Radio Gets A Policeman

When former President Hoover was secretary of commerce under Harding and Coolidge, he was called upon to cope with a new and perplexing activity.

In the years immediately following the First World War, I had a boy who, like all boys of that period, had gone daft on wireless; and the house was cluttered with the apparatus which he had assembled. It was demanded of me that I listen in on his crystal set, which I did, so I had some interest in wireless before I became secretary of commerce. Read more »

Time Machine

25 Years Ago

December 17, 1981 Operatives from the Red Brigade, an Italian terrorist group, kidnap U.S. Brig. Gen. James Dozier in Verona. He will be rescued after six weeks in captivity.

50 Years Ago

November 6, 1956 In a rematch of the 1952 presidential election, President Dwight Eisenhower wins a second term in a landslide over Adlai Stevenson. Read more »

1906 - The World’s First Dj

On December 24, in a wooden shack crammed with equipment in the seaside Massachusetts community of Brant Rock, a 40-year-old inventor named Reginald Fessenden made the world’s first radio broadcast. The program consisted of a phonograph recording of a Handel piece followed by Fessenden playing “O, Holy Night” on the violin, reading from the Bible, and wishing his listeners (mostly crewmen on United Fruit Company ships, which had been equipped with his apparatus) a merry Christmas.Read more »

Forgotten Laughter: The Fred Allen Story

The dour radio comedian regarded his work as totally ephemeral, but a new generation of comics has built upon his foundations

Satire, according to the playwright George S. Kaufman, “is what closes Saturday night,” but for seventeen years Fred Allen used his satiric brand of humor to create some of the nation’s most popular radio comedy. Read more »

Radio Grows Up

How the novelty item of 1920 became the world-straddling colossus of 1940

IN 1921 Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, who was charged with what meager regulation of the airwaves there was, called radio “an instrument of beauty and learning.” Waldemar Kaempffert, who, as editor of Scientific American , had followed the beginnings of the technology, in 1922 imagined “a radio mother … crooning songs and telling bedtime stories” while “some future Einstein” could elaborate his theories “to a whole world with an ear cocked to catch … his voice as it wells out of the Read more »

“Good Evening, Everybody”

An Interview With Lowell Thomas

As the lights of London’s Covent Garden dimmed that early August evening in 1919, few people, including the young narrator waiting nervously in the wings, sensed the historic nature of the occasion. A full house of formally dressed English gentry listened expectantly through the overture by the Royal Welsh Guards Band as the rising curtain unveiled the Moonlight on the Nile. An exotic dancer glided onstage, while a tenor voice in the background spread a lyric Mohammedan call to prayer through the vast theater. Read more »

Grand Ole Opry

The story of the world’s longest-running radio program and the extraordinary American music it helped make popular

The Nashville winter of 1974 was the Grand Ole Opry’s last season at the Ryman Auditorium, its home for thirty-three years.Read more »