, 1983.
"Public Criticism Aids Programs." New York Times 1 July
1923, sec. 6: 7.
"Publisher's Notes." Outlook 14 June 1922: 327.
Pusateri, C. Joseph. Enterprise in Radio: WWL and the
Business of Broadcasting in America. Washington: UP of
America, 1980.
"Radak Radio Receiving Sets." Advertisement. American
Magazine Dec. 1922: 156.
Radio Advertising Bureau. Radio Facts for Advertisers. New
York: RAB, 1990.
"Radio as Crowd Cure." Literary Digest 8 Nov. 1924: 80.
"Radio Audience Decides Programs." Wireless Age Aug. 1923:
28.
"Radio Boot." Saturday Evening Post 4 Nov. 1922: 80.
"Radio Broadcasting and Higher Education." Studies in the
Control of Radio. 1940-1948. New York: Arno, 1972.

208
"Radio Business Growth." New York Times 11 May 1922: 28.
"Radio Catalog Free." Advertisement. Popular Science
Monthly Sept. 1923: 83.
"Radio Concerts for Public." New York Times 7 May 1922,
sec. 2: 5.
Radio Corporation of America. Radio Enters the Home. 1922
Vestal: Vestal, [1980?].
Radio Corporation of America. Radiola 20 (installation and
instruction booklet). No. 86990 Edition C, 1926.
Broadcast Pioneers Library RG79 #537.
"Radio Currents: An Editorial Interpretation." Editorial.
Radio Broadcast 1 (1922): 1-4.
"Radio Exposition Opens in Chicago on Aug. 31." Detroit
News 30 July 1921: 9.
"Radio for 1926: A Forecast." Radio Broadcast 8 (1926): 24
"Radio for Women." Literary Digest 28 Nov. 1825: 20.
"Radio in the Farmer's Home." Advertisement. Saturday
Evening Post 16 Sept. 1922: 114.
"Radio in the Home." Advertisement. Wireless Age Oct.
1921: 7.
Radio Industry: The Storv of its Development. Chicago:
Shaw, 1928.
"Radio Institute Opens." New York Times 23 Nov. 1934: 28.
"Radio; Necessity or Luxury?" Popular Radio 13 (1928): 264
"Radio 'Phone Heard Jersey to Scotland." New York Times 1
Nov. 1920: 1.
"Radio Programs for Today." Chicago Daily News 11 Jan.
1926: 25.
"Radio Programs for Today." Chicago Daily News 12 Jan.
1926: 21.
"Radio Programs Scheduled." New York Times 8 April 1926:
21.
"Radio Programs Scheduled for the Current Week." New York
Times 4 April 1926, sec. XX: 18.

209
"Radio Publications in America." Radio News 7 (1926): 1526.
"Radio Receiving Sets Capable of Picking Up Concerts Can Be
Built For Small Cost." Miami Herald 19 March 1922: 12A.
"Radio Restrictions Removed." Wireless Age Oct. 1919: 21.
"Radio Society Asks Hoover to Bar WJZ." New York Times 23
July 1922: 17.
Radio Staff of the Detroit News. WWJ—The Detroit News: The
History of Radiophone Broadcasting by the Earliest and
Foremost of Newspaper Stations; Together With Information
on Radio for Amateur and Expert. Detroit: Evening News
Assn., 1922.
"Radio Telephone Advertising." OST April 1917: 34+.
"Radio Welcomes Government Control." Literary Digest 9
April 1927: 21.
"Radiola X." Advertisement. American Magazine Jan. 1925:
75.
"Radiophone Broadcasting by Radio Corporation" Wireless Age
Oct. 1921: 20.
"Radio's Splendid Programs—Are You Selling Them?" Radio
Retailing 3 (1926): 253.
"The Radiotrola." Editorial. Radio News 3 (1921): 479.
Randle, William McKinley, Jr. The History of Radio
Broadcasting and its Social and Economic Effect on the
Entertainment Industry. Diss. Case Western Reserve U,
1966. Ann Arbor: UMI, 1967.
"A Real Radio Magazine For the Whole Family."
Advertisement. Wireless Age June 1922: 102.
"Recording Radio Messages." Advertisement. Saturday
Evening Post 5 June 1922: 143.
"Returns by Wireless" New York Times 8 Nov. 1916: 6.
"Revival of Amateur Wireless." Illustrated World Sept.
1919: 104-5.
"Reviving and Broadcasting Throughout the Nation."
Advertisement. Saturday Evening Post 26 Aug. 1922: 76.
"Right and Wrong of Receiver Tuning." Wireless Age June

210
1924: 42-3.
Robb, Arthur. "Cutting Free Publicity From Radio Programs."
Editor & Publisher 2 Oct. 1926: 5+.
Robertson, Thomas S. Innovative Behavior and Communication.
New York: Holt, 1971.
Rockwell, Norman. Illustration. Saturday Evening Post 20
May 1922: cover.
Roehl, Harvey. Plaver Piano Treasury. 2nd. ed. Vestal:
Vestal, 1973.
Rogers, Daniel C. "Broadcasting Radio Market News by the
Missouri State Board of Agriculture." Radio News 3
(1921): 105+.
Rogers, Everett M. Diffusion of Innovations. New York:
Free, 1962.
Rogers, Everett M. and Ronny Adhikarya. "Diffusion of
Innovations: An Up-to-Date Review and Commentary."
Communication Yearbook 3. Ed. Dan Nimmo. New Brunswick:
Transaction, 1979. 67-82.
Rogers, A. Mae. "The Radio Girl." Radio Amateur News 2
(1920): 74.
Rosen, P. "The Marvel of Radio." American Quarterly 31
(1979):52-81.
Rosen, Philip T. The Modern Stentors. Westport: Greenwood,
1980.
Rosengren, Karl Erik, Lawrence A. Wenner, and Philip
Palmgreen, eds. Media Gratifications Research. Beverly
Hills: Sage, 1985.
Rothafel, Samuel L. and Raymond Francis Yates.
Broadcasting: Its New Day. New York: Century, 1925.
Rowe, G. C. B. "Broadcasting in 1912." Radio News 6
(1925): 2219+.
Rubin, Alan M. "Media Gratifications Through the Life
Cycle." Media Gratifications Research: Current
Perspectives. Ed. Karl Erik Rosengren, Lawrence A.
Wenner, and Philip Palmgreen. Beverly Hills: Sage, 1985.
195-208.
Rypinsky, M. C. "Radio, Our Newest Utility." Radio
Retailing March 1926: 277.

211
Samo, Edward F., Jr. "The National Radio Conferences."
Journal of Broadcasting 13 (1969): 189-202.
Sarnoff, David. Principles and Practices of Network Radio
Broadcasting. New York: RCA Institutes Technical P,
1936.
Sarnoff, David. Looking Ahead: The Papers of David Sarnoff.
New York: McGraw, 1968.
Sarnoff, David. "Radio of Today and Tomorrow." New York
Herald 14 May 1922, sec. 7: 2+.
Scannell, Paddy and David Cardiff. A Social History of
British Broadcasting: Volume One 1922-1939: Serving the
Nation. Oxford: Blackwell, 1991.
Scharff, Virginia Scharff. Taking the Wheel: Women and the
Coming of the Motor Age. New York: Free, 1991.
Schubert, Paul. The Electric Word: The Rise of Radio. New
York: Macmillan, 1928.
Schwarzlose, Richard A. "Technology and the Individual: The
Impact of Innovation on Communication." Mass Media
Between the Wars: Perceptions of Cultural Tension, 1918-
1941. Ed. Catherine L. Covert and John D. Stevens.
Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 1984. 87-106.
"Scientific Aftermath of the 'Titanic'." Literary Digest 44
(1912): 1096-1097.
"Screen, Radio Give Returns; Detroit News Adds Facilities of
Cinema, Wireless to Power of Presses." Detroit News 3
Nov. 1920: 1.
Seeley, Ward. "
Age May 1923:
Seldes, Gilbert.
1932. Boston
Seldes, Gilbert.
Seldes, Gilbert.
1950.
Giving the Public What it Wants." Wireless
23-26.
The Years of the Locust: America. 1929-
: Little, 1933.
Mainland. New York: Scribner's, 1936.
The Great Audience. New York: Viking,
Seldes, Gilbert. The Public Arts. New York: Simon
Schuster, 1956.
Seldes, Gilbert. The Seven Lively Arts. 1924. New York:
Sagamore, 1957.

