Broadcasting History Links

Articles By Elizabeth McLeod

Radio Moments of the Century   An annotated compendium of the most memorable or influential broadcasts and personalities from 1920 thru 1962

Documenting Early Radio   An examination of the format and content of known broadcast recordings prior to 1932. A work in progress.

The Network Paley Didn't Found  Unearthing the real story behind the creation of the Columbia Broadcasting System

 WGY and the Birth of Radio Drama  A look at the WGY Players and the earliest known radio drama series

 Dramatic Scoring for Radio  An historic overview of the use of music in radio drama

 Local Voices -- The Don Lee and Yankee Networks  The two leading regional networks of the 1930s and 1940s.

 Max Jordan -- NBC's Forgotten Pioneer  A contemporary of Murrow and Shirer, he took great delight in scooping his CBS rivals on major stories of the late 1930s -- but then left journalism to answer a Higher Calling.

  Amos 'n' Andy In Person  An overview the lost years of this complex radio landmark, tying in with the full length book "The Original Amos 'n' Andy: Freeman Gosden, Charles Correll, and the 1928-43 Radio Serial," published by McFarland & Co.

 Radio's Forgotten Years  A review and analysis of Depression-era radio programs and personalities

 From Hawthorne to Hard-Sell   The story behind WEAF and the development of "toll broadcasting".

Nitwits of the Networks  A look at the radio career of George Burns and Gracie Allen

Charlie's Big Night  The 1937 "Mae West Affair" that inflamed the issue of Broadcast Censorship

Tonight The Program's Gonna Be Different  The Life and Times of Ed Wynn, the Fire Chief

Forgotten Laughter  Revisiting the Radio Works of Fred Allen

General Broadcast History Resources

 Jeff Miller's Broadcasting History Pages   A valuable compendium of information from broadcasting industry trade publications, government records, and various experts in the field. Covers radio from the early 1920s to the present -- and television as well.  Highly recommended!

Broadcasting In Chicago 1921-1989  An excellent overview of the early years of Windy City broadcasting, with an emphasis on NBC's Merchandise Mart studio complex. Rare photos, articles, and a virtual tour. Comprehensive and useful.

Library Of American Broadcasting  Formerly known as the Broadcast Pioneers Library, this Maryland-based institution is an important repository of scripts and recordings of interest to the broadcast historian. Copies may be obtained for non-commercial research.

First Generation Radio Archives  A volunteer-based non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of original radio recordings.

  Lou Genco's Old Time Radio Pages   The Web's leading site for Old Time Radio's listening and collecting community.

John Schneider's San Francisco Radio History Collection  An impressive and detailed study of early radio's West Coast capital. Detailed station histories, programming schedules, and profiles of important San Francisco radio personalities of the 1920s and 1930s.

Jerry Haendiges' Vintage Radio Logs  One of Old Time Radio's most respected collectors, Jerry has assembled program logs for hundreds of series dating back to the early 1930s. A valuable resource for researching specific programs. Both network and syndicated shows are included.

 Boston Radio Archives Information on broadcasting in New England. Much of the emphasis is contemporary, but there are several valuable historical articles by Donna Halper reviewing radio's earliest days in the region.

 United States Early Radio History   Valuable articles by Thomas H. White  on the develoment of radio in the US from 1900 to 1925. Also included are extracts from a number of Government documents related to the earliest years of the broadcasting industry.

 Library of Congress Recorded Sound Reference Center  The home of the largest collection of broadcast recordings and historical documentation in the United States. General information for researchers on how to access and get the most out of the resources available.

Specific Topics

 The World's Earliest Television Recordings -- Restored!  Don McLean's study of recordings made using the Baird 30-line mechanical television process offers a fascinating look into the evolution of video technology. Don has restored experimental recordings made in the Baird Laboratories,  as well as amateur airchecks of experimental BBC telecasts dating to 1933. Real Video samplings of the recordings may be viewed. One of the most fascinating broadcast-history sites on the Web!

