America experienced a radio craze midway through the 1920s. There were a few cities that broadcast commercially in 1920, but few people had access to receiving sets at the time, except for amateur radio operators. In the early years, Radiocomunicacion wasn’t even called radio; newspapers called it the radiophone or the wireless telephone. But only two years later, there were several hundred radio stations broadcasting, and radios could be bought in stores – although hobbyists still tried to build their own, to varying degrees of success. As a result, the word “radio” became the term used to describe the new invention that everyone wished they had at home.
In 1922, radio was unique: it was the first mass medium to take viewers to an event in real time, and viewers were astonished.
We tend to take radio for granted today; we use it to listen to news, music, and sports. But in 19Yet radio was unique in 1922: it was the first mass medium to broadcast an event in real time, and the listeners were astonisheduddenlOn the radio set, a popular orchestra suddenly began to play.t leaving theirOn some stations, listeners could hear the latest news headlines as well as baseball games and inspirational talks without leaving their homes.ling from one cDuring an era when traveling from one city to another could take hours (the popular Model T Ford had a top speed of 40-45 mph, and highways were yet to be invented), listeners could hear stations from distant cities over the radio.ld attend a concert featuring a famous vocalist, but now, anyone who had a receiving set could hear that singer’s music. In a racially segregated America, radio gave some musicians of color a chance to be heard by thousands of people. Radio was described as a means to relieve loneliness especially for those who lived in rural areas or on farms.
In magazines and newspapers, radio inspired “utopian hopes and bold predictions.” The medium was also lauded as having helped the blind gain access to the world around them. In addition to this, as a sign of progress in America, radio was an thing no home should be without, not even the White House: President Harding was an avid radio listener, and he had a set installed near his desk, so that he could listen whenever he liked.
Early Concerns and the Impacts
Like any new invention, critics were quick to point out that there were a number of problems with it. The editors of newspapers and magazines were worried that radio listening would replace the buying and reading of their publications. There was also concern expressed among librarians about less people reading books. In the past, teachers have been concerned that students might not do their own homework, or simply repeat what they heard on the radio. It was also feared that people might stop attending live concerts beThe owners of baseball teams were also concerned. If the games were televised, people wouldn’t come to the ballpark to watch them. The clergy expressed a similar concern.
If sermons were broadcast, wouldn’t attendance at church dSocial critics worried that conversations would suffer when everyone was listening to the radio.adio. Meanwhile, inventthe inventor Lee de Forest expressed the hopes of many who hoped radio stations would avoid the “crude” dance music that young people enjoyed, and encourage them to listen to “good music”erably classical and opera).