212
Seldon, Anthony. Contemporary History: Practice and Method
Oxford: Blackwell, 1988.
Seldon, Anthony and Joanna Pappworth. By Word of Mouth:
'Elite7 Oral History. London: Methuen, 1983.
"Sets Up Wireless Phone" New York Times 6 Feb. 1921: 18.
"75,000 American Boys Have This Enthusiasm." American
Magazine June 1916: 103-104.
Shaw, William Howard. Value of Commodity Output since 1869
New York: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1947.
Shawell, Julia. "Radio—Alarm Clock of a Nation." Radio
News 8 (1927): 96.
Shawell, Julia B. "Eveready Hour." Radio News 9 (1928):
1218+.
Shiers, George, ed. The Development of Wireless to 1920.
New York: Arno, 1977.
"Simple Radio Receiver for Everybody." Popular Science
Monthly Dec. 1921: 84.
"Sing Stasny Songs." Advertisement. American Magazine
March 1920: 247.
Sivowitch, Elliot N. "A Technological Survey of
Broadcasting's Prehistory, 1876-1920." Journal of
Broadcasting 15 (1970-71): 1-20.
Sklar, Robert, ed. The Plastic Aae (1917-1930). New York:
Braziller, 1970
Skolnik, Peter L. Alienation and Attitudes Toward Radio.
Diss. Michigan State U, 1970. Ann Arbor: UMI, 1971.
Skolnik, Peter L. Fads: America's Crazes. Fevers & Fancies
New York: Crowell, 1978.
Skornia, H. J., Robert H. Lee and Fred A. Brewer. Creative
Broadcasting. New York: Prentice, 1950.
Slate, Sam J. and Joe Cook. It Sounds Impossible. New
York: Macmillan, 1923.
Sloan, William David. Perspectives on Mass Communication
History. Hillsdale: Erlbaum, 1991.
Sloan, William David and Donald G. Godfrey.
"American

213
Radio, 1920-1948: Traditional Journalism or Revolutionary
Technology?" Perspectives on Mass Communication History.
William David Sloan. Hillsdale: Erlbaum, 1991. 300-318.
Smith, Page. Redeeming the Time: A People's History of the
1920s and the New Deal. Vol. 8. New York: Penguin, 1987.
Smulyan, Susan. "And Now a Word from our Sponsors...11:
Commercialization of American Broadcast Radio. 1920-1934.
Diss. Yale U, 1985. Ann Arbor: UMI, 1986.
Snyder, Carl. "The World's New Marvels." Collier's 25 Oct.
1913: 22-23.
Sobel, Robert. RCA. New York: Stein, 1986.
Soule, George. The Prosperity Decade: From War to
Depression: 1917-1929. 1947. New York: Harper, 1968.
Spalding, John W. "1928: Radio Becomes a Mass Advertising
Medium." Journal of Broadcasting 8 (1963-4): 31-44.
Special Reports on American Broadcasting. 1932-1947. New
York: Arno, 1974.
"Stage Coach or Automobile? America Always Moves Forward."
Advertisement. New York Times 12 Jan. 1921: 18.
Stamps, Charles Henry. The Concept of the Mass Audience in
American Broadcasting: An Historical-Descriptive Study.
Diss. Northwestern U, 1956. New York: Arno, 1979.
Startt, James D. and William David Sloan. Historical
Methods in Mass Communication. Hillsdale: Erlbaum, 1989.
"Statistical Survey of the Radio Business." Radio Retailing
March 1928: 36-37.
Stebbins, Robert A. Amateurs: On the Margin between Work
and Leisure. Beverly Hills: Sage, 1979
Stempel, Guido H., Ill and Bruce H. Westley, eds. Research
Methods in Mass Communication. 2nd ed. Englewood
Cliffs: Prentice, 1989.
Sterling, Christopher H. Electronic Media: A Guide to
Trends in Broadcasting and Newer Technologies. 1920-1983.
New York: Praeger, 1984.
Sterling, Christopher H. and John M. Kitross. Stay Tuned: A
Concise History of American Broadcasting. Belmont:
Wadsworth, 1978.

214
Stone, George P. "Radio Has Gripped Chicago." Radio
Broadcast 1 (1922): 504+.
Suchman, Edward A. "Radio Listening and Automobiles."
Journal of Applied Psychology 23 (1939): 148-157.
Sullivan, Mark. Our Times: The United States, 1900-1925.
Vol 6. The Twenties. New York: Scribner's, 1935.
Summers, Harrison B. A Thirty-Year History of Programs
Carried on National Radio Networks in the United States
1926-1956. 1958. New York: Arno, 1971.
Summers, Robert E. and Harrison B. Summers. Broadcasting
and the Public. Belmont: Wadsworth, 1966.
Super, Donald Edwin. Avocational Interest Patterns.
Stanford: Stanford UP, 1940.
"Survival of the Loudest." The Independent 117 (1926): 663.
Susman, Warren I. Culture as History: The Transformation of
American Society in the Twentieth Century. New York:
Pantheon, 1984.
Susman, Warren, ed. Culture and Commitment 1929-1945. New
York: Braziller, 1973.
Susman, Warren. "Communication and Culture." Mass Media
Between the Wars: Perceptions of Cultural Tension, 1918-
1941. Ed. Catherine L. Covert and John D. Stevens.
Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 1984. xvii-xxxii.
Sutton, Alan. A Victorian World of Science. Boston:
Hilger, 1986.
"Taking the Listener to Task." Editorial. Wireless Age
Oct. 1923: 17.
Tarr, Joel A., ed. Retrospective Technology Assessment—
1976. San Francisco: San Francisco, 1977.
"Telephoning is the National Craze." Telephony 10 (1905):
412.
Terrace, Vincent. Radio's Golden Years. San Diego: Barnes,
1981.
"Terrors of the Telephone—The Orator of the Future."
Cartoon. New York Daily Graphic 15 March 1877: 1.
"Tetrazzini by Wireless Telephone Will Sing to Sailors on
Navy Warships." New York Times 3 Dec. 1920.

215
"Tetrazzini's Voice Heard 400 Miles Away." New York Times
4 Dec. 1920: 2.
"The Girl Who Helped Put Radio on a Balanced Diet." The
American Magazine May 1929: 65-6.
"This Amazing Radio Feature." Advertisement. Literary
Digest 30 Sept. 1922: 41.
Thomas, Lowell. Maaic Dials: The Story of Radio and
Television. N.p.: Polygraphic, 1939.
Thompson, Paul. The Voice of the Past: Oral History.
Oxford: Oxford UP, 1978.
Thurston, Mabel Nelson. "This Young Woman Founded a Radio
School." American Magazine May 1924: 73-74.
"Times's Daily Wireless and Cable Dispatches." New York
Times 29 March 1912: 6.
"Times's Daily Wireless and Cable Dispatches." New York
Times 24 Jan. 1909: 2.
"Titanic Tragedy." Literary Digest 44 (1912): 865-868.
"To Flash Election Returns by Radio." Los Angeles Times 1
Nov. 1920: 2.
"To Hear Symphony Concert at Sea." New York Times 27 June
1920, sec. 6: 3.
"To Kill Off Broadcasting 'Pirates'." Literary Digest 7 May
1927: 13.
"To Sell Wireless Telephone Service." New York Times 11
Feb. 1922: 14.
"To the Girls—Workers All." Advertisement. Life 21 Jan.
1926: 25.
"To Wed in Plane 3,000 Feet Above Times Sguare." New York
Times 24 April 1922: 1.
"Today's Radiophone Program." Advertisement. New York
Herald 20 May 1922: 20.
Toll, Robert C. The Entertainment Machine: American Show
Business in the Twentieth Century. Oxford: Oxford UP,
1982.
"To-Night Listen In."
Advertisement. Literary Digest 24

216
Feb. 1923: 77.
Townsend, Reginald T. This. That, and The Other Thing.
Freeport: Books for Libraries, 1929.
"Trade Names Back in N. Y. Radio Programs." Editor &
Publisher 12 March 1927: 9.
"Triumphs of the Telephone." Editorial. New York Daily
Graphic 28 Feb. 1877: 818.
Troldahl, Verling C. and Roger Skolnik. "The Meanings
People Have for Radio Today." Journal of Broadcasting 12
(1967-68): 57-67.
"27,000,000 Listen to 5,000,000 Radios." New York Times 8
April 1926: 21.
United States Bureau of the Census. Historical Statistics
of the United States. Colonial Times to 1970.
Washington: GPO, 1975.
United States Department of Commerce. Annual Report of the
Chief of Radio Division to the Secretary of Commerce for
the Fiscal Year Ended June 30. 1926. Washington: GPO,
1926.
United States Department of Commerce. Annual Report of the
Commissioner of Navigation to the Secretary of Commerce
for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30. 1921. Washington:
GPO, 1921.
United States Department of Commerce. Annual Report of the
Commissioner of Navigation to the Secretary of Commerce
for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30. 1922. Washington:
GPO, 1922.
United States Department of Commerce. Annual Report of the
Commissioner of Navigation to the Secretary of Commerce
for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30. 1923. Washington:
GPO, 1923.
United States Department of Commerce. Annual Report of the
Commissioner of Navigation. Washington: GPO, 1925.
United States Department of Commerce. 15th Census—1930.
vol. 4: Occupations. Washington: GPO, 1933.
United States Department of Commerce. Recommendations for
Regulation of Radio. Washington: GPO, 1924.
United States Department of Commerce. Report of the
Secretary of Commerce and Reports of Bureaus.

217
Washington: GPO, 1920.
United States Department of Commerce. Selection from Annual
Report of the Chief of Radio Division to the Secretary of
Commerce. Washington: GPO, 1927. Rptd. in Documents in
American Telecommunications Policy, Vol. 1. Ed. John M.
Kitross. New York: Arno, 1977.
United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
Report of Project on Understanding New Media. N.p.:
1960.
United States Federal Communications Commission. Public
Service Responsibility of Broadcast Licensees. 1946.
New York: Arno, 1974.
United States Federal Radio Commission. Annual Report of
the Federal Radio Commission to the Congress of the
United States for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1927.
Washington: GPO, 1927.
United States Federal Radio Commission. Annual Report of
the Federal Radio Commission to the Congress of the
United States for the Year Ended June 30, 1928.
Washington: GPO, 1928.
United States Federal Radio Commission. Third Annual Report
of the Federal Radio Commission. Washington: GPO, 1929.
United States Federal Trade Commission. Report on the Radio
Industry. Washington: GPO, 1924.
Van de Water, Virginia Terhune. "Other People's Children,
Dogs, and Radios." American Magazine May 1928: 190+.
Verrill, A. Hyatt. Radio for Amateurs: How to Use, Make and
Install Wireless Telephone and Telegraph Instruments.
New York: Dodd, 1922.
"Viewing Wireless Stations." New York Times 29 March 1912:
6.
Vipond, Mary. Listening In: The First Decade of Canadian
Broadcasting. 1922-1932. Montreal: McGill-Queen's UP,
1992.
Volek, Thomas W. "Examining the Emergence of Broadcasting
in the 1920s through Magazine Advertising." Paper
presented at the meeting of the Association for Education
in Journalism and Mass Communication, Boston, MA, 1991.
Volek, Thomas W. Examining Radio Receiver technology
through Magazine Advertising in the 1920s and 1930s.

