HISTORY OF THE OLD TIME RADIO
Before Television, Radio was the dominant
home entertainment medium.
Old Time Radio (OTR) and the Golden Age of Radio
refer to a period of radio
programming in the
United States lasting from the proliferation of
radio broadcasting in the early 1920s until
television's replacement of radio as the
dominant home entertainment medium in the late
1950s. During this period, when radio was
dominant and the airwaves were filled with a
variety of radio formats and genres, people
regularly tuned in to their favorite radio
programs. In fact, according to a 1947 C. E.
Hooper survey, 82 out of 100 Americans were
found to be radio listeners.
Radio content in the Golden Age of Radio had its
origins in the theatrophone. Broadcasting began
in the 1880s and 1890s with audio recordings of
musical acts and other vaudeville. These were
sent to people by means of telephone and, later,
through phonograph cylinders and
elements, such as effects and sight gags, were
adapted to have sound equivalents. In addition,
visual objects and scenery were converted to
have audio descriptions.
Christmas Eve 1906, Reginald Fessenden is said
to have broadcast the first radio program,
consisting of some violin playing and passages
from the Bible. While Fessenden's role as an
inventor and early radio experimenter is not in
dispute, several contemporary radio researchers
have questioned whether the Christmas Eve
broadcast took place, or whether the date was in
fact several weeks earlier. The first apparent
published reference to event was made in 1928 by
H.P. Davis, Vice President of Westinghouse, in a
lecture given at Harvard University. In 1932
Fessenden cited the Chistmas Eve 1906 broadcast
event in a letter he wrote to Vice President S.M.
Kinter of Westinghouse. Fessenden's wife Helen
recounts the broadcast in her book Fessenden:
Builder of Tomorrows published in 1940, eight
years after Fessenden's death. The issue of
whether the 1906 Fessenden broadcast actually
happened is discussed in Halper and Sterling's
article "Seeking the Truth About Fessenden"
and also in James O'Neal's essays.  An
annotated argument supporting Fessenden as the
world's first radio broadcaster was offered in
2006 by Cambridge University educated Dr. John
S. Belrose, Radioscientist Emeritus at the
Communications Research Centre Canada, in his
essay entitled "Fessenden's 1906 Christmas Eve
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