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1924 __ Will Radio Make the People the Government ?
Comment : “Democracy is Government by public opinion and radio broadcasting is bringing politics into the front parlor - Will those who listen vote ?.One afternoon during the Democratic Convention in July, a Texas delegate remarked, “This will cost Texas a million dollars in its cotton crop through farmers staying away from the fields to listen in on the radio. But”, he added, “it’s worth it. It’ll let everybody know just who’ who and what’s what in this convention.” [...] Broadcasting Congress.That is the kind of thing that is going to be greatly accelerated by the radio. We have already had the radio for the first time this year in the conventions and in the acceptance ceremonies of the candidates. undoubtedly the proceedings of Congress will soon be broadcast, I think. A public that got so much interest out of the Democratic Convention will insist on the same access to Congress. And Congress as a whole won’t be disposed to deny it. There is already a bill pending providing for the installation. The bill was introduced by Senator Howell of Nebraska. [...] He thinks strongly that the radio should be facilitated in every possible way as a medium between the people and the Government. [...] And if you assent to the principle of government by public opinion, you must assent also to the doctrine that the wider the dissemination of public information, and the greater the number of persons enabled to participate in the formation of common judgments and common reactions in the shape of emotion, the more logical it is. - How osradio going to balance political fortunes ?.Possibly we shall have some erratic, some curious and unanticipated results in the fortunes of individual politicians and leaders. There appears to be such a thing as a radio personality. In the present campaign it is claimed that Coolidge has it, while Davis has not. A correspondent of a Democratic paper, Mr. Charles Michelson of the New York “World”, wrote about this : “Mr. Coolidge is no orator. There is a wire edge to his voice, due in some degree to the regular nasal twang of the thirty-third degree Yankee and in part to his meticulous enunciation of each syllable; but according to the professors of the new art, he has a perfect radio voice. The twang and shrillness disappear somewhere along the aerial, and he sounds through the ether with exact clearness as sell as softness. Mr. Davis, on the contrary, has a voice which to the direct auditor has that bell-like quality of resonance that doubles the quality of his delightful rhetoric. Wia radio, bowever, this muffles and fogs to some extent. The radio was perfected just in time for Mr. Coolidge. His adversary has all the best of it in presence and personal magnetism. [...]”. - Are your speakers going to be different ?.I have speculated a good deal, without arriving at any very competent conclusions, about what the effect of the radio will be on Congress as a whole and on individual politicains. Just what type of public speaker will the people perfer to listen to ? [...] - Radio needs a “Get off the Earth” sign.The radio so far provides no means for the listener to shout “Get off the Wire !”,or “Get off the air !” or “Get off the Earth !’ or whatever else it is that an irritated radio listener should say to a politicain who bores him, or excites his opposition. Of course, the radio listener, so far as he is concerned individually, has the most effective possible means of giving a boresome speaker permission to “take the air” in another than the radio meaning of that phrase. All the listener has to do is to turn his dials and put his mind on the more agreeable harmony of a concert. The difficulty is, that this method lacks a certain kind of personal satisfaction. It does not provide the listener with a mechanism for conveying to the speaker the information that the listener is through with him. It fails to give the listener that agreeable and wholesome outlet for a surging emotion that comes from rising in his seat and marching stiff-necked toward the door. At the same time, it has compensations for the less comabtive and the more courteous. From a radio audience you can tiptoe your way out without suffering the embarrassment of the feeling that you may be disturbing your fellow-auditors. [...] The fundamental merit of the radio in Congress will be that it will enable the public to get its information direct [and won’t be dependent on the vicarious censorship of the newspaper reporter].”. (Mark Sullivan, In “RADIO BROADCAST”, Vol. VI, no. 1, NOVEMBER 1924, Garden City, N. Y., DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY, 1924, pp. 19-24)
Urls : http://www.archive.org/stream/radiobroadcast06gardrich%23page/18/mode/2up (last visited )

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