218
Diss. U of Minnesota, 1990. Ann Arbor: UMI, 1991.
Wade, Herbert T. "Wireless Telephony by the De Forest
System." Review of Reviews 35 (1907): 681-5.
Walker, James R. Walker. "Old Media on New Media: National
Popular Press Reaction to Mechanical Television."
Journal of Popular Culture 25.1 (1991) 21-29.
Wallace, John. "The Listeners' Point of View." Radio
Broadcast 9 (1926): 37-40.
Weaver, J. Clark. "What Happened to Radio?" Southern
Speech Journal 25 (1959-60) 43-49.
Weeks, Lewis Elton. Order Out of Chaos: The Formative Years
of American Broadcasting. Diss. Michigan State, 1932.
Ann Arbor: UMI, 1963.
Welles, Kingsley. "Do We Need 'Silent Nights' for Radio
Stations?" Radio Broadcast 7 (1925): 753.
Welles, Kingsley. "The WGBS Prize Play Contest." Radio
Broadcast 7 (1925): 757.
Werstein, Irving. Shattered Decade 1919-1929. New York:
Scribner's, 1970.
Westinghouse Broadcasting Company. "History of Broadcasting
and KDKA Radio." American Broadcasting. Ed. Lawrence W.
Lichty and Malachi C. Topping. New York: Hastings, 1975.
102-110.
"Westinghouse Radio Station, KDKA." Detroit News 26 June
1921: 6.
"Westinghouse Radiophone Studio, Station KYW, Program—Week
of Feb. 27, 1922." Broadcast Pioneers Library, KYW
Station File.
Wetherbee, Wilson. "Broadcasting to Go; Next, 'Radio
Presentation'." Chicago Sunday Tribune 3 May 1925, pt.
9: 1-2.
"WGY Forms Women's Club." New York Times 4 Oct. 1925, sec.
XX: 17.
"What Listeners-In Want." Radio News 5 (1924): 1337.
"What Will Radio Mean to You?" Popular Science Monthly Feb.
1922: 27.
"What You Want . .
II
Advertisement. American Magazine

219
Feb. 1925: 137.
"Widespread Use of the Radio Telephone." American Review
of Reviews 65 (1922):102-3.
Williams, Albert N. Listening: A Collection of Critical
Articles on Radio. Denver: U of Denver P, 1948.
Williams, John M. "If Your Child is Taking Piano Lessons."
Ladies Home Journal Sept. 1916: 19+.
Williams, Raymond. Television: Technology and Cultural
Form. New York: Schocken, 1975.
Wilson, Joan Hoff, ed. The Twenties: The Critical Issues.
Boston: Little, 1972.
Winston, Brian. Misunderstanding Media. Cambridge: Harvard
UP, 1986.
Winston, Brian. The Image of the Media. London: Davis,
1973.
Winters, S. R. "Radio Just as Important as Tubs in Home."
Chicago Sunday Tribune 4 Oct. 1925, part 4: 10.
"Wireless! A Real Radio Station for Your Boy."
Advertisement. Saturday Evening Post 2 Oct. 1920: 174.
"Wireless Amateurs Are Arousing Much Interest In Miami."
Miami Herald 12 March 1922: 9A.
"Wireless for Farmers." Editorial. Farm Journal Feb. 1921:
10-11.
"Wireless Melody Jarred." New York Times 14 Jan. 1910: 2.
"Wireless Now Carries Late Market Reports." New York Times
19 June 1921, sec. 2: 1.
"Wireless Operators Have Busy Night." Pittsburgh Sun 3 Nov.
1920: 21.
"Wireless Phone Proves Success Election Night" Pittsburgh
Sun 4 Nov. 1920: 4.
"Wireless Phone Service Planned." Detroit News 21 July
1921: 1.
"Wireless Receiving Station Installed at Horne's."
Advertisement. Pittsburgh Sun 23 Sept. 1920: 9.
"Wireless Success in Broadcasting Returns one of Election

220
Features," Pittsburgh Post 5 Nov. 1920: 16.
"Wireless Telephone Receiver Installed in Harding's Study."
New York Times 9 Feb. 1922: 1.
"Wireless Telephone Spreads Fight News Over 120,000 Miles."
New York Times 3 July 1921: 6.
"WJZ Extends WOR Courtesies of Air." New York Times 25 July
1922: 5.
"WJZ May Close Up to End Radio Row." New York Times 30 July
1922, sec. 2: 1.
"WLS, The World's Largest Store." Advertisement. American
Magazine Nov. 1924: 155.
Wolfe, Charles Hull. Modern Radio Advertising. New York:
Funk, 1949.
"Women and Wireless." The Literary Digest 15 Dec. 1923: 25.
"Women Interested in Radiophone." Radio News 3 (1922): 967.
"Wonders of the Telephone." New York Daily Graphic 31 March
1877: 215.
Wood, Lewis. "Making Radio Attractive to Women." Radio
Broadcast 4 (1923): 221-2.
Woods, David L. "Semantics Versus the 'First' Broadcasting
Station." Journal of Broadcasting 11 (1967): 199-207.
"The World Series by Radio." New York Times 1 Oct. 1922,
Sports Sec.: 27.
"Wounded Veterans Discover New Joys in Wireless." Popular
Science Monthly March 1922: 121.
Yates, Raymond Francis. "What Will Happen to Broadcasting?"
The Outlook 9 April 1924: 604-606.
Yates, Raymond Frances. "Will Broadcasting Become A 'Public
Utility'?" Popular Radio 10 (1926): 172-174.
Yates, Raymond Frances. "Winning the Public to Radio."
Radio News 3 (1921): 494+.
"The Yes and No Man." Popular Radio 10 (1926): 280.
Young, James C. "How Will You Have Your Advertising."
Radio Broadcast 6 (1924): 244-5.

221
Zanesville and 36 Other American Communities. New York:
Literary Digest, 1927.
Zanzig, Augustus Delafield. Music in American Life, Present
and Future. London: Oxford UP, 1932.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Laura Pelner McCarthy was born in New York City on June
26, 1945. She has worked as a newspaper feature writer, and
held various positions in non-commercial and commercial
radio broadcasting for many years before beginning a career
in teaching. She received a B.S. degree in communications
(1989) and an M.S. degree in mass communications (1990) from
Florida International University, and joined the University
of Florida doctoral program in 1990. She is an assistant
professor at Lynn University, Boca Raton, Florida.
222

I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
tL
F. Leslie Smith, Chair
Professor of Journalism and
Communications
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
//. \
Mickie N. Edwardson
Distinguished Service Professor of
Journalism and Communications
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully ad^uate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
David Ostroff
Professor of Jo
Communications
nalism and
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
£
H. Sidney Pactor
Associate Professor of Journalism
and Communications

I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Associate Professor of History
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty
of the College of Journalism and Communications and to the
Graduate School and was accepted as partial fulfillment of
the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
December 1993
Dean /' college of Journalism and
Communications
Dean, Graduate School



203
Chicago Daily Tribune 3 March 1922: 19.
Moores, Shaun. "'The Box on the Dresser': Memories of Early
Radio and Everyday Life." Media. Culture and Society 10
(1988): 23-40.
"More Good News for the Amateur." Radio News 3 (1921): 196.
Morgan, John J. "Radio Makes Factory Work Congenial."
Radio News 8 (1926): 33.
Morris, Lloyd. Not So Long Ago. New York: Random, 1949.
Morton, Robert A. "The Amateur Wireless Operator." Outlook
15 Jan. 1910: 131-35.
Mowry, George E., ed. The Twenties: Fords. Flappers and
Fanatics. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice, 1963.
"Music in the Air . and Voices on the Crystal Set."
American Heritage Aug. 1955: 65-88.
"My HobbyAnd Why I Recommend It." American Magazine June
1916: 103-104.
"My Hobby and Why I Recommend It." American Magazine June
1923: 86+.
Nash, Roderick. The Nervous Generation: American Thought.
1917-1930. Chicago: Rand, 1970
National Broadcasting Company. Let's Look at Radio
Together. New York: NBC, 1936.
"National Radio Week." Radio News 4 (1923): 1280.
"The Need for Laws to Soft-Pedal Radio Chaos." Literary
Digest 13 Jan. 1923: 25.
"New and Powerful Wireless Company." Wireless Age. Nov.
1919: 10-12.
"New Principles in Radio Developed by RCA." Advertisement.
American Magazine Nov. 1925: 91.
"New Program Schedule." Radio News 4 (1923): 1136.
"The New Radio Magazine You've Been Looking For."
Advertisement. Outlook 12 April 1922: 20.
"The New Radio Regulations." Wireless Age May 1923: 43.
"New Social Dance: The Pavlowana." Ladies Home Journal Jan.


10
2) Telephony, the sending of voice messages by wire;
3) Radiotelegraphy, the wireless transmission of
telegraphic code;
4) Radiotelephony, the wireless transmission of the
voice.18
Broadcasting. Broadcasting, a one-way point-to-
multipoint service,19 has been defined as the "sending of
uncoded messages to an undifferentiated audience."20
Radio.21 The word "radio" as used in the title and
throughout this work means the social complex that developed
around America's broadcasting service as perceived or
experienced by members of the general public. Although the
18The technologies are listed in the order in which
they were developed.
19The Federal Communications Commission currently uses
the term "multipoint" to refer to certain specialized types
of program distribution; see 47 C.F.R. Sec. 21.1 (1991).
20Daniel J. Czitrom, Media and the American Mind: From
Morse to McLuhan (Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1982)
71.
21According to the Institute of Radio Engineers, the
word radio "came into marked use in place of 'wireless' in
1907, and was officially adopted by the Institute of Radio
Engineers in 1911 and shortly thereafter by the United
States Government." Robert H. Marriott, "United States
Radio Development," Proceedings of the Institute of Radio
Engineers 5 (1917) 187. A later article by the same author
dates the "standardization" of the term to 1913. Robert H.
Marriott, "United States Radio Broadcasting Development,"
Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers 17 (1929):
1396.


