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1924 __ Are Women Undesirable - Over the Radio ?
Comment : “After having writtenfor the June number of this department a nice little comment regarding women announcers, and one such announcer in particular, came the discovery, when this same number was published, of a letter in the department, “What Our Readers Write Us”, denouncing all women announcers because, the voice of a woman when she cannot be seen “is very undesirable, and to many, both men and women, displeasing”. The man responsible for this opinion bases it on his experience with the sales of phonograph records. Various manufacturers lost several thousands of dollars, he tells us, before they learned that the public will not pay money to listen to the talking record of a woman’s voice. This is interesting. And when one stops to consider the matter it is impossible to recall a phonograph record of a monologue by a woman. Yet some of the highest paid women in vaudeville are the women heard only in monologues. Does this mean that when a woman is speaking she may be fascinating as long as she remains in sight, and becomes displeasing the moment she cannot be seen although she may go right on talking just as delightfully as the moment before ? That is exactly what it means provided the experience of the phonograph men is all the evidence needed to prove so radical a statement. But is it logical to draw final conclusions regarding so important a matter from one medium of experiment ? It scarcely seems so. In its fundamentals the question is one for the psychologists to deal with. Perhaps, now that the radio is bringing women daily before the microphone, psychologists will delve into the subject and, if their conclusions agree with that of the phonograph dealers, we shall then know the cause for this strange difference in the effect produced - in the opinion of some - between the voices of men and women when the speakers are invisible. [...]”. (“The Listeners Point of View”, conducted by Jennie Irene Mix, In “RADIO BROADCAST”, Vol. V, no. 4, AUGUST 1924, Garden City, N. Y., DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY, 1924, pp. 332-338)“[...] Mr. Martin P. Rice, manager of broadcasting station WGY at Schenectady, disposes of this moot question briefly and with emphasis. Here is what he has to say : « It would be about as logical arbitrarily to condemn all women’s voices for radio broadcasting as it would be to ascribe all the known virtues to women and all the vices to men. Women, as a class, have not had opportunities to adapt their voices to varying audiences and auditoriums. An insistent high-pitched voice may readily develop unpleasant cahracteristics, but this is just as true when the speaker appears in person as when she addresses a large audience by radio. Women have decided to take a part in public life as well as in domestic life, and they will master the technic of radio if they have not already done so ». That scores one for the women. « Women as radio entertainers were pioneers at KDKA », Mr. W.W. Rodgers, of the publicity department of the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company at East Pittsburgh, « They have had a definite place on the radio schedule since, and I cannot remember one radio program presented by KDKA which did not have at least one woman participating. As I remember, the worst lecturer and the best singer I ever heard by radio were women. But a woman speaker is rarely a success, and if I were a broadcast manager, which I am not, I would permit few women lecturers to appear. The reason is that their voices do not carry the appeal, and so, whatever the effect desired, it is lost on the radio audience. One of the chief reasons for this is that few women have voices with distinct personality. It is my opinion that women depend upon everything else but the voice for their appeal. Their voices are flat or they are shrill, and they are usually pitched far too high to be modulated correctly. Another reason is taht women on the radio somehow don’t seem able to become familiar with their audiences, to have that ‘clubby’ feeling toward the listeners which is immediately felt and enjoyed. Still another thing that is lacking in most women before the microphone is summed up in that trite old phrase, ‘sense of humor’. I didn’t believe this at one time, but now - well, I think it’s true. We need quite a bit of light and airy stuff, or humorous quirks by radio. To sum the matter up, women who are heard by radio seem unable to let themselves go. They are too self-contained to carry a real friendly feeling out past the transmitting station, through the ether, and into the homes of the radio audiences ». Passing from the opinion of one expert to another we come to Mr. Corley W. Kirby, director of station WWJ at Detroit. As do the majority of the others, Mr. Kirby rather brushes aside the premise that no woman under any conditions whatsoever can be acceptable to a radio audience when she is speaking. He states his position without equivocation.”. (“The Listeners Point of View”, conducted by Jennie Irene Mix, In “RADIO BROADCAST”, Vol. V, no. 5, SEPTEMBER 1924, Garden City, N. Y., DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY, 1924, pp. 391-397)
Urls : http://www.archive.org/stream/radiobroadcast05gardrich%23page/304/mode/2up (last visited ) http://www.archive.org/stream/radiobroadcast05gardrich%23page/390/mode/2up (last visited )

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