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Radio pioneers project : oral history, 1950-1974.

Project: Radio pioneers project.
(see all project interviews)
Phys. Desc. :Transcripts 4,816 leaves. Miscellaneous papers relating to oral history.
Location: Columbia Center for Oral History
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Scope and Contents

A comprehensive record of the early history of radio contributed by engineers, station and network executives, government officials, writers, directors, and performers. Scientific matters discussed include types of sending apparatus, early experiments with wireless, radio antennas, wireless and radio transmitters, the Alexanderson alternator, early experiments with television, transmitters for radio stations, mobile radio units, problems of engineering in network broadcasts, manufacturers' laboratory research, and the effects of World War II on radio engineering. The growth of the radio business from the days of amateurs is described in accounts of manufacturing apparatus for the radio market (Westinghouse Electric Company, General Electric Corporation, and the Radio Corporation of America), wireless telegraphy and telephony on the Great Lakes, operating methods in early radio stations, establishing and financing a radio station in the 1920s, persuading advertisers to buy radio time, responses of and to the radio audience, broadcast ethics, and the impact of television with its new business and performing methods. The growth of networks and network competition with local stations is detailed in accounts of the development of NBC, the Red and Blue networks and the outgrowth of the American Broadcasting Company from them, CBS, Mutual Broadcasting System, American Telephone & Telegraph Company, and the stations of General Electric and Westinghouse. Radio's relations with government are dealt with in accounts of the Washington Conference assigning international wavelengths, 1927; Federal Radio Commission; Federal Communications Commission, radio law and legislation; government regulation and comparisons of radio in the United States, Great Britain, and Canada; the British Broadcasting Corporation; patent-licensing and the Department of Justice, 1932; United States censorship in World War II; postwar problems. Impressions are given of Walter Damrosch, David Sarnoff, Bertha Brainerd, Frank Conrad, Al Jolson, Owen D. Young, Henry Ford, Fred Waring, William S. Paley, George F. McClelland, Merlin H. Aylesworth, and others. Erik Barnouw, Professor of Film at Columbia University, added to the original series a number of interviews conducted in connection with his three-volume history of broadcasting in the United States. Participants, pagination, and restrictions as noted: Ernst Frederick Werner Alexanderson, 61; Ed Allen, 7; Frank Atkinson Arnold, 101; Walter Ransom Gail Baker, 20; Harry Ray Bannister, 62; Howard Barlow, 213; Patrick Henry Barnes, 35; Joseph M. Barnett, 30; Gustave A. Bosler, 21; Everett L. Bragdon, 20; Harry P. Breitenbach, 10; William Wilbur Brown, 28; Lyman Lloyd Bryson, 254; Orestes Hampton Caldwell, 28; Joseph E. Cappa, 22; Phillips Carlin, 27; Abram Chasins, 89; Thomas Edward Clark, 38; Norman Corwin, 100 (closed during lifetime); Thomas H. Cowan, 119; Roderick Cupp, 12; Lee DeForest, 9; Richard K. Doan, 26; Glenn R. Dolberg, 8; Lloyd Espenschied, 48; Walter Chew Evans, 65; Edgar Felix, 55; John Earl Fetzer, 91; Fred Friendly, 50; Robert Fuller, 13; Wayland Fullington, 24; John Gambling, 39; George Gingell, 14; Paul F. Godley, 21; Harry Goodman, 8; Dorothy Gordon, 168; Ben Grauer, 65; Gordon Gray, 2; Gordon Greb, 29; Rosaline Greene, 42; Wilton Gunzendorfer, 10; Raymond Frederick Guy, 78; Joseph Anthony Haeffner, 30; Kolin Hager, 36; Richard F. Hanser, 32; William E. Harkness, 99; Herschell Hart, 21; Laurence Ashley Hawkins, 28; William Saxby Hedges, 123; John E. Hill, 8; Lawrence LaMotte Holland, 25; Herbert Clark Hoover, 21; Albert Wallace Hull, 31; E.P.H. James, 17; Eddie Janis, 25; Arthur Judson, 25; William J. Kaland, 7; H.V. Kaltenborn, 248; Ken Kennedy, 7; Alfred Henry Kirchhofer, 21; Kirk Knight, 34; Chester Henry Lang, 29. Participants continued: Leon Lichtenfeld, 22; Donald G. Little, 101; Edgar J. Love, 15; Ruth Lyons, 7; Stanley Rutter Manning, 16; Carlton Morse and Michael Rafetto, 18; Ray Newby, 38; Paul Oliphant and F.C. Sowell, 32; Dorsey Owings, 16; John F. Patt, 73; Daniel Petrie, 48; James A. Pike, 18; Elton M. Plant, 45; Herbert Ponting, 10; Robert L. Pratt, 7; Harry Rasky, 42 (restriction pending); Philip H. Reisman, 60; Lord John Reith, 25; Bruce Robertson, 15; Otis E. Robinson, 17; William N. Robson, 41 (restriction pending); Manuel Rosenberg, 8; J. Harold Ryan, 7; Abel Alan Schechter, 33; William Edmund Scripps, 33; Robert L. Shayon, 41; John L. Slaton, 7; Robert Smiley, 18; Ira D. Smith and Fred J. Hart, 82; Sigmund Spaeth, 121; Jeff Sparks, 60; Davidson Taylor, 82 (permission required); Sybil True, 23; Edwin Lloyd Tyson, 32; Clyde D. Wagoner, 34; James Truman Ward, 10; Gene Waters, 8; Irving Reid Weir, 31; Grover A. Whalen, 27; Rex G. White, 19; William Cummings White, 50; Mark Woods, 120; William R. Yates, 50.


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