96
the one-tube Aeriola Sr., including headphones, antenna, and
dry batteries cost $75. RCA's Vocarola horn loudspeaker was
available for $30.98 Early loudspeakers often did not
produce high-quality sound, and more sophisticated listeners
usually preferred headphones. One expert claimed that
"loud-speakers ... in the hands of inexperienced persons
have done more harm to radio than almost any other
factor."99
The Service
By mid-1922 the government had licensed 382 "limited
commercial" (broadcasting) stations, which it called "the
largest and most unexpected development in radio."100
Beginning with Westinghouse, which launched KDKA in 1920 in
order to create a demand for radio equipment, companies
owning radio patents opened stations in the larger cities.
Westinghouse opened WBZ in Springfield, Massachusetts; WJZ
in Newark, New Jersey; and KYW in Chicago. RCA opened WDY
in Roselle Park, New Jersey; General Electric signed on with
WGY in Schenectady; in New York City American Telephone and
98"Every Family Can Now 'Listen In'," advertisement,
Radio News March 1922: 798-99.
""About the Radio Round-Table," Scientific American
Dec. 1922: 378.
100United States Department of Commerce, Annual Report
of the Commissioner of Navigation to the Secretary of
Commerce for the Fiscal Year ended June 30. 1922
(Washington: GPO, 1922) 23, 17.


45
fanciful broadcasting prophecy had been fulfilled on a local
scale, and by 1900 6,200 subscribers were receiving a 12-
hour-daily service of "music, telegraphic news 'hot' from
the wires, literary criticism, stock guotations" and other
features as announced in a printed program from Budapest,
Hungary's "Telephone Newspaper."6 In the spring of 1912, a
group of New York businessmen visited Budapest, and returned
to organize the New Jersey Telephone Herald Company. By
July of that year, subscribers were being offered fashion
talks, sports talks, bedtime stories, dance music, and news
reports, as well as stock guotations every fifteen minutes,
for a fee of $1.50 per month. Although 5,000 households
subscribed in the initial months, interest waned by the end
of the first year and organizers disbanded the company, a
failure later blamed on poor technical quality.7
Wireless Telegraphy and Telephony before WWI
Marconi's 1901 transmission of the telegraphic code
for the single letter S across the Atlantic fired the
6Thomas S. Denison, "The Telephone Newspaper," The
World's Work 1 (1900-1901): 640-641. For a detailed history
of "Telefon Hirmondo" see David L. Woods, "Semantics versus
the 'First' Broadcasting Station," Journal of Broadcasting
11 (1967): 199-207.
7G. C. B. Rowe, "Broadcasting in 1912," Radio News 6
(1925): 2309. For a discussion of the telephone as an
entertainment medium see Asa Briggs, "The Pleasure
Telephone," Social Impact of the Telephone, ed. Ithiel de
Sola Pool (Cambridge: MIT P, 1977) 40-65.


140
ubiquity of "good music," fearing that serious music was
being devalued. While sympathizing with the housewife who
enjoys washing dishes to radio music, one author warned of a
growing tendency to use music "as a sort of characterless
stimulant" to replace at home the constant noise of the
workplace and the street. Music was becoming "a sort of
mechanical accompaniment to our daily lives," just another
public utility like the electricity, gas, and water.31
Radio Service 1925-1926
Many changes in the service offered by American
broadcasting combined to increase radio's usefulness to the
audience by 1926, including regularly scheduled programming,
printed program listings in daily newspapers, daytime and
other service programming, improved receiving and
reproducing equipment, and changes in advertising practices.
In 1922 home economist Christine Frederick wrote that
"the sooner radio broadcasting adopts . definite
schedules of subjects and hours . the more greatly
will the public benefit."32 By 1926 this had been
190.
31Creighton Peet, "Music as Narcotic," Forum Aug. 1930:
113. A 1926 Article described the use of radio to increase
production in a factory; however, the workers apparently
listened to actual programs, such as the world series
baseball games. John J. Morgan, "Radio Makes Factory Work
Congenial," Radio News 8 (1926): 33.
32Christine Frederick, "A Real Use for the Radio," Good
Housekeeping July 1922: 144.


83
Razors" in the Saturday Evening Post.47 Now girls and women
could wear Radio Boots that went "on and off in a flash."4
By June of 1922, boys were advised in a full page ad to buy
Waterman's "Radio Recording Pen," the "favorite recording
instrument with both professional and amateur operators,"49
and in December could also choose the Esterbrook "Number 920
Radio Pen."50 The broadcasting metaphor was used to sell
chewing gum, men's suits, and even other media of
advertising ("Broadcast Your Message in Colors Via Poster
Advertising!" advised a billboard company in 1922; "People
remember what they see far more vividly than what they
hear.")51 Campbell's soup advised women to "Listen in!" to
what their friends were saying about Campbell's Tomato Soup:
"C E D is the station for me
C-ampbell's E-very D-ay!
47"Ever Ready," advertisement, Saturday Evening Post 15
July 1916: 38.
48"Radio Boot," advertisement, Saturday Evening Post 4
Nov. 1922: 80.
49"Recording Radio Messages," advertisement, Saturday
Evening Post 5 June 1922: 143.
50"Number 920 Radio Pen," advertisement, Saturday
Evening Post 16 Dec. 1922: 56.
51"After Every Meal," advertisement, Saturday Evening
Post 25 Nov. 1922: 56-57; "Reviving and Broadcasting
Throughout the Nation," advertisement, Saturday Evening Post
26 Aug. 1922: 76; "Broadcast Your Message in Colors Via
Poster Advertising," advertisement, Printers' Ink Monthly
April 1922: 43.


117
and have probably become discouraged on account of this."178
By mid-1923 there were 573 radio broadcasting stations
and still no radio regulation.177 Secretary Hoover's second
radio conference recommended reallocation of wavelengths
(between 222 and 545), silencing of amateur communications
between 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. daily, and primary
identification of stations by frequency (kilocycles per
second) rather than wavelength. Three classes of station
were to be created: Class A at 222 to 300 meters, with power
not exceeding 500 watts, and Class B at 300 to 545 meters,
with 500 to 1,000 watts of power, both with "quality of
program" standards; and Class C for stations remaining at
360 meters. No new licenses would be issued for the 360
meter wavelength.178
Prospects for the future
As the radio fad cooled down, interest in distance for
distance's sake decreased, and a larger proportion of the
audience began to take pleasure in the passive entertainment
afforded by listening in. The novelty of pulling voices
from the air began to wear off and the growing availability
176"National Radio Week," Radio News 4 (1923): 1280.
177United States Department of Commerce, Annual Report
of the Commissioner of Navigation to the Secretary of
Commerce for the Fiscal Year ended June 30. 1923
(Washington: GPO, 1923) 18.
178
43.
"The New Radio Regulations," Wireless Age May 1923:


202
McNicol, Donald. Radio's Conquest of Space. 1946. New
York: Arno, 1974.
McRaney, Bob, Sr. The History of Radio in Mississippi. N.
p.: Mississippi Broadcasters Association, [1970?].
Meehan, Eileen R. "Critical Theorizing on Broadcast
History." Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media
30 (1986): 393-411.
Meehan, Eileen R. "Heads of Household and Ladies of the
House: Gender, Genre, and Broadcast Ratings, 1929-1990."
Ruthless Criticism: New Perspectives in U. S.
Communication History. Ed. William S. Solomon and Robert
W. McChesney. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1993. 204-
221.
Meenam, W. T. "Back Stage with 'Radio Mike'." Popular
Science Monthly Sept. 1924: 68.
Mendelsohn, Harold. "Listening to Radio." People. Society,
and Mass Communications. Ed. Lewis Anthony Dexter and
David Manning White. New York: Free, 1964. 239-249.
Meyersohn, Rolf and Elihu Katz. "Notes on a Natural History
of Fads." The American Journal of Sociology 62 (1957):
594-601.
Meyrowitz, Alvin and Marjorie Fiske. "The Relative
Preference of Low Income Groups for Small Stations."
Journal of Applied Psychology 23 (1939): 162.
"Miami Beach Night Featured on Radio with Fine Program."
Miami Daily Metropolis 28 May 1923: 1.
Miller, Delbert C. "Radio and Television." Technology and
Social Change. Ed. Frances R. Allen, et al. New York:
Appleton, 1957. 157-186.
Mix, Jennie Irene. "Is Radio Standardizing the American
Mind?" Radio Broadcast 6 (1924): 48-49.
Mix, Jennie Irene. "Opinions about the Jazz Age in Radio."
Radio Broadcast 6 (1925): 1050-51.
Mix, Jennie Irene. "When Good Music is Broadcast." Radio
Broadcast 6 (1925): 457-8.
"Monthly Service Bulletin of the National Amateur Wireless
Association." Wireless Age Feb. 1922: 41.
Moore, Edward.
"Edison Orchestra Gives Radio Concert."


11
noun "radio" can mean the receiving set (as in, "I just
bought a radio"), the field of endeavor ("I just got a job
in radio"), or the technology of radiotelephony ("the
message was sent by radio"), its general use in this study
encompasses the receiving set, the existence of a broadcast
signal, the content of that signal, and the act of
listening. Although David Sarnoff proposed making radio a
"'household utility' in the same sense as the piano or
phonograph,"22 it was the cultural complex developed by the
advent of broadcasting that became a "household utility"
rather than the physical object called the radio receiver.
Eras of broadcast history. In this study, the years of
America's broadcast listening before the advent of
television have been divided into three eras: the hobby, the
fad, and the household utility.
Hobbies. A hobby has been defined as a "specialized
pursuit beyond one's occupation that has no professional
counterpart." The pursuit must involve some level of skill,
ability, or knowledge, and have a goal (immediate or long
term) other than entertainment or amusement.23
22Sarnoff, Looking Ahead 31.
23Robert A. Stebbins, Amateurs: On the Margin between
Work and Leisure (Beverly Hills: Sage, 1979) 34.


