FM radio Edwin Armstrong developed frequency modulation technology in the 1920s and gave the first successful demonstration in 1933. Between 1938 and 1940, 16 experimental FM stations were launched. The FCC approved commercial FM broadcasting in 1941 and established 42-50 MHZ as the FM frequency band.
Growth was slow during the war years. In 1945, there were just 52 commercial stations in operation, although many more were licensed and under construction.
In 1945, the FCC needed to make room in the radio spectrum for television channels. To accomplish this, they moved the FM frequency band to 88-108 MHZ and ordered all stations to move to the new frequencies by 1948. This decision slowed the growth of the new industry even more. In 1947, there were only 142 FM stations in existence.
During the transition period, you could buy a converter kit for your old radio, or you could buy a new radio with dual FM bands. The industry grew rapidly after the frequency move was complete, and by 1950 there were approximately 600 FM stations on the air.
radio & prerecorded shows Most radio shows were performed live, often with a studio audience. NBC and CBS banned prerecorded shows completely. The only records you would hear on a network show were sound effects and wartime news reports.
Syndicated shows on transcription disc were aired by independent stations and on smaller networks where no recording ban was in effect. Stations kept this practice to a minimum because they were afraid that audiences would reject "canned" radio programs. This policy placed an added burden on the performers, who were often required to do their shows at odd hours and give repeat performances for listeners in different time zones.
The advent of magnetic tape recording soon changed everything. When tape became available in 1947, one of its first supporters was Bing Crosby. He felt so strongly about the new technology that he switched from NBC to ABC when the latter gave him permission to record his shows. In the late 1940s, tape was also used by some stations to create delayed broadcasts for areas that weren't on Daylight Savings Time. The radio industry was finally convinced that recording was a good thing, and by 1950 airing prerecorded shows was a standard practice. A disclaimer preceded all prerecorded shows, stating that the program was airing "from transcription."
33 1/3 RPM: the professional speed 78 RPM records contained four minutes of music per side. When movies began to use soundtracks in the mid 1920s, it became necessary to find a longer recording format that could be synchronized with an 11-minute reel of film. A larger record with a slower recording speed was adopted for this purpose, and it became known as the professional speed. Radio stations and record companies used this speed for their transcriptions and wax master recordings before tape recorders were available in 1947.
transcription discs Syndicated radio shows were recorded on 16-inch transcription discs. Most stations also recorded live shows for posterity on discs. These records were made of shellac, acetate or lacquer-coated aluminum, and were recorded at the professional speed of 33 1/3 RPM. They were also four inches wider than the modern LP and extremely fragile.
magnetic tape Machines that use magnetic paper and tape for sound recording were developed in Germany in the 1930s. At the close of World War II, American troops found some of these machines and sent them back to the U.S., where they were copied and improved. Magnetic tape recorders became available to the American public in 1947, where they transformed the radio and recording industry almost overnight. Radio stations adopted tape for their transcriptions and delayed broadcasts, as the sound quality of tape was a big improvement over the discs currently in use.
happy holidays Lionel Barrymore treated us to his portrayal of Ebenzer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, a role he played on the radio nearly every year from 1934 to 1953. On a more modern note, we looked forward to accompanying Jack Benny on his yearly shopping excursions every holiday season. First broadcast in 1937, the adventures of The Cinnamon Bear delighted listeners young and old.
The Green Hornet Was Kato Japanese? Did the attack on Pearl Harbor prompt radio producers to change his nationality?
Pearl Harbor In the 48 hours following the attack on Pearl Harbor, announcer Rod O'Connor at WCCO in Minneapolis broke into regular programming so often that he finally joked, "We interrupt the news flashes to bring you a regularly scheduled program."
Grand Ole Opry In 1943, the popular Nashville country music show moved to the Ryman Auditorium, where it would remain until the 1970s.
almost like being there In the 1940s, there were two ways to broadcast a sporting event over the radio. In a remote broadcast, live audio reports were sent from the venue directly to the transmitter over phone lines. This was a very expensive option, and was generally only used for local games and major network events. Most sportscasters resorted to the radio recreation. A wire service telegrapher sent play-by-play reports to the station, which were read on the air and embellished with sound effects and fictional details. This made listeners feel as if they were actually listening to the game.
variety Fitch Bandwagon Camel Caravan Stage Door Canteen Drene Time Texaco Star Theater Eddie Cantor: -----It's Time To Smile -----The Pabst Blue Ribbon Show The Spike Jones Show Major Bowes Amateur Hour Ted Mack Amateur Hour Rudy Vallee: -----The Drene Show -----The Sealtest Village Store The Kate Smith Hour Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts
crime & law Charlie Chan Crime Club Richard Diamond, Private Detective Perry Mason Casey, Crime Photographer Mr. District Attorney Boston Blackie Sam Spade Adventures Of Philip Marlowe Mr. & Mrs. North Counterspy Gangbusters True Detective Mysteries Mr. Keen, Tracer Of Lost Persons
"Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? ....the Shadow knows."
drama One Man's Family Joyce Jordan M.D. Myrt & Marge Our Gal Sunday The Romance Of Helen Trent Amanda Of Honeymoon Hill Life Can Be Beautiful Today's Children Portia Faces Life Guiding Light Backstage Wife Pepper Young's Family When A Girl Marries Against The Storm Young Doctor Malone Ma Perkins This Is Nora Drake Claudia & David
anthologies Lux Radio Theater Campbell's Short Short Story Radio City Playhouse Family Theater Chicago Theatre Of The Air Campbell Playhouse Grand Central Station Big Town Columbia Presents Corwin Quiet Please Hallmark Playhouse My True Story First Nighter Grand Hotel