The Alexandra Palace Television Society  An historic group dedicated to the preservation of the early years of British television -- including an examination of the earliest known moving images of all-electronic televison, 2 minutes and 46 seconds of off-the-screen footage dating to November 1938.

The Restelli Collection  An online album of one-of-a-kind off-screen still photographs taken for Dr. Vladimir K. Zworykin providing the earliest known visual documentation of all-electronic television. Most of the images date to 1933-34.

 The Radio Propaganda Page A detailed look at WW2 era propaganda broadcasters on both sides of the war. Special emphasis on Iva Toguri, who, despite what most people believe, never broadcast as "Tokyo Rose." Real Audio excerpts and even a few complete broadcasts are offered.

Ed Reitan's Color Television History  The evolution of color telecasting was a complicated process, with political obstacles almost as difficult to overcome as the technical obstacles. Ed Reitan is a technician well-versed in early color TV systems, and offers a detailed study, with plenty of illustrations

 Fireside Chats  A complete listing of the twenty-eight "Fireside Chat" broadcasts delivered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt between March 12, 1933 and June 12, 1944. Text transcripts of each of the talks are included.

 The Test Card Gallery  Exploring the history of the humble television test pattern, from the 1930s to the present. The emphasis at this British site is on the BBC-TV Test Card series, A thru G -- but there are also examples of test patterns from the US and elsewhere.  Lots of detailed images and fascinating historical descriptions.

 Uncle Don Never Said It!  One of radio's most enduring legends is the so-called "little bastards" remark attributed to WOR kiddie host Uncle Don Carney. Here is conclusive proof, courtesy of the Urban Legends Reference Pages, that the incident never happened. It's also a dramatic illustration of how deeply myths and legends have contaminated the true history of broadcasting.

 Preservation Issues

 Magnetic Tape Storage and Handling  A basic examination of archival issues faced by collectors of tape recordings. While much of the emphasis is on video tape, the information is equally applicable to audio recordings.

 The Preservation Of Recorded Sound Materials  An overview by Gilles St. Laurent of the Music Division of the National Library Of Canada of the preservation problems posed by all types of sound recordings, from wax cylinders to compact discs. Proper care of instantaneous lacquer discs is explored in detail.  (Article presented at Graham Newton's Audio Preservation website -- check out his other features and services!)

Research Tools

 National Archives Information Locator Database  The National Archives and Records Administration holds a substantial collection of broadcast recordings dating to the 1920s. Highlights include the David Goldin collection of discs from WOR, New York and tape copies of the complete Milo Ryan Phonoarchive from the University of Washington -- which includes a near complete run of CBS morning newscasts from 1939 thru the mid-1940s, as recorded at KIRO, Seattle. Most of the radio material is found in Record Group 200. New listings are being added to this database regularly. Audio copies of much of the material may be obtained by researchers.

The Library of Congress SONIC Database  A searchable online database offering researchers easy access to documentation on more than 100,000 broadcast recordings in the Library of Congress's NBC Radio Network Collection, from 1931 thru 1986.

NBC History Files Finding Aid  A partial online index to NBC historical documents held by the Library of Congress. While the documents themselves are not accessible on line, the finding aid offers a useful starting point for in-person research.

RadioGOLDINdex An online database documenting more than 70,000 broadcast recordings originally collected by J. David Goldin, founder of the former Radio Yesteryear old-time-radio distribution company.

Vanderbilt Television News Archive  Located on the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, the Television News Archive is the nation's most important collection of television's nightly news broadcasts. Since August 5, 1968, the Archive has made off-the-air videotape recordings of the nightly news broadcasts of NBC, ABC, and CBS -- and in many cases these recordings are the only surviving versions of the complete telecasts. The collection is fully searchable on line, and reference copies of individual programs -- or individual stories -- may be rented by academic or private researchers.

Text Copyright (c) 1998-2006 by Elizabeth McLeod  All Rights Reserved