50
Talk on Scientific Achievement" pointed out that although
newspapers usually referred to "transmitting sound," in
reality radiotelephony was merely a wave of electromagnetic
force disturbing the ether, rather than "a voice 'through
the air.'"22
Amateur Radio Operators23
Meanwhile, experimenting with radiotelegraphy and
radiotelephony had become a popular scientific pastime. In
the wake of publicity about Jack Binns and the role of
wireless in the Republic disaster, interest in radio
experimentation grew, as did the amount of press coverage
accorded the experimenters. Many young people learned about
radio in high school physics classes; after graduation some
entered the field as professional radio operators and many
more joined the growing group of radio amateurs.24 This
"most popular scientific fad" had been embraced by an
estimated four thousand young Americans, to the occasional
dismay of professional and Navy operators who often had to
22C. H. Claudy, "A Voice Through the Air," McBride's
March 1916: 159.
23For a social history of amateur radio, see Susan J.
Douglas, "Amateur Operators and American Broadcasting:
Shaping the Future of Radio," Imagining Tomorrow, ed. Joseph
J. Corn (Cambridge: MIT P, 1986) 35-57.
24"Boys Forge Ahead in Wireless Work," New York Times
31 Jan. 1909, sec. 1: 18.


124
telephoned stations and sent telegrams; announcers often
read out the names over the air. Later, when interest
shifted to program content, listeners could use pre-printed
"applause cards,"199 which were often provided by equipment
manufacturers and radio stores as a supplemental method of
advertising. One radio writer suggested the stations
themselves provide stamped cards to all nearby radio
listeners in order to encourage the audience to express its
likes and dislikes.200 In 1924, the Milwaukee Journal radio
department formed a "broadcast listeners' club" to send out
a "constant stream of applause" via pre-printed cards.201
Early in 1922 station WGI followed a broadcast of
"fashion talks" with a plea to women in the audience for
feedback on continuing the series. The number of letters
received persuaded the station to make it a regular
feature.202
199For example, see "Free Radio 'Applause Cards',"
advertisement, American Magazine March 1924: 176.
200Armstrong Perry, "Radio as Entertainment," Radio
News 4 (1922): 1056. Many letters, while thanking the
station for its service, expressed dislike for certain
performers or types of programming, and these too may have
been read on the air; one letter to station WGI said "I do
not agree with the party who called you such names." Clark
Collection, Smithsonian Institution, Box 188 Series 8.
201"Broadcast Listeners' Club," Radio Dealer April
1924: 91.
202"women Interested in Radiophone," Radio News 3
(1922): 967.


53
"broadcasting," or sending out a message from a single point
to a wide audience (with its implication of one-way
communication) was not the goal of even the first voice
"broadcasters."31 A signal would be sent out in order to
test transmitting equipment: response from all those who
heard, or "copied," the signal would enable the experimenter
to learn more about the transmission of radio waves in
general, and the performance of that equipment in
particular.
In 1906 Reginald A. Fessenden invited a group of
scientists to witness his test of wireless telephony between
Brant Rock and Plymouth, Massachusetts, a distance of just
over ten miles.32 Three days before Christmas Fessenden
also notified nearby ships equipped with Fessenden apparatus
31The word "broadcast," meaning in agriculture to
scatter seed widely, had been used figuratively for many
years, though most often as an adverb or an adjective. For
example, in the 1898 story "The Blue Hotel," Stephen Crane
wrote that one man's gentle and respectful manner "appeared
to be a continual broadcast compliment." Stephen Crane, "The
Blue Hotel," Collier's Weekly 26 Nov. 1898: 16. The use of
"broadcast" as a verb became common only in 1922, according
to "Astonishing Growth of the Radiotelephone," Literary
Digest 15 April 1922: 28. However, the Pittsburgh Sun and
Pittsburgh Post used the word to describe KDKA's election
coverage in November, 1920. "Wireless Phone Proves Success
Election Night, Pittsburgh Sun 4 Nov. 1920: 4; "Wireless
Success in Broadcasting Returns one of Election Features,"
Pittsburgh Post 5 Nov. 1920.
32R[eginald] A[ubrey] Fessenden, "Wireless Telephony,"
Proceedings of the American Institute of Electrical
Engineers 27 (1908): 1309.


36
Diffusion of Innovation. Invention is the process by
which a new idea is created or developed, while innovation
is the process of adapting an existing idea.87 Wireless
telephony was an invention; broadcasting was an innovation.
Diffusion of innovation studies two processes: the pattern
of the appearance or use of an innovation within a social
system, and the individual's adoption process, a sequence of
stages from awareness to acceptance.88 Although as early as
1934 Raymond V. Bowers examined the geographical diffusion
of participation in amateur radio,89 diffusion of innovation
techniques have not been used to study the process by which
American individuals or families adopted radio listening,
nor to study the spread of interest in radio broadcasting as
it developed first into a fad and then into a household
utility. While Bowers's 1934 study provides some raw
material for analyzing the public's interest in radio
technology before the advent of broadcast listening, his
conclusions reflect his interest in diffusion patterns
87Everett M. Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations (New
York: Free, 1962) 76.
88Thomas S. Robertson, Innovative Behavior and
Communication (New York: Holt, 1971) 45; Vijay Mahajan and
Yoram Wind, Innovation Diffusion Models of New Product
Acceptance (Cambridge: Ballinger, 1986) 4.
89Raymond Victor Bowers, A Genetic Study of
Institutional Growth and Cultural Diffusion in Contemporary
American Civilization, an Analysis in Terms of Amateur
Radio, diss., U of Minnesota, 1934.


149
offered many women their first opportunity to "catch the
inflection, to be thrown wholly into the political
spirit."62 Radio took political discourse out of the
masculine preserves like meeting rooms, clubs, and bars, and
brought it into the home. "The radio," according to one
article, "may even claim to be a pronounced step in the
emancipation of womankind."63
In 1925 Radio Retailing magazine enlisted the aid of
the League of Women voters to increase female listenership,
by offering programming about local and national issues.
The campaign also encouraged women's groups to hold "radio
teas" in homes and clubrooms, and asked those groups not
only to advise stations but to provide actual programming,
citing "the scarcity of good programs for and by women."64
By the end of 1925, Literary Digest pointed out that
Woman's place may or may not be in the home, but
conventions, see "Radio Convention Year," The Nation 9 July
1924: 34, and "Radio Never Weathered . editorial, The
Nation 23 July 1924: 85. Radio equipment manufacturers used
the election coverage as a selling point; see, for example,
"The Family Takes to Politics," advertisement, Popular
Science Monthly Nov. 1924: 109; "Who's Elected,"
advertisement, Literary Digest 18 Oct. 1924: 67.
62Christine Frederick, "Women, Politics, and Radio"
Wireless Aae Oct. 1924: 36.
63"Domestic Uses for the Radio," American Review of
Reviews Aug. 1922: 202.
64"Radio for Women," Literary Digest 28 Nov. 1925: 20.


25
Institutional Histories
Business historians need only point to the 1916 "Radio
Music Box" memo of David Sarnoff, the office boy who would
be radio's king, to defend the view that American
broadcasting was a corporate creation. Gleason Archer's
1938 History of Radio to 1926 and later Big Business and
Radio and William Banning's study of American Telephone &
Telegraph's WEAF present a well-documented but exclusively
corporate view of radio's development.57 More recently,
several articles have examined the development of American
broadcasting as case studies in organizational change.58
Erik Barnouw's three-volume History of Broadcasting in
the United States.59 while the most comprehensive and
detailed examination of the subject, is a primarily
anecdotal discussion of the development of the structure and
57Gleason L. Archer, History of Radio to 1926 (New
York: American Historical Society Press, 1938); Gleason L.
Archer, Big Business and Radio (New York: American
Historical Company, 1939); William Peck Banning, Commercial
Broadcasting Pioneer: The WEAF Experiment (Cambridge:
Harvard UP 1946). Banning was assistant vice-president for
public relations at AT&T when he retired in 1944.
58For example, Huseyin Leblebici et al., "Institutional
Change and the Transformation of Interorganizational Fields:
An Organizational History of the U. S. Radio Broadcasting
Industry," Administrative Science Quarterly 36.3 (1991):
333-364; Stewart L. Long, "Technological Change and
Institutional Response: The Creation of American
Broadcasting," Journal of Economic Issues 21 (1987): 743-
749.
59Erik Barnouw, A History of Broadcasting in the United
States. 3 vols. (New York: Oxford UP, 1966-1968).


3
waves, was developed primarily by Guglielmo Marconi during
the final years of the nineteenth century. In 1901, Marconi
sent a single code letter by wireless across the Atlantic
from Cornwall, England, to Newfoundland.8 The era of
wireless communication had begun.
By the end of the new century's first decade,
experimenters had developed the technigue of radiotelephony,
or the wireless transmission of the voice. Although
radiotelegraphy and radiotelephony were used for point-to-
point communication, any business or individual with
standard receiving eguipment could intercept the messages.
It was this lack of privacy of wireless communication that
was later turned to advantage in the concept of
broadcasting.
As early as 1910 Lee de Forest transmitted grand opera
to the public by wireless telephony.9 And although David
Sarnoff's 1916 memo proposing a "Radio Music Box"10 is
America's best-known broadcasting prophecy, three years
earlier Carl Snyder had written in Collier's magazine:
8Christopher H. Sterling and John M. Kitross, Stay
Tuned: A Concise History of American Broadcasting (Belmont:
Wadsworth, 1978) 26.
9"Wireless Melody Jarred," New York Times 14 Jan. 1910:
2.
10David Sarnoff, Looking Ahead: The Papers of David
Sarnoff (New York: McGraw, 1968) 31.


