November 22, 1932 - School was about the same as usual today. Read and listened to the radio this evening.
November 23, 1932 - Four people knocked at our door this p.m. Ray, Happy Stamm, Mom and Louise Nurnberg, Harry H. was at the school this noon. Ray and Mom went to Norfolk with Ola's this p.m. I went over to Strate's after school and got my check. When Ray got back we went up to Uncle Max, got our duck for tomorrow, had supper. Stopped at Uncle Hans' on way home.
November 24, 1932 - We had our dinner late this afternoon. I ate too much and felt rather miserable of course. Mom, Ray, and I went out to Ola's this evening. We played Michigan.
This made me think of the lady who sold me two of my goats. She was almost 10 years younger than me, but I could still chuckle and shake my head when she told me this story. She was talking to a person much younger than both of us; someone raised on much more contemporary technology. Kathy was saying something about how she enjoyed the time she spent milking her goats -- she liked the calm and the process itself and listening to classical music on the radio while she milked. The young person said, "Radio?" He or she didn't know what Kathy was talking about.
I found this on a PBS website about radio in the 1930s:
For the radio, the 1930s was a golden age. At the start of the decade 12 million American households owned a radio, and by 1939 this total had exploded to more than 28 million.
But why was this ‘talking telegram’ so popular?
As technology improved radios became smaller and cheaper. They became the central piece of furniture in the average family’s living room, with parents and children alike, crowding around the set to hear the latest instalment of their favourite show.
Radio may have had such mass appeal because it was an excellent way of uniting communities of people, if only virtually.
It provided a great source of entertainment with much loved comedians such as Jack Benny and Fred Allen making their names on the wireless.
It marked the advent of the soap opera, a running story that people could return to, with characters they could sympathise with and love. The series ‘Our Gal Sunday’ - about a small town girl finding love with a wealthy Englishman - had the young women of the country glued to their sets.
Radio programs provided a source of inspiration, with heroes like the Lone Ranger and The Shadow getting embroiled in deadly capers. But they also promoted old-fashioned American family values and gave people a model to live by. On Wednesday nights at 8pm when the public tuned in to ‘One Man’s Family’ they were greeted with the opening: ‘Dedicated to the mothers and fathers of the younger generation and to their bewildering offspring.’
News broadcasts also influenced the way the public experienced current affairs. When the Hindenburg airship exploded in 1937, reporter Herb Morrison was on the scene, recording the events to be broadcast the following day.
But above all the radio provided a way to communicate like never before. Franklin Roosevelt’s ‘fireside chats’ helped the population feel closer to their president than ever.
By the end of the decade radio had exacted quite an influence on the American media. Advertisers capitalised on radio’s popularity and the idea of the ‘sponsor’ was born. Radio also helped establish the national broadcasting networks such as NBC and CBS, still present to this day.
After the 1930s the popularity of radio began to decline at the hands of newer, more visual technologies. But the influence of the ‘golden age of radio’ on the American way of life will never be forgotten.