Radio in the 1930's



Archive Used: American Studies

Multimedia Exhibits: A Day in Radio                

Initiatory Questions:

    1.  As the day grows longer, are the program styles changing?  Throughout the day, what is the specific            target audience?  How does this reflect American culture in the 1930's?
    2.  What type of stereotypes are present in the advertisements?
3.  How do the fictional programs represent the attitudes, ideals, and norms in the 1930's?
    4.  What type of music was playing at the time?
    5.  What type of news was being presented to the listeners?  What do you think was left out of the news broadcasts today or paid too much attention to?  Why?

Student Developed Questions and Activities:

After students have read the broadcasts and answered these questions, they may want to gain more information about radio in the 1930's such as:  How many people had radio's, what kind of people had access to radio's, the backgrounds of the sponsors or advertisers, etc.  Students will also want to know what type of events were occurring throughout the 1930's across the nation, as well as local events in Philadelphia, where the station broadcasted from.

Follow-Up Activities:

    1.  Create a radio broadcast of your own using a format similar to the one that was just presented to you on the web.  You can choose to use any decade after the 1930's.  Include news of the day, popular music that would have been played, and programs and sports broadcasts that may have been featured.
    2. Compare and contrast local Philadelphia newspapers to the radio broadcast.  What things were similar?  How did these two mediums of communication diverge from one another?
    3.  Compare and contrast the type of programming
of today and the type of programming you heard from the 1930's?  Is the programming similar or different?  If so, how and why had it changed?


Jason Garnar
The Family Foundation School, Inc.
Hancock, NY
NCSS Workshop, UVA, Summer, 2001