158
set."94 Yet by 1922 the radio had already overtaken the
piano in importance to some American households. An article
in the Saturday Evening Post predicted that "soon there will
be more radiophones in use than pianos, and who dares say it
will not be as much a household utility in the future as the
telephone, the bathtub and the kitchen stove?"95 David
Sarnoff may have underestimated the public's willingness to
fiddle and tinker (and to spend a high percentage of its
disposable income96) for the magic of plucking voices and
music out of the air. A simple "Radio Music Box" was not
necessary in order to entice a large percentage of the
American public to try out the new form of entertainment.97
940rrin E. Dunlap, Jr., "From a Toy to the Nation's
Joy," Radio Digest Jan. 1931: 56.
95Floyd W. Parsons, "New Day in Communication," The
Saturday Evening Post, 15 April 1922: 145.
96In 1925 radio receivers cost between $50 and $460, or
between 1.9 percent and 17.6 percent of disposable household
income. Martha Olney, Buy Now, Pay Later: Advertising.
Credit, and Consumer Durables in the 1920s (Chapel Hill: U
of North Carolina, 1991) 104.
97Sarnoff felt the project would be economically
feasible if RCA could sell one million "radio music boxes,"
putting "radio music boxes" in 7 percent of American
households. By 1926 one million complete radio sets had
already been produced for the public; in 1923 more than one
million radios of all sorts were already in use, including
many receivers assembled from parts by hobbyists. Seven
percent of the households in the 1920 census (1.7 million
out of 24.4 million) had at least one radio by 1923; by 1933
56.2 percent of American households had radios according to
a study by the CBS network (figures from "Statistical
Survey. . "; Page, "The Nature of the Broadcast Receiver";
and Lumley).


171
records. The particular service that gave radio value and
utility in the American household during the 1920s was its
usefulness to the American woman in the home. When radio
was brought into the household, the family woman found not
just pleasing entertainment, but companionship and a useful
and informative service. It was this utility that prevented
radio from becoming merely a more sophisticated phonograph,
or a "radio music box," especially during those earliest
years when reception was difficult and programming
perfunctory.
The availability of the loudspeaker meant women could
listen to radio while they were engaged in other chores.
The advent of all-day programming, and specifically programs
of interest to homemakers, heightened women's interest in
listening. Although musical programming could provide
pleasant background to the day's housework, women found the
"service" programming provided both companionship and
information, and aided in household management and
scheduling. This knowledgeable companionship offered by
daytime radio programming ensured radio's place in the
American home. A review of research into the more modern
uses of radio, covering the years from the depression to the
present, showed that radio has consistently served a
companionship function for the listening audience.
According to a 1926 article in the American Journal of


68
Gernsback encouraged amateurs to interest the general public
in the radio art, publishing articles such as "Get Your
Friends Interested," "Let the Average Man Know," and
"Winning the Public to Radio."70
RCA Enters Broadcasting
The Radio Corporation of America was formed in late
1919 to acquire the interests of British-based American
Marconi and combine them with radio patents held by General
Electric in order to establish America's growing wireless
communication business free of foreign ownership and
control.71 David Sarnoff became RCA's General Manager in
April 1921.72
The radio event of 1921 was the broadcast of the
Dempsey-Carpentier prizefight of July 2. Maj. J. Andrew
White, editor of Wireless Age, proposed the idea to David
Sarnoff,73 and a powerful GE generator was temporarily
70"Get Your Friends Interested," Radio News 2 (1921):
680+; Armstrong Perry, "Let the Average Man Know," Radio
News 3 (1921): 386+; Raymond Frances Yates, "Winning the
Public to Radio," Radio News 3 (1921): 494+.
71"New and Powerful Wireless Company," Wireless Aae
Nov. 1919: 10-12.
72"David Sarnoff Given Important Post by Radio
Corporation," Wireless Age June 1921: 10.
73Personal publicity for Sarnoff as a result of the
event was sparse, but the New York Times did note that "the
phones at the ringside were operated by J. N.[sic] White,
David Saranoff [sic] and H. L. Welter." "Wireless Telephone
Spreads Fight News Over 120,000 Miles," New York Times 3
July 1921: 6.


16
industry's structure and regulation. There continues to be
a shortage of historical studies of radio's audiences.
Warren Susman has suggested an "ecological" approach
that takes account of the total cultural context of
communication,39 and James Carey and others have long called
for a more holistic study of communication history.40 The
methodology of this study is cultural analysis through
immersion in contemporaneous sources, following Pauly's
recommendation of "immersion in the materials."41 The
emphasis is narrative rather than theoretical or social-
scientific. In the historiography of technology, Buchanan
wrote in 1991, the "theoretical element has received too
much emphasis and . the time has come to reassert the
importance of narrative."42 Historical narrative offers the
most complete response to research guestions that ask the
39Warren Susman, "Communication and Culture," Mass
Media Between the Wars: Perceptions of Cultural Tensionf
1918-1941. ed. Catherine L. Covert and John D. Stevens
(Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 1984) xviii.
40James W. Carey, "The Problem of Journalism History"
Journalism History 1.1 (1974): 4; David Paul Nord, "The
Nature of Historical Research," Research Methods in Mass
Communication. 2nd ed., ed. Guido H. Stempel III and Bruce
H. Westley (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice, 1989) 313.
41John J. Pauly, "A Beginner's Guide to Doing
Qualitative Research in Mass Communication, Journalism
Monographs 125 (1991): 19.
42R. A. Buchanan, "Theory and Narrative in the History
of Technology," Technology & Culture 32.2 (1991): 365.


187
Collins, Frederick L. "Growing Up With the Radio." Woman' s
Home Companion July 1928: 7+; Aug. 1928: 12+; Sept. 1928:
13+; Oct. 1928: 30+.
"Competing with the Silver Flask and the Jazz Orchestra."
Advertisement. American Magazine March 1925: 201.
"Concert by Wireless." OST Jan. 1917: 26.
"Concert from Plane Aids Veterans' Camp." New York Times 15
April 1922: 3.
Congdon, Don. The '30s: A Time to Remember. New York:
Simon, 1962.
"Conn Radio Concerts." Advertisement. Saturday Evening
Post 13 May 1922: 126.
Corn, Joseph J., ed. Imaging Tomorrow: History, Technology
and the American Future. Cambridge: MIT P, 1986.
Corwin, Norman. Trivializing America. Secaucus: Stuart,
1983.
Cowan, Ruth Schwartz. "The 'Industrial Revolution' In the
Home." Technology and Change. Ed. John G. Burke and
Marshall C. Eakin. San Francisco: Boyd, 1979. 276-282.
Covert, Catherine L. and John D. Stevens. Mass Media
Between the Wars: Perceptions of Cultural Tension. 1918-
1941. Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 1984.
Covert, Catherine L. "'Loss and Change': Radio and the
Shock to Sensibility in American life, 1919-1924." Paper
presented to the Association for Education in Journalism,
Athens, OH, 1982. ERIC ED 217 447.
Covert, Catherine L. "We May Hear Too Much: American
Sensibility and the Response to Radio, 1919-1924." Mass
Media Between the Wars: Perceptions of Cultural Tension.
1918-1941. Ed. Catherine L. Covert and John D. Stevens.
Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 1984. 199-220.
"CQD." Editorial. New York Times 25 Jan. 1909: 8.
Crabb, Richard. Radio's Beautiful Day. Aberdeen: North
Plains, 1983.
Crane, Stephen. "The Blue Hotel." Collier's Weekly 26 Nov.
1898: 14-16; 3 Dec. 1898: 14-16.
Crosby, John. "Seven Deadly Sins of the Air." Life 6 Nov.


189
Hartford: American Radio Relay League, 1936.
Diaz, Abby Morton. A Domestic Problem: Work and Culture in
the Household. Boston: Osgood, 1875.
Dixon, Peter. Radio Writing. New York: Century, 1931.
"Dr. Forest [sic] Predicts 20,000,000 Radios." New York
Herald 7 May 1922, sec. 2: 5.
"Domestic Uses for the Radio." American Review of Reviews
Aug. 1922: 202.
Douglas, Alan. Radio Manufacturers of the 1920s. 2 vols.
Vestal: Vestal, 1988.
Douglas, George H. The Early Days of Radio Broadcasting.
Jefferson: McFarland, 1987.
Douglas, Susan. "Amateur Operators and American
Broadcasting: Shaping the Future of Radio." Imagining
Tomorrow. Ed. Joseph J. Corn. Cambridge: MIT P, 1986.
35-57.
Douglas, Susan. Inventing American Broadcasting, 1888-1922
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1987.
Douglas, Susan. Exploring Pathways in the Ether. Diss.
Brown U, 1979. Ann Arbor: UMI, 1979.
Dreher, Carl. Sarnoff: An American Success. New York:
Quadrangle, 1977.
Dunlap, Orrin E., Jr. "From a Toy to the Nation's Joy."
Radio Digest Jan. 1931: 56.
Durstine, Roy S. "Audible Advertising." Radio and its
Future. Ed. Martin Codel. New York: Harper, 1930. 50-
60.
Durstine, Roy S. "The Future of Radio Advertising in the U
S." Radio: The Fifth Estate. Ed. Herman S. Hettinger.
1935. 147-153. Rptd. in Radio: Selected A.A.P.S.S.
Surveys. 1929-1941. American Academy of Political and
Social Science. New York: Arno, 1971.
"The DX Contest Winners." Radio Broadcast 5 (1924): 346.
Easton, William H. "Wonders of the Radio Telephone."
Current History 16 (1922): 26-32.
Edwards, E. P. "Research and Manufacture in the Radio Art.
The Radio Industry. 1928. New York: Arno, 1974. 140-


207
"PortaphoneA Wireless Set for Dance Music or the Day's
News." Scientific American 122 (1920): 571.
Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves to Death. New York:
Penguin, 1985.
"Preaching by Radio." People's Home Journal Sept. 1923: 25.
"President Radio Fan." New York Times 3 April 1922: 3.
President's Research Committee on Social Trends. Recent
Social Trends in the United States. New York: McGraw,
1933.
Proceedings of the Fourth National Radio Conference.
Washington: GPO, 1926. Rptd. in Documents in American
Telecommunications Policy. Ed. John M. Kitross. New
York: Arno, 1977.
"Program Arranged for Benefit of Radio Operators."
Pittsburgh Post 20 Jan. 1921: 5
"Proposes New Laws for Radio Control." New York Times 28
April 1922: 21.
Prostak, Elaine J. Up in the Air: The Debates Over Radio
Use During the 1920s. Diss. U of Kansas, 1983. Ann
Arbor: UMI, 1983.
"Public Criticism Aids Programs." New York Times 1 July
1923, sec. 6: 7.
"Publisher's Notes." Outlook 14 June 1922: 327.
Pusateri, C. Joseph. Enterprise in Radio: WWL and the
Business of Broadcasting in America. Washington: UP of
America, 1980.
"Radak Radio Receiving Sets." Advertisement. American
Magazine Dec. 1922: 156.
Radio Advertising Bureau. Radio Facts for Advertisers. New
York: RAB, 1990.
"Radio as Crowd Cure." Literary Digest 8 Nov. 1924: 80.
"Radio Audience Decides Programs." Wireless Age Aug. 1923:
28.
"Radio Boot." Saturday Evening Post 4 Nov. 1922: 80.
"Radio Broadcasting and Higher Education." Studies in the
Control of Radio. 1940-1948. New York: Arno, 1972.


59
Restrictions on amateur radio receiving equipment were
lifted in April of 1919, and although transmitters remained
sealed, the radio enthusiasts returned gratefully to their
listening posts. One writer estimated the number of
American amateurs at "several hundred thousand."49 Both the
long-time amateurs who had waited out the wartime silence
and a new group made up of men trained for radio work in the
service were eager to reclaim the ether:
There is a sense of restless expectancy not unlike
that which comes upon one waiting for the curtain
to rise for the decisive act of a play; for the
fact is that much has been done in wireless
telegraphy and telephony during the past two
years, and there are many new and strange signals,
also new apparatus, ready to greet the amateur.50
Restrictions on amateur radio transmission were lifted in
October of 1919.51 Although many amateurs returned to
telegraphy and its communication in code, others began to
work exclusively with radiotelephony. Many experimenters
rested their voices while they tested their transmitting
equipment by playing phonograph records between
June 1920, sec. 6: 3.
49Austin C.Lescarboura, "Amateurs in Name Only,"
Scientific American 120 (1919) 688.
50"Revival of Amateur Wireless," Illustrated World
Sept. 1919: 104.
51"Radio Restrictions Removed," Wireless Age Oct. 1919:
21.


184
Bowers, Raymond V. "Differential Intensity of Intra-
Societal Diffusion." American Sociological Review 3
(1938): 21-31.
"Boys Forge Ahead in Wireless Work." New York Times 31
Jan. 1909, sec. 1: 18.
Briggs, Asa. "The Pleasure Telephone" Social Impact of the
Telephone. Ed. Ithiel de Sola Pool. Cambridge: MIT P,
1977. 40-65.
Briggs, Charles L. Learning How to Ask. Cambridge:
Cambridge UP, 1986
"Broadcast Listeners' Club." Radio Dealer April 1924: 91.
"Broadcast Your Message in Colors Via Poster Advertising."
Advertisement. Printers' Ink Monthly April 1922: 43.
"Broadcasting is Not a Public Utility." Radio Broadcast 9
(1926): 375-6.
"Broadcasting Miscellany." Radio Broadcast 9 (1926): 40.
"Broadcasting Miscellany." Radio Broadcast 9 (1926): 393.
"Broadcasting of News May Prove Radio's 'White Hope'."
Radio Retailing 4 (1925): 471.
"Broadcasting on a National Scale." Literary Digest 2 Oct.
1926: 13.
"Broadcasting Station WDY." Wireless Age Feb. 1922: 19+.
"Broadcasting Stations Agree on Time Dividing Schedule."
New York Herald 21 May 1922, sec. 2: 5.
Brookeman, Christopher. American Culture and Society Since
the 1930s. New York: Schocken, 1984.
Brown, Dorothy M. Setting a Course: American Women in the
1920s. Boston: Twayne, 1987.
Brown, Lawrence A. Innovation Diffusion: A New Perspective.
London: Methuen, 1981.
Brown, Marianne C. "One of the Gang." Radio Amateur News 2
(1920): 148.
Brunner, Edmund deS. Radio and the Farmer. New York: Radio
Institute of the Audible Arts, 1935.
Buchanan, R. A. "Theory and Narrative in the History of


113
(with its circuit diagrams and code-practice schedules)
evolved into a program guide, with accompanying columns of
general news of broadcasting and broadcast programming. In
addition, radio stories in other sections of the paper were
more often about broadcast listeners than scientists or
inventors. The Miami Herald's various one-page neighborhood
news and advertising sections boasted about local radio
achievements, such as the "young wireless operator residing
in Highland Park [who] hears music from Newark and
Pittsburgh."164 The local radio club announced that 10 of
Miami's radio amateurs had eguipment capable of receiving
KDKA's musical concerts and talks.165 Department stores
that owned stations usually announced their programs within
the stores' newspaper ads.166
As radio broadcasting service developed and family
members began to take an interest in listening in, the size
of the audience grew even faster than the number of sets in
use. The number of listeners per set grew even higher as
loudspeakers became more widely used:
164"Hears Concerts over Wireless Telephone," Miami
Herald 19 March 1922: 10A.
165"Wireless Amateurs Are Arousing Much Interest In
Miami," Miami Herald 12 March 1922: 9A.
166For example, "Today's Radiophone Program,"
advertisement, New York Herald 20 May 1922: 20.


138
could attend events unsafe or unfitting to attend in person,
such as prize fights.
The "Armchair Mood" vs. Secondary Listening
Until 1930 specific radio content was usually of
secondary importance to the mere act of listening. In
broadcasting's earliest years, the search for distant
stations often took precedence over the search for enjoyable
or interesting program content.25 Although by the mid 1920s
listeners were more interested in good local reception of
pleasant programming, most stations' offerings were a
similar blend of music and "talks" rather than discrete
shows. Listeners were concerned only that the service be
there, offering a type of programming appropriate to their
needs or desires of the moment.
A 1925 Ladies Home Journal ad for Atwater Kent radios
showed four typical scenes of radio listening: a bridge and
tea party, a dinner party, dancing, and "listening in" (for
which the ad suggested the weekly Atwater Kent Radio Artists
program on seven listed stations).26 In earlier years,
24Julia Shawell, "RadioThe Alarm Clock of a Nation,"
Radio News 8 (1927) 96.
25Interest in distance reception peaked in the winter
of 1924-25, according to Robert H. Marriott, "United States
Radio Broadcasting Development," Proceedings of the
Institute of Radio Engineers 17 (1929): 1409.
26"Atwater Kent Radio," advertisement, Ladies Home
Journal Nov. 1925: 176-177.


175
previous years and lower than it would be in the future. At
that time 528 stations were on the air, compared with 571
the previous year and 694 in 1927.9 Although nighttime
programming at this point was still almost exclusively music
and other light entertainment, daytime programming was
varied, and was aimed specifically at service to the
audience, primarily women in the home.
After the decision in U.S. v. Zenith showed the
Department of Commerce to be powerless to control radio
broadcasting, some listeners-in, especially in urban areas,
tired of the constant battle to extract a clear signal from
the overcrowded ether as stations jumped frequencies or
increased the power of their signals. Also, the newspaper
publishers7 campaign to eliminate clear and complete program
listings made program selection more difficult. American
radio broadcasting in the spring of 1926 was no longer a
novelty, yet programming had not achieved the variety and
professionalism that was to characterize the network era
that would begin in 1927. Still, those segments of the
population who found radio's service useful and who saw
9Figures from United States Department of Commerce,
Annual Report of the Chief of Radio Division to the
Secretary of Commerce for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30f
1926 (Washington, GPO, 1926); United States Department of
Commerce, Selection from Annual Report of the Chief of Radio
Division to the Secretary of Commerce (Washington: GPO,
1927; rptd. in Documents in American Telecommunication
Policy. Yol. 1. ed. John M. Kitross (New York: Arno, 1977).


