The Radio

‍‍ | Differences/Similarities | Stations | Radio Act of 1927 | Historical Significance | Bibliography Instead of today, whereas most Americans mostly listen to the radio for music, in the 1920’s the radio was used for other things such as plays, and--even more than now--news. Radio broadcasting began in 1920 with the historic broadcast of KDKA. Not very many Americans had heard the voices or music but they were crazed because of this broadcast. This led to the mass production of the radio. Unlike today the radio was sold out of market and families would stand in line filling out sheets to receive their radio. The more radios they sold the more stations that were created which led to the Radio Act of 1927, a responsibility of the Federal Radio Commision‍.

Radio look a lot different from today.


There were many differences from the radio in the 1920's and today but there are also similarities. In the 1920's, like today there was AM but unlike today there are FM and DAB 24/7.[1] T.Vs were not invented in this time period so even more than today, the radio was used to hear the news. If people did listen to music it was mostly jazz. ‍As like today there are many other types of music such as rap, r&b, country, & rock-n-roll.

It was predicted that by 1925 approximentaly 3 million americans would personally own a radio. [2]

Today, when you listen to music you hear the D.Js answering people's song requests. But back in the 20's they had transmitters which allowed them to radio requests for specific music. Also, there were fewer commercials; ‍ Now, music is pre-recorded but in the 1920's broadcast hours were restricted & content was strictly scruntinized. See the radio in the 1920's isn't so different from today after al‍l.

The radio in the 1920s.


All of the following stations played in the 1920's played just about the same stuff. In the morning they would play news & talk. Around lunch time they would play music, and around dinner or night time stations would play stuff to entertainment the families.
The staff played in the mornings was like what we see on T.V. in the morning. It would be people advertising things & the news which is the weather & important things going on around you & your area. The music that they mostly played was jazz & opera sometimes the blues. The type depended on what they liked. The entertainment was like comedy, people talking about like in the mornings but trying to be funny. And at night the news would be played to keep everyone aware of whats going on‍.‍

Young boys listen to KYW.
Woman focused on her news.

Radio Act of 1927

Protesting free speech.

Due to the chaos of radio broadcasting, Congress issued the Radio Act of 1927. The act led to several free speech issues, resolving in favor of the Progressive concepts of public interests. Limiting free speech intended radio licensees to interpret & practice free speech. Congress then feared that radios potential power to prompt radical political or social reform.

But instead they created indecent language & monopolized opinions. The FRC was empowered to protect listeners from those who would not operate radio for "public interest, convenience & necessity. Congress finally passes the Radio Act of 1927 signed into law on Feb. 23, 1927. This transferred most of the responsibility for radio to a newly created Federal ‍Radio Commission
The Federal Radio Commission was responsible for the radio.

Historical Significance

Without the radio in the 1920s, half of the population would of been lost on their current events. As it would be the same as today, if you didn't have the time to watch the news on T.V. then you would have to listen to it on the way to work in the morning. The radio gives entertainment, when I'm bored I listen to the radio. It helps time to pass by. The 1920s would of not been the same without the radio because ‍ the‍‍y ‍would of not been up to date with the news and would have not been entertained. The radio, I believe led to the invention of the television and without the radio there would of been no T.V


  1. ^ Sullivan, John "Meet Me at the Third Annua." Chicago Radio Show 1924. Access on May 1, 2000.
  2. ^