CHAPTER 2
THE RADIO HOBBY
A few months ago the general public knew of radio,
or rather "wireless," as it knew of dirigible
airshipssomething very modern and interesting,
but of no direct relation to ordinary life.
Current History. April 19221
The remarkable advances in transportation technology of
the nineteenth century were overshadowed by astonishing new
methods of communication that developed with the approach of
the twentieth.2 During the first two decades of the new
century the press frequently publicized the technological
marvels that were becoming increasingly important tools in
its own profession: Morse's telegraph, Bell's telephone,
and the newest wonder, Marconi's wireless.3
-'-William H. Easton, "Wonders of the Radio Telephone,"
Current History 16 (1922): 27.
2The revolution in transportation began in the 1830s
with the coal-burning steamboat and the development of
inland navigation, which was followed by the coming of the
railroads in the 1840s and 1850s, as well as the electric
trolley-car and the emergence of the automobile at the turn
of the century. The advent of powered human flight in the
first decade of the new century provides an apt connection
with the simultaneous beginning of instantaneous
communication through that same air. See Edward Hungerford,
"Transportation and Communication," A Century of Progress.
ed. Charles A. Beard (1932; Freeport: Books for Libraries,
1970) 86-121.
3For a view of electricity as the bridge between the
43


I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Associate Professor of History
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty
of the College of Journalism and Communications and to the
Graduate School and was accepted as partial fulfillment of
the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
December 1993
Dean /' college of Journalism and
Communications
Dean, Graduate School


206
Perry, Armstrong. "How Radio Adds to the Joys of My
Vacation." Popular Science Monthly June 1922: 68.
Perry, Armstrong. "The Itch for Distance." Radio News 4
(1923): 1777.
Perry, Armstrong. "Keeping the Boys at Work." Radio News
3 (1922): 710+
Perry, Armstrong. "Keeping the Public Sold on Radio."
Radio News 4 (1923): 1444.
Perry, Armstrong. "Let the Average Man Know." Radio News 3
(1921): 386+.
Perry, Armstrong. "Listening in on the Universe." Woman/s
Home Companion May 1922: 32+.
Perry, Armstrong. "Radio as Entertainment." Radio News 4
(1922): 1056.
Phillips, H. D. "Farmers are Shown How to Receive Radio
Market Reports." Radio News 3 (1921): 379.
"Phones and Amateur Radio." Editorial. OST March 1922:
29-33.
"Phonograph Sales Show Big Growth." New York Times 22 Jan.
1922, sec. 2: 13.
"Piano Business Thrives." New York Times 19 Dec. 1915,
sec. 2: 18.
"Plainfield Uses Wireless to Advertise City's Merits." New
York Times 15 Jan. 1922: 1.
"A Plea for a Night Off." Radio News 4 (1923): 1401.
"Plug Your Home in on the Radio Line." Advertisement.
Popular Science Monthly Feb. 1922: 103.
"Poets on the Air." Literary Digest 4 Oct. 1930: 21.
Pool, Ithiel de Sola, ed. The Social Impact of the
Telephone. Cambridge: MIT P, 1977.
Pool, Ithiel de Sola. Forecasting the Telephone. Norwood:
Ablex, 1983.
"Popular Science Monthly Gives Lectures by Radio." Popular
Science Monthly Jan. 1922: 23.


97
Telegraph operated WEAF. Elsewhere, smaller radio
manufacturers and retailers also went on the air in order to
increase the size of the listening audience. By early 1923,
222 of 576 broadcasting stations were owned by radio or
electrical manufacturers and dealers; 72 were owned by
educational institutions, 69 by newspapers or other
publications, and 29 by department stores.101 Stations
sprang up in hotels and department stores, at trade schools
and universities.102
In February 1922, American Telephone and Telegraph had
announced plans to open a broadcasting station in the New
York area through which "any one with whom it makes a
contract can send out his own programs just as the company
leases its long distance telephone wire facilities."103 The
station went on the air as WBAY in late July but because of
technical problems moved three weeks later to a new location
with new call letters.104 As WEAF, the AT&T "toll" station
sold its first share-of-the-ether to the Queensboro
101William Peck Banning, Commercial Broadcasting
Pioneer: The WEAF Experiment (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1946)
132-133.
102The government list of broadcasting stations from
May 1922 was reprinted in Archer, History of Radio to 1926
393-397.
13"To Sell Wireless Telephone Service," New York Times
11 Feb. 1922: 14.
104
Banning 87.


78
It is not known how many youngsters stayed home to
admire the sofa, but many began to spend hours fiddling with
wireless radiophone receivers. Some invited friends over
for radio concert dance parties. The wireless hobby,
popular with America's young people since before the war,
grew rapidly.29 Adults generally supported the youngsters'
scientific pastime; according to one article, "At the very
least it is taking the minds of the younger generation from
amusements that may be questionable and giving them
something that will be of tremendous use in the future."30
It was not long, however, before parents and other members
of the family discovered the joys and challenges of radio
listening, and often preempted the receiver and its
headphones (in this era before the loudspeaker made radio a
family pastime).31
The BCL Hobbv
The growth of leisure time early in the twentieth
century fed the development of adult hobbies, encouraged by
29Walter S. Hiatt, "A New Style of Adventures,"
Collier's 18 Oct. 1913: 27.
30"Far-Reaching Influence of the Radio Telephone,"
Electrical World 4 March 1922: 419.
3Fitzgerald wrote of these years in general they had
the feel of "a children's party taken over by the elders,
leaving the children puzzled and rather neglected and rather
taken aback." F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Echoes of the Jazz
Age," Scribner's Magazine Nov. 1931: 460.


100
01' Virginny," "Love's Old Sweet Song," and the "Blue Danube
Waltz," but also included other performances such as
"Readings by Rita Smith, Dramatic Reader," and a "monologist
(Famous Black Face)."112
Detroit's WWJ, which had begun broadcasting in 1920,
offered a broadcast day more than twelve hours long in mid-
1922, featuring evenings of "entertainment and edification
by musicians and speakers" as well as mornings of recorded
music and programming for housewives.113 Many stations
offered Sunday church services, and evening programs for
children. The editorial staff of Outlook magazine arrived
weekly at WJZ's studio beginning in April, to present talks
on current events.114 Popular Science Monthly's editor
spoke monthly.115 In Miami Beach the Chamber of Commerce
gave talks on WQAM to lure tourists, painting word pictures
of the "Playground of the World."116
112"Westinghouse Radiophone Studio, Station KYW,
ProgramWeek of February 27, 1922," Broadcast Pioneers
Library, KYW station file.
113Radio Staff of the Detroit News, WWJThe Detroit
News: The History of Radiophone Broadcasting by the Earliest
and Foremost of Newspaper Stations; Together with
Information on Radio for Amateur and Expert (Detroit:
Evening News, 1922) 24-25.
114"Publisher's Notes," Outlook 14 June 1922: 327
115"Popular Science Monthly Gives Lectures by Radio,"
Popular Science Monthly Jan. 1922: 23.
Dunng this era of long-distance listening, many
northerners could receive signals from Miami. "Miami Beach
Night Featured on Radio with Fine Program," Miami Daily


120
Mail Radio Service to amateur operators, in "hope that these
operators will receive the reports and see that they are
placed in the hands of interested persons."186 In September
1922, RCA advertised to farmers that, in addition to market
and weather reports, "with proper Radiola amplification
units, radio parties may be given even in the barn, where
the young folks can dance to the music from America's famous
orchestras."187 One survey estimated 10,000 radio sets on
farms in 1922, 145,000 in 1923, and 360,000 in 1924.188
Radio was also a boon to the shut-in and the blind.189
Radio listening helped pass the time in hospital wards,190
and one technically astute tuberculosis patient provided
each bed in his sanitarium with a receiver.191
The family woman running a household was also often
186"How Wireless is Helping the Farmer," Popular
Science Monthly Sept. 1921: 59.
187"Radio in the Farmer's Home," advertisement,
Saturday Evening Post 16 Sept. 1922: 114.
188"Statistical Survey of the Radio Business," Radio
Retailing March 1928: 36.
189United States Department of Commerce, Annual Report
of the Commissioner of Navigation to the Secretary of
Commerce for the Fiscal Year ended June 30. 1923
(Washington: GPO, 1923) 18.
190"Wounded Veterans Discover New Joys in Wireless,"
Popular Science Monthly Mar. 1922: 121.
191"He Furnishes Radiophone Cheer to Sick People,
American Magazine Sept. 1922: 65-66.
II


14
utility include (1) Something useful or designed primarily
for use; adapted for general use; having or designed for a
number of useful and practical purposes; capable of serving
in any of various roles or positions; and (2) the capacity
to satisfy human wants or desires.32 A "household utility,"
as the term is used in this study, serves a number of useful
and practical purposes and is adapted for general use by the
household as well as its individual members. The era of
radio's role as household utility is marked by the service's
increased "capacity to satisfy human wants and desires" and
the importance of its role in the social or emotional life
of its listeners. A utility may be either a service or the
piece of eguipment providing such service;33 thus the term
"household utility" may also refer to the radio receiving
set itself.34
Utilities Fortnightly 6 (1930): 344-349.
32"Utility," Webster's Third New International
Dictionary. 1981 ed.
33"Utility," Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary,
1988 ed.
34An alternate definition of "utility" is "A device
used as an adjunct to a more important machine." "Utility,"
Webster's Third New International Dictionary. 1981 ed. As
radio became a household utility, the public's attention
shifted from the receiving apparatus itself to a more
important aspect, the service provided by radio
broadcasting.


29
he implied a change in technical specifications rather than
a change in public use. A deterministic presentmindedness
colors such statements as "ultimately, social and cultural
integration are achieved by the technology's ability to
become invisible in the user's consciousness;"70 in fact, a
technology often becomes transparent because it has achieved
social and cultural integration, in spite of what later
generations might consider a technology of intrusive
complexity.71
Cultural Histories
James Carey has called cultural history "the study of
consciousness in the past."72 Cultural historians emphasize
the need to examine a phenomenon in its social context or
Zeitgeist in order to fully understand the experiences of
the past.73
Susan Douglas's 1979 dissertation, which became the
1987 book Inventing American Broadcasting 1888-1922, is a
70Volek 241
71A short history of the radio receiver from 1922 to
1927 by Leslie J. Page, Jr. points to the latter year as the
"beginning of the broadcasting era." The receiver itself is
the "indispensable utility" in that study. Leslie J. Page,
Jr., "The Nature of the Broadcast Receiver and its Market in
the United States from 1922 to 1927," Journal of
Broadcasting 4 (1959): 174-182.
72Carey, "The Problem" 4.
73Startt and Sloan 44.


173
wireless communication primarily from magazines, and about
the applications of that technology from articles in
newspapers. However, during the 1920s the general-interest
press seems to have offered very few "how to become a
listener-in" or "how to choose a radio" articles. Many
newspapers during the first half of the decade offered
weekly columns of technical advice for both the